Low point of the day: Visiting Graceland in Memphis would cost nearly $100 after we pay for admission and parking. A tour of Elvis's home would break the budget. We do a drive-by so we can at least see the estate and my daughter throws a screaming fit: "I want to go inside Elvis's house!" My son chimes in when he notices the deceased rock star's fleet of airplanes peeking above the walls surrounding the compound.
High point of the day: For half the price of one ticket to Graceland, our family of four gets into the Mud Island River Park in Memphis. The kids cool off by wading through the Mississippi Riverwalk--the winding 1,000-mile journey of the lower river reproduced in a one-half mile concrete sculpture, complete with flowing water.
Quote of the day: "I love this sandwich so much," says my 6-year-old daughter, after biting into a salami and cheese sub. "This is the best thing I have ever eaten. I could eat this every day." She's not talking about a sandwich from a down-home local joint; she's raving about Subway. We're in a rush to get to Indianola, Miss., by 3 p.m. to meet a friend of a friend who works at the new B.B. King Museum, so we break our "no fast-food restaurants" rule. My husband who despises Subway is revolted by his sandwich and my daughter's words, but I'll have to admit that my "Chicken Tuscan," which I stuff with potato chips, tastes pretty good.
Photo of the day: The B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center opened September 2009 in Indianola to honor a local boy who has become an internationally recognized blues star. The $15 million dollar museum is housed in a renovated cotton gin, where B.B. worked as a teen, as well as a sleek modern addition. Inside, exhibits use the history of B.B.'s life to tell the story of blues, an indigenous American music that sprang up from the cotton fields, street corners and juke joints of the Mississippi Delta. Highlights include a guitar studio where you can make your own music and B.B.'s actual recording studio, exactly the way he left it before curators arrived at his house to pack it up and put it on display at the museum.
Sound bite of the day: Ann Jennings Shackelford is a friend of a friend and she and her husband have a cotton farm near the Mississippi River in Arkansas. Every day, Shackelford travels across the river to Indianola to the B.B. King Museum where she's the communications director. She gives us the lowdown on the museum:
Most emotional part of the day: At the museum, we watch a video about B.B. performing his first San Francisco concert at the Filmore in 1967. The audience is filled with long-haired hippies and B.B. has never played for a white crowd before. "I thought my manager made a mistake but then they all stood up and applauded. I started crying," says B.B. as he recounts the memory in the video."
Low low point of the day: After a tasty meal of fried catfish at Pea-Soup's Lott-A-Freeze in Indianola, we hop on the freeway full and happy and head for Jackson--until a highway patrolman stops us. This time my husband isn't speeding. He gets caught driving in the left lane--rather than the right--that is for passing. We get off again with a warning.
Total miles: 2199
Hours in the car: 5
Total hours in the car: 45
- Hotel: $72.50 (Best Western Executive Inn, Memphis; this hotel is run by a friendly, hospitable family; hot breakfast with waffles)
- Admission: $18.90 (Mud Island River Park; we save $3 on admission because we're AAA members!)
- Lunch: $16.48 (Subway)
- Admission: $25 (B.B. King Museum)
- Gas: $26.03
- Dinner: $26.31 (Pea-Soup's Lott-A-Freeze)
Total for the day: $185.22
Total for the trip: $1754.31