Thursday, February 24, 2005

The (Very) Long Road, Part 5

Driving Day #3

It was another early morning start out of Russellville. The sky was dark for a while, as the cloud cover was thick. We timed our drive just perfectly to hit rush hour in both Little Rock in the morning, and Nashville later that evening. But it was still a productive day. We earlier had decided to push our way across the country because we were trying to get Travis to his flight on time. But now we had all the time in the world and decided to make one touristy stop. We decided on Graceland. Graceland is located off a busy street in a populated area of Memphis. It turns out that when Elvis lived there, it was just a 2 lane highway in the middle of the woods, but apparently the city built up around the house once it opened up to the public. There were many surprising things about Graceland, but none in the way I was expecting. The house wasn't very big. Don't get me wrong... it would be very big for ME to own, but we're talking Elvis. By today's superstar standards, it was quite modest. And not just on the outside. With a few small exceptions like the fur-covered seats in the Jungle Room and the 3 television sets in the mirrored room, the house was surprisingly "normal." It wasn't gaudy like I expected. Of course, carpeted walls and ceilings aren't too common today, but they weren't that unusual for the 70's. Even the kitchen had a typical 70's avocado green fridge. The pool wasn't guitar-shaped like I had imagined, and I don't even remember there being a hot tub or jacuzzi. The little cemetary in the back put to rest any rumors that "Elvis lives," and the only really unusual thing was the firing range set up in a converted brick (yes, brick!) garage that was only about 10-15 feet long. I can't even imagine the ricochet! All in all it was still quite interesting, even in its modesty. After the self-guided tour, we headed to the gift shop, where Travis thankfully reminded me that I didn't need any more stuff. Thank you, Travis! We got back in the car and continued on our way. Conversation focused on the tsunami disaster and other relief efforts, as well as a comparison of the Holocaust to situations today in Rwanda and Sudan. We also talked about being scared to move... me, not Travis. Travis has moved happily many times. We rounded out the car trip with a television trivia game, and were amazed at all of the television shows we could name alphabetically. Even more amazing, however, was how many we forgot! We stopped at the Waffle House for dinner. Apparently, there are almost 1,500 Waffle Houses nationwide, and the waffles were wonderful. After that, we stopped at a little hotel just inside the Virginia border. Again, there was no internet, and so we quickly went to sleep.

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