Dynargh dhe'n Blogofrob

Wednesday 4th May 2011

We weren't quite done with Tennessee. After taking reluctant leave of the farm, we headed west, to Memphis.  There, in the Cooper Young area of town we found a very cheap, but good, hostel. It's run by a church and its affordability is offset only slightly by the requirement to undertake a chore before you check out. Mine was to refill a couple of ice trays in the communal fridge. George had to polish the hostel's doorknobs. I desperately wanted to take a photo of this, but on completing my chore I found her, jacket and rucksack on, claiming she had already done it. I have my doubts, but ultimately it was God she was hoodwinking, not me. 

Although I've been before, I was stupidly excited about visiting Graceland, and it didn't disappoint. We got there quite early, missing the masses and consequently could admire the King's interior decor at some leisure. The gift shops outside the mansion are full of all sorts of Elvisabilia, even "All Shook Up" hot sauce. I did notice one gap in the market and shall be pitching my idea for Elvis pork scractchings, Suspicious Rinds, to his estate shortly. I think George was converted to the way of Elvis - to be honest, given the hagiography on display at Graceland, it's hard not to be. 

We drove downtown to the much less grand, but no less thrilling, Sun Studio, which, apart from the tourists, gift shop and enthusiastic tour guide ("I go by the name Eldorado") remains unchanged from when Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins et al messed around there. 

Having shot our musical bolt, we drove north, to Illinois. As we'd just been in Shelbyville, it seemed fitting to stop in Springfield. Here we stayed in a motel, ate corn dogs on a stick (Cozy Dogs) in a classic Route 66 diner and wandered around Abraham Lincoln's grand tomb. It also started raining. 

It continued raining into our first day in Chicago which probably exacerbated the travel fatigue we experienced. We couldn't be bothered to try too hard and were very happy browsing the Institute of Art, mooching around Lincoln Park zoo (a busman's holiday for George) and admiring the spectacular architecture. Walking through the business district is like hiking along the bottom of a canyon, with mammoth walls stretching up to the clouds either side. To take in a bird's eye view of the city we ascended to the skydeck on the 103rd floor of the Willis (aka Sears) tower. In that lift I realised what punishment is waiting for me in hell: standing in a small metal box with 20 people all energetically chewing gum, smacking and slurping and sucking. If the lift had broken down I may have flipped. 

It seems to have become traditional for us to drink heavily on our last night in a big city.  And so, we went to Kingston Mines, a blues club in Lincoln Park I'd visited 13 years ago.  It remains unchanged. We sat at the bar drinking wine watching a band called Vance Kelly and the Back Street Candy Lickers. A bottle of wine later and we had somehow joined in with a 30th birthday party making friends in the same way we've done throughout our travels i.e. for life but who we'll never see again.  I remember nothing after this: not the dancing that my camera says we did, nor the 2 quarter-pounders that George says she forced me to eat, kindly confirmed the next morning by my acid reflux. Once again we drove out of a city vowing never to drink again. 

158 - posted at 21:34:02


And glad we saw out NYC in Chicago style as well, but at least no quarter pounders this time! What an amazing amazing trip xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

1: George - 21:21:41 on Monday 9th May 2011 (permalink)

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