Hey there! It’s Analise. Rexy’s set up shop in New Orleans for the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s been in the mid-60s to mid-70s. I don’t want to jinx it, but we may have (for now) outrun winter. We were in Memphis for just a week and didn’t get to see everything (next time, Graceland!) but it was still an action-packed visit.
We don’t usually spend time talking about the RV parks we stay at. But Tom Sawyer’s RV Park in West Memphis, Arkansas is well worth the mention. This was our favorite park so far. We arrived after dark, so when we pulled in we didn’t have a great sense of the landscape. But the next morning, we were greeted to a view of the sunrise over the Mississippi River.
Trees lined the banks of the expansive park. There were no buildings around us. The sites gave some breathing room between neighboring RVs. Barges pushed up and down the river with a steady engine rumble in the distance. Mark could even get our WiFi up in the tree house across the path.
And there were ladybugs everywhere! I don’t usually like bugs around the rig, but this was the most adorable attempted infestation ever, so we did catch-and-release rather than the usual spot-and-splat. Even on the couple of rainy days we had, it was one of the prettiest places we’ve stayed yet.
Click the pic for a bigger pic
Blues in the night
On Tuesday, we hit Beale Street. The pedestrian-only blocks are lined with statues, signposts, and bronze sidewalk stones commemorating the city’s musical legacy. Every building has neon signage and music pouring out the door.
At one point, Mark approached a bar’s walk-up counter, ordered a beer, and asked what I wanted. He apparently very much enjoyed the look of abject horror on my face as I backed away in fear, not wanting to be seen holding a drink in the street by the police cars parked at the end of the block. Apparently Beale Street is an open container area which Mark full-well knew and purposefully did not tell me.
After enjoying a Blue Moon up and down the street, we tucked into gumbo dinner at the Rum Boogie Café and listened to some excellent blues from Vince Johnson and the Plantation Allstars.
Thursday morning we got going before work to get breakfast in downtown and see the parade of the ducks at the Peabody Memphis hotel. But Alan the Jeep had other ideas.
After hitting a few potholes, the transmission lost power. We got towed into Cagle Transmission where the mechanics spotted the issue – a hose connecting the transmission fluid had come undone – and had it fixed faster than we could eat our Wendy’s breakfast. From the start to finish, the episode ran under three hours.
The Peabody was on the way back to the RV, so we stopped off there to work. We closed out the morning enjoying coffee, tea and pastries in the palatial lobby watching the ducks bask in the glory of their adoring fans.
The outdoorsman’s paradise
One of the most prominent shapes in the Memphis skyline is Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. The structure is massive, over 30 storeys tall. Inside, it’s like Disneyland for outdoorsy people. The only frame of reference I have for it is the REI flagship store in Seattle. Take that, expand it to the size of an amusement park, add shooting ranges, and then you’ve got an idea of the Bass Pro Shops.
There’s a hotel – the Big Cypress Lodge – off to one side, a restaurant/bowling alley, aquarium tanks, interconnected ponds with REAL fish, and more taxidermy than a natural history museum. The restaurant at the top has a couple lookouts for views of the city and the river. I loved it. We had a great time walking around the store and taking in the spectacle of the whole thing.
Not to be outdone by Alan’s transmission woes, Rexy got herself stuck in the mud on the way out of the RV park. Definitely Rexy on her own, no help from us. Of course, that’s not entirely true.
It was early Sunday morning, the day we were set to leave. The gravel road looped around the park, and the way we were parked in our pull-through spot pointed us in the direction of the shorter but steeper way out. To get the rig pointed in the longer but more level path, we took Rexy across a field where two points of the road were closest together. Unfortunately for us, we underestimated the softness of the ground after the previous days’ rains. Rexy’s back tire sank a foot into the mud.
After a lot of valiantly muddy yet failed efforts to free the rig ourselves, we got hold of a heavy duty wrecker from Marion Towing. The pair of gents who came to our rescue greeted us with smiles and looked at the stuck tire like it wasn’t anything near the worst problem they’d ever seen. After a bit of strategic winching and cautious reversing, Rexy was free.
This cat tax is brought to you by Lilly mesmerized by the Mississippi River.
We’re in New Orleans through next week. I see beignets and air boats in our future.
If you have any suggestions for things to see or questions about our travels and RV life, let us know in the comments.