Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Roger here... It was our first morning at the Tom Sawyer Mississippi River RV Park.  I stumbled out of bed.  Brewing a pot of coffee was uppermost in my mind.  At that point I squinted at the view through our windshield, and lunged for the camera.  Sunrise over the muddy Mississippi --- not the view I expected.  Where is the muddy water?  It looks pink and purple to me.

The day before we departed Paducah, as I was planning our travel, it looked as if the Memphis area would be a logical place to stop for one night.  I was all set for a stay south of town in one of those easy-off, easy-on RV parks.  Before turning off the computer, on a whim, I decided to see if there were any places to stay in West Memphis, Arkansas.  I discovered that the Tom Sawyer RV Park was only a couple miles off the highway.  I had heard of it.  It might be fun to spend a little time on the river and a little time on Beale Street.  We ended up making reservations for three nights.  What luck we had in finding this place.

After the spectacular sunrise, we walked the dogs, gave them breakfast and treats, and drove for fifteen minutes to cross the river.  We entered the city and followed the river to the north.  I wanted to see the pyramid, so we drove there first.  There was not really anything to do there other than snap a picture.  However, by next summer it will be an operating Bass Pro Shop with all kinds of activities.  We will have to come back.

Our next destination was Beale Street, the home of the blues and ribs.  I wanted to experience both.  But first, we found a parking garage that was only a block away, snapped this picture, walked past Beale Street, to find the Peabody Hotel, two blocks away.

I wanted to see the ducks.  Yes, the ducks.  Every day since the 1930s a duck master, yes a duck master, marches five mallard ducks from the rooftop of the hotel into an elevator.  The elevator descends to the lobby level where the ducks waddle on a red carpet to an Italian marble fountain and pool in the middle of the lobby, where they stay until 5:00 p.m.  I kid you not.  No one could make up a story like this.  Much to Dianne's chagrin, we arrived twenty minutes early, but a crowd was already gathering and jockeying for the best position to view the spectacle.

Oh, the excitement!  The mood of the crowd was palpable.  The lady at the left looks like she is about to have an aneurism.  

Ten minutes prior to the march, the duck master moved to the fountain.  He spent some time extolling the truly impressive history of the Peabody Hotel and its famous patrons and guests:  presidents, Justin Timberlake, BB King, and of course Elvis.  Before strolling to the elevator to get the ducks, he let everyone know that the lobby of the Peabody Hotel is the official entrance to the Mississippi River Delta.  We watched the numbers on the elevator as it ascended to the rooftop.  A few minutes later the numbers descended.  Then....

What a hoot!  It really was kinda funny.  We followed the ducks down the red carpet to get a picture of them in their opulent daytime digs.

Here's a link if you'd like to read more about the Peabody Hotel Ducks and their history:
Peabody Hotel Ducks

Back to Beale Street...
Lunchtime is really not party time on Beale Street, but we could still get the flavor of the place.  Right?

Music blared into the street from the BB King Blues Club.  However, I am sure it was recorded and not live.  

I loved all the neon signs.  They were even impressive in full daylight.  Very cool.  

Love, Peace and Chicken Grease.

Dianne is not necessarily a fan of honky tonk places.  She really does not care for New Orleans, so she was a little underwhelmed at Memphis.  I  like it, as expected.  It would be fun to visit again with a group of friends at night.  (If only we could stay awake that long....D).

We were both hungry and it was lunchtime. For us it felt like mid-afternoon because of the recent daylight saving time change and crossing into the Central Time Zone.  It was lunchtime for us, but early for Memphis.  The live music was not playing at Alfred's, but we were hoping for some of the great food.  I was especially hoping for some Memphis ribs.

We were the only customers in the joint.  No ribs that early in the day.  I am not sure how Dianne picked the right minute to snap this picture.  I have a history of very bad photos at restaurants taken by family members.  My girls can all tell you about the infamous photo on the Riverwalk in San Antonio.  (And the hysterical laughter that ensued among the four females in the group -- D.)

Dianne was just a little too happy after she saw the picture of me that she had just snapped.  

Ok then.  I settled on barbecued pulled pork and a locally brewed Ghost River Golden Ale.  I rationalized that it was barbecued ribs, without the bones.  Now this is more like it.

The food was great and so was the beer.  Dianne had a Cajun catfish po-boy with sweet potato fries.  We both ate half our food and took the other half home for supper.

On the way back to the car we stopped at the A. Schwab general store.  Quite an interesting old place with lots of stuff, but nothing we could not live without.  Check out the toilet seats in the window display.  Too bad, we just bought a new one in Colorado.

Back at the RV Park.  Lots of time left in the day.  

We walked off a few calories on the campground trails behind Tom Sawyer's Treehouse.  The dogs were grateful for the hour-long hike.  The rest of the day was spent  watching and photographing the endless parade of barges on the river.  We took too many pictures.  Here are just a few.  

Two barges passing in front of us

Notice the Memphis Bridge and Pyramid above the tree line.

Turbulent wake from the tug boat

Barges at dusk...

Barges at night...
The barges run up and down the river all night long.  

After our full day yesterday, we woke up to cloudy skies and a full day of rain.  The first thing I noticed was that the river is not pink and purple.  It really is muddy brown.

BUT, this really is not too bad.  We can still watch the river traffic from our indoor recliners, and I have time to work on this post while I watch the Colts game that I taped.

The Colts still won, as the media reported.  

Tomorrow?  South to Jackson or Vicksburg, Mississippi.  It depends on how far I want to drive.

The pet picture of the day shows Dianne and the dogs on the hiking trail.


Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Tom Sawyer CG is one of our go to places when we need a river fix. Downtown seems to be a bit more seedy every time we go:(

Nancy and Bill said...

I'm with Diane, the city didn't to much for me;o( However, we really enjoyed Mud Island, the scale model park of the Mississippi River!!!

Emily said...

Really enjoy your stories and pics. I've been keeping up with your blog as both of our blogs are listed on the "Two Greyhound Town" wonderful blogsite. Thanks for commenting on my blog via Rick's Facebook site. Feel free to add me to your list. Safe travels toward RGV!

Suzi said...

Tom Sawyer's rv park is truly a hidden gem. We came across it and decided to give it a try - we were so glad we did. The dogs loved the green space and so did we. Its always interesting to watch the barges navigate those killer curves in the river and fight the current at the same time. It is really the best park in that area. Thanks for taking us along. Sue

Lori Moore said...

I enjoy ALL your posts, and often look to you for advice. But, I absolutely LOVE that last photo of Diane walking the dogs. Just beautiful !