Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2001 11:45 AM
Subject: Hound Dog
Got to Graceland around 9, and bought tickets for
the mansion tour and the airplane tour. My camera batteries died about
halfway through the mansion tour, so I only have a few pictures, and none of
the mansion itself. I have to admit, that while portions of the mansion
were quite tacky, after years of hearing about it, it wasn't as bad as I
thought it would be. I was also impressed by Elvis's reading material.
The hallway with all of his gold records and awards was unreal, we think
Michael Jackson, and Madonna are huge, but Elvis was HUGE. It is
definitely worth going to Graceland, it is such a part of Americana, and you
may be surprised at the substance behind the myth of Elvis.
After the mansion I went to see the planes...
The famous gold sink
The "Hound Dog II"
After the tours, I planned to get on the road and
head up to Missouri for a VW bus campout with the Full Moon Bus Club.
The van however, would not start, which I diagnosed as a dead battery. I
push started it, and called my Dad to look up a Sears in West Memphis
(Arkansas) so I could buy a new battery. I figured as long as I kept it
running or parked it on a hill I would be ok. Well, I got off the
highway to ask directions, and stalled it in the left hand turn lane on the
access road under the overpass. Unable to get it started, or push it
myself, I waved cars around me until someone stopped to help me push it out of
the way. The battery was so dead my flashers didn't work. As soon
as I got to the side of the road, an Arkansas state police officer stopped and
gave me ride up the road to an autozone where I bought a new battery,
after which he drove me back to the van. After installing the battery (which
wasn't quite the right size, requiring me to remove the passenger seat
to get it in, I dropped off the old battery at the autozone, and on a hunch
asked them check the alternator. Turns out that was the real problem.
They had one that would fit for $150, but I wanted the Bosch OEM alternator,
so they found a rebuilt one for me back in Memphis. Gambling that the
new battery would get me back to Memphis I took off. I found the place,
and they were holding the alternator for me (<$100), and as I was inside
paying for it, the rainstorm started. Big raindrops, thunder, the whole
works. So I swapped out my alternator in a rainstorm. Fortunately
the rear hatch allows you to work on the engine relatively protected from the
elements. Of course I was just about to start tightening bolts on the
new alternator when I realized that it had the wrong kind of pulley, so out it
came and I ran back into the shop so they could put the correct one on.
Other than a few old electrical connectors breaking, everything went back on
fine, and it started right up. I had them come out and test everything
and it was all in good working order. As I got back on the road, a few
hours behind schedule, a little wet, and with my passenger seat riding in the
back and tools everywhere, I couldn't help but smile about my shiny new
alternator that I installed, and how I would much rather go through that again
on a Friday afternoon than sit through one more useless meeting about budgets,
reorganizations, or project updates (God help the poor fool who tries to make
me sit through a meaningless meeting when I have to work again). With
that smile on my face, and thoroughly testing my revamped electrical system by
blasting the radio, I headed across the Mississippi for the 3rd time
that day and towards Missouri to meet my new friends of the Full Moon Bus