Into the Heart Of It

— Jen and I are excellent travel companions.

— We were wiped out yesterday. We holed ourselves up in our hotel room in Virginia and drank some wine and watched King Creole on my laptop. Jen had never seen it before, and is new to the whole Elvis thing, so we had a great time watching it. There’s one moment with his date where he stutters – a completely honest weird moment – it couldn’t be planned – and Jen made me rewind it. “I love that!” We finished the movie at 10 p.m. and I swear the two of us were OUT by 10:10.

— Woke up in the freezing darkness, checked out, and then took off.

— We asked for directions and three people ended up helping us. The loveliest most helpful people. A guy pulled up in his truck, seeing the commotion on the sidewalk (basically 3 people talking to each other) and called out the window, “Need any help?” It felt like Ireland.

— Our continental breakfast consisted of raisin bran eaten in a freezing tiled room. It was delicious.

— What would we do without Denny’s?

— Met a guy at a gas station who (turns out) had been stationed near to where I live back home, saw the out of state plates and stopped to talk to me. We ended up talking to him for about 10, 15 minutes. He was so nice. It was his birthday today. I told him we were going to Graceland and he said, “Oh, that’s right -it’s his birthday this week.” (His. No need for a name.) He said, strangely vulnerable, “It makes me feel happy that people come down here to see him and everything. I mean, he’s King around here.” He’s been about 3 times. He drives a dairy truck. We had mentioned our love of the grazing cows in the dawn light and he pointed over at his truck carrying their milk. Very nice man. Hours would pass and then one of us would say, “God, I love Tony. Don’t you?”

— The only time I have ever seen the Mississippi was way far north where it is basically the size of a creek you can jump over. I have driven across country, but never this route. I love seeing the vastness of this country, and I love seeing the different states. Driving over the Mississippi was a total thrill. Jen and I almost careened off the bridge in our excitement. It was sunset, very very beautiful.

— Long drive today. Lots of conversation, lots of music. We played Shuffle on both of our iPods. It was fun to introduce one another to music collections.

— Just took a scalding hot bath which has refreshed me. I have a lot of work to do tonight, actually. Our hotel room is very nice.

— “We have almost driven across this entire country.” “Let’s just keep going.”

— We may never return.

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8 Responses to Into the Heart Of It

  1. seang says:

    Check out the Buccaneer Lounge in Memphis–nicest bartender in the world works there. Also Payne’s if you like ribs.

  2. patricia says:

    Enjoy your trip, Sheila.

  3. Bill says:

    Following your journey with awe, envy and excitement!

    God’s speed Jen and Sheila!

  4. tracey says:

    “We may never return.”

    Well, then. The Pacific ocean awaits you!

  5. Kent says:

    Walk in His footsteps, the Knickerbocker Hotel is still standing…

  6. Kate F says:

    Sounds absolutely wonderful. Wishing you both continued inspiration and adventure on your incredible journey. xo

  7. bethann says:

    I am confused as to why you would drive over the Mississippi River to get to Graceland if you are coming from the East Coast (right?). Seems to me that you would have to drive back over the river again to get to Memphis. Just curious. Graceland is not easily accessible from the east without negotiating the river or was the river just part of the sight-seeing?

  8. sheila says:

    Our hotel was in West Memphis, Arkansas, just over the river.

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