On the Road Opinions

Driving across the country offers a once in a lifetime opportunity

Graceland destination creates more than Elvis memories

By Brett A. Mejia ’13
THE ROUNDUP 

1,479 miles from this current location stands the king of rock ‘n roll’s house, Graceland.

Elvis Presley, the man known to millions of people as “The King,” built his mansion in Memphis, Tenn., and it is now a worldwide site for tourists to see.

My journey to Graceland began in Phoenix with my grandparents and mom.

We filled the back of our SUV with all the essentials that we needed for the four-day drive and began the long journey across the country.

Along the way I really got to know my grandparents’ background and learned of some of their fondest memories of their childhoods.

And this is where the importance of going on a road trip comes in.

I learned how my grandparents met one another and how they were able to raise my mom and her siblings while working in a small town in Tennessee.

Road trips allow for families to come together and tell stories about one another just to pass the time.

Just listening to the stories that my grandparents and mom told me made me realize that I come from a family that sacrificed a lot to get to where they are today.

Listening to all these unique stories really helped pass the time of both driving and riding in the car.

When we finally made it to Graceland, we all hopped out of the car and descended toward the King’s palace.

It was a lifelong dream of my mom and grandma’s and we finally made it.

We toured the mansion and saw all of Elvis’ records, outfits and vehicles.

Seeing the famous pink Cadillac and his private plane was a once in a life time experience because I am not sure if I will ever have the opportunity to go back.

After leaving Graceland we headed to the Lorraine Motel where one of the greatest men to ever to live, Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated.

It is now called the National Civil Rights Museum and it gave me goose bumps when I walked through King’s bedroom and the outside area where he was shot.

Then we went across the street where the assassin was perched when he fired the infamous shot and it was breathtaking. To be in the same spot where someone took away one of America’s most influential men made me speechless.

After spending a few more days in Tennessee and visiting The Grand Ole Opry and going to North Carolina to visit my uncle, my family headed home.

Being a part of this adventurous road trip, I have to say that it is one of the best experiences of my life so far and I encourage everyone to go on a road trip with their family because not only would it bring you all together, but it would be a great opportunity to travel the country.