Category Archives: Memphis

Driving to Saint Louis

Ivan and I packed up our backpacks on March 28, 2010.  We checked out of the hotel. 

Ivan drove to Wolfgang Puck Express for lunch.  We went to the counter to order and then we sat down.  They bring your food to your table. 

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Ivan got a bowl of tortilla soup and a spicy chicken pizza.  I got a margherita pizza.  The food was awesome. 

We started driving to St. Louis at 4 pm.  We drove through Kentucky and Illinois.  It was rainy for the beginning of the trip.  I don’t like driving in the rain.  But, you gotta do, what you gotta do.

We got to St. Louis about 9 pm.  I stopped at a Subway to get a chicken flatbread sandwich.

We arrived at Sue and Ralph’s house at 9:30 pm.  They’re a married couple who are couchsurfers.  We would be staying with them for a few nights.  We talked to Sue and Ralph for awhile.  Ralph went to bed early.  Sue talked with us longer.  She’s very friendly.  She showed us the tour of the house.

We went to the basement (the room we were staying in) and used the internet. 

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A Chill Day

Ivan and I packed everything up on March 27, 2010.  We followed Kristina to the Loveless Cafe at 2 pm.  She recommended that we go there.  It’s also high up on the Nashville restaurants on Tripadvisor.

It was a long 30 minute drive there.  We were told that there’s an hour and fifteen minute wait for a table.  It was a great day out so it seemed like everybody was at the cafe.

We walked around the shops around the cafe.  I really liked the store Curious Heart.  The wait was actually only 45 minutes.

We were brought biscuits with three different jams.  The biscuits were hot and tasted great.

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Kristina, Ivan and me at Loveless Cafe

Ivan had the grilled catfish and I got the chicken fingers with BBQ sauce.  It was great food!

We said goodbye and thank you to Kristina.  We had a great time with Kristina and Chris in Nashville.  They’re lots of fun and very giving people.

We drove to Aloft Hotel.  We checked in there.

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We got a nice room.

We wanted to chill for the day.  We were so tired.  We watched some tv and used the free wi-fi in the room.

Ivan drove a few minutes to the movie theatre.  We saw the funny movie Hot Tub Time Machine.

We were driving around to find a place to eat.  We decided to go to Wolfgang Puck Express.  You can either eat in or do take out.

Ivan ordered a tortilla soup and a salmon salad.  I got a pesto chicken sandwich.  We took the food back to the hotel.  The food was delicious.

We chilled at the hotel for the night.  We watched The Ricky Gervais Show and then off to sleep.

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Music Tour and Nashville

Ivan and I woke up around 10 am on March 24, 2010.  We packed everything up. 

Ivan, Renaud and I left Gabe’s house around 10:30 am.  Gabe is a funny guy and fun to hang out with.  Renaud was also going to Nashville.  So, he would be joining us on our drive there.  Ivan and I wanted to check out the Peabody Ducks at the Peabody Hotel.  The ducks are led by the Duckmaster (a guy in a red suit) that takes them from their Penthouse on the roof and they come down in an elevator.  The ducks walk along the red carpet into the fountain in the lobby.  Unfortunately, we were like 2 minutes late, so we missed all that.  We saw the ducks swimming away in the fountain.  At 5 pm, the ducks are led by the Duckmaster up the elevator back to their Penthouse. 

We went up to the roof (floor S in the elevator).  We saw the Duck’s Penthouse there.  The view was nothing special.  You could see a lot of the Downtown buildings though.

We walked to McEwan’s for lunch.  Ivan saw that it was the #1 Memphis restaurant on Tripadvisor.  He also read online that it was a lot cheaper at lunch time.  Ivan and I shared the smoked trout salad which was really big and tasty.  We had the grilled yellowtail tuna dish and the special which was grilled shrimp with soba noodles.  The dishes are reasonably priced with the most expensive dish being $11.  We talked with Renaud.  It was a delicious meal.   

We walked to the Backbeat Tours ticket window.  Ivan had already booked the Memphis Mojo Tour.  Renaud bought a ticket.  Ivan picked up our tickets.  We had time to spare before the tour.  We checked out a souvenir shop and then sat down in a bar.

We got on the bus and grabbed some musical instruments on the way to our seats.  Ivan grabbed the drums while I got the tambourine.  Renaud got an egg shaker (a maraca but in an egg shape).

Our tour guide was a guy named Jake Fly.  He sang good.  He told us about music history and sang songs. 

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We got to play our instruments along with Jake.  It was lots of fun!  We saw lots of different places like WDIA radio station, the apartment where Elvis lived before Graceland, Sam Phillips Recording Service, Overton Park, the place where Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and Stax Records.  We made a stop at Sun Records.  It was time for a bathroom break.  You could also buy souvenirs there.  Sun Records is where Elvis recorded his songs for the first time.

Here’s a video of our tour guide singing:

I started driving to Nashville, Tennessee at 3:50 pm.  So far, we’ve driven 4,039 miles on our trip.  We did stop at Wal Mart.  I had to buy a memory card reader since my old one broke.  Ivan bought some food. 

We arrived in Nashville at 7:40 pm.  We dropped off Renaud near Fido’s.  He would be meeting the couchsurfer he was staying with there.  We said good bye to Renaud.

Ivan drove us to the couchsurfer’s house we’d be staying with.  It’s a family.  Kristina and Chris are the parents and they have three kids – twins (a boy and girl) and another boy – all about the same age.  The kids are so cute!  They gave us a tour of their lovely house.  The kids went to bed maybe 15 minutes later. 

We talked to Kristina and Chris for awhile.  They’re really funny and fun.  They love karaoke.  We said good night and went off to bed.

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Graceland

Ivan was already up when I woke up at 11 am on March 23, 2010.  We got ready.

Doug drove me, Ivan, Renaud and Trent to CK’s Coffee Shop.  It’s really weird because it’s a smoking establishment so you have to be 21 years old to eat there.  We walked in and it was like an oven.  It was very smoky – it needed to be aired out.  It was really gross.  The food took 30 minutes to arrive.  Ivan and I both had the omelet with onions.  The food was average.

We went back to the house.  Ivan drove with me, Renaud and Trent in the car.  We were headed to Graceland.  Ivan and I aren’t big fans of Elvis Presley.  But, we heard Graceland is pretty cool to see.

We all bought the same package for $34 each.  We boarded the shuttle.  It took us across the street to the Graceland house.

We walked through the house.  The audio guide is really good.  We couldn’t go upstairs since Elvis thought the area was private.  He only allowed guests to the house to access the downstairs area.

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It seems like there was always something going on at Graceland.

I saw a video of Elvis on a show.  They made him wear a suit and he sang Hound Dog while singing to a bassett hound who was wearing a little hat.  I thought it was really funny.  The dog didn’t know what was going on.  He was just chilling there.  Elvis hugged him while he was singing to him.

We checked out his automobiles.  The Pink Cadillac was pretty cool.

We went to visit the new exhibit Fashion King.  It shows so many shirts, scarves, hats and suits that Elvis wore.

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He was very fashionable and loved to look good.

After every area, there was also a gift shop.  It was like they didn’t want you to miss out on an Elvis souvenir.  It’s too bad that none of my family members like Elvis, otherwise I wouldn’t be short of things to buy.

We left around 4 pm.  Ivan and I had to print a few things off – so we were in search of a Fedex Office.  We finally found one after two failed attempts.  The GPS told us that Kinko’s were in two spots but it was wrong.  Fedex bought out Kinko’s so now the Kinko’s are becoming Fedex Offices.

We got back to Gabe’s house at 6 pm.

We took two cars to the restaurant SOB (which stands for South of Beale – with Beale referring to Beale Street).  It was me, Ivan, Gabe, Renaud and Trent.  Gabe’s friends own the restaurant.  Everybody shared the big portion of hummus.  It comes with olives, red peppers, eggplant, anchovies and unlimited pita bread.  We talked and joked around.

Ivan and I shared the delicious Ahi Tuna with crispy rice balls, spicy mayo and avocado.  We also had a white fish meal.  We each had a glass of Riesling.  For dessert, we shared a nice chocolate creme brulee. It was really good food.

Gabe, Renaud and Trent went back in Gabe’s car.  Ivan and I decided to walk along Beale Street.  It was a lot busier than the night before.

We didn’t want to stop in the bars so we headed back to the house.

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Renaud, Ivan, Gabe and me

We said goodbye and thanks to Gabe.  Soon, we went to bed.

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Memphis

Ivan and I checked out of the Shack Up Inn at 12:30 pm on March 22, 2010. 

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We walked around to see the shacks and took a few pictures.

We drove to the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale.  It’s owned by the actor Morgan Freeman. 

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Ivan read that Morgan Freeman visits his blues club weekly with his wife.  Ivan and I shared the chicken salad.  Ivan had a tasty catfish sandwich while I had a chicken sandwich with grilled green peppers and onions.  The food was tasty.

Ivan started driving towards Tunica, Mississippi at 2:50 pm.   Tunica is a town filled with casinos.  There are different casinos like Harrah’s, Gold Strike, Sam’s Town and Fitzgerald’s.  We went inside the Gold Strike.  It’s just like any other casino we’ve seen in Las Vegas. 

Ivan started driving towards Memphis, Tennessee.  We arrived at 5:45 pm.

We walked around Beale Street.  We checked out souvenir shops and the menus of restaurants.

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We decided to have dinner at King’s Palace Cafe.  Ivan and I shared the tasty crab cakes for a starter.  Then, we shared the Voodoo Chicken which is a chicken breast marinated in dark plantation rum and cajun spices.  The chicken breast had a great taste, but it was really small.  It came with a heaping cup of mashed potatoes.  We wished that it came with more chicken instead of the mashed potatoes.  Our waiter kept calling Ivan “Young Man”.  But, I asked him to bring hot sauce and he called me Ma’am.  I didn’t think that was right.  I should have called him Old Man.  There was a guy playing the guitar in the lounge.  He was just alright.

We went across the street to BB King’s.  It was a $3 cover per person to get in.  We got seats at the bar.  The BB King All-stars were starting to play.  A singer named Rodney Tate joined in to sing.  He had a great voice and he kept dancing around and clapping his hands.  Renaud (the French couchsurfer we met in Jackson) sent a text and said he was in a bar on Beale Street with another couchsurfer.  We were planning to meet them soon.

We went to the bar but we didn’t see Renaud there.  Ivan got a text a few minutes later that Gabe (the couchsurfer we would be staying with for 2 nights) was now at home. 

We drove to Gabe’s house.  It’s actually in a suburb of Memphis.  We arrived at his house.  We met Gabe.  We also met Trent, a guy from San Antonio, who would also be staying at Gabe’s.  We said hello to Renaud. 

We talked with everybody.  Gabe’s roommate Doug came home from work.  We chilled and chatted.  Everybody’s really funny and cool.

We used the internet for awhile and then went to sleep.

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