Day 1 (9/4/07) - Utah to Hays, Kansas
Not much to report about this day except a cruel twist of fate. I haven't had a date since October but in the middle of Colorado, my phone rings; it's a guy from my ward asking me out. Of course, the day I move out of the state, I get asked out.
Day 2 (9/5/07) - Hays, Kansas to Memphis, Tennessee
You know you are in Middle America when most of the stations you can find are country music, Christian music, or sermons. Later, flipping through the stations I caught the farm report 4 times. I also heard a nice mix of Poison, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Guns n Roses, and several other songs by hair bands. You would never buy the album but you know every word. Towns have signs off the highway declaring that they are the birthplace of Bob Dole or some other politician. I wonder if any Democrats were born in Kansas and the towns just don't claim them? Plus I got to Memphis...
Day 3 (9/6/07) - Memphis, Tennessee
We spent the whole day in Memphis. We stayed in the Artisan Hotel. It's filled with fountains, ornate furniture, and replicas of paintings on every surface, even the ceiling.
First stop was Graceland. I want to post every photo but will limit myself (but it's still a lot). I bought a few souvenirs, a postcard with a recipe for peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and the new, limited edition, Peanut Butter and Banana Creme Reese's. The house wasn't as big as I would have thought but each room is different and one-of-a-kind. The entryway and stairs are paneled in mirrors.
Then around the corner is the jungle room with green shag carpet (on the floors and ceiling), plants and a waterfall.
Downstairs, there's the TV room with blue, yellow, and white decor, and a few ceramic monkeys.
The billards room where every surface is draped in fabric (and not a boring solid fabric either)
And then we got to the part that's more of a showcase of awards, lots and lots of awards, gold records, grammys, and more gold records.
We bought the deluxe tour so we could TCB (take care of business) and see more...
The planes (those seat belts are 18K gold plated)
And, most importantly, the jumpsuits.
We went to the Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel. This is where Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot in 1968. It was amazing, lots of information about African Americans from the 17th century to present day. So many powerful, moving displays about slave rebellions, the Underground Railroad, Rosa Parks, the bus boycotts, sit-ins at lunch counters, and the March on Washington. And also an exhibit about human rights and Gandhi. No photos were allowed inside so this is it...
Then on to Sun Studios.
While I was excited to go to Graceland and the Civil Rights Museum, this was the highlight for me, and not just because of our cute tour guide.
When I was 19, I dated a guy who served his mission in Memphis and he had a Sun Records T-shirt. I really, really wanted that shirt. I do realize, I could have just bought one online but it's not authentic unless you go there to get it. The tour was great, we got to hear recordings of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and some other people that I had never heard of. Our tour guide was adorable and played guitar for us. He also let us take our pictures with a microphone that Elvis used.
We went to Beale St for dinner and Kaylyn got ribs. I just got chicken since I don't eat mammals. It was a fun street to walk down especially at night with all the neon lights.
We then drove a few hours to Nashville and happily crawled into our beds for a good sleep.
Day 4 (9/7/07) - The Nashville Nightmare. While we could have gone to see the Grand Ole Opry or some other tribute to country music (which is low on the list of my music choices), I got to spend several hours in a public health clinic waiting to get an MMR booster shot so I could start work on Monday. As you can imagine I was more than a little annoyed by this. My agency didn't tell me I needed this till I was already driving and I had to have it before I started. The nice lady at the clinic made up an address for me since they only treat people from the Nashville area. And I convinced my agency that they need to reimburse me the $50 it cost. But what about the 3.5 hours we lost. I guess I needed to learn some patience and also some gratitude for having insurance and not usually having to rely on clinics for my healthcare. So after that, we just drove to Staunton, Virginia and spent the night, very excited to have crossed the Virginia state line. One highlight of the day, I found an NPR station playing a tribute to Johnny Cash and the station stayed static-less until the end of the program.
Day 5 (9/8/07) - The Last Day, Staunton, Virginia to Alexandria, Virginia
Not too much happened on the drive except I do have to say, the mountains of Virginia are beautiful. I can't wait to get a cabin for the weekend and see all the leaves change color. We got to Alexandria with only about 2 U-turns. The apartment is huge which is another cruel twist of fate, I finally have a giant apartment with lots of closet space and I don't have any stuff. But I did fill some of my pantry with my first errand...