We've been on the road for nearly a week. I realize now that 2006 is a year in which I haven't set so much as a tippy-toe outside the United States. It's probably the first time I can say that since... maybe 1994? Reflecting on that, I guess it makes sense that this was the year to finally make it to Graceland.
Here are a few photos from the road-trip to close out the year. Ducks and all.
The Grand Hotel of the South in Memphis, Tennessee.
Home to some hard working fowl.
Ducks sashay down the red carpet. We met the Duckmaster a couple of times. Sometimes he carried his special duck cane. Sometimes not. Mom and I had seen him on Oprah. He's a star.
Graceland has magic architectural proportions that make it look big in photos. It's small. Like a suburban house that happens to have sprawling grounds. My father looked at this digital photo less than two days after standing next to me when I originally snapped it. "Where is that?" Graceland! You were there. "But the house in that photo looks so big..."
A truck stop somewhere in Kentucky was very informative about current terrorism concern levels. I should have followed the suggestion to "see cashiers for details", but there was a line.
Another truck stop.
We went out looking for elk after reaching the Grandparent's house since they live in Elk County. Elk, unlike Graceland, appear small in photos but are quite large in real life. Cow sized. Not deer sized.
When my brother and I were little we used to spend days playing in the woods behind my grandparents' house. We'd build stone dams across a creek and catch crayfish. We'd wander with the neighbor kids through the dark pine forest under a canopy of trees that didn't let in the sunlight. When I got to 5th grade and our class read Bridge to Teribithia, I knew exactly what the secret forest looked like because we had grown up playing in one exactly like it.
There are two sets of JP initials carved into the same tree. I'd like to think that I carved one and my brother carved the other, but I can't remember either one of us doing it. I liked finding the tree. The carving includes the date of 1983. If it wasn't us, it was kids playing the the forest back when we were there too.
Happy New Year everybody.