Monday, April 25, 2011

The King lived in a dump(y neighborhood).

 We started off the day by heading over to Graceland which was only about 15 minutes from our hotel.   Now admittedly, we didn't see much of Memphis, but the area we did see, which is to say the area surrounding Graceland, was, um, shall we say, less than graceful.  It's really bizarre, because as we were driving over there the neighborhoods started getting worse and worse.  It was just rundown 1/2 empty strip mall here, boarded up apartment complex there etc. etc.  We kept waiting for the neighborhood to get better....but it never did.  Then all of a sudden, you notice every business seems to be Elvis Presley related and you are at Graceland...well sort of.  You come to the Graceland parking lot where they want $10 just to park and then the tickets to actually tour Graceland are $30+ per person ($70 for the VIP tour).  While I actually wanted to tour Graceland, the combination of god awful surroundings, the exorbitant prices and a time schedule that really only allowed one site seeing stop today, we decided to bag Graceland and spend the time in Hot Springs Arkansas instead.

So off we headed to Hot Springs and promptly ran into a storm that would have looked right at home in The Wizzard of Oz.  Seriously, I have never in my life seen a set of storm clouds like the ones rolling towards us.  It was literally like something out of a movie.  They were magnificent and spooky at the same time.  I have to admit I was a little nervous when I realized we were in Tornado Alley and a tornado just took out the St. Louis airport a few days ago.  We got lucky though and there were no tornadoes to be seen (if I'm honest, I was a wee bit disappointed), just some of the hardest rain I've ever experienced.  We made it to Hot Springs in about 3 hours, which was pretty good considering the weather.  HS is a neat little town even if it's a bit run down.  I bet in it's heyday (which looks to have been sometime in the 20s or 30s) it was really quite the destination.  Even today though, it's worth spending a day or two there.  It's like a cross between Ocean City MD and Harper's Ferry, W. Va if you can imagine that.  It's got some serious natural beauty, but at the same time is very touristy with plenty of little nic nac shops.  Unfortunately the weather was still damp and very gray (but no rain!) so no decent scenic pics here either, but a few interesting one's nonetheless.

Bella Standing on a wall that sits atop a small mountain (large hill?) that overlooks Hot Springs.

Filling her water bottle at public filling station for the spring water.  Tasted awesome too, very mineraly (is that a word?)

Bella and I at a spring in the middle of the town.

The girls and Aldous at the same spring.

Downtown Hot Springs, AR.

At a neat little emporium in HS...Bella's face is not a put on...she was terrified of that wooden Gorilla....took me a few minutes to talk her into posing for this pic.  :-)

This had nothing to do with Hot Springs.  This was the sign for a restaurant in the same parking lot as a gas station we stopped at in OK.  The sign speaks for we didn't eat there, Michelle wouldn't let me.  :-)

 Next up, Albuquerque, NM where we are going to spend some time with my uncle Bill and aunt Rebecca and check out the local sites.


  1. glad you did not get caught in this...

  2. Bella, You are brave!! That big gorilla is scary looking!!!!!!! Love you guys! What a fun adventure!

  3. You're passing up the Book Suppository in Dallas?!

  4. Graceland: You didn't miss anything. The cheap tour is all outside the house and the best bits are the graves of Elvis and his relatives. Apparently, they had a family motto: Taking Care of Business in a Flash. So, the brass plates on top of the crypts have a logo at the bottom which says "TCB" with a lightning bolt. That's all I remember about Graceland.

  5. @ Liam, I think we did get caught in that, just not the most evil was bad.

    @Sarah, love you too!

    @ Mike Glad we didn't waste the time on Graceland then...I love saving money. Must have some Scottish in me somewhere. :)

    @ Shannon, a book "suppository" sounds painful...especially if it's a hardback. ;-)