August 19-21, 2014 – W. Memphis, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee
We left Vicksburg Tuesday morning and headed north on Highway 61, the Great River Road, to Memphis, TN. We are staying at Tom Sawyer’s RV Park in West Memphis, Arkansas just across the river from Memphis. This is a beautiful park right on the Mississippi River with nice long, wide pull-through sites. Our site is right along the river and we are able to watch the barges going up and down the river.
After we got the 5th wheel set up we spent some time watching the barges – this is the view from our patio.
Wednesday we crossed the river and went to Memphis where we walked along Beale Street. There are more than 20 bars and clubs on Beale Street – B.B. King and Jerry Lee Lewis have cafe’s here. The Grand Opera House was built in 1890 and destroyed by fire in 1923. The Orpheum Theatre was built on the site in 1923 and has been the entertainment center of the Mid-South. Crosby, Still and Nash are performing here tonight and Gladys Knight will be here in September.
The sidewalk in front of the theatre has gold stars with the names of people who have performed here. These stars are for Harry Connick, Jr, Richard Harris and George Burns.
After having lunch at the Blues City Café, we walked to the Beale Street Landing where we boarded the Island Queen for a 90 minute river cruise. We were glad to finally find a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi.
We had a great view of downtown Memphis before we left the dock. The docent gave us information about the history of this area and what we were seeing. He told us that the barges are really called tows and that the crews are on the tows for 30 days at a time then get 30 days off. The tows do not stop along the river for fuel and supplies. Everything they need is brought to them by a boat from the ports along the way.
This pyramid used to be a sports and special events arena but is currently being renovated by Bass Pro Shops. The 220,000 square foot store will have a zip line, indoor shooting range and bowling alley besides the retail store. At the top of the 32-story building there will be an observation deck with a glass walled restaurant and bar with double balconies that will have glass floors. They will also have a sky ride along the exterior where you board a glass passenger compartment for an incline ride to the apex of the pyramid. It is scheduled to open later this year – it will definitely be something to come back to Memphis to see.
We enjoyed our tour and visit to Memphis but it was too hot to do much - 97 degrees and with the humidity a heat index of 105.
Thursday morning was laundry day and when we got to the laundry room we were a little surprised that it was on the 2nd floor above the bath house. We thought this was strange until we saw the high water line from a flood in May 2011 just below the laundry room window. Now we know why the laundry room is on the 2nd floor. Inside the laundry room we found fairly new full size stackable units with front loading washers – best of all there was no charge. This is the first time we have used a laundry room in an RV park for free. After lunch we relaxed and enjoyed watching the tows going past our windows. It is nice to be able to watch them from inside in the air conditioning as the temperature is again in the high 90’s with a heat index about 103.
We enjoyed our short visit to Memphis and think we will come back again to check out the new Bass Pro Shop - but when the weather is cooler!