On the Road: Looking at America Through a Layer of Filth, Grime and Bug Guts

Sun Studio
Memphis, TN: Finding Sun Studio
We pulled out of my brother's driveway around 10:30. Our plan for the day of driving was to make it to Oklahoma City, but not before we stopped for a look around Tennessee's most famous musical city. We drove past a town called Nashville and headed straight for Memphis.

Our first stop in Memphis was The Sun Records' Studio. The trick was to find it. We knew it was on Union Ave., so we took the first exit we came to that was marked Union. We figured, we'd drive down the street until we found what we were looking for. We ended up driving almost all the way through the city and saw the sights it had to offer. We didn't see Graceland, Elvis' home, but we did see the Elvis A. Presley Memorial Trauma Center, which I think is just as good as seeing his mansion. That's the kind of fame I aspire to. I want a part of a hospital named after me, if not the trauma center, at least the ICU or X-ray. I'm not too picky, but if I come back to this earth and find that someone has put my name over the furnace room or the room where all the smokers get to hang out, there's gonna be some serious haunting going on.

After 15 or 30 minutes of driving down Union, we found Sun Records. Now-a-day's its a recording studio and museum, even though the record label was sold years ago. Once we got inside, we found that the tour didn't start for another 45 minutes, so we had just enough time to grab some lunch. As luck would have it, the Sun Studio Cafe was right next door to the studio. What are the odds of that? How many record labels do you know that have their own restaurant? There is the Motown restaurant, the place where you "go for the Temptations, but stay for the Supremes." However, I don't think it's anywhere near the original studio in Detroit. The restaurant has no historical connection to Sun studio, it just sits adjacent to the studio and houses the gift shop.

Sun Record's Cafe

This was the first real "on the road" meal of the trip, so I was looking for something special to have. I looked over the menu and my attention was seized by the listing of a delicacy I had only heard of in tall tales and legends. My Great-Grandma use to spin a tale of Elvis Presley's favorite meal. She used to tell us about the times when Elvis would come to her diner and ask for a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. Then she would tell us about how she always threw that no good truant out on his ear and told him to go get a hair cut. I used to dream about that sandwich. In my dreams I pictured slices of banana between two pieces of bread, held together by peanut butter and deep fried in a vat of lard. Mmmmm! In the spirit of adventure, that only a trip across a continent can breed, I ordered a meal fit for a king of rock and roll. When the waitress brought my lunch, I was surprised and happy to see what I had heard termed "fried", was in fact "grilled". The sandwich was more kin to a grilled cheese sandwich, than KFC. Now before you say "Nasty!", let me just remind you of the way I had imagined the sandwich and think about how nasty that would have been. Let me also say it was delicious. Now you can call it "nasty."

I also ordered an iced tea to accompany my sandwich. When I took my first sip of the drink, I was in shock. Unsweet tea! In the south! I know in most of the world, iced tea is brought to the table unsweetened. But in the south you come to expect syrup when you order tea. I was sure I would make it all the way to Texas before I crossed the "sweeten your own darn tea" line. I stood corrected.

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