Hearing the lovely voice say, “Welcome to Tennessee,” made me feel great, even though I was filled with conflicting feelings. I believe this is the first time I’ve actually set foot in the state. While I was once in West Memphis, that’s actually in Arkansas. It was on a bus trip when I was much younger, so if I did enter the state, I was in a moving vehicle, which doesn’t really count. And that’s a big “if.”
The courthouse was not my first stop, but I got there, and would you look at it! What a building! Have you ever seen anything more lovely in your life?
The statuary alone put me into spasms of joy! Unfortunately, I didn’t get the other two in the set because my time was very limited. As you might be able to tell from the first photo, the sun was getting low, so I had to move on much faster than I had expected. As I mentioned before, this was not my first stop. My first stop in Memphis was probably pretty obvious and on the nose. It was, of course …
… Graceland. Note, however, that the photo is not mine. Why not? Because I didn’t get this close. You see, there was a Virtual cache there that I thought would be the perfect first cache in Tennessee. So I drove to the gates and learned that they wanted forty-five dollars to enter. Forty-five dollars? I apologize for my language here, but BLANK that. I would have liked to have found an Elvis-based cache, but not forty-five dollars’ worth of liking!
Here’s the thing: I’m not exactly in the Public Enemy camp on Elvis, but I am most certainly not his biggest fan. While he has a few decent things to his name, I don’t really care one way or another about his music. It was done so much better by Big Mama Thornton, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and any number of black performers I have never even heard of. The best thing to his credit, as far as I’m concerned, is that early on, he willingly admitted that his music started with a lot of those performers and never shied away from that fact. Very much to his credit, but again, not forty-five dollars’ worth of credit. I probably would have done it if it had been twenty dollars, because I’ve blown that much on dumber stuff than this. But there was no way I was going to spend that kind of money. At least, not on this trip. Maybe one day, if my rabid Patreon fans insist, I might stop in on the way to somewhere else (fun fact: I have no Patreon and only mildly amused fans at best), but you’re going to have to wait a while before I write on that wall.
I still needed to grab a cache, so I looked at the map and noticed that there was a different Virtual that was the highest-favorited cache in the city. And not a new Virtual like Graceland, but an old Virtual! I had to cross town in the hopes of hitting it before it got dark, and I made it.
In the middle of a cemetery (because there’s always a cemetery) stood The Grotto. I didn’t even photograph the pool and two or three other parts of the entire thing, but the big feature is the Crystal Grotto Shrine.
I’m not a religious man, but wow. I can’t even fathom how this was made (and this quartz “cave” was man made). Being in a cemetery means it’s filled with religious art and displays. Apparently, the entire thing was dug out during the Great Depression, and then the artist managed to cover the entire interior with quartz. Nobody knows how he did it, though, because he was so paranoid about his methods being stolen that he destroyed the materials he used to construct it. I know this much: I’m definitely coming back through here again. I want to get more photos of the exterior when I have more light.
I missed the grave of Isaac Hayes across the road. But time was not on my side. The sun was going down, and I had to hurry and get some sleep. Beale Street and Sun Records would just have to wait for another day. The next day was going to be busy as all get-out. In fact, I was up well before dawn.
I took the opportunity to snag a Traditional while I was here in Memphis, then I slipped back down into DeSoto County to grab an easy one before making my way through western Memphis (holy crap, that pyramid!) to…