On our way to Durango we stopped and visited our good friends and cruising buddies Mike and Angie in their cabin near Hartsel, CO.  We haven’t seen them in a couple of years so it was great to catch up.  They followed us into Salida where we enjoyed lunch by the river.

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After lunch we headed down the road to Durango where we stayed at the historic Strater Hotel in the center of town near the narrow gauge railroad.   Because we were sitting in the car a lot on this trip, we decided against taking the train trip up to Silverton which would take most of the day.  Instead, we had a leisurely day waking up late, having breakfast in the amazing French restaurant down the block and taking a walk along the river path.

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Train tracks crossing the Animas river.  We saw lots of rafts on the river and briefly considered going on a trip.  Nah, we already tried river rafting a while back on the Snake river.  The rest of the afternoon was given to walking around town and checking out the shops and visiting the railroad museum.

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The next day we drove to my brother’s cabin in Strawberry, AZ.  It’s a little town about an hour from Winslow.  We already stood on the corner in Winslow Arizona a few years ago so we resisted the urge for another photo.

Last year we helped Alan renovate his kitchen in 4 days.  This time it was all R&R.  He tried to get us involved in a project but we resisted!  I helped him pick out spray paint to rejuvenate his outdoor patio furniture but he couldn’t talk me into helping.  I already did mine and it was messy!

While Skip drove to Sedona for a round of golf, Alan took me to a lake to go kayaking.  It was beautiful and calm.  I didn’t see any manatees!

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We sat on the rocks and ate lunch.

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I gave Alan a pizza-making demo and now he’s excited about all the pizza grilling possibilities.  In return, he helped me update my blog site with a new template.  I was using an older template that was not designed to size properly on tablets and mobile phones.  I learned a lot from the WordPress wizard!

On the weekend we met his friends for happy hour at That Brewery in nearby Pine and went to a craft show in town.  It was a fun few days hanging out with my little bro!

Now we had the long slog back East.  With a stop in Amarillo, TX and Little Rock, AK we arrived in Memphis in 2 1/2 days.  I’ve never been in Oklahoma or Arkansas.  Oklahoma was a lot like Kansas – lots of billboards advertising guns, churches and casinos.  Arkansas was pretty driving through the Ozarks.  Guess I can cross those 2 States off my list.

Before arriving in Memphis we made a detour to Clarksdale, MS – birthplace of the blues.

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After a fine lunch at Abe’s BBQ we took the obligatory photo at the Crossroads.  In town we visited Cat Head music store. It would be fun to go back when they’re having a blues festival.

In Memphis, we splurged on a stay at the Peabody hotel, home of the famous ducks in their lobby.  It was nice that they allowed pets (for a substantial fee.)  Bailey was given a plastic water bowl, poopy bags and a strict warning to stay away from the ducks.

He’s not much of a big city dog and the trek from the 4th floor out to the little patch of grass was not his favorite thing.  He’s still very puzzled about the elevators!

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A duck in the fountain and the Duck Master.  He performs a ceremony twice a day, when the ducks march down in the morning from their Duck Palace on the roof and in the evening when they turn in.  The lobby is jammed with people observing the spectacle.

On our first night we wandered Beale St. and enjoyed dinner and 2 bands at B.B. King’s Blues club.  The music was good even though it was more pop than blues.

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Beale St. on a non-bike night

Our next day was filled with visiting the local museums.  We decided to forgo the visit to Graceland since it was Elvis week and probably very crowded.  Besides, neither of us are huge Elvis fans.

Our first stop was the Gibson guitar factory.  We were advised to show up early to get on a tour.    While we waited for the tour, Skip perused the store.  There was plenty of guitar lust but he managed to keep his credit card in his wallet.

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This one is very pretty.  It would look nice in my house!

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Big Lucille in the lobby.

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So many pretty guitars!

The tour was fascinating.  They don’t allow photos – lots of company secrets to protect!  It’s nice to see that such fine craftsmanship still exists.

Our next stop was the Rock N Soul museum, a new museum sponsored by the Smithsonian.  The exhibits were interesting and they gave you an audio tour to go along.  The Boxtops were represented but, alas, no Younger Brothers – Skip’s rock band in the 60s that once opened for the Boxtops.

Our last stop was the famous Sun Studios where Elvis first recorded his hits.  The tour was very enjoyable and led by an enthusiastic guide.

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Elvis’ SSN.

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Skip busts a move in the studio where Elvis recorded his first hit.  The X marks the spot where he stood and used that microphone to record That’s All Right Mama.

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This photo in the studio show the famous quartet – Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

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Unassuming Sun Studio

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It was bike night on Beale St.  What a strange conglomeration of Elvis fans and leather!

On our last night in Memphis we found some hard-core blues to listen to in the Rum Boogie Cafe.  

Leaving Memphis, we headed to Skip’s sister’s house in Ellijay, GA.  We always have a fun time with Nancy and Don, hanging out, playing cards and getting caught up.

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Bailey gets comfy on the couch.  He also ran off some deer at their house and was mighty proud of himself!

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Don and Nancy took us to lunch at a wonderful restaurant overlooking the Toccoa river.

After a long day of driving, we arrived home.  Yea!  It was a fun trip but always nice to get back home.

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