Friday, May 7, 2010

Memphis Off Day.

"You can kill the dreamer, but you can't kill the dream."
  - Reverand Samuel "Billy" Kyles

I hadn’t been doing separate entries for our off days but as Chris said Memphis was truly “the surprise city of the trip” so far and we did so much I thought I would share.  We started the day by giving our lecture at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine that was very well attended and received by the students. We had a lot of fun speaking about our mission and our ride before sharing a great lunch with the students.

The afternoon was spent at the National Civil Rights Museum located the historic Lorraine Motel, the site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in 1968.  The museum chronicles key episodes of the American civil rights movement through its collections, exhibitions and educational programs.  We spent about 3 hours at the museum but could have easily spent 3 days to take it in properly due to the shear volume of information.  It truly was an inspiring and moving display of the legacy of the movement as I was brought to tears several times throughout our visit.  The highlights of the museum for me included the movie “The Witness” which featured the Revered Samuel Kyles who was standing next to Dr. King when he was shot and also having the opportunity to actually stand in the motel room where Dr. King was staying at the time.  It was breathtaking to be so close to such an important piece of American history which has played such a huge role in shaping our nation on so many levels.  If you ever find yourself in the Memphis area, I full heartedly recommend taking the time to visit this piece of history. 

Our next stop was the Peabody Hotel, the grand hotel of the South as its known, to watch the world famous duck march which has taken place at 5 pm daily for the past 75 years.  The Hotel was built at a cost of nearly 5 million dollars in during the 1800’s which at the time was an enormous price so you can only begin to imagine the beauty of the interior fully of dark woods and marble.  The ducks spend their evenings in their penthouse accommodations so each day the Duckmaster impeccably dressed in a full red suit and golden cane arrives on the center elevator marches to the fountain located at the heart of the lobby and rolls out a red carpet for the ducks to perform on.  As John Phillip Sousa played on the speakers overhead the ducks marched through the crowds of people that gather each day for the spectacle and headed directly for their waiting elevator car headed directly for their suite. It was a pretty awesome performance! 

Next we headed across the street to the Kooky Canuck for “dinner”, which was bigger for some than others.  The Kooky Canuck has been featured in many magazines and multiple television shows including Man vs. Food for one reason, the King Kookamonga. This “sandwich” features 6 pounds of pure beef, on a fresh baked bun, topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese and pickles.  It clocks in at right around 18,000 calories for the meal.  2 people have 60 minutes to finish the burger to get their picture on the wall (along side the likes of Joey Chestnutt) and a t-shirt.  Our two finest eaters on the trip, Travis and Brian, made a valiant effort at completing the competition making quick work of the beef and toppings but in the end the shear amount of bun sealed their fate.  We were all still pretty proud of their effort and the entire restaurant gave them a round of applause. 

We capped the day by heading to Autozone Park, home of the Memphis Redbirds the AAA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.  As a lifelong Cardinals fan it was a lot of fun to enjoy an absolutely beautiful evening watching the future of their franchise from the left field lawn.  The stadium is brand new and is located in the heart of downtown and actually reminded me a lot of the new Clipper’s Stadium in Columbus.  The highlight of the night was still to come though as 4 members of our group (including me) were selected to take part in the build a burger contest which took place during the middle of the 5th inning.  We were broken into 2 teams of 2 and dressed into bun costumes in the locker room area of the stadium then paraded out on to the field.  Maggie and I were competing for free burgers for section 108 so we made sure to get them pumped up to cheer us on right away.  After Maggie plopped down on the plate I rushed up and down the 3rd base line to place the burger patty, lettuce and cheese on her before doing a belly flop on her to complete the burger as the other bun.  We were way out in front of Jen and Heidi so I made sure to make it a close race by doing somersaults during my last trip before winning!  I finished the race by grabbing Maggie’s face and planting a huge kiss on her cheek which drew an audible ahhh from the crowd.  We all had a lot of fun being the stars of the show for a couple of minutes and then headed back to share our prizes with the rest of the team.  

We definitely got to cover a lot of ground during our 2 days in Memphis and I think we all had a great time doing it.  Thanks to the organization and planning of the Memphis Hightailers it was a lot easier than exploring on our own. It definitely was my favorite city of the trip so far which as Chris said was a complete surprise.  On to Medina tomorrow, can’t wait to get back on the bike. No Chain!

Med school lecture.

Everyone from Elvis to Johnny Cash have recorded here.

The National Civil Rights Museum.

The balcony where Dr. King was shot.  
There aren't any more photos from the museum because cameras weren't allowed which is good because it's definitely something everyone should experience on their own.

Duckmaster explaining the march.

Ducks marching.

One huge burger.


Tim with his own challenge.

Enjoying a beautiful night in left field.


Getting warmed up.

The crew before we headed out onto the field.

Pumping up the crowd.

Running the toppings.

Belly flop, pre kiss.


1 comment:

  1. I think I'll have to visit Memphis some day. Sounds like you had a wonderful visit!