Our original plan was to travel to Jackson, Mississippi on January 3. Since we were going to be there by noon, we decided to push on to Tupelo (The Birthplace of The King of Rock and Roll). Just south of Jackson, we saw damage from the tornado that had been through on New Year's Eve. Remember the storms we had in New Orleans New Year's Day? And the swirling clouds? Apparently there had been a tornado warning in eastern New Orleans too.
We jumped on the Natchez Trace just north of Jackson. This is another must-see place for everyone who likes to drive. It is the most relaxing, beautiful trip. Only two lanes with no shoulders but very smooth. No 18-wheelers. No roadkill. The Trace runs from Natchez in the south to Nashville in the north, approximately 440 miles. Larry said that this was the most enjoyable road that he has ever driven on. The maximum speed limit is 50mph and the scenery is unbelievable.
We decided to stay in Tupelo one night. The visitor book we were given was so good we will come back to here in a few days to explore. After all, it's Elvis's birthday on January 8.
The next day, Tuesday, we drove to Red Bay, Alabama. This is where the Tiffin Motorhome factory is. This is the make of the new motorhome we have ordered. We met Jerry, the man Larry has been conversing with by e-mail. He was very accommodating and was able to answer most of Larry's questions. We went back Wednesday and did the factory tour. We have also confirmed our interior and exterior colours because we were able to see them all. We stayed the two nights in the Tiffin Campground which is provided for those awaiting service. It was free for us because we are getting a new coach! The water was turned off so we had to use our own. Tuesday afternoon Larry was talking to a man who was having trouble with his satellite. He was able to help him and spent quite a bit of time on it. Jeff and Marianne took us out for dinner to re-pay. It was interesting to hear their take on the situation in New Orleans. They were quite scornful - the people in New Orleans are waiting for the government to bail them out and the people of Mississippi just got down to it and rebuilt. Jeff and Marianne were themselves survivors of Hurricane Ivan in Florida - they survived but their house did not. They were able to sell it and they now live in Tennessee.
Thursday we picked another good day to drive. We were going to go to Nashville for a couple of days but the weather was going to be very cold with some snow. So we went back to Tupelo. Nice calm drive on the Natchez Trace and the sun was out again.
Friday the 7th we went into Tupelo and checked out Elvis's birthplace. It was very interesting. He was born on January 8, 1935 in a two room house which is still on its orginal site. His father, Vernon and two friends built the house in 1933 with $180 borrowed from the man that Vernon Presley worked for. The house was re-possessed when Vernon could not pay the $180 back. When we went into the house a lady by the name of Sybil Presley (Elvis's second cousin)gave us a detailed history of the house and what took place back in those days. Vernon Presley actually went to prison for forging an amount on a cheque for a pig that he had sold to his boss when Elvis was 3 years old. He spent 6 months in the Tupelo county jail and then spent somewhere between 18 months and 24 months in a federal prison after that. Elvis's mother Gladys took him to the Tupelo Hardware store when he was 10 years old. Elvis wanted to buy a gun but his mother convinced him to buy the guitar that he was shown. Elvis only had $7.75 and the guitar cost $12.50. His mother said that if he bought the guitar instead of the gun that she would pay the difference. The rest is history. Vernon Presley moved the family from Tupelo to Memphis in 1948 when Elvis was 13 years old for a better life.
Saturday, Elvis birthday, we headed to Memphis. The drive was good but it is still very cold. We went to Sun Records and toured that.
Sunday we decided impulsively to head out without seeing Graceland, even though our campsite was right across the street. There was threatening weather heading our way and we wanted to get a bit south before it hit.