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Elvis: Dead for 30 Years?!?!?

John Deiner

Just took a run through my e-mail inbox and came across a disturbing reminder that Elvis Presley has been dead for 30 years come this Aug. 16. Thirty years!

I remember it as if it were three decades ago, but I'm alarmed that I'm old enough to remember it at all. I was playing right field on my Jersey Little League team when a woman in the stands started screaming. She'd heard the news on the little transistor radio she was listening to (no, the game wasn't being broadcast, but come to think of it, why wasn't she paying attention to the action on the field?).

Anyhow, flash forward through the end of the game (I'm almost certain we lost), puberty, high school, college, marriage . . . and here were are today. Elvis's deathday will be commemorated in typical King style in Memphis during the annual Elvis Week festivities. Here's what the official Elvis Week site has to say about the event: "The 30th Anniversary, will be the largest celebration of all things Elvis in history. Online, at Graceland and around the world, projects that celebrate Elvis's legacy are being planned. Millions of Elvis fans will attend events and purchase products, and Elvis will be featured in non-stop news coverage and special programming on TV, radio, in print and online."

Sounds like fun. Really. I mean, who doesn't like Elvis? Okay, put your hands down.

But still . . . am I the only person who digs Elvis who still hasn't been to Graceland? It's one of those only-in-America places that good citizens are supposed to visit at least once before their own deathdays, isn't it? It's up there with the Grand Canyon, NYC, Disney World, Yellowstone, etc., as sites in "these United States" that -- like it or not -- define this country.

So now I've got to start thinking about walkin' in Memphis and checking out the King's digs. And I'm sure there are plenty of other places that I need to visit. How about you guys? What are the American must-dos that for one reason or another you haven't done?

By John Deiner |  July 27, 2007; 10:08 AM ET  | Category:  John Deiner
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Diesneyworld. Won't do it. No, no, no. To me it represents everything that's WRONG with the good old U-S-A.

Posted by: Mouse Hater | July 27, 2007 11:59 AM

I've never done Disneyworld, and I'm ok with that. But more egregiously, I've never been to the Grand Canyon! I've seen it from transcontinental airplanes, but I don't think that counts.

Posted by: h3 | July 27, 2007 12:20 PM

Not a huge Elvis fan (I DO respect his ability to entertain the masses).....but was driving across country a few years ago and HAD to stop at Graceland. It was pretty cool, and I'm glad I went. I stood over the "grave" and sang my best off-key rendition of Heartbreak Hotel. Tap into the future!

Posted by: Not a huge fan.... | July 27, 2007 1:00 PM

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Posted by: Wanna go | July 27, 2007 2:22 PM

Have done the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone (on the same trip no less!), Disney World. Have lived in Wash DC - the idea that practically everything in "monumental Washington" is free is very much an only-in-America thing, and makes it all a must-do. Currently live in NYC; have done Empire, Liberty/Ellis, Staten Island Ferry, Rock Center, Yankee Stadium; never made it to World Trade.

Others I've done: Yosemite, Mt. Rushmore/Black Hills (both on the same trip as Yellowstone and GC above), Charleston SC, Philadelphia/Liberty Bell/Independence Hall, Gettysburg, Las Vegas, Cooperstown NY. Loved Yosemite, was too young to appreciate Charleston, loathe Las Vegas.

Others I haven't got to: Graceland (tho' friends just moved to Nashville...), Corn Palace, Wall Drug, Los Angeles, Chicago. Of these, I probably have the least interest in Los Angeles.

Posted by: BxNY | July 27, 2007 3:17 PM

And before anybody hollers at me that Graceland is in Memphis, not Nashville, I KNOW THAT!! But without friends *somewhere* in the state of Tennessee, I would never, ever think of going there.

Posted by: BxNY | July 27, 2007 3:19 PM

Add to the list: Salt Lake City's Mormon Tabernacle and grounds, any big Native American pow wow, the Woodward Dream Cruise.

Posted by: JanK | August 1, 2007 2:40 PM

Took a cross country trip last year. Took the southern route out, up the coast, and the northern route back. Saw just about everything you have listed. Took a little over 6 weeks and only cost about $9,000. Must admit, was a little surprised when the price of gas in Texas was the most expensive. Just turned 60 and looking forward to doing it again to see the things I missed when traveling the first time. Recommend it to everyone.

Posted by: Big G | August 1, 2007 7:22 PM

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