Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Road Trip Part 3: The Johnny Cash & Country Music Pilgrimage

I'm making quite a habit of this; uploading a ton of photos with no accompanying stories. I do apologize but until things get back to "normal" there just isn't the time or the desire to write too much right now.

So here's the final leg of their visit. The Johnny Cash tour that I've had rolling around my head for as long as mum and Tom told me they were coming last year. Some of it was pre-planned, some was spur of the moment luck and some was downright cheeky on our part. But ohhh what a trip!

 First stop Hendersonville.
Johnny Cash & June Carter's old house at 200 Caudill Drive, Hendersonville, TN. Much of it burnt down and it was recently bought by a Texas man intent on building a rehab center. We cheekily went in the gate and had a nosey as the builders were working.   The big electric gate shut behind us as we left. My mum was last to leave his house. She'll be the last to see it as his house before it becomes the rehab center. 

Hendersonville Memorial Gardens where Johnny and June and many other country stars are buried.
The original Grand Ole' Opry (Ryman Auditorium) in Nashville


New museum in Nashville. Could have stayed all day! 
Bound for Memphis  - we dined at Loretta Lynn's Diner!
Sun Studios Tour
Gracelands, on the eve of the 41st Anniversary of Elvis's death.

This part of the story is where the luck part comes in.  Early last week I was looking on the web to see how long it would take me to drive from Memphis to Dyess, Arkansas as I knew Johnny Cash was brought up in Dyess and wanted to take them to see his boyhood home. I had a vague recollection that it had been bought last year and was being restored at some point. My thought was "I'd like to take them to see it before it gets restored and too commercialized".

What I saw on the web was that Arkansas State University had bought it last year and had worked with the community to restore it exactly as it was, and that the grand opening was August 16th. That's the day we would be there! And it was only $10/ticket to tour! And members of the Cash family were going to be there! I mean seriously  - what's the chances that my mum and Tom, Johnny Cash's biggest fans, would be in Dyess the very day his boyhood home opened? That's downright spooky.

So I bought 5 tickets and we went. There were only about 200 people there, mostly the Cash family, local people (including his friends from school), State and AS University dignitaries and poor old US! ***


Dyess, Arkansas: a population of 400 people. One gas station in the town. Very poor.  They have restored the Colony Admin Building and the facade of the theatre. They desperately need the tourism that this might bring. 

Waiting for the proceedings to start. My children were catching frogs. 
Johnny Cash's Boyhood home

The rock from the back door that acted as a shoe cleaner to remove the sticky soil (gumbo)

Mum & Tom with Roseanne Cash
With John T. Wayne (John Wayne's grandson)

They took us to the house on a school bus. As the tours get more popular they'll probably have air conditioned coaches!
** If you click on this link and look at the picture of the crowd - far right, back row, there's a blonde woman wearing sunglasses,  a black t-shirt and a badge on her chest - that's me! I tried to find my mum and Tom but couldn't.

So anyway, that's the trip. And what a trip. It will take me a month to digest it.
There's so much more to tell though, like Craig meeting us on Saturday night and then riding his Harley in a thunderstorm the next day. I was watching him in my rear-view mirror and nearly died with fear about the whole thing.

But those stories will wait. Tonight I wanted to get these pictures on here before more life events unfolded. It's back-to-school this week, Leanne has got her certificates from college and I'm missing my family. Mum & Tom got back to England today and my heart aches.
All worthy stories for another day.


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