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Picture of 'Serendipity' our WinnebagoThe White House, Washington DCGraham and The Statue of LibertyJean and Graham at The Grand Canyon

The Greatest Road Trip USA? - Our Round USA Road Tour.

The State of Tennessee, USA

Part of a year long trip from Sept ’94 - Sept ’95 through 36 USA States and 2 Canadian Provinces by Jean and Graham Beven in ‘Serendipity’ their 30 foot Winnebago Chieftain.

Tennessee - Round Trip USA

We were 8 days in the state of Tennessee, USA as there were a few things on our must see list of places to visit.

There are seven National Wildlife Refuges, seven National Parks and ---- State Parks in the state of Tennessee.

The State Tourist Office for the state of Tennessee, USA is: Tennessee Dept. of Tourism - PO Box 23170, Nashville TN 37202


We crossed from Arkansas into Tennessee heading towards Memphis, Tennessee . There are no Coast to Coast Resorts around so looking for somewhere else to camp, we found T. O. Fuller State Park on the banks of McKellar Lake , part of the Mississippi River. At $12 a night, not too bad. This is the first time since we set off that we have had a chance to do any laundry and to celebrate Jean managed to wash a $100 traveller’s cheque (beyond redemption!). Ouch! The duty Park Ranger was a collector of Triumph motorcycles and was the proud owner of the Silver Jubilee model.

One of the incidents of the day, besides kangarooing on to the hard shoulder a couple of times was that we witnessed our first traffic accident. At 16:10 a car pulled out of a side street right into the path of a motorcyclist, directly in front of us. The motorcyclist’s bike was badly damaged. It looked bad for the motorcyclist. The police arrived quite quickly. We gave or names and our Whitney, TX. Contact address and were allowed to leave.

Picture of Gracelands gatesThe following day, Wednesday 5th October 1994, went down in our diary as one of the most memorable of our trip. We visited Elvis Presley’s ‘Graceland’ in the morning. What a place! The mansion was beautiful. You entered the front door and immediately to your left you enter a very elegant dining room

Picture of Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee.

(blue); to the right was a lounge with cream furniture and carpet. This led you to a music room with a baby grand piano and mirrors everywhere. From there we were taken back into the foyer and straight ahead through a doorway leading to a short flight of stairs, with mirrored ceiling and walls, taking us down into a bar, TV and pool room. The walls and ceiling of the pool room were covered in a heavy pleated material, very unusual. The upper floor was closed to visitors at the request of Marie Presley. We came back to the ground floor and arrived in Elvis’s den. A very comfy looking room nicknamed ‘the jungle room’. There was a fountain in this room.

Picture of Elvis Presley's grave, Gracelands.In the Grounds there are the family graves which include Elvis and his parents. There is also a memorial to Elvis’s stillborn twin brother. There were floral tributes from around the world.

Elvis's swimming pool, - which is railed off and out of bounds to fans,and extensive gardens.

The Graceland ’s complex also houses an ‘Elvis motor museum’, showing motors and cycles owned or used in films by Elvis.

Picture of Elvis Presley's pool

Elvis’s complete collection of gold and platinum records is housed in another building along with his costumes and other memorabilia.

The tour also included a 20 minute movie tribute to Elvis’s life.

In the afternoon we parked on Riverside Drive just down from Mud Island and took a Mississippi river boat ride on the Memphis Queen II. The boat was supposed to represent one of the old paddle steamers, except it was diesel. It did have a paddle at the back but that was not what powered it. The trip was ½ an hour down the Mississippi river and back up.

Mississippi River
Picture of the Mississippi River at Memphis, Tennessee.

An enjoyable but slightly industrial view of Memphis.

We crossed over to Mud Island on the footbridge as Jean couldn’t bear the thought of the suspended monorail railway.

We stayed overnight at T. O. Fuller State Park again.

We were having problems still with the rust coming through from the fuel tank. We called into ‘Jim Reed’ Chevy dealership. We had confirmation that there was very little we could do except keep filtering the fuel. Graham had placed two inline filters in an accessible part of the fuel system just ahead of the rear axle. We decided to find someone some time soon that would flush the tank out! We were off to Wal-Mart again as well as buying stuff for ‘Dippy’ we were starting to boost our clothing as we didn’t want to spend too much time doing small batches of laundry.

6th am. Visited Chucalissa a Native American historic site and museum. Described as “C. H. Nash Archaeological Museum and Reconstructed Indian Village , Memphis, Tennessee” You can visit a virtual village here . We were surprised that they didn’t live in Tepees! In the reconstructed village on the Indian mounds and plaza we saw: The Chief's temple, Shaman's house and a family dwelling. In the museum we were shown prehistoric items of the mid-south, stone tools, pottery and a preserved archaeological excavation trench. There was also an interesting slide show. Picture of Chucalissa Snakes

Picture of Chucalissa Snakes at Native American Historic Site.

Later drove to Nashville, Tennessee – Overnight on Camping World car park.

7th pm Went to Music City, Nashville, Tennessee. Saw the Country Music, Hall of Fame. Later drove to the Ryman Auditorium – where a jobsworth security guard (car park attendant really!) tried to stop us parking our 30’ motor home in the coach parking area , insisting we weren’t a coach. When Graham pointed out we weren’t a car either – where were we going to park? He just walked away. leaving the entrance blocked with plastic cones. Graham reversed out and drove round the block – returning a few minutes later and just drove over the cones getting into the coach park! After the guard ranted and raved a bit on his walkie talkie, Graham asked to speak to the manager! The manager was very nice and let us stay where we were and invited us to return anytime! The 'Grand Ole Opry' era was from 1943 to '74 which established the Ryman as the world stage for country music with its explosive popularity. 'Always...Patsy Cline', the Patsy Cline story was the production running while we were there. The Ryman was built in 1892 by Captain Thomas Ryman for religious revivals.

8th Drove to Lebanon, Tennessee. Camped at Timberline RV Park. Met a really nice couple from Oklahoma (and their dog ‘Peaches’) The lady gave Jean a ‘Chickashaw Squaw’ doll (We still have today)

9th Rested at Timberline. Timberline Campground, Lebanon, Tennessee east of Nashville - Now has 110 RV sites with 30/50-amp electric service for RV's up to 48'. Laundromat, two bathhouses, swimming pool, tennis courts, basketball court, shuffleboard, volleyball, horseshoes, pay phones, propane gas, clubhouse, modem hook up, and cable. From Nashville: I-40 East, appx. 20 miles to Exit 238 (Hwy 231) take Hwy 231 South appx. 1 mile. Campground on right.

10th Headed off again. To Chattanooga, Tennessee, to see the Choo-Choo! (Also saw a couple of youths carrying – and playing with – what appeared to be real guns!)

Overnight at Chester Frost State Park, not far from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

11th A rest day - Doing domestic stuff and chillin'.

12th To Waynesville, North Carolina >>


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