Saturday, April 30, 2016

Day 2: Graceland and Road to Al & Eileen's House (Knoxville)

I think I may end up liking this iPad and this BlogPad app that let's me blog without my laptop. Sitting at the bar in Al & Eileen's house typing away on my new keypad. Day 2 began with Tony and I deciding which method to deal with getting me into Graceland on crutches. After survellience, while Graceland was right next door to the Day's Inn, it was downhill to Graceland and uphill back. A long way on crutches (at least for me only being a newbie). We decided to pay the $15 to park and hope that there was a drop off place for me to go. The security guard was so nice and took care of us and Tony dropped me off at the entrance (received our first warning: it's a walking tour).
My only view of one of Elvis' plane
Head to the ticket office and VIP has its own will call line. It opens and Renee (she's a leftie) takes care of us (receive my second warning: it's a walking tour). And then Renee looked at Tony and said that we need to ask for a wheelchair so "you don't get her tired out") and even refunds me $5 for the airplane tour since I will not be making it up into the airplane. They take our picture (don't know if this was sent to my email, or if I need to go find it somewhere) on a green screen. Supposedly it'll have us standing at the gate to Graceland. And then give us our iPad (tour narrated by John Stamos). 
The ultimate tourist (only missing the pulled up black socks and hush puppies)
  And onto the VIP shuttle to Graceland across the street. There is a wheelchair waiting for me. 
John Stamos narrated tour (Tony gave to me to wear in the wheelchair)
    And off we go.  Graceland is SMALL. And space is tight. And tourists are so busy looking at their iPads that they don't pay any attention to anyone.
Living room (awesome peacock stained glass)
And they let lots of people in at the same time. And in a wheelchair, not quite a great experience for either of us. Elvis has TVs in every room in his house. Not unlike our set up.  The backyard is pretty plain. But horses right next to it (one is an ancestor of one of Elvis' horses -- I think Brandi?). I wish I had more to blog about on Graceland. The John Stamos narrated tour helped me since I couldn't go down into the basement and with the crowds, we didn't spend as much time as we would have liked. The people who work at Graceland are great. They made Tony ditch me a couple of times so he could see stuff I couldn't (basement). 
Back of the house at Graceland. To the left is the racquet ball building.
Basement with purple sofa (no Tony, it won't fit in the man cave)
  Found out if we go back again that you need to go after 2 pm when the crowds are lighter. With the VIP pass, you can go as many times in a day as you want.  On the way back on the shuttle, kaboom. There ended up our time at Graceland and Tony goes to get the truck while I get moving towards the entrance. Head to the Harley Davidson Graceland store for shirts (and a folding chair that we're going to bungee cord with my crutches so that I have a place to sit on stops). I now have a favorite Harley shirt with Elvis on the front. And it's purple (to go with my rain gear). I think it may have some sparkly silver on it too. And our time is over at Graceland (in an hour) is over. Off to Knoxville to Al & Eileen's. Try to stop in Nashville to eat at another Diners Drive Ins and Dives place (think it was called Arnold's), but Nashville is under construction and parking with the truck and the trailer would be non existent and we bailed. Late lunch at Whitt's BBQ. Pulled pork sandwich (yummy).
Vinegar and Rib Sauce's at Whitt's BBQ
  Back on the road. 40 is hilly, curvy, but nice and smooth. Lots of semis. One stop to get gas before Al's. And the power goes out. A few gallons. Good because our first traffic pileup. Wayz (sp?) app says it'll be awhile. Clears, but we may need an alternate route back with the pile up on the other side looking 10 miles.  And then we get to Al's (note: Google maps says to take a right to our destination. We've arrived. At the wrong house. But, I hear a whistle. It's Al. We're hear. Nice to stay out of the truck for a couple of days. Nice to see Al & Eileen. We have the basement and hopefully Tony won't take pictures of me scooting up and down the stairs on my butt. Stairs and crutches. Not so much. Sitting at their bar is like old times at the Lake, or in McKinney or in Denison. Al standing behind the bar. Us sitting at the bar. 
Al & Eileen's Bar
  Note: I will try and add better commentary on this trip. Tony thinks this is too factual and not colorful. This post, not so much. I'll try. 

Day 1: Dallas to Memphis (Graceland)

Pulling the Harley's
Day's Inn Graceland
Pictures will have to come later (change that: I am playing with Blogpad now, an app that gives me access to my iPad pics-- aren't you proud of me, Tony?). This is also my first time blogging on my iPad (with new keyboard). I'll get with the program. Tony and Mike loaded up the bikes yesterday afternoon and Tony put most of the stuff in the truck. He doesn't get any help from me on crutches. Got up and on the road by 7:30 am. Pretty good. Stopped in Rockwall to make sure the bikes were tied down (they were), grab breakfast and YouTube'd figuring out how to put Mike's bike into transit mode (thank you to the Harley dealer in Indianapolis -- I believe Southside Harley, for the video). Back on the road making pretty good time. Just before the Tennessee line (and the Mississippi River) the road got pretty bumpy and Tony pulled over on the side of the road. That worried. Cop shows up. Nice cop. Only about 6 miles from Graceland. Took a little detour (note, stay on I-55, which was a sudden exit. But, not hard to navigate around and to Graceland). Note: Graceland Harley is on Elvis Presley Boulevard and we figure a must stop on our way out. Drove by Graceland and, just as described on TripAdvisor, Day's Inn right next door. Day's Inn is "cute" and full of Elvis memorabilia. But if you're trailering Harley's parking is TIGHT. I had called ahead the day before to see about getting a first floor room since I'm on crutches. Score. They switched to a handicapped room. First time it's been easy to pee since I was injured (yes, TMI). And a shower (note: I cannot shower unsupervised and needed Tony to get me in and out of the tub. New challenge.) We're right next to the guitar-shaped pool. Not as big as it looked in pictures, but nice. Dinner we decided was going to be Marlowe's Ribs & Restaurant (featured on Diners Drive Ins and Dives AND they advertise picking you up in a pink limo at the hotel. Nice to be able to ditch the car and have service. They picked us up at 7 and it was only about a mile to the restaurant. They were great about giving us a booth that didn't have steps. Appetizers: combo platter with fried green tomatoes, fried pickles, corn fritters, chicken tenders -- I liked the tomatoes and Tony corn fritters. Dinner: split a three meat platter with pulled pork, ribs and smoked chicken with Mac and cheese, fried okra and baked beans. Pulled pork and ribs were winners. Smoked chicken was dry. Mac and cheese. Yes. Full tummies and then back to the Day's Inn to rest up for Graceland. 
Pick up in pink limo
Elvis Karate Outfit at Marlowe's

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Well, this road trip will definitely be blog worthy. And my last ride in a while. At least riding doesn’t involve walking (or using this blasted crutches).

Doctor just called and I have a complex displaced tear in my knee. And some flipped something (bucket). Scheduling surgery because wearing the gristle off the bone doesn’t seem too good. They say only 4-6 week’s recovery, so Michigan golf trip may still be a go. Scheduling the surgery for the week of May 9.

Tony is having to do all of the work prepping for the trip (at least I am an advanced packer and packed before the knee went caput on Sunday – see Tom, Paul, Pete – planning is a good thing). He’s been awesome (of course) driving me around, picking me up off the floor (no, not the whiskey), cooking for me and taking care of me. I’m so glad I have Tony.

We just did a test run and I can successfully (not gracefully) get on the Harley. And successfully (not gracefully) get in the F-150 (with the aid of a bucket of nails – improvisation). Mike is coming with his bike this afternoon to load them up. Tony does have to go to the doctor to pick up the “book” on my surgery. Not sure it sounds like a good read. Maybe Tony will read it for me.

Tony even made me a little crutch purse to hold stuff so I don’t need a purse. And I found my 2008 NIRI SWRC backpack so I also have a backpack on the road trip for stuff.

Sadly, I’m putting up my sticks and cleaning out my golf vehicle for a few weeks. Maybe I’ll find time to clean my clubs while they take a little break.

For all who don’t think that golf isn’t a sport, well, this injury proves that it is. Steph, I didn’t do this to sympathize with you even though we both went to Davidson College (and you’re a big golf nut like me). And it did happen five minutes after your injury on Sunday. Golden State Warriors, you’d better win while we’re sitting the bench.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Memphis, Knoxville, Asheville

We’re locked and loaded for a road trip. Trailering the Harley (along with Mike’s). I know that’s not hard core, but it gives us more room for stuff. And less time on interstates so more time for rides. This trip:

Dallas to Memphis. Staying at the Day’s Inn at Graceland (yes, I am staying at a Day’s Inn – it has a pool shaped like a guitar and is close to Graceland). Dinner at Marlowe’s Ribs ( they pick you up at the Day’s Inn in a pink limo). Friday is Graceland ( ), which I hear is a bucket list visit. Signed us up for the $80 VIP tickets – gets you to the head of the line. Even though I’m not so sure I want to hear the iPad tour as narrated by John Stamos. They say to give yourself 3-3.5 hours for this. Not sure I have that much Elvis touring in me, but we’ll see.

 Then off to Knoxville to Al and Eileen’s. It’s Al’s birthday, the purpose for the trip. And the timing.
Then off to Asheville. Tail of the Dragon ( ) on the way there. Staying in Willow Winds Cabins (Mike’s place) .

Should be an adventure. BUT, I added to the adventure on Sunday. May have torn my meniscus (right knee). No weight on it. The pain is worse than when I pulled both of my quads in high school playing soccer. Way worse than the stress fractures in my feet playing soccer at Davidson.

Nice that when I posted the need for crutches to make it to the doctor on our North Oak Cliff Facebook page, Joe Horner walked them over. Not great since I had to improvise to use them because I am not tall enough. Good that I got into a doctor and Nurse Tony/Chauffer Tony took me there. Bad that Doctor Ellis thinks I have a torn meniscus. MRI scheduled for today. News on our trip to Memphis on Thursday.

Graceland on crutches? I’m not so sure about this. I am not a really competent crutches person. Motorcycle trip on crutches. We’ll see. At least the doctor lent me some shorter crutches and Tony thinks they will bungie on to the bike. On and off the bike? At least it’s my right knee and I may be able to figure this out.

TripAdvisor will be getting plenty of reviews from me based on how fun this trip is on crutches. It won’t necessarily be anything against the stop we make, but to ward anyone off of what we are planning. We like adventures and all, but this one may be epic-ly – well, epic.