Memphis, Tennessee: could it be that you’ve finally made it? As the Thursday morning sun climbs toward its zenith above the broad and muddy Mississippi, you coast into town in a state of heightened awareness. You’re jittery and anxious, wishing only to crash and rest in the room you’ve reserved at the Sheraton Downtown Hotel on Main Street, but knowing in your heart that you won’t be able to enjoy the Amerivespa rides and events until you’ve secured the safety of rock ‘n roll.
After securing your hotel key and toting your small bag upstairs, you cast a longing look at the king-sized bed.
Not yet. You’ve got work to do.
Down in the lobby, you find plenty of good help in tracing a route to Graceland. It’s not too far away, so that means you’ve got time for a bite.
Because you’ve got a relentless sweet tooth, you head over to the Pink Diva Cupcakery to stuff your face with three or four delectable vegan treats.
Leaving Kathy in the parking lot, you push open the front door and breathe in the scent of heavenly chocolate. The owner, Cassi Conyers, tempers her welcoming grin with concern. “”You look like a cake that got left out in the rain,” she says, gesturing to Kathy outside. Did you ride up to Memphis on that thing?”
Defeated, you shrug. “I did, and I know I look crazy.”
Cassi’s face lights up. “Crazy? No way. I love it! Hey, I ride a scooter too. Make deliveries on it. You must be here for Amerivespa, huh? This place is crawling with scooters. I’m just happy you stopped in. What’ll it be?”
After some deliberation, you order a cookies ‘n cream and two snickerdoodle cupcakes, and you devour them on the spot. They’re incredible. With a longing look over at the cold case, you shake your head against the possibility of ordering a fourth. It’s time to saddle up.
“Come back and see me again, ok?” Cassi invites as you head back out into the lot, invigorated by a sugar rush.
You wave good-bye and head away from the restaurant, back toward Beale Street, trying to get your bearings and figure out what to do next. You are hoping to tag along with a tour group while they are guided through the Graceland mansion, and find some way to break away long enough to find the sub-basement. Admittedly, it’s a dismal plan.
The sound of an improvised blues concert filters into your ears as you travel in fits and starts along the traffic-choked drag, and when you finally glimpse the origin of the sound up ahead, you can’t help but smile. A crowd has gathered around a trio of musicians dressed in crisp linen shirts and straw fedoras on a bit of sidewalk outside a touristy restaurant. Lining the road on either side are rows of gleaming scooters: Vespas new and vintage rub shoulders with Buddys and Stellas; liquor-cycles are wedged in next to gigantic Burgmans, and the air is filled with the smells of home cookin’ and the sounds of happy people.
It’s almost impossible to pass by this scene. Every fiber of your being is telling you to take a break and soak it all in. After all, you’re here for Amerivespa, aren’t you?
Anyway, you could really use some advice on how to proceed from here. Maybe one of the musicians can tell you a thing or two about Graceland… particularly the basements.
Make your choice:
Surrender to temptation.