Monday, March 05, 2007

Fort Smith, Arkansas

Today was a day of pilgrimmage. Specifically, we visited Graceland and Sun Studios in Memphis. I've always liked Elvis's music, but never really got the crazy obsessiveness that he seems to foster in some of his fans. But honestly, I was kind of feeling the love today. As tacky and over the top as Graceland is, it did make me appreciate how huge Elvis was and what a larger-than-life presence he was. He was good to his momma and served his country with pride and gave back to his community -- in addition to loving the pills and the gold-plated faucets and the fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. I was a little farklempt standing at his graveside, I won't lie to you.

standing in front of the "Lisa Marie"

The weird thing about Graceland is that it's in a crappy part of town, surrounded by strip malls. I expected it to be tucked away in the lush countryside or something. It was disconcerting.

These are Elvis's neighbors. Can you imagine having Graceland over your back fence? Neither can I.

Sun Studios was wonderful. It's a short tour -- all you see is a museum and then the studio itself, which is full of instruments and still has the original acoustic tiles on the walls and ceiling. There's an "x" on the floor where Sam Phillips had his singers stand, and it's where Elvis stood when recording his early hits. It almost felt like the place was full of ghosts. Thanks go out to Rich and Chris and Mindy, who gave Sun Studios such an enthusiastic recommendation.

standing in Elvis's spot

Jason channels the King

The Million Dollar Quartet: Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis and Johnny Cash

I'm Marion, Sam Phillips's secretary (the one who met and heard Elvis first)

We spent the rest of the day driving through Arkansas. The first part is really flat and boring, but then the mountains start and there were beautiful lakes and hills and it was a lovely drive. We're now at a Days Inn in Fort Smith, Arkansas, a place that I had only previously heard of in a Steve Earle song. The proprietor of the hotel is Indian. I'm dying to ask him how he ended up here. It's just so random and in the middle of nowhere.

Crossing over the Mighty Mississippi into Arkansas

Pimp My Kennel

With Max at a scenic overlook, watching the sunset

Tomorrow will be a big day in the car. We're going to try to blow through Oklahoma and Texas as quickly as possible, so that we can spend some quality time in New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. I need the rest. I'm exhausted. I'm feeling pretty good -- no more morning sickness -- but I'm so tired all the time. So Jason gets to drive, and I get to sleep.

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