Day 25 – St Louis to Memphis
St Louis was still wet and windy by the time we left, and we ended up driving through thunderstorms for the first 60-90 minutes of the trip – and we were both very glad when we finally moved out from under the thunderstorms!
Once we saw some sun the drive was a lot easier, though very flat, green and boring. Our motel in Memphis was a sh*thole, especially at the price but not much we could do about it, so we dropped off our baggage and started to explore the town. The only redeeming quality our hotel had was that it was withing spitting distance of Beale Street so we walked along the “strip”, which was already fairly busy with people walking around listening to music and sipping from ridiculously large drinks. We carried on towards the river and walked along it a bit – the Mississippi river is massive and even more so when it is in flood!
It was yet another ridiculously hot and humid day, so from the river area we walked down Main Street, past the National Civil Rights Museum, which contains the Lorraine Motel, where Dr Martin Luther King was assassinated. Just a block on from the Lorraine Motel we found <a href="https://earnestineandhazelsjukejoint.com/"Earnestine & Hazel's where we had a couple of beers and their famous Soul Burger – they only make one dish – and it was really enjoyable. What was even more enjoyable was being out of the heat and in an air-conditioned bar!
Walking back via Beale Street we couldn’t help but stop and listen to some music (and have some drinks) despite originally intending to go back to the hotel for a rest before going out later. Saturday night on Beale Street is BUSY! And crazy! We listened to a variety of music, had some of the booze that is sold at takeaway windows by all the bars and generally just had a great time. I wasn’t expecting much from Beale Street but it was very entertaining with lots of options for music – either casual or with dinner in the form of a show. A lot of people compare it to New Orleans, and I can see why – though it is just one small-ish street and therefor much easier to navigate and enjoy. One thing I found very strange though was the immense police presence in what is a very small area. There must have been 20 police cars in the area, with police officers patrolling constantly and even a little capsule that can be raised in the air, presumably to keep a better eye on the crowds (last picture).
Day 26 – Memphis
Today was all about Elvis! We were at the Graceland gates about 10am and it took about 3.5hrs to get through the tours and see the Mohammed Ali exhibition. Graceland was a good experience and not nearly as tacky as I feared it may be, and the audio tour is actually very good.
With no breakfast at our crappy motel we were hungry after Graceland and stopped at Central BBQ for some food. Both my BBQ Ribs and Brian’s Pulled Pork were very good and went down a treat with a nice cold beer. We went in the middle of the afternoon so got a seat and served quite quickly, but generally there is a queue out the door as Central is so popular.
Sunday evening was a repeat of Saturday, except much quieter on Beale Street with fewer police roaming around! We got to hear some more great music and spent a few hours on Beale Street enjoying the music, booze and people watching.