Thursday, October 21, 2010

Graceland, Part: 2, Memphis, TN

While touring the mansion there are several rooms that show some of the costumes that Elvis wore. I remember this gold Lame' suit. He looked pretty fabulous in it too!

The suit below certainly is one of the more memorable ones that Elvis wore. He loved his capes!

Two different areas of the mansion had displays of the many awards that Elvis won. All of his gold and platinum 45's are seen below.

This is the room where all of the gold and platinum albums were displayed.

This is the Cadillac that Elvis gave to his mother. She loved pink so that is what she got.

The picture below is of TLC, named by Elvis, which stood for Tender Loving Care. He used this plane along with the one below that which is named after his daughter, Lisa Marie.

The picture here is from our campsite along the Mississippi River which was at the Tom Sawyer Mississippi River Resort in W. Memphis, Arkansas. Just a hop, skip and a jump to the town of Memphis, TN. (Free laundry and wi-fi too........)

See ya down the road !

Graceland Part:1, Memphis, TN

Elvis Presley purchased Graceland Mansion for $102,000 in 1957. He resided here until his death in 1977.

Elvis was 43 years old when he passed that August. His home is exactly the same as when he lived in it those twenty years.

The home itself is right in the middle of Memphis. The office for tours is across the street. You can take an audio tour and see the two planes that he owned. You can see his collection of vehicles. Not all were cars!

The picture below is of the suite which was down stairs where his parents lived. The walls are a nice cream color but all of the rest is done in a dark purple velvet.

The picture below is of the living room. Note the outlandish stained glass room dividers. He sure liked white didn't he?

This is a picture of the dining room. Note the mirrowed walled. WOW, I remember those!

This room was an area where they watched television and also listened to music. I like the little monkey on the table.

Now we get to the two pictures below. This is the family room or entertaining room for guests. The floors and the ceiling has shag carpet. Also the one wall you see in the background on the first picture has a waterfall flowing down the rocks.

See ya down the road for Part: 2

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Woodruff-Fontaine House, Memphis, TN

In 1870 Amos Woodruff commissioned his new residence to be built at 680 Adams Street. This cost him $52,600 in total for the land and the home. The Woodruff family occupied the 2nd floor of this Second Empire French Victorian home from 1871 to 1883.

During these years, Memphis suffered several terrible yellow fever epidemics descimating the population. In 1883 Mr. Woodruff sold the home to Noland Fontaine, a memphis cotton factor.

The Fontaines lived in the home forty-six years, rearing eight children to adulthood. The property was eventually bequeathed to the City and later the building stood vacant for about 2 1/2 years and after being vandalized numerous times it was finally preserved by the Tennessee Antiquities and in 1964 was opened to the public.

Every year the house is given a theme for the interior. This year was to show how the occupants would have lived through a time of mourning.

Mirrors are covered during this morning period and everyone wears black from head to toe.

Notice the beautiful stained glass that are inside the front doors of the home. These are the original stained glass that came when the house was built.

This is the receiving parlor of the home. (Hey, they forgot to cover that mirror.........)

Look at the beautiful staircase. The woodwork in this home is all Southern cypress. The crown molding is different in all of the rooms as are the ceiling medallions.

This little house below was built specifically for the children to play in. (Sure beats a tree house!)

This picture below is of a house built, which is across the street and I believe, for one of the relatives of the Fontaine family.

See ya down the road !

Memphis, Tenn - Part: 1

We continue our travels south on I-55 and stop in Memphis, Tennessee for a few days. Lots to see and do here. As you can see from the picture below there is a cable car system in downtown Memphis. We arrived on a Sunday and it was very quiet on the streets.

We made sure to go to the famous Peabody Hotel to see the marching of the Peabody Ducks. They make their trip from their roof top palace to the lobby daily to jump into the fountain. This is one of the most popular attractions in the city.

The tradition started in 1933 when the then manager of the hotel (after a few shots of whiskey) thought it would be funny to place his live hunting decoys in the fountain. And so became the tradition of five North American Mallards marching twice daily to and from the fountain. They stay all day in the fountain from 11 AM to 5 PM.

After seeing the ducks we strolled a few blocks away to the Memphis Cotton Exchange. This is a walking tour of the inside of the exchange as well as a block or two of walking on the streets with your I-Pod giving you lots of information. The exchange was founded in 1874 as the merchants found they had a need for a trade organization to regulate the cotton marketing in the city.

They set rules and regulations on how to trade, the grade of the cotton being traded and managed the daily price changes. In 1978 the trading floor was closed forever in favor of computer trading.

Below is a picture of a guitar made entirely out of the caps of bottles. Don't know why they did it but it was interesting!

We found an award winning BBQ place to eat at. As you can see from the sign their ribs are great and take it from me - so are their pulled pork sandwiches.........
The place is named THE PIG, and their sign says it is a pig with an attitude and it was !

Outside the establishment was a trumpet player, playing for tips. He was excellent also.

See ya down the road !

Monday, October 18, 2010

St. Louis, Missouri -The Gateway Arch

When we left Starved Rock State Park in Illinois, we started heading south on I-55 as we are wanting to catch up with friends in New Orleans, Louisana.

On the way we decided to stop at St. Louis, Missouri to see the Gateway Arch which is called the Gateway to the West.

If you enlarge the picture below you will see Jeff at the base of the arch in the middle........I have never seen the man so small !!

Taking the tram system to the top is very interesting. Below is a picture of Jeff after getting out the car so we can view the city through the rectangle windows at the top.

The height at the very top of the arch is 630 feet. The structure itself was built between 1963 and 1965. It is made of stainless steel on the outside, carbon steel on the inside and concrete in the middle.

The following is a picture of the city outside of one of the windows at the top of the arch. On side is the city and on the other side is the mighty Mississippi River.

The tram cars hold 5 people in total. The couple on the other side took our picture. You basicly stoop to get inside the small door and sit on this cold little metal seat for your ride to the top !

The grounds below the arch that surround the area are now part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial which was designated a national historic site in 1935 to honor the type of frontier hero that was often written about.
Today the park pays tribute to the multicultural aspect of the peopling of America. Its centerpiece, the Gateway Arch, stands for the many cultures that made the American West what it is today.

See ya down the road !

Friday, October 1, 2010

Starved Rock St. Pk, Utica, Illinois

After visiting the Badlands in South Dakota we traveled through a few more states and made our way to Starved Rock State Park. This is a large park with lots of hiking trails.

The picture below is of starved rock. There used to be a fort on top of the rock but it has since burned down.

We were in site #44 at the park. Lots of trees and lots of privacy. They offer electric only but there are plenty of water spigots around if needed.

We hiked two different trails. This particular trail went to five different canyons and also to four different overlooks.

The length of the entire trail was just over five miles.

As fall has just arrived, I tried to capture a few pictures showing that the leaves are indeed beginning to change.

Below is a picture of Wildcat Canyon. We saw wild turkeys, deer and pileated woodpeckers during our hike.

As you can see there are some steep steps during the hike. Most are 30-50 at a time and several times there are 100-150 at a time.

See ya down the road !

Wall Drug & The Badlands Nat'l Pk, S. Dakota

Many years ago my mom and my aunt did a trip out west. They pulled a little pop-up camper and toured the west. Mom always said "If you ever get to South Dakota you must go to Wall Drug." Well, we got here and we toured the stores. My gosh, it was huge. We ate at their restaurant and had our FREE water.

In Decembe 1931, the Husteads' bought the only drug store in town. Dr. Hustead was a graduate of a pharmacy school in 1929 and had always wanted his own store. They wanted a store in a small town with a Catholic church. They found both!

As the jalopies traveled down the road the drivers would became very thirsty after their long drives and Mrs. Hustead came up with an idea of FREE ice water for those travelers and felt that would encourage them to stop in their store. The idea worked! Their story begins and their stores expand.

After spending a few bucks at Wall Drug, we drove for the day over to The Badlands National Park. This park was established in 1939. The White River Badlands in southwestern South Dakota are the best places in the world to study and understand the effects of erosion.

It is there that geology and life of the past connect themselves with the present. For approximately 30 milion years, layers of mud, sands and gravels were laid down. In those layers are fossile of many different prehistoric animals preserved for modern study.

About one to four million years ago erosion began to outpace the deposits leaving colorful spires resembling castles.

We drove the Sage Creek Rim road which is a gravel road, approximately 25 miles in all. We saw spectacular views, and it is the best chance of seeing wildlife. We did see quite a few bison along the way.

See ya down the road !