From NOLA to Graceland

We left NOLA as one should, with a shit load of beignets:


Ohhhh the glory. I am drooling typing this. Look at them! Lovely!

And I love the sea of powdered sugar left over from eating them. The huge lumps are on my side, of course. I am a messy, messy lady:


Unfortunately, after beignets, it was time to leave NOLA for Memphis. It’s about a six hour drive, and we made really good time. Not least because my hippy spaceship bends the forces of nature to its whim. Or I just have a lead foot.

Rootie had her first American popsicle when we made a pitstop for gas…


And finally, we hit Memphis.


We were both done in, so we just ate at an American favorite that was located nice and close to our hotel…IHOP.

Rootie immediately felt right at home:


She IS fresh! And fruity! How did they KNOW? 

It was a good day for Ruth. She was lauded on the menu (Fresh! Fruity!) and she had taken a fancy to the juxtaposition of my bling Chanel sunnies with my new skull bandana (thanks, Weston!). She finally got the picture she’d been angling for all day, while I was reading the menu…


Now THAT is rootie tootie fresh and froooootie…..

Speaking of exciting things for visiting Brits, I can’t begin to explain to you my girl’s excitement when the waiter put down the pancakes she hadn’t ordered, and I explained that, here at IHOP, EVERYTHING comes with a side of pancakes. Even the pancakes, presumably. 

Pancakes for ALL! But especially with our country omelettes…


The next morning we had bagels at the hotel, then head down Elvis Presley Blvd. to GRACELAND!


There was an uncomfortable moment where we had to shimmy through a barrier to get to the shuttle bus, and my fat ass got wedged. Really, truly, wedged. I blame the beignets. I’ll be going to the gym after I post this.

But Graceland ROCKS. First impressions? It’s a HOUSE! A big, tacky, 70’s house! Obviously, the house itself is way older than the 70’s, and Elvis actually bought it in the 50’s. But most of the redecorating was done in the 70’s. So I really enjoyed what my friend Mary Lois calls the “time warp” factor of the place…like the HUGE 70’s TVs in every room. I loved the expensive silver punch set set on top of the HUGE TV in the dining room, as if both are equally fancy and worthy of display. I loved all the shag carpet. I loved the colors… my parents home in Aurora was the model for our subdivision, and built around ’75 or ’76. Until I was in my young teens, it was decorated in the height of 70’s ersatz Spanish glory, and I still remember the really thick multi colored (red, black, gold and brown) LONG shag carpet we had in our living room, replete with a solid red brick fireplace wall that had two HUGE spanish lanterns hanging off either side of the fireplace. The kitchen? Green indoor-outdoor carpeting…the building material of the future! So basically I grew up in a way less bling version of Graceland. It was like going back to my childhood home….if my parents had taken a lot more drugs and made a lot more money.

Here are some piccys!

DSC00799 DSC00802 DSC00803

While we were going through Graceland, I got an email that Orbit needed something last minute before going into production with Tempest Rising. So after we were done with the tour, we went through Elvis’s airplanes, then retrieved my laptop from the spaceship and went to find somewhere to have a snicky-snack, a drinkiepoo, and let me do a moment’s work. Because a writer’s work is never done!


I love this picture, because it represents what writing TR has been for me…totally fucking random and wicked international. I wrote the first chapter in Edinburgh, the second chapter in Istanbul, chapters 3 & 4 in a cottage in the Lake District, etc., etc, culminating with me picking out the excerpt from Tracking the Tempest to go in the back of TR while sitting in a diner in Graceland. 

It’s how I roll…

Turns out, however, that even Rootie and I can get food-stumped. The first thing that Rootie balked at, and that I was ambivalent about, was this:


Yes, that’s a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. Ruth took one bite and nearly chundered. I took more than a few bites, and I nearly liked it. Until my stomach was like, “WTF ARE YOU DOING TO ME YOU DEVIL BITCH!” Seriously. It was PISSED. My stomach is pretty much made of cast iron. I have a predilection for the street meat, and have eaten shit off carts in pretty much every place I visit. The only thing at which I draw the line is the street mollusk ….even I know a really bad culinary idea when I see it. I’ve eaten off carts throughout most of the known world, and my stomach has been like, “Whatever, lady! Let’s rock it!” Butter soaked peanut butter, however, is apparently almost as bad an idea as eating oysters from the dude transporting them on the brim of his hat…. 

That particular sandwich is the first thing I can say I do NOT recommend you eat from these blog adventures. Okay, no, you totally have to eat it, because who goes to Graceland and doesn’t eat the fried PB and banana sandwich? But go in carefully, and don’t eat the whole thing. For the love of God, don’t…eat…the…whole…thing……

Just ask Ruth! This is her, directly before she nearly projectile vomited….


So that was Graceland. I loved it! I probably won’t go back again, unless I have another visitor who wants to see it, but I thoroughly recommend going. It’s just so kitsch, and so funny, and it’s such an interesting peek into an historical period that is so recent we take it for granted, and yet it is thoroughly, absolutely, over and gone.

Bye bye, Graceland!


Tomorrow, we drive to Aurora! And Rootie has her first adventures in suburban Illinois…..

4 thoughts on “From NOLA to Graceland”

  1. If you ever go back, stay at the Heartbreak Hotel right across the street from Graceland. They have 'theme' rooms that are decorated just like the rooms in Graceland. Can you say jungle room? 🙂

  2. Ter: It's been awesome!!! Thanks! And I can't wait to see the video of the rockbanding!

    Heather: We saw that when we parked and I was like, "OMG why didn't we stay there???" And do they REALLY have a jungle room???

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