A Travellerspoint blog

Memphis, Tennessee

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We spent a few days in Memphis (or actually near Memphis, at a KOA campsite ten minutes from Memphis, but already in Arkansas. This was the 20st US state we have visited!

Memphis had a lot of programmes to chose from. We decided to visit the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the National Civil Rights Museum at Motel Lorraine, where Martin Luther King was shot. Then we saw the huge pyramid run by Bass Pro Shops, an outdoor and fishing retailer. No visit to Memphis is complete without Graceland and Elvis Presley so we crowned our stopover there.

See all the posts separately about our adventures in Memphis, it was too long of a story to put into a single post. Here are a few pictures from Beale Street and a nice chuldren's playground at Tom Lee Park.


Posted by divatmotoros 00:54 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Graceland - back to the 60ies with Elvis Presley

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Graceland is the home of Elvis Presley. The mansion lies on 120 acres and it is dedicated to the life and career of the American rock&roll legend, Elvis Presley, the King. You can visit mansion, see the gold records, the jeweled jumpsuits he wore on his many live performances.

You can also visit his classic car collection and enjoy interactive exhibits. See lots of memorable, his stage costumes, gold and platina vynils and an audio tour with an iPad in your hands.

We were not really Elvis fans so far but the museum made a big impact on us. The minimum time is 4 hours to see the place but a full day is recommended.


Posted by divatmotoros 00:48 Archived in USA Tagged tennessee graceland memphis elvis_presley Comments (0)

The Pyramid in Memphis: Bass Pro Shop

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Did you know that not only ancient Egyptians built pyramids?

The Memphis Pyramid, formerly known as the Great American Pyramid and the Pyramid Arena, is a building in downtown Memphis, at the bank of the Mississippi River. Built in 1991 as a sports arena, the facility was owned and operated jointly by the city of Memphis and Shelby County.

The Memphis Pyramid has not been regularly used as a sports or entertainment venue since 2007. In 2015, the Pyramid re-opened as a Bass Pro Shops megastore, which included shopping, a hotel, restaurants, a bowling alley, and an archery range, with an outdoor observation deck adjacent to its apex.


Posted by divatmotoros 16:38 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Museum of Civil Rights (Martin Luther King)

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On April 4, 1968, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated here at the Lorraine Motel, just a day after delivering his prophetic "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech at the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ.

Built in 1925, the Lorraine Hotel was a typical Southern hotel accessible only to whites in its early history; it was renamed the Lorraine Motel after the second floor was added. However, by the end of World War II, the Lorraine had become one of the few black establishments, and one of the only hotels providing accomodations to African Americans.

Early guests to the Lorraine included Cab Colloway, Count Basie, and other prominent jazz musicians, in addition to later celebrities such as Roy Campanella, Nat King Cole, and Aretha Franklin. Partly because of its historical importance to the black community of Memphis, Martin Luther King chose to stay at the Lorraine during the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike.

King, Ralph Abernathy, Andrew Young and other black leaders came to support 1,300 striking sanitation workers. Their grievances included unfair working conditions (on rainy days, black workers had to return home without pay while paid white supervisors remained on the job, and black workers were given only one uniform and no place in which to change clothes), and poor pay (the highest-paid black worker could not hope to earn more than $70 a week).

Following a bloody confrontation between marching strikers and police, a court injunction had been issued banning further protests. King hoped their planned march would overturn the court injunction, but such plans were cut short on April 4, 1968 when an assassin shot and killed King on the balcony of King's room.

In 1991, the Lorraine Motel was converted into the National Civil Rights Museum.

(Source: https://www.nps.gov/places/ )


Posted by divatmotoros 16:38 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Stax Museum of American Soul Music

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Stax Records was THE record company of soul music with artists like Otis Redding or Isaac Hayes. The Stax Museum of American Soul Music includes a studio and a great wealth of memorables from the period.


Posted by divatmotoros 16:38 Archived in USA Comments (0)

New Orleans to Memphis: Gnarled Oak Farm

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After New Orleans the next major stop was Memphis and we looked for some good Harvest Host stops enroute. First we picked the Highland Colony Baptist Church in Ridgeland, Mississippi and the welcome was very professional and 21st century! We have received several automated SMS messages and after arrival a welcome video from the pastor (by clicking on the QR code at the designated parking lot!) A warm and modern way to greet tired travellers, well done!

After a good night sleep we continued to the Gnarled Oak Farm, which was about an hour from Memphis. We always enjoy farms and animals, here we met piggies, ducks and some very warlike and protective goose (who outperformed the border collie and the two huge Pyrenean pastor dogs!


Then we filled up our freezer with pork and beef from the kind owners and left for Memphis!

Posted by divatmotoros 05:31 Archived in USA Comments (0)

New Orleans

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We wanted to see New Orleans so we spent the first night at a Harvest Host, a golf course and we moved in the morning to the KOA campsite which allowed us to go for a walk in the afternoon to the city.

First we explored a music shop: The Music Factory which was recommended to us by our favourite piano player from Hungary. He is playin in his band called "Jambalaya" and he knows the authentic places and music from the area. My kids have seen casettes and LPs for the first time in their life.


Then we walked a bit on the river banks of the Mississippi River, enjoyed the afternoon sunshine and some sweets at a fudge shop.


Later we tried a local restaurant with authentic food and it was good (nothing magical, but we enjoyed it).


As it got dark the nightlife also started to become more intense. There were bands playi g every corner anyway and people were already warming up for St. Patrick's day.


Posted by divatmotoros 04:09 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Vermillionville Historic Village and the Tabasco Factory

Jungle Gardens, Avery Island

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Roughly halfway from Galveston to New Orleans we found a great Harvest Host stopover to break the journey into two doable sections. We had a puncture in one of the tires of Fordy, the one which was already fixed once in Mexico much earlier. As the tires were about 85% worn out we decided to replace all four to new ones. We found a shop with stock next to our night stopover so we checked and filled the tire in the morning and hoped for the best!

The first part was already fun right after leaving Galveston: a ferry ride on Route 87.


After the ferry ride we have arrived to Vermillionville without issues and after dropping off the trailer we went for the new tires for Fordy (and to do a laundry while they installed them).

The next morning the boys stayed in the camper to watch Formula-1 and the girls visited the museum we parked at. It was absolutely worth it!


Then another stopover was the world famous Tabasco factory enroute so we visited it and learned a lot about how they make the pepper souce. It was an interesting and interactive experience.


The Jungle Gardens on Avery Island is a rich and beautiful botanic garden next to the factory, thanks to Edward Avery “Ned” McIlhenny. Born on Avery Island in 1872, Ned was an arctic explorer, naturalist and conservationist and the son of Tabasco sauce inventor E. McIlhenny.


Posted by divatmotoros 06:22 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Galveston State Park and Ocean Star museum (drilling rig)

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Our next stop was bringing us back to a beach (at least into a state park on the beach). The park was almost fully booked so the only way to stay there was to book a different site for every night, one at a time. This was the way we did it in Banff, Canada as well when we were there. So each morning we had to move to another site and at the second morning our neighbour laughed after we pulled into the site next to him: he had to move to our former site so if we have asked we could have stayed.


The park had a very long beach and surprisingly here we did not find any garbage or plastic, only some plants and other natural pieces washed ashore. Very interesting that just a few hundred miles south from here in Mexico we have seen a lot more plastic and other waste. I am not sure if this is due to the currents or because of the better education and higher awareness to the environment around the state park.

Galveston is a nice holiday town and we picked a rather unusual attraction to visit: a retired offshore oil drilling rig. The Ocean Star is now a museum and education center about offshore drilling and while it is more technical we enjoyed the visit.


You could also go for a harbor tour to watch dolphins and a nice tall ship, ELISSA, which is an 1877 square-rigged iron barque, shipped from a scrapyard in Piraeus Harbor, Greece to Galveston to begin restoration work in 1978.

Posted by divatmotoros 06:15 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Space Center Houston

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After our stop at Boca Chica Beach in Texas to see the SpaceX launch pad with Starship, which eventually will take mankind to Mars we visited the Houston Space Center too! You better get the tickets online (5 USD off) and some of the activities needs to be booked upfront too!

The best way to see the museum is to start with the outside locations first (for which you have to pick a timeslot as soon as you arrive and enter the building). Unfortunately the "Mission Control Room" experience (where they replay the moon landing) was already sold out so we have a good reason to return some day! The other two activities are also cool. One is the NASA training facility (which is in operation and you can walk behind a glass wall watching as they prepare for future missions). In this building there are many mockups and models of capsules and the ISS (manufactured in different realism levels) for training purposes. The other one is the Rocket Park where a Saturn V rocket can be seen up close. The internal exhibits include a moon themed, a Mars themed and an ISS (International Space Station) themed corner and a lot more is on display. We really enjoyed the exhibits and the day was over before we realised.


Posted by divatmotoros 04:20 Archived in USA Tagged moon space rocket mars spacex spacecenterhouston Comments (0)

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