Our evening consisted to a trip to Walmart to get supplies for the car, followed by a trip to Chipotle for dinner. Their burritos are immense!! We checked into the hotel which was only a mile away from Graceland. The hotel only cost £33 for the night but it was actually a nice hotel. Danisha at the front desk was ever so polite and friendly! Not long after we checked in, the weather turned and a storm hit us. Thunder roared, lightning lit up the sky like a firework and rain hammered down on the ground. Meanwhile I was having a face mask and foot scrub kinda evening whilst rewriting our itinerary after Nathan started adding to it 😊
One of my favourite films, freedom writers, was on the television and it was gone 1am by the time I fell asleep. I was gonna be cranky in the morning!!
Certainly wasn’t feeling as fresh as a daisy when the alarm (yes Nathan set an alarm so he wouldn’t miss breakfast) went off this morning. Needless to say I didn’t venture down for breakfast but tried to get another hours sleep.
First stop today….Graceland is the second most visited house in America behind the White House. It’s not the cheapest place to visit but it definitely turned out to be worth it!
We started off by watching a short film featuring times from Elvis Presley’s life. That seems to be a thing over here as I think we have watched an introductory film at the beginning of all the museums we have been to. After the film we headed out to wait for the shuttle to the house and were given headsets and iPads to aid us in our tour. It clearly is popular as we were probably waiting just over half an hour to get on the shuttle, then upon arriving at the house we had to wait again before entering the house.
Then it started to rain. We went up to the front door and were given the house rules by a Graceland assistant, then we entered. There were barriers which you had to walk right up to in every room allowing you to see all original artefacts from Elvis Presley’s life. (The Living Room)
We slowly manoeuvred round each room listening to John Stamos in our ears as our tour guide. Every room was different and every room was grand. He clearly didn’t do things by half. He was born in Tupelo, Mississippi in a two bedroom shot-gun house. He had a twin brother but he was stillborn. His family moved to Memphis, Tennessee when Elvis was 13. (His parents bedroom)
He never studied music and he was rejected many times before he signed with Sam Phillips at Sun records. (The dining room)
He eventually then signed with RCA Victor at the age of 20. He toured, recorded, became ‘Elvis the Pelvis’ due to his well known gyrations that accompanied his singing then in 1958 he was drafted into the US Army. (The kitchen)
He recorded again during two weeks leave in June and in the August he was granted emergency leave because his mother, whom he was incredibly close to, had contracted hepatitis and she died aged 46 of heart failure 2 days after Elvis got to her. (The TV room)
It was in the army that Elvis was introduced to amphetamines to which he would become dependent upon. It was also in the army that he met his future wife, Priscilla. She was only 14 at the time. (The pool room with the most amazing ceiling)
Elvis was honourably discharged with a rank of seargant in 1960. He went on to make 27 movies during the 1960s. Elvis and Priscilla were married in 1967 in Las Vegas. A year later their daughter, Lisa Marie, was born. (The jungle room)
During 1968 he made his comeback to the music scene. He performed at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. After this performance he was referred to as ‘The King.’ (Vernon’ office)
In 1971 he was named one of the ten most outstanding young men of the nation and highway 51 was renamed the Elvis Presley Boulevard. Fame clearly came at a price for Elvis and his marriage to Priscilla was failing due to his heavy tour schedule, the fact they barely saw each other and the fact he had many affairs probably was also a contributing factor!(The grounds and the horses)
They divorced in 1973. His health was also suffering and he had previously overdosed twice on barbiturates. He was pleased with to take a year off to sort himself out but didn’t. 1973 was his busiest year yet. His stage presence became worse, fans were becoming disappointed and he was a shell of his former self. (Elvis’s birth certificate)
He was found dead on August 16th 1977 by his then girlfriend Ginger Alden.
Graceland was a beautiful place and you really felt you got to know the Presley’s. It was bought in 1957 for $102,000!!! It was opened to the public in 1982.There were so many artefacts throughout the house including his report card and crayons!Elvis’s keys to Graceland as well as their wedding atttire were also on show. He even had a racquetball court built! What would have been handy was if there were covers covering the walkways because the rain was absolutely hammering down to the point that we were soaked through to our underwear! It was insane. The final part of the mansion tour was the meditation garden. I imagine if we had longer there to peruse it would have been even more beautiful and the first time we were walking through it quickly we missed the fact that it is where Elvis is buried. We had ran to the shelter to wait for the shuttle back to the rest of the museum when our iPad explained that he is buried there with his parents. So what did that mean? A ‘sprint’ back to the gardens so I could take a photo but ended up standing there for ages trying to swipe my phone left and up to get to the camera, which wasn’t working because it was so wet. So I tried drying the screen on my top which also failed because it was like trying to dry it with a wet towel. Eventually however it did work and I managed to photograph this beautiful garden.
We made it back to the museum slightly less wet and headed to the motors museum. I mean, he had a seriously impressive collection of cars! I like the purple one myself 😊. Not only did he have a massive car collection, he also had bikes and what collection wouldn’t be complete without his very own John Deere tractor. At first when we just saw the mansion, I was thinking, you know what, I hope someone turns my home into a museum when I die. Then the more I saw he had the more I realised that my museum would consist of empty wine bottle from across the years, ticket stubbs and travel guides 😂. Not really much to make up a museum about my life!
There was also a section on Sam Phillips who was his first producer at Sun Records. Now his car is one I definitely want. Not that I have any idea what car it is! Cadillac? Camaro? Mustang? Audi? All I know is that it’s pretty 😊
Elvis was known for his wacky stage outfits too and there was a whole section designated to them. My favourite oneThey were so colourful and intricate and every one so different. My favourite part of the exhibition wasIt was amazing to see the records and albums all over this wall. All that was left now was lunch at Gladys’ diner and the gift shop! The whole exhibition and mansion was so well organised, yet the diner not so much. You walked round to decide what you wanted; pizza, hotdog, burger, ice cream, put your order in and they give you a ticket to collect it. You then get a drink and go and pay. Then begins the wait for the food. I went and sat down whilst Nathan waited for the food and he must have been gone for 20-25 minutes and they weren’t calling it out in order or anything. Hey ho, lunch of chicken tenders was eventually served whilst listening to the dulcet tones of the entertainer in the corner singing country and rock n roll. He was very good!
So we bid adieu to Graceland and began heading to Shiloh National Military Park. I took this opportunity to have a nap so that I was fully refreshed by the time we arrived. 😂 I think my hangover was just starting to subside.
The most exciting part of this park was the fact we purchases our national park passport and collected 4 stamps! We felt so alive!! The tour was 13 miles long and consisted of 20 stops. Good job we had the car as the weather really wasn’t on our side today. The Battle of Shiloh occurred on the 6th and 7th April 1862 as part of the American Civil War. Major General Ulysses S Grant commanded the unit known as the Army of Tennessee, and he went on to become the President of the United States. The Battle of Shiloh was the bloodiest in American history up until this time. The memorials and the Battle parameters were really interesting as we drove round. In the above mass grave is approximately 1700 confederate soldiers. There are two other mass confederate graves on the route. Memorial for the confederate army leader General Albert Sidney Johnston who was killed in action. Bloody pond so called because horses and men used to bathe here where many lost their lives turning the pond red with bloodThe Tennessee river where boats were moored on the opposite side.
Definitely an easier day today. Not that I could have stomached any hiking today due to the amount of wine circling my veins. That’ll teach me 😂. We were meant to be visiting the Jack Daniels Distillery but definitely ran out of time which resulted in a stay in Lynchburg overnight ready to hit it tomorrow. The journey was one that was 45 minutes quicker than it was meant to be due to a heavy right foot on the accelerator…