We leave Washington a little sad after having such a wonderful time. But we need to move on and head south. The next few days are going to be transition days so not much to report. Although we do take a short scenic detour through the Blue Ridge Mountains and found the scenery to be absolutely breathtaking. I look at the map and tell Frank we are not going to use the GPS because she will take us back to the freeway. So basically we navigate the way people used to using the atlas.
Everything was going ticketyboo until we come to an intersection and have to decide which way to go, the signpost is telling us to go one way, but looking at the atlas I say we can take a short cut back to the freeway. Famous last words, we soon find ourselves in a situation where we realize that maybe we shouldn’t have come this way, the road is very narrow with hairpin turns and of course we are coming down a mountain so the grade is very steep, if we had just been in the car it would have been OK, but the motor home didn’t like it at all. We have a bit of traffic behind us and the first opportunity Frank pulls over to the side, barely off the road. When we come to a stop, we see billows of smoke coming from the front and back of the motorhome. Frank is not too happy and tells me we have burned the brakes out and have to wait for them to cool down. The smell is awful, but we sit in the motor home playing cards for about an hour. Then we unhook the car and Frank very
tenuously drives the rest of the way down the mountain with me following close behind.
When we get to the bottom, we call a Ford Dealer in Roanoke, VA to see if we can get the rig in to be checked out. They tell us to bring it in the next morning at 7am. We spend the night in the local Wal-Mart parking lot and are at the dealership first thing on Friday morning. We leave it and go and have breakfast, coming back we realize they haven’t even looked at it yet, so we come to terms with the fact that it’s going to be a long day. We decide to take the Honda to have an oil change while we wait. We call the Honda dealer and they tell us to bring it right over.
That takes another couple of hours and when we return to Ford they tell us the bad news. The rear brake components overheated and the rotors became warped and it was going to be a big job, very labour intensive but that the technician said he would stay until the
job was done that day. So meanwhile Frank and I take off to explore Roanoke. It’s a medium sized town with a neat downtown area that had an outdoor market selling local fruit and vegetables. We stroll for a while and then head to the mall, where I decide to take care of another task and get my hair done.
We head back to the Ford dealer around 5pm and the motor home is ready. That little detour through theBlue Ridge Mountains cost us $1200.
We spend the night in the Roanoke area and continue heading south into North Carolina
and Tennessee. We spend the night in a small RV park in Maggies Valley, a small town in the Smokey Mountains; once again the scenery is breathtaking. The place we are in is full and when I ask how come it’s full in October, the owner tells us it’s because the town is full of “leaf lookers”, people to come to town to see the leaves changing colour.
The next day we head toward Knoxville, TN and once again experience some hair raising sections of the drive. The next RV Park is called Mountain Glen and we should have realized by the name that it was actually in the mountains. More narrow roads with hair pin turns and very steep grades. We actually unhook the car again and take it easy and arrive unscathed. The RV Park is in a beautiful setting on top of a mountain overlooking more magnificent scenery.
We are doing one nighters at the moment and the next night is in an RV park close to Nashville, this one couldn’t have been more different than the last, it was reminiscent of the one we stayed in when we were in Montana, another Trailer Park Boys environment.
Oh well, its only one night. Next stop Memphis.
We plan on spending two nights in the Memphis area; we actually stay in an RV park in Mississippi 40 minutes from Graceland.
We drive into Memphis and straight to Graceland, because although neither of us are Elvis fans, we both feel that you can’t be in Memphis and not go to Graceland. The first thing we realize after we pay the $32 each entry fee is that we are very underwhelmed.
The house itself is quite small but it is on a very large piece of property. Once inside the first thing we notice is that there are mirrors everywhere, walls ceilings, and doors. Because the house has remained untouched since Elvis passed away, the décor is very 60/70’s, there is shag carpet everywhere and in some rooms on the walls and the ceilings, not very attractive to our 21st century tastes.
The man accomplished so much in his lifetime; he really was an icon in his field. He was also very giving in that he helped anyone in need, all they had to do was ask.
His musical achievements covered the walls in many, many gold and platinum records as well as the Grammy’s he received. There were lots of other mementos in the house and surrounding buildings that have been made into museums in his name.
The Meditation Garden that he had installed so that people had a place to go to enjoy some quiet time is where he is laid to rest alongside his mother, father, paternal grandmother (who as a matter of fact survived them all, she died in her nineties) and there is also a small plaque remembering his twin brother who died at birth.
He also has two planes across from the property that he used for touring, one of them is a Convair called “Lisa Marie” and the other was small jet. We did get to tour the planes
and it was neat to see how the other half live when travelling the skies of the world.
After spending about 21/2 hours at Graceland to head into Memphis to see Beale Street, the home of rock and roll and of course the blues. What a disappointment that was,
there was a desolate feeling about the whole city. It was dirty, depressed and generally not
very welcoming at all. We did drive to the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was assassinated and find that it has been turned into the Civil Rights Museum, we didn’t go inside, it was enough just to view the outside.
All in all we are glad to have experienced Graceland, but we could have happily given Memphis a miss.