Its time to get ready for the flight to Memphis and we are all a bit dusty – Mick takes on the driving duties and I navigate us to the Airport. Its a sign of how much fun Jack and I had the night before that Mick is the one driving!
We have a straight forward flight to Denver, 2 hour stopover, and then on to Memphis. The flight to Memphis is one of the roughest ones I have had with the plane bouncing all over the shop which was due to the leftover weather from Hurricane Irma.
We land in Memphis and it is raining pretty hard. The boys head off to get a hire car which should have been straight forward but ends up taking nearly 2 hours – dramas with finding a car and then accepting payment;
We got the the Motel which is the same one that I stayed at previously. We book in and then just go around the corner to the Rock ‘n’ roll cafe on Elvis Presley Blvd. I strike up a conversation with the owner and he tells me that he lost his souvenir contract with Graceland only a couple of years ago and had to start over. The new development makes the whole Graceland experience unrecognizable to what was there before – there is also a new Motel (80+ Million) where the old Heartbreak Hotel was.
The locals are upset over this years candle light vigil to mark the King’s 40th anniversary of his death. It has been totally free of charge up until this year – some 50,000 fans were not impressed!
We all order the same meal but with different sides. It comes out and its sensational, particularly the smoked beef. After dinner we cruise past Graceland on the way home (I thought Jack was going to jump out and sleep cuddling the gates) and call it a night.
Next morning there was still a fair bit of rain about but we headed off to the local motorcycle shop where I had ordered a few things via email. I go in and meet the guy that had helped me (Marvin) and collect the parts. I soon realise why he was so helpful – he and his new wife had their honeymoon in Australia in 2001 when the US dollar was nearly double to the Aussie. He told me they had the best time and lived like kings!
I get my new lithium battery and enough oil to do a service on Fred. From there we make our way to Sun Studios;
Inside the studio is a great little shop that sells coffee and souvenirs. We all paid for the guided tour ($14) and no booking is necessary as it only goes for about 20 minutes.
Now this next photo is the actual broadcasting booth of one of the most iconic dj’s of the time, Dewey Phillips (no relation to Sam Phillips but they were good friends). Dewey was a complete nut case in that if he didn’t like a record he would smash it over his microphone and have a hissy fit for 15 minutes. He played Elvis’s first record “That’s all right momma” 14 times in 2 hours which set him on his way;
The front office to the studio is still original;
Jack was hopeful of an audition…..
The marks are still on the original floor of the recording studio where each member of Elvis’s band had to stand and there was even an X for Elvis. The really cool thing is that they still do actual recordings;
U2 recorded the majority of their album ‘Rattle and Hum’ in the studio. They donated their drum kit to the studio;
This next photo is one of THE actual microphones that Elvis, Cash and others used. The $20 bill on the guitar was how Johnny Cash got his drum sound effect when he played the Grand Ole Opry as drum kits weren’t allowed;
Big Mick was a bit more reserved;
Everyone that goes to Sun Studios gets a photo standing outside the wooden entrance door where the big guitar is but the real (original) entrance is next door;
All of us really rated Sun Studios and it packed a big punch for a small place. Having an enthusiastic tour guide made the mood great.
After the tour the boys dropped me off so I could break out Fred;
Fred got his new light weight lithium battery and fired up with a healthy roar of approval. It was great to ride him again after have a 2 week break. Back at the Motel I changed the oil and did a bit of routine maintenance.
In the evening I drove the boys down to Beale Street which is one of the original streets of Memphis renowned for its food, drink and blues bands. We had a meal in one of the cafes before doing a walk of the street. Beale street was actually closed off due to a motorbike show which added to the entertainment. We were lucky to walk into a venue that had a Jerry Lee Lewis impersonator playing who wasn’t half bad.
I get the boys back in one piece and there is nervous excitement in the air! Tomorrow GRACELAND