The word "trip" is not quite accurate, since the Heartbreak Hotel is conveniently located directly across the street from Graceland. After breakfast, we went straight over, paid the $25 entrance fee, and were herded like cattle with self-guided audio tour handsets onto the Graceland grounds.
Remember how I said Dollywood wasn't nearly as tacky as we wanted it to be? Graceland made up for that by a factor of 10. One stairwell had green shag carpeting on the walls, while another was completely mirrored. Also mirrored was Elvis's TV room, with was otherwise decorated in a vibrant lemon yellow colour. The Jungle Room was everything it should be, all tiki-style wood furniture, plants, a custom-made waterfall on one end of the room, and animal statues.
The whole thing was somewhat thrilling to see, as a piece of music history, and a bit sad as well. I kept feeling like there was just too MUCH there, that he must have been trying to fill up some void but hadn't figured out how to do it. He was by all accounts very generous, taking care of everyone around him to an almost ridiculous degree... it seemed a bit like he must've been the world's ultimate people pleaser, not happy unless he was making everyone around him happy, and getting caught in the inevitable cycle of dependence and resentment that that creates.
Of course, I might be going a bit too deep here. It must be noted that I have satisfied my requirements of this trip in finding the World's Tackiest Souvenir, which will be appropriately gifted to Mike on my return. Mike, be very, very afraid. I thought I had found your gift at Dollywood, but exposure to Graceland made me realize I had set my sights too low.
I won't be revealing what it is just yet. Just be grateful that the 6-inch high Elvis Christmas tree ornaments were $40, because that's what you WOULD have gotten otherwise. This only cost $1.08. And it's edible!