Ol’ Man River

When we were looking for a campground near Memphis, several folks suggested the Tom Sawyer RV Park (actually in W. Memphis, Arkansas). We learned that it is RIGHT on the banks of the Mississippi and this totally intrigued us. The park’s website includes information about the importance of monitoring the Mississippi River as your camping time approaches; they’re closed when the river overflows its banks. Yikes! We checked and it looked like we’d be just fine; it takes a couple of weeks for rain far north to really affect the height of the river. We knew we didn’t want to approach when THIS was happening!

Here’s our site where it would be during a flood!

High water! Camping on the flood plain.

During our first hour at the campground, we were drawn to the river (actually only about 50 yards from our site) as a huge collection of barges (all attached, 7 barges long, and 3 across) was pushed along by ONE boat (that looked quite a bit like an oversized tugboat).

Can you count all the barges?  Most of the loads were three barges across and anywhere from three to ten barges long!

One of the best parts of moving around the country is how much we love being so close to different forms of transportation. In Indiana, we camped very close to a very active train track — it ran all day and night (never kept us awake) and reminded us of how much our nation’s commerce depends on different modes of transport. Then, of course, there are the thousands and thousands of tractor trailers (some pulling two or even THREE trailers!) that we share the road with as we move along the nation’s interstates. And while on the Mississippi for several days, a low rumble accompanied us much of the time — we could look out the bedroom window and watch the barges moving through as we fell asleep—and then again, when we woke up the next morning.  Sometimes we could tell what they were hauling, and other times, hmmm… They were mesmerizing. It’s fun to watch our nation’s commerce on the go!

So, why Memphis? Graceland, of course! We’ve learned to take others’ recommendations, whether positive or negative, with a grain of salt. We like to experience what we can and draw our own conclusions—sometimes a place that someone else told us to not waste our time with, is a favorite of ours!

So we drove to Graceland our first morning there—and spent hours poring over building after building of memorabilia not just about Elvis but also about many other musicians. We started with a tour of the mansion—and were quite impressed by all that we were able to see. I’ll let the pictures tell the story:

The Presley’s home — treasured and beautifully maintained.
The living room and music room beyond — the 12 foot couch was specially ordered
The dining room
The heart of the home
Elvis’ jungle room–his favorite
Elvis designed this pool room himself — nearly EVERY surface was covered with fabric — the walls (pleated), much of the furniture, and yup–the ceiling!
Elvis’ media room hurt our eyes!
Family graves in the memorial garden on the grounds of the mansion

But Graceland comprises much more than the house! There were a number of buildings that featured everything from Elvis’ car and motorcycle collections, gold records, a gallery featuring dozens of musicians who were/are influenced by Elvis, a huge archive of all things Elvis including items related to his military service, and, oh yes, an incredible array of bedazzled jumpsuits!

It took us at least a couple of hours to get through all of the extra buildings. We were pretty impressed and Elvis’ music serenaded us throughout the entire complex.  Not having ever been huge Elvis fans, we had a lot of fun and found ourselves humming Elvis tunes for several days!

4 thoughts on “Ol’ Man River”

  1. We stopped there one year too and became Elvis converts after the house tour. The most interesting part to me was the the number of floral arrangements that are sent every day to him.
    And, that I’ve seen him reincarnated at several campgrounds and in Spain!

  2. Be sure to visit the famous Peabody Hotel and see the ducks parade through the hotel lobby to the fountain inside where they take a swim! And you have to eat dinner at The Rendezvous Restaurant for their famous ribs! Enjoy!

  3. Great post! I have always wondered what Graceland was like. It is definitely more interesting than I thought it would be. Thanks for all the photos and information.

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