Monday, May 21, 2007

Baby's first trip he will never remember...

This past weekend Mike and I set out on the open road and drove the mindlessly boring interstate 55 to Memphis, Tennessee. It was our first real vacation together in the six years we've been a couple. We picked Memphis because it has something for us both, for him the World Championship Memphis in May BBQ contest and for me, well eating the BBQ of course and because it's known as the birthplace of Rock N Roll.

We couldn't have asked for more perfect weather for our drive and our trip. It was beautiful - sunny and only about 75 degrees the whole time. When we first got to town it was about 7 at night, exhausted after driving all day we stopped in at our hotel, a nice comfy Baymont Inn. Nothing extravagant but no roach motel either. We then decided on dinner at the World Famous Rondezvous restaurant. I think Mike died and went to rib heaven that night. I've never heard so many moans of satisfaction come from him before, LOL. After he enjoyed a pitcher of beer, and me just an ice tea or two, we wandered around downtown a bit, getting our bearings. Stopped in to a bar called "The Flying Saucer" checked out a rockin cover band and had I threw down a non alcoholic beer while he had a few of the real thing (can you tell I'm getting jealous at this point?) we went back to the hotel and crashed.

The next day we went to the BBQ championship. We had watched the coverage of this on the Food Network (Mike's favorite channel) but there was nothing like seeing it in person. My only complaint was not getting to sample the goods. It was a pretty day on the riverfront but the competition was over one mile long, so after a few rounds I was pretty tired and baby was starting his not so fun let's make mommy freak out and start giving her contractions game. We got a lot of sun and excercise and did get to go "behind the scenes" and meet one of last years championships so Mike was able to get some bbq-ing secrets from the pros. (Which he used back home to make some mighty fine pulled pork!)

Saturday was rock and roll day as we hit Sun Studios early that morning for a walk into the past, standing in the very stuido where Elvis Presley made his first recording. He, of course, was followed by many big names such as Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. It was a really interesting muesum and tour both, as well as a fully functioning studio today where a lot of top acts and unknowns both record. Next we went to Beale Street for lunch and shopping. We ate the "Best Meal on Beale" at the Blues City Cafe, where the filmed a scene in the movie "The Firm" and was an authentic 50's southern diner. Ribs of course! We then toured the Smithsonean's "Rock and Soul Mueseum" and took the behind the scenes tour of the Gibson Guitar Factory. We popped in and out of some interesting shops like "Tater Red's Voodoo Shop." We met some people from Fulton, Missouri of all places and hung with them for a while, I enjoyed a really large virgin daquiri and got really strange looks from people as I'm as big as a house with baby and they don't know it's a virgin drink. We checked out Coyote Ugly and the Hard Rock Cafe like good little tourists do. We stopped in at B.B.Kings but it was so crowded we just used the bathroom then left. We saw the best band playing outside on the street beside a bar, playing blues while fans danced in the street, we never got their name. We then had dinner at Pearl's Oyster House, which reminded me a lot of my old favorite the Cracked Crab but just a little fancier. They had some very delicious crab cakes that I wolfed down, I was starving after all that walking. We left Beale Street around midnight and got lost heading back to our hotel. When my head finally hit the pillow at 2 am, I was exhausted.

We got up Sunday and after a quick waffle-house breakfast we went to Graceland, the home of the King of Rock & Roll, (DUh, Elvis...) It was $50 for both of us to tour a house that probably wasn't much bigger than my mother in law's. I couldn't get over how much smaller it was than I expected. I expected a mansion, but really it's just a larger size home. It was worth the money though, the tour was very good, but nothign like I expected. The Jungle Room sounded like this crazy room when really all it was was a standard living room with shaggy green carpet and one of those little pond/waterfall plastic things on one wall. Not the wild and crazy den I had imagined over the years. Even the pool was small to me. We did visit the grave of Elvis outside who is buried next to his mom, dad and baby twin brother who died at birth, another thing I never knew about Elvis. After Graceland we dined at the famous Neely's Interstate BBQ and for the first time I tried BBQ spaghetti, it was actually really good.

With full bellies and tired bodies we started our six hour drive home, which Mike slept most of the way through. It was definitely a fun vacation and the break I needed so desperately. I'm glad we went when we did, although I wish I could have enjoyed Beale Street as a non-pregnant person. I think we will definitely go back though, maybe for Mardi-Gras next year!

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