Love Me Tender
Lebanon Travel Blog› entry 7 of 27 › view all entries
June 30th, 2008 – by: jsfarv
Memphis, TN to Lebanon, TN (Cedars of Lebanon State Park)
8pm / 75ā / Cool, slight breeze
We started the morning with a breakfast run to the Waffle House. A chain of restaurants Iāve dubbed āthe poor manās IHOP.ā It was small, dank and barely decent. For all the advertising they have along the highway, they should spend some money on product improvement. Iāve had better waffles from a yellow box in the freezer case at Ralphās.
Then, off to Graceland ā the White House of the South. Let me set it up for you ā
You get to parking lot and immediately, piped in, is Graceland Radio on Sirius Satelite Radio. And so it begins, ājust a hunk-a, hunk-a burninā looooveāā¦
As the crowd filters towards the ticket booth (by the way, it was surprisingly expensive to see Graceland - $32/person) you cannot help but notice the type of person at Graceland:
HIM: Mid-50ās, WHITE AS WHITE CAN BE, Midwestern or Southern and ā not surprisingly ā quite hefty.
HER: Does anyone remember the Bedazzler? You know, that crafty invention whereby anyone could, in a matter of minutes, turn an ordinary pair of mom jeans into a knock-off Elvis sequined jumpsuit? Well, if you donāt, check out YouTube, Iām sure thereās a retro commercial posted. Anyway, Bedazzling is alive at well with the Graceland crowd of women. Bedazzled purses, jeans, vests, hair clips, shirts with more sparkle than an Aztec chieftain. Plus, if youād really like to stand out in a crowd, make sure the bedazzled t-shirt has a leopard face airbrushed on it and your hair is taller than the Eiffel Tower. It would also help if you smoked, but these are just my observations.
So, the tour is completely audio on these mini-MP3 like players that hang around your neck.
Elvis purchased Graceland in 1957 when he was only 22 for the staggering price of $100,000.
It is situated on 13.5 acres of land, most of which remains as pasture for his horses and a few outbuildings (racquetball court, carport and stables).
It is not nearly as big as one would think ā probably only 3500 sq.feet.
Oh, and the most important aspect, itās tacky as sin.
The house itself was bad. Like the Jungle Room: teak furniture, carved animals, a wall waterfall and green shag carpeting everywhere ā even on the roof. Klassy.
The tour was very informative and, to my surprise, even talked about Elvisā drug problem.
Some of the best sights were the special displays:
Sincerely Elvis: The Jumpsuits of Elvis
Private Presley: Elvisā time in the military
Elvisā Airplanes (he had 2!)
The restaurants: serving a variety of diner food and Elvis favorites like fried pickles and peanut butter and banana sandwiches. While enjoying a diet soda, the couple next to us was dining on the peanut butter-banana sandwich and French fries, mmmmm - not. Oh, and the guy had on bib overalls, a sleeveless t-shirt, 10-gallon cowboy hat and while he ate, he was spitting his chewing tobacco juice into an emptied Coke bottle that he stowed in his back pocked. Dead sexy.
Despite this site, Graceland was pretty cool and Iām definitely happy we made the stop there.
Our drive beyond Nashville was slowed by a major accident on the highway so we didnāt progress as far as we had hoped. Fortunately, we stumbled upon Cedars of Lebanon State Park in Lebanon, Tennessee. There WERE groves upon groves of cedar trees here, but at the turn of the century, cedar oil and cedar for pencils were in such demand that it was completely destroyed by industry. In the 1930ās, the Civilian Conservation Corps came back and replanted trees to recreate the forest that once stood there. Now, it has been made into a beautiful state park with so many amenities I am anxious to find out if California has anything comparable to this (cabins, pool, Frisbee golf course, softball field, several halls for meetings or family gatherings, hiking, etc.
Tomorrow, we can spend at leisure in the region and Iām anxious not to drive for a day ā maybe even hike!
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