Today we’re Memphis-bound! After a couple of wonderful days in Nashville we were a little sad to be leaving, but we were also excited to get back on the road again. We checked out of the hotel, grabbed a quick lunch and then we were on our way to Memphis, about a 3- hour drive west of Nashville. Well, a little longer if you’re like us and stop every 2 miles to take pictures or check out wacky roadside attractions. Like this one. If you like Loretta Lynn (she’s a country music singer, for anyone who may not know), you’d love her Ranch & Kitchen. It’s located in the town of Hurricane Mills which is about an hour outside Nashville. Even if you aren’t a big fan of her music, if you like jam– it’s still worth a stop here. Loretta sure likes her jam, I think she’s got every variety you could ever imagine putting on your scone. Mnnnn….. We roamed the gift shop and checked out her ‘shrine’, which is basically a wall displaying her albums, movies, clothing and everything else (music or movie-related) you could think of. And there’s also a gift shop too. We didn’t get to see Loretta, but we saw this guy hanging out in front of her shop. We got back on the road and slowly made our way to Memphis. The city of Memphis sits on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River and is considered to be the legendary birthplace of the Blues. If you like music, particularly blues and rock n’ roll, you will love Memphis. lt’s home to Graceland, the Gibson Guitar Factory, and the infamous Beale Street. While Nashville is often considered the heart of musical heritage (and country music, of course) Memphis is more the ‘soul’ of Tennessee. I’ve been to Memphis before but only very briefly. And by briefly, I mean for less than a day (crazy, I know). I was on a long road trip (starting in Chicago) with a friend and although we hadn’t planned to go this far south, we somehow ended up in Memphis. We were in St. Louis, Missouri and realized that we were fairly close to Memphis, so we decided to take a quick detour. (You know you’re an avid road tripper when you consider a 5-hour drive ‘fairly close’ heh heh). So we toured Graceland, checked out Beale Street and then we were back on the road toward Little Rock, Arkansas.Hanging out on Beale street during my first time in Memphis (2008).
We arrived here just in time for a biker fest! It was very cool, indeed. However we did make the mistake of coming here…in August! Which, of course, is another reason why we didn’t stay in Memphis too long. Although I’m used to humidity living close to the Great Lakes region, this was something else entirely. I had gotten out of the car and was immediately hit with a wall of the stickiest, thickest air I’ve ever felt. It was worse than the 50 c weather (oops, I mean 115 F for any American friends reading this) that I experienced in Arizona in July. On the plus side though, Graceland wasn’t actually that busy at all. It was just too hot for normal people, so there were only a few of us crazy tourists (ha!). So I was pretty happy that this time around I was going to spend a bit more time in Memphis. And it’s only May, so it’s not that hot yet either. As soon as Cowboy and I arrived in Memphis we made a beeline for the Peabody Hotel so we could see the ducks. I’d been to the hotel on my last visit, but missed the famous duck march. Th Peabody Hotel is one of Memphis’ must-see attractions, but even if you don’t stay here (they were asking $300 a night during our visit, yikes! No thanks) a lot of folks swing by to see the Peabody Ducks. Every day at 11 am and 5pm, these cute little guys march back and forth from the Lobby to the elevator, with a pretty big audience cheering them on. It’s an old tradition that started in 1933 by Frank Schutt, General Manager of The Peabody at the time. Frank and his friend had been on a hunting trip and after sipping too much Jack Daniels, they decided it’d be fun to place their live duck decoys (back then live ones were still legal) in the hotel lobby’s fountain. It caught on, the visitors seem to love the ducks. A few years later the Hotel’s Bellman Edward Pembroke (a former circus animal trainer) taught the ducks the famous march that you can see today at the Peabody. We literally got here with 10 minutes to spare. Just in time to see the ducks jump out of the fountain and marched back to the elevator for the night (they ‘live’ on the rooftop). It was neat to see, and I wish I’d been able to get a better picture of the little guys. But they moved quickly and there were so many people it was tricky to see them. I got a nice picture of Cowboy at the Peabody though. We’re off to Sun Studios next for a tour, so stay tuned for the highlights and pictures from this remarkable and legendary music spot here in Memphis.