Cyclerides.com Weekly Update
7/12/17

Greetings Riders,

If you missed the letter last week with my review of New Orleans, including photos of Bourbon Street and French Quarter where we were entertained by the Nude Bicycle Ride on Decatur St., Click Here to Read and for photos and video.

Well, here we are in the middle of July in Phoenix, AZ where we are starting to transition from the hot as a blow dryer in your face phase to the monsoon stage. As for me, I can deal with the hot and dry weather way better than the not as hot but humid times. Yesterday was my first really good taste of the humidity and I didn't know I could sweat that much. Give me the hot and dry any day! Not looking forward to the next 45 days around here. But, that is why we live here, for the nice 9 months of the year.

Elvis Presley's Graceland

As I mentioned above, I left off last week with the review of our brief visit in New Orleans. Next stop on my list of destinations and places to visit is Memphis, TN to Graceland. Everyone knows that Graceland was the home of Elvis Presley from 1957 till he died on August 16th, 1977. Elvis purchased the 13 acre estate for the cost of $102,500. His intent was to live there forever. After his sudden passing in 1977, the estate was left to his daughter Lisa Marie. But since she was only 9 years old at the time, Priscilla Presley managed the estate.

When Elvis died, he only had $5 million dollars in the bank. That seems like a lot of money, but after estate taxes and the cost of $500,000 per year in upkeep for the house, that money went fast. After 5 years it had dwindled down to only $500,000 left in the estate. Faced with having to sell Graceland, Priscilla examined other famous houses/museums, and hired a CEO, Jack Soden, to turn Graceland into a moneymaker.

Graceland was opened to the public on June 7, 1982. Priscilla's gamble paid off. After only a month of opening Graceland's doors the estate made back all the money it had invested. Priscilla Presley became the chairwoman and president of Elvis Presley Enterprises, or EPE, stating at that time she would do so until Lisa Marie reached 21 years of age. The enterprise's fortunes soared and eventually the trust grew to be worth over $100 million. Since then, Lisa Marie sold 85% of Elvis Presley Enterprises but maintained ownership of Graceland Mansion and the 13 acre estate as well as 15% of EPE.

For me, seeing the Graceland mansion itself was what we had come for, but there is so much more than that to see now. Across the street from the mansion they have built a huge complex of more than 200,000 square foot under roof that is called "Elvis Presley's Memphis", which includes Presley Motors, featuring lots of Elvis old cars including the famous Pink Cadillac and many others. There is also a collection of his motorcycles, costumes, records, artifacts, Sun Records display, and much more. Adjacent to the new complex are his 2 jets that he used during his life. You can tour both of these planes as well.

Since I had not done much research on Graceland, thinking that we were just going to see the mansion and the planes, we were overwhelmed at what the Graceland tour experience was all about now. Today, Graceland has over 500,000 visitors per year and is the second most visited residence in the United States next to the White House. So if you haven't been to Graceland in the last 5 years or so, there is a whole lot more to see and experience at Graceland.

How it works now is that you arrive at the Elvis Presley Memphis complex across the street from the mansion where you buy your tickets for the tour. It is highly recommended that you get your tickets ahead of time online as there are only a few people that can go through the mansion and the grounds at one time. So you will buy your tours by time slots. Once you have your ticket in hand you go and wait for the small van that will take you across the street to the Graceland Mansion and estate. This is where you will see a short movie about Elvis and then be taken to the front of the mansion to wait for your tour.

There are several packages that you can buy to go through the complex. But since we were probably only going to be there one time, we bought the VIP tour that gave you everything including an audio video tour with an I-Pad. This ticket also allowed you to enter the mansion at any time and as many times as you liked during your stay there. I would recommend that ticket.

The interesting part of the tour for me was that everything was left just as it was when Elvis died. All of the same fixtures, furniture, colors, etc. that he had, was still there. Outside was Vernon's office, horses, the racquetball court that he had built and on the side of the house was the pool and the meditation garden where the grave sites of Elvis, Vernon, Gladys and his Grandmother, Minnie Mae. And some of his most personal items are in a room next to the house which is interesting to see including Elvis personal set of keys to Graceland.

It is a beautiful property, I can certainly see why Elvis loved it there. Taking in what I already knew, and what I learned while I was there, I could almost feel the spirit of Elvis as we walked around the property. I have even more respect for the accomplishments of Elvis after visiting Graceland and learning more about him.

One thing that I didn't know was that playing
racquetball was a favorite sport of Elvis. On the day he died, he had just got done playing racquetball with some friends. He said he was going to go up to his room to get some rest as he was going to start his big comeback tour the next day. He went up stairs and past away in his bathroom on August 16th, 1977 at the age of 42. I still remember exactly where I was when I heard the news of his passing. I also remember exactly where I was when I heard that John Lennon had been shot and when President Kennedy was killed. Funny how that works.

The 40th anniversary of Elvis passing is coming up next month. They are expecting a big crowd around Graceland this year. If you plan on going, I would probably not pick that weekend. That is, unless you like big crowds.

In summary, our visit to Graceland turned out to be so much more than I expected it to be. The whole experience with all of the new exhibits were almost more than you can consume in one day. I would suggest taking one of the first tours of the mansion so that you would have enough time to spend at the new complex. I would highly recommend working Graceland into your next trip back East or plan on spending a day there on a ride through the area.

We also visited Sun Records in Memphis which is where Sam Phillips discovered Elvis. Sam recorded Elvis first hit, "That's All Right" right there at the Memphis Recording Studio. It takes about an hour and I would recommend that tour as well. Other stops were Beale Street in Memphis. This is fun to see from a historical perspective, but if you have been to Nashville on Broadway, it doesn't compare. Another stop is the Bass Pro Shops Pyramid building. You go go up the 300 foot glass elevator to the top of the Pyramid and walk out on the glass bottom deck for a great view of Memphis and the river. The Peabody Hotel is also good to see located just 2 blocks from Beale Street.

Click Here for Photos.

Useful Links:
Graceland Web Site.
Sun Records web site.
Wikipedia on Graceland.


This Week

Saturday, July 15th
Buddy Stubbs Anthem Harley-Davidson Hogs and Dogs. Join Buddy Stubbs Anthem Harley-Davidson for Hogs & Dogs! They’ll have free burgers, dogs, drinks and more as they host a great open house on Saturday, July 15th from 11am till 2pm! This is also a great opportunity to outfit your bike while we endure the summer heat! Now, till August 19th grab 40% off labor on Twin Cam and MW8 camshaft upgrades at Anthem Harley-Davidson. Also remember that Buddy Stubbs Harley-Davidson is your home of the Lifetime Powertrain Warranty! You’re covered when you shop Buddy Stubbs H-D so check out their inventory today. Hop on your bike, grab some friends and roll up to Buddy Stubbs Anthem Harley-Davidson for all this and more. For more information call (623) 465-1122 or go to www.buddystubbshd.com. For up to the minute info be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram!

Saturday, July 15th
Chandler Harley-Davidson Presents "Beat The Heat". Beat the Heat Event: Beat the summer heat and join Chandler Harley-Davidson for our Beat the Heat Event! Enjoy a FREE bikini bike wash, boot shine by Blacksheep, and patch sewing. While you’re hear, enjoy lunch on us! Come out and hang with us and CHILL OUT! Chandler Harley-Davidson is located at 6895 W. Chandler Blvd. in Chandler, AZ. 480-496-6800.

Next Week

Saturday, July 22nd
Chandler Harley-Davidson Christmas in July Open House. Christmas in July: It’s never too early to celebrate, right?! Come out to Chandler Harley-Davidson on Saturday July 22nd for our Christmas in July Open House. We’ll have FREE lunch, cookies and beverages served all day, and an ugly sweater contest. You never know, the big man himself might stop by!
Chandler Harley-Davidson is located at 6895 W. Chandler Blvd. in Chandler, AZ. 480-496-6800.

Saturday, July 22nd
Arrowhead Harley-Davidson Battle of the Sexes Bike Wash. Join Arrowhead Harley-Davidson on July 22nd for a Bikini Bike Wash from the Harley Girls AND a Muscle Motorcycle Wash from the Harley Men! *Live Music * Free Ice Cream *PLUS, a ladies luncheon at 11 a.m. For the gender who has the most bikes washed, we will plan a destination ride with free lunch and raffles on Saturday, July 29th. Ladies, bring a friend and attend our Ladies Luncheon at 11am. *Catered lunch. *Raffles *Prizes *PLUS, a free gift and shopping discount on licensed H-D products to all who attend. *Meet the Ladies of Harley and other women riders. Learn the tips and techniques every female rider should know including how to pick up a bike, customizing a bike that fits you, and get fitted for proper riding gear. No riding experience? Ride a real Harley-Davidson motorcycle through our Jumpstart Experience. No riding experience required.
Arrowhead HD is located at 16130 N. Arrowhead Fountain Center Dr. in Peoria, AZ.

Extras
 
Mid Week Updates will be made on the Cyclerides.com Facebook. New Easy to remember Facebook address. Go to www.facebook.com/cycleridescom. Over 6500 LIKES! Take a look at all the new photos posted on the wall. If you are not on Facebook, you can still view the  page, but you will not be able to post. There will be a link there for you to sign up for Facebook if you are inclined. Click the LIKE button!

The Impossible motorcycle hill climb. Coming back down can be worse. Click Here to View.

Video of the Week
Compilation of motorcycle stunts!  Click Here. Click on the Video of the Week graphic to view.
 
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Until Next Week,
Blessings and Safe Riding To All,

Barry Caraway
"The Road Is Yours - Take The Ride"
www.cyclerides.com

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