Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Elvis and Tammy

July 21: Up early Saturday morning to Tunnel Hill, GA, which featured in the Great Locomotive Chase. The hooter of a northbound freight is heard long before the CSX double-header comes into view. We head into Chattanooga to ride the Tennessee Valley Railroad through Missionary Ridge Tunnel, quite the best short rail excursion anywhere. The new VW factory is nearby and the Passat is being shipped by rail.
Heading west from Tennessee and Georgia into Alabama we stop at the Fame recording studios in Muscle Shoals. Unfortunately, tours can only be arranged in advance and there's nobody there to help. After a quick stop at a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Florence, we dip south and travel the Tammy Wynette Highway into Mississippi, to Tupelo, the birth place of Elvis Presley. Evidence of his (former) presence is everywhere from a lake named after him to a cardboard cut-out in the hotel lobby.
Sunday morning and it is very quiet at the Presley birthplace. The family's two-room home, with front-porch-swing, remains original (but is it on the original site?). A $4 million museum/auditorium complex is under construction just behind. It is slated to open in August to commemorate the 35th anniversary of his death. On display is a 1939 Plymouth, similar to that which took the Presley family to Memphis.

We meet a friendly couple from Wales - turns out he is a teacher and she comes from the same part of the country as my late father. They join us in a visit to the Tupelo Car Museum, which boasts a complete set of Elvis movie posters and a car that he gave as a present to the Denver, CO, Chief of Police. This 1949 Allard caught my eye. Recommended.

We head northeast on the Natchez Trace, a tourist highway devoid of trucks, but with precious little of interest along the way. We stop at the gravesite of Meriwether Lewis, with its ongoing mystery as to cause of death.
Pics by RLT.

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