Grace Wu

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Stop #26: Memphis, TN

Memphis is the home of Elvis Presley and was the stomping grounds of famous musicians like B.B. King, Johnny Cash, and W.C. Handy. I started off by walking along the Mississippi River where they have a nice waterfront park. I walked back downtown to the historical parts like Beale St., where music clubs and shops lined the street. I made my way to the Civil Rights Museum, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated while he stood outside his room at the Lorraine Hotel. I easily spent hours at this museum. The exhibits and displays were engrossing and covered everything from the start of slavery in America to profiling and finding Dr. King’s killer. The museum is located at the hotel where Dr. King was shot and they have preserved the exterior of the hotel and the two rooms Dr. King had rented while he was there. They also have preserved the boarding house where the killer, James Earl Ray, shot Dr. King from across the street.

After the museum, I found lunch close by at the Arcade Restaurant, the oldest cafe in Memphis where Elvis was a regular. It was pretty quiet when I was there and a nice older couple behind me shared some of their fries with me. On the wall are large framed paintings of the family members who started the cafe in 1919 and have kept it running since then.

I needed to work off some of my lunch, so I went to check out Memphis Rox, the local climbing gym that doesn’t turn away anyone, even if they can’t pay. Unfortunately, they had all the bouldering closed when I was there, in preparation for a competition. On the upside, I did meet Dave, who needed a rope partner so I was able to top rope a bit. After a good climbing session, I was ready to head back to the AirBnB for some relaxing, before driving to Nashville the next day.

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