The shortest route from Kansas City to Memphis is via Springfield, MO and rural Arkansas where highway is controlled by the roaming gangs of deer who stand around the road contemplating if they will let you live. I wouldn’t recommend driving there in the dark.

I didn’t want to go to Memphis. Even though I learned English trying to sing along with Elvis (and that’s why people often ask me if I am from Tupelo),  I didn’t feel the need to visit his house and other Memphis attractions didn’t really seem worthy of a fairly boring 8-hour drive. Usually we try to see things along the way, but there wasn’t much to see and the only memorable item was a town called Cabool, mostly because of how out-of-place the name seemed somewhere in rural Missouri.

Memphis turned out to be a fun place for a weekend trip, with enough things to keep you busy for a few days.

We stayed downtown at the famous Peabody Hotel which I booked on Priceline for about half the price. One advantage of staying at Peabody is that it’s visible from most places downtown and you can easily find your way back. Peabody Ducks are overrated for anyone over the age of seven but never fail to pack the hotel lobby twice a day.

Memphis reminded me of downtown Kansas City before it started coming back to life, with many empty buildings and very few people on the street.

Anywhere in Memphis Elvis is only 8 minutes away.

I am always surprised when famous landmarks like Sun Studio are not something appropriately grandiose.

Sun Studio is still in business of recording, but mostly a tourist destination.

Memphis has a trolley system, represented in some photos by ever-annoying wires, but we walked everywhere when we realized that everything we wanted to see (except Graceland) is within a mile radius from the hotel. Taking a trolley costs only a dollar, but we were enjoying the weather and preferred to take pictures of the cars from the outside.

Another tourist destination that is much smaller than its reputation is the Beale Street. We went there during the day, and then at night to eat and listen to some blues.

We also visited and toured the Gibson Guitar Factory, where photos are strictly prohibited.

We didn’t go into the Civil Rights Museum, but visited the site where Martin Luther King,Jr. was shot.

Not everyone agrees that spending the money on a museum is what MLK would’ve wanted.

Jacqueline Smith has been protesting on site for almost 27 years and spends her time talking to visitors, explaining why she thinks money would’ve been better spent helping the needy.

I am sure there is a place where one could photograph Memphis skyline but we weren’t able to find it, even looking from the roof of our hotel.

We went to see Graceland the next day.

To be continued…