Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 35 – Memphis, TN (0 miles – rest day)

Wednesday, April 5, 2010

We had another day off today in Memphis. It seems like we have had quite a few off days recently, but then again, there is a lot more to see around here than middle-of-nowhere Texas. And, after riding over 200 miles in the last two days, our bodies were incredibly grateful for the day off the saddle.

We had a Global Health Day at University of Tennessee and afterwards we stayed downtown and explored the city. On our walk from UT to downtown, we passed by Sun Studio. Sun Studio is a recording studio in Memphis where Elvis Presley first recorded his music. Other famous musicians to record at Sun Studio were BB King, Ike Turner, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee, and Roy Orbison. We opted not to go in for the entire tour, but were still able to look around. It was really neat.
We stopped at a restaurant for a delicious lunch and then headed to the eastern side of downtown to see the Civil Rights Museum. The Museum is located at the Lorraine Hotel, the hotel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot. It’s actually a pretty chilling sight. You turn the corner and right in front of you is the hotel that you have seen in countless pictures of MLK, Jr. We explored around the outside a bit and then went inside the museum. We wanted to actually tour the entire museum, but, unfortunately, it was closing in less than an hour and we would not have nearly enough time to see everything. I guess I’ll have to come back another day.

We walked back downtown to the Peabody Hotel to see the “Famous Peabody Ducks.” I had never heard of the ducks before, but could not stop hearing about them once we arrived in Memphis. We couldn’t understand why there was so much fuss over a few Mallard ducks, so we decided to go check it out. And, oh my goodness, was it a spectacle.

The history of the Peabody Ducks dates back to the 1930’s. The general manager at the time had just returned from a hunting trip and thought it would be amusing to leave his decoys in the fountain. Apparently it was a hit and the tradition began. Every day at 11:00am, the ducks are escorted from their penthouse home, on the Plantation Roof, to the lobby via elevator. The ducks are accompanied by the Kind Cotton March (by John Philip Sousa), then proceed across a red carpet to the hotel fountain. The ducks swim around in the fountain all day until, at 5:00pm, the ducks are ceremoniously led back to their penthouse amidst lots of photo-taking. All and all, the “march of the ducks” wasn’t actually that impressive. I mean, really. Ducks got out of the fountain, they waddled down a red carpet, and then they got in an elevator. Woopty-doo. But it was quite entertaining, nonetheless. And after all, I was one of those silly tourists that got suckered in to seeing these famous ducks.

To end our evening, we all went to see the Memphis Redbirds take on the Albuquerque Isotopes. Yes, the Isotopes. I thought the name was pretty pathetic, too. Oh no! Watch out! Here come the Isotopes. EVERYONE RUN!!! It was a minor league baseball game. And, for the cheap price of the tickets, it was pretty entertaining. We ended up leaving before the game was even over (we have to be to bed at a reasonable time…), so we aren’t even sure who ended up winning. But when we left, the Redbirds were winning by one. Fun game. Go Redbirds!!
It was Heidi’s birthday today (one of our national riders). To celebrate her birthday, she (along with three other riders) participated in a “quesadilla challenge” at the ballpark. (It’s usually the hamburger challenge, but in response to Cinco de Mayo, they made it the carne asada quesadilla challenge). They were divided in to two teams, with each person being dressed up as a tortilla (or a hamburger bun). They then had to assemble the quesadilla by running to get the pieces and putting it together. The first to assemble their quesadilla was the winner. Since it was her birthday, I thought the other team might be nice to Heidi and let her team win. However, the “other team” consisted of Maggie and Justin. And Justin is perhaps the most competitive person I have ever met. So, needless to say, Heidi did not emerge from the competition victorious.

End of the thirty-fifth day. And it was exciting.

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