Road Trip Day 4 - Roll With the Punches

"You can tell I'm getting worn out. I can't figure out directions."

We're nearing the end of the trip. There's still a 9 hour drive home tomorrow. And I think it'll be fine. It will be fine. But the biggest difference between this trip and the last road trip is the one driver/two driver deal. One driver = hard times for the driver. Two drivers = better times. Not that it's bad. Really. There hasn't been anything bad with this trip. But being the only driver ratchets the stress level up slightly. Though I still believe there's nothing a smart phone and Nigel the GPS can't find. It's completely changed the way we travel.

Day 4 - Graceland. It's just a house.


The Holiday Inn has no breakfast. That's the downside. The upside is that the Starbucks is very close. So we had a Starbucks breakfast. And really, this wasn't bad because we ate our BBQ really late last night. I really wasn't hungry in the morning. And due to the Cupcake Extravaganza planned today (two stops), we knew Cake Pops weren't in the cards. But I did find the Memphis mug for Michelle. So, yay!!

We knew today was going to be all about Graceland. And we made it to the house early. We splurged (an extra $4) and bought the Platinum Tour. So we were able to tour a few extra things. At this point, why not?? The assumption is that we're not ever going to be back, so we have to see it all.

We all had headphones and an attached "necklace" as a part of the audio tour (attractive) and we boarded a shuttle bus to drive us across the street to the house (yes...across the street). Then we walked into the house and listened to the tour. It's a house. I knew this. But I didn't really know this until I saw the house. I mean, Jefferson Street in Naperville has bigger and more extravagant houses than Graceland. The upper level is off limits to guests (boo) and the main level is pretty tastefully decorated. The basement, though...I have to believe that this was gaudy by 1970's standards.

After the house, we saw a few more exhibits, did some shopping and had some lunch. Elias did partake in a peanut butter and banana sandwich. It's basically a PB grilled sandwich with sliced bananas inside. Super easy to make. But Fat Elvis was fat for a reason. I can't imagine eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches would be a healthy decision. Then again, with the food I've been eating this weekend, I can't judge.

Our next stop was going to be the National Civil Rights Museum. I say "was going to be" because in all of my research, there was one thing I didn't notice. The giant "Closed on Tuesday" notice on the website. Dammit. Luckily, I did notice this before we started on our way. Plan B time!!

I told Elias that I was really happy he was flexible on what we're doing along our trip (the sign of a good traveler), because he totally rolled with the punches (though he did say, "I'm surprised you didn't catch this earlier."). We decided to go to The Peabody hotel. We wanted to see the ducks in the fountain. As we walked in the hotel lobby, the first thing we noticed was the smell of fresh flowers. Overwhelming, but in a good way. After missing out on the smell/feel of nature for so long (seriously, winter has lasted FOREVER!!), the smell of fresh flowers will never be bad. The second thing we noticed was the contingent of Utah Jazz players from the game the night before. I was kind of hoping to see the Russian guy with the bad hair, but that wasn't going to happen. The guys though were HUGE. HUGE!!

We saw the ducks in the fountain first thing, but we needed to make a quick pit stop. Elias likes to say "we both had to pee in the Peabody." That we did. And we both had the same idea in the bathroom as we walked out with a paper towel with the logo (complete with ducks!!). I had also swiped two pens from the old timey phone booths. I'm pretty sure we're never allowed back in the Peabody. Stealing towels and pens is probably not what is done at the Peabody...

After our theft, we saw the ducks, took some pictures and did some shopping at the stores. There wasn't a ton of shopping. Elias has been desperate to find something to buy and we scoured every store. His favorite store had to be the "antique" one. This store was neither an "antique" store or a store where kids should ever go. But we were greeted immediately by a guy who was doing inventory and an older woman who didn't realize the hippy movement had ever ended. We walked through very quickly and didn't look back. I told Elias that we would never go in a store like that ever again.

The Peabody didn't take a ton of time, so we were off to find one of the two cupcake stops. I had plotted out a cupcake place in both Nashville and Memphis. We didn't get a chance to go to the Nashville place, but we were going to get a chance in Memphis!! We ended up at Muddy's Bake Shop. Good stuff. Really good stuff. First off, the selections were great. We got a Grasshopper (chocolate cake/mint frosting) and Strawberry Lemonade (strawberry cake/lemon frosting...I think. I kind of blissed out when I saw the name of the cupcake, so I didn't pay complete attention). Secondly, the price was killer. Two cupcakes for $3.50-ish. TWO!! I can't always get one for that price in Chicago!! Thirdly...those cupcakes kicked ass!! The cake was great (taste and consistency). The frosting was really good. Nice and thick, but not coating your mouth. I was really impressed. I would definitely go back. Plus, after my Crumbs obsession (which is very much still in play), I do feel good about supporting a local bake shop. And the sign as we left said, "Muddy's Bake Shop loves you!!" Thanks, Muddy's!! The feeling is mutual.

We slicked up the cupcakes and decided to find the Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn Outlet. Outlet, you say?? Oh yeah!! Sherry told us about them yesterday. Happily, the outlet stores were really close to the bake shop. And I was very excited to see what was in store for us at the outlets. Here's the deal...I don't want to have to guess about how much something costs. And that's what I had to do at this place. Especially at Pottery Barn. I didn't have any idea what the costs would actually be. And at that point of the day, I didn't really care. Sorry, Williams Sonoma/Pottery Barn. I had high hopes for you, but I ended up disappointed.

Elias had a fashion emergency today with his watch. It broke. So we spent a chunk of time trying to find a new watch band. First stop was Target, where not only did we speak with a woman name "Puddle" (which we can only hope was a nickname), but we heard the phrase "I'm a fen ta call now." I had to go back into the memory banks of my time living in Raleigh for that one. I would really love to know the etymology on that one, cause we don't have words that run together like that in Chicago. We have other words, I'm sure, but "fen ta" is not one we're familiar with. Target ended up being a bust. So I risked scabies and went to WalMart where the watch band was found. After WalMart, we stopped at the Wolf Chase Mall. It's a lot like Fox Valley. Nothing much to report.

Once the mall had lost it's luster, we stopped at the second cupcake place. Cupcake Cuties has been open for six weeks now and Sherry got us a Living Social coupon for our visit. So we got 12 cupcakes which will last us for a while (we did try two back at the hotel. They were ok. Nothing close to Muddy's. Definitely not close to Crumbs). The cool part was that you could pick and choose frosting and different cake flavors and toppings (for an extra cost). The bad part is that you don't really know what you're getting (and have to keep asking what flavor they have). And it takes a while to get everything frosted. There are some kinks still to be worked out, I'd guess. It's a cute shop. But if I had to pay for the cupcakes, I'd probably be disappointed.

Our last stop on the trip was dinner. TripAdvisor gave Gus's Fried Chicken the #1 rated food of all of Memphis. Now this was for the one downtown and we saw that one yesterday. We were more than happy to stick to the one across the street from our hotel. We had some problems finding it (blame my exhaustion of driving), but once we did we were glad we did. Best fried chicken I've had...ever?? Just really good stuff. The service...meh. But the food. Excellent.

Tonight, we might go visit the indoor pool. Put our feet in the water for a bit. But the biggest plan is to figure out where we're going in the morning and when we're leaving. And where the heck to eat along the road. Cause Road Trip Rule #2 is No Fast Food.

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