Day 23: Nashville to Memphis

Trip Start Jul 07, 2006
Trip End Aug 13, 2006

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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Sunday, July 30, 2006

Today we got a very late start, heading into town in time for lunch. We had a time finding a place to park, as the General Lee Greenwood takes up a bit of room. We found one parking lot, drove in but couldn't find a place to pull through, so then we toured around the downtown area and found parking lot after parking lot we couldn't fit in. Then, finally, we found a parking lot with lots of open spaces. We were so excited. That was until we spoke with the dude working, as he said, "for the man." Each space cost $15 to park in, as apparently there were two huge events in the downtown area -- a Faith Hill concert and the Music City Brewer's Festival. We had no idea, and we weren't about to spend $30 on parking for a few hours, so back on the road we went. We drove out of the immediate downtown area and found a side street in front of an apartment complex. We parked and walked down to where the action was.

If you're a young person in the south, the place to be is Nashville. It's very hip and it has lots of beautiful people there. It has a ton of stuff to do, and clubs and bars galore. It also has a lot of homeless folk. On every street, we saw at least three or four street people just hanging or sleeping or begging. Our first stop on the brief tour that Brian gave me (he spent some time in Nashville when he had surgery on his hip in 2003) was the riverfront. There is a pretty neat stage built in this waterfront park. On the nearby dock, several homeless people slept while being serenaded by guitar-playing friends. As we walked along the riverfront, we witnessed what I believe must have been folks filming part of a music video, as there was a group of guys dressed as Mormon missionaries running and riding scooters down the walk while their friends filmed them. Interesting.

From there we entered Fort Nashborough. It was a replica of a fort that existed in the frontier days of Tennessee. It even had a plaque dedicated to the white men and Indians killing each other. From there, we walked up to 2nd street and into BB King's Blues Club. This was significant to Brian, because when he was staying in Nashville in 2003, he'd go to the riverfront and read. But, unfortunately for Brian, during one of his reading spells, a bird pooped on him, getting his neck and shirt all gross. So he went into BB King's Blues Club and bought a shirt. He didn't have time then to sit and listen to any music, so today we sat and listened to a few tunes. Brian loved the energy of the band; he thought the excitement and happiness that the performers seemed to get from playing was the best thing he saw all day. We left there, but not before buying another shirt so his old one could be retired from active duty. Let's just say that the shirt has been well-loved. Yuck.

We walked down to the Charlie Daniels Band museum -- yes, there is such a thing -- which is located in the back of a gift shop. It's interesting -- Charlie Daniels appears to donate a lot of time and energy to volunteering. He had a lot of thank yous from soldiers, firemen, and little league teams... Also on display was a stuffed raccoon playing the fiddle. That was weird. But the best part of it was a little boy said to his dad, "Daddy, look at the dog!" The father replied, "That's not a dog. It's a raccoon." The boy said, with much disappointment, "Aww...." It didn't seem weird that the raccoon was wearing a hat and playing a fiddle. It just mattered that it wasn't a dog.

We walked from there to a shop called Hatch Show Print. We entered this shop initally because there was a sign on the door that said, "Please close the door, we have a cat inside." We didn't ever see the cat, but we really liked the merchandise. This shop has printed fliers and posters for over 100 years. They had some really cool pieces, so we shopped there for a bit. We headed next to the Country Music Hall of Fame. They were running an exhibit on Ray Charles and his impact on country music, which I was pretty excited to see. The museum covered the history of country music, showcasing artifacts from folks like Patsy Cline, Bill Monroe, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. I really enjoyed myself, and I think that Brian was pretty relieved it wasn't a whole museum dedicated to Reba McEntire. The Ray Charles exhibit was nice, too, even if it was small.

After that, we walked back to the automobile and hit the road. We put In Cold Blood on again and made it to Memphis. On our way to Memphis, we encountered lots of bad drivers, which may explain the two huge car wrecks we saw on the opposite side of the interstate. Am I ever thankful that Brian is a conscientious driver! But we made it, safe and sound, to Memphis. We're staying in the campground just outside of Graceland, right behind Heartbreak Hotel. I'm serious. We plan to get started in time to get to Graceland at opening (10 am), go see the Jungle Room and some airplanes (I really want to see a TV that Elvis shot. I hope they have one!) and then we'll go over to the National Civil Rights Museum. It's located at the hotel where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed. If we have time after that, we'll go to Sun Records and see what we can see. We're going to stay in Little Rock tomorrow, before heading into Texas.
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