Little Rock to Memphis
West Memphis, AR - Events of Friday, June 22 to Saturday, June 23, 2012
Paul was up early the day we left Little Rock (Friday) hoping to catch one last sunrise. Unfortunately, there were clouds to the east that pretty much blocked the sun as it came up over the river. However, a little later, we got a different treat as a hot air balloon came floating over the river.
The balloon went a little to our south, then began to descend behind the trees.
After the balloon was out of sight, we had breakfast and finished packing up. Then it was off to the dump station and to the boat launch parking lot where we had enough room to hitch up the car.
The drive to Memphis was about 3 hours including a fuel stop. We pulled into Tom Sawyer's Mississippi River RV Park, where we have stayed twice before, a little after noon. Tom Sawyer's is located overlooking the Mississippi in West Memphis, AR right across the river from Memphis, TN.
The campground has one section back from the river under the trees where they mostly put their seasonals and two sections right along the Mississippi. The section along the river where our site was located is primarily for motor homes, and the sites face the river. The other riverfront section is primarily for 5th wheels, and the sites face away from the river so you can get a nice view if you have a picture window in the rear of your rig.
The main entrance road into Tom Sawyer's RV Park is paved, but the interior roads are fairly dusty gravel. About one third of the sites in the two sections near the river are paved, and all the rest are gravel. There are full hookups with 30/50-amp electric and free Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi signal was a little weak where we were (two bars), but the connection was fairly fast. We used the campground Wi-Fi most of our stay even though we got dumped off occasionally. Using campground Wi-Fi when possible allows us to stretch our Verizon Broadband to keep us from going over our 5GB data limit.
We had reserved a front row site, and they gave us a great site right on the end.
The sites are a little narrow, but our site had a lot of extra space and a nice, big tree on our door (south) side. Unfortunately, the tree was located in just the wrong spot that it blocked the signal to our rooftop satellite dish. We probably could have moved the motor home all the way to the rear of the site to make the rooftop dish work, but we preferred not to park the car in front of the motor home so we would have an unobstructed view of the river out our front window. Therefore, Paul had to get out our portable dish and tripod. This was the first time in almost 6 years of full-timing we had to use the tripod. Setup of the portable dish was easy once Paul remembered to switch the input to the receiver from the rooftop dish over to the new cables he ran a while back for the portable dish.
Most of the front row was filled by late afternoon, but much of the rest of the campground except for the seasonal area under the trees was empty.
Tom Sawyer's has a much better view of the Mississippi than Riverview RV Park where we stayed recently, and there seems to be more river traffic here than there was down around Natchez. We were still in the process of setting up when the first tow boat went by heading upriver.
The campground has a nice, grassy area where there are several benches along the river bank. On our evening walk, we paused on one of the benches a while. Another tow was headed downstream.
At the same time, a small tow boat and a work barge of some sort was chugging upstream.
There are lots of things to do in and around Memphis beside watching the barges go up and down the river. We have numerous possibilities we are considering. However, one of the most important things we want to do while in Memphis is sample more of the delicious barbecue for which they are so famous.
The one barbecue joint that stood out in our memory from our two previous visits to Memphis was the Bar-B-Q Shop, so we headed into Memphis on Saturday afternoon for a late lunch.
We arrived at the Barb-B-Q Shop around 2:30, and even though it was the middle of the day, the place was fairly crowded. We had gone there before, not only in the middle of the day, but also in the middle of the week. Therefore, we weren't used to seeing so many people in the restaurant. It took much longer than usual for our food to arrive. We found out later there was a large group in the next room. Judging from the fact they left just about the time we got our food, they must have arrived a little before us, and that must have created a bit of a backup in the kitchen.
The food was worth waiting for. We both had chopped pork dinner plates for our late lunch. Margery had slaw and fries for her sides, and Paul had slaw and beans. The pork was tender and moist, even without barbecue sauce. We prefer slightly tart (but not sour) barbecue sauce, and the sauce at the Barb-B-Q Shop is just about perfect in our book with just the right amount of sweetness to offset the tartness. We also love their cole slaw because it is slightly sweet with just a hint of tartness. The slaw and the barbecue go great together with the slaw also adding a nice crunch to the tenderness of the pork.
In addition to chopped pork, the Barb-B-Q Shop has ribs, chicken, turkey and sausage. Sandwiches are $4 to $6, and our dinner plates were around $10.
We got our visit to the Memphis area to a great start with some great barbecue. We have more barbecue joints to check out, and plenty of sighteeing possibilities for the three weeks we are scheduled to be here.