When we were planning our road trip, this next part of the route was somehwhat the most challenging. We knew we wanted to see Las Vegas / Grand Canyon, and also New Orleans. But we had zero clue on how to fit the jigsaw puzzle in the middle. 

Tennessee was one of our answers. 

Before we left our cottage in Mena, we had some lovely moments. 

We also had some crazy ass messy moments.  

After a 4 night stay in our cottage in Mena, Arkansas, we left for Elvis land in Memphis, Tennessee. 

It has to be said that I fear the almighty iPad might be losing a bit of its Midas touch. Daniel was unhappy when he was in the car of late which meant a hell journey for the rest of us. 

He was not.to.be.bribed. 

(Puppies, if you read this when you are able to read letters in the future, this is photo evidence of you being a monkey, but we still love you, just about.)

Memphis was pretty much all about Elvis Presley . 

So we zoomed straight to Graceland. Vroom.  

A little quick one on Graceland. I found this which described it quite nicely:

When Elvis Presley was a young boy, he promised his parents he would make a lot of money and buy them the finest house in town, putting an end to years of struggle. For Elvis Presley, Graceland – a charming and stately colonial revival-style mansion for himself and his parents – was the fulfillment of that childhood promise. 

So he bought this thing here, aka the Graceland mansion, for 100,000 bucks back in 1957 when he was 22 years old. 

I thought about those numbers and I was like, dang, that was impressive. 

Even by today’s standards, that is a lot of money to have at the tender age of 22. When I was 22 years old, I was in debt for 100 thousand bucks bloody hell. 

This was his living room. Very pristine indeed. 

He sold a billion records in total. This gallery collected all the accolades and awards he achieved. The picture here was only a small section of it. 

At last, this was the Meditation Garden, the final resting place for Elvis Presley, his parents, and his grandmother. 

Some said his cause of death was prescription drugs abuse, some said heart attack. Well, whatever it was he died young at 42 years old.

I also didn’t know Elvis had a stillborn twin brother. Was it just me who didn’t know?!

The little sign on the right hand side of the grave was for his brother. 

Now touring the Graceland mansion with 2 young kids was easier said than done. 

Michael and I were each given a special iPad as a touring kit – it was preloaded with information and videos about the tour and the mansion. 

So high tech right? Ideally our tour looked like this where we can peacefully listen to all the narratives about Elvis’ life in this mansion. 

However, it quickly turned into this:

Mine was hijacked by this one here: 

Children, come on! FFS. 

So Michael and I went back to the hotel, googled and read up on wiki Elvis and Graceland on our phones. =.=

We rushed to the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis because at 5pm on the dot, there was this world famous ‘duck marching’ ceremony. 

Well, well. First it was crowded with people to the brim. 

Next my spot was *brilliantly* chosen. See that pillar with those stupid flowers in the middle? All the damn ducks were behind that thing, so I saw F all. 

What a stupid waste of time. Gahhhh. 

In Memphis, BBQ is the thing in town to have. We went to Rendezvous restaurant in some back alley. 

We had these ribs. 

It was finger licking good. 

After our dinner, we had a quick wander on Beale Street for live music – we were way too early for the party. 

The next morning, we visited downtown Memphis. Kids were playing against the backdrop of Mississippi River – the 4th longest river on earth (behind Amazon, Nile and Yangtze). 

We headed back to hotel Sheraton via the Main Street. 

The point of me taking this photo was that I found Memphis to be, err, a little disappointing. Michael found the city to be quite alright, but I was unimpressed. Meh. 

Memphis appeared to be the 3rd highest crime rate city in the US. And well, I can tell you I was keen to get back to our hotel before it was properly dark as there were some interesting characters roaming on the streets. 

We waved bye to Memphis. It was then another drive to Nashville – the Music City. 

Our drive to Nashville was on a beautiful and sunny day. 

We went straight to downtown Nashville to see some action. 

Where you could buy 3 pairs of cowboy boots for the price of 1. Each was about 400 bucks!

We wanted to go to the Bluebird cafe, where Taylor Swift was discovered initially. 

Unfortunately, the cafe had a ‘shhh policy’ during live performances….. How long do you think the children can last like this? The answer is ‘not long’. 

So our first challenge was to find a place with live music AND they don’t kick out the children. We found Wildhorse Saloon just off the Broadway. 

Perfect. It was spacious and loud enough to drown out our kids’ noise. 

The children were certainly entertained by the country music performed live and we had a great dinner. 

By the time we left the restaurant with live music, it was dark and we were part of the early night life. Woo hoo!

The Main Street for ‘honky-tonking’ (ie ‘bar hopping’) was on the Broadway. These were the night scenes in town. 

We were, however, the crazy team pushing a buggy in this hippy crowd. 

There were a number of reasons why Nashville was particularly busy when we were there. 

Apart from it being a Saturday night, also unbeknownst to us when we book our trip, Adele was in Nashville on both nights we were here. She was performing at the Bridgestone Arena. 

There was also a big American football match going on at the stadium. 

Plus there was an induction of 3 country music stars to the Country Music Hall of Fame over the weekend. 

That explained why our Nashville accommodation cost a fortune!

The next morning, we had a quick tour around the Ryman Auditorium. 

Well. The main thing to see in Nashville was actually the Grand Ole Opry. It was a huge and grand auditorium for live performances, typically country music. 

But it was too far away out of downtown so we toured this instead – which the Grand Ole Opry used to be anyway. 

We had lunch at Puckett’s. 

For dinner, we were at the BB King’s blues club. 

See the live band behind? So cool man. 

It was a huge effort though to find a child friendly restaurant with a live band, in that out of 10 places, probably only 1 was ok. The rest were just too loud or too crowded or too hippy or too cool for us. 

We arrived at our hotel and we found a free popcorn machine down by the lobby. Much to the delight of the children. Popcorn instead of apples before bedtime. Ha!

On our last day, we drove to see the Parthenon. We are still in Nashville, not in Athens, don’t worry!

Now this was the exact same size as the original Parthenon in Greece. It was first a temporary thing made of woods and plastic etc to commemorate a world war fair. Well, I say ‘thing’, it’s bigger than just a ‘thing’. 

And the local Nashvillians protested when they tried to demolish it – so they made it permanent….

We then visited the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. 

To complete the circle coming from Memphis, here’s the plaque for Elvis’ induction. He was posthumously elected. 

My verdict on Nashville – my goodness, I loveeeed it! 

It really lived up to its Music City name. 

Next – we head towards Chattanooga, Tennessee, for a couple of nights, and we spend a quick stop night in Tuscaloosa before we get to New Orleans. 

Before we go off, here’s the ‘third millennium miles milestone’ achieved. Yay yay. 

See you all soon.