Tag Archives: Memphis TN

Day 469 Life on the Road as a Family, Peabody Hotel and Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN

IMG_6608The ducks are out for the day at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis! If you’ve never seen this, it’s worth a side trip.  They come down every morning and climb the red carpet stairs and play in the fountain – and tons of nuts like us FILL the lobby and take pictures.  It’s been around for decades and they make a big production out of it.  I met a woman from Ontario who had driven down with friends on a lark. Took them 16 hours and they pulled up just in time to see the ducks. She was so happy.

IMG_6612With 2 ex-bankers in the family, we are always amused by banking stuff.  This is priceless.  Right off Beale Street and the music was blaring.

From there we went about 8 blocks south to the new National Civil Rights Museum. On the site of the old Lorraine Motel, it reopened last year right after we were here, so we missed it and had to come back.  We happened to be here on the anniversary of the day Martin Luther King was shot in 1968, so they had a tent set up outside and there was a choir and speakers and an electricity in the air that made me want to cry.

The museum itself is really well done. We could have spent all day, but there were letting in 120 people in a group each 20 minutes and it was hard to read all the exhibits.  They started with the slaves being kidnapped in Africa and brought over in ships.  Half of them died on the voyage. Then they depicted  slavery in all its horror and I did cry.  What makes anyone think they are better than anyone else?  By the color of their skin?  By the amount of money in their bank account? By the need for workers so your plantation could grow larger and you could line your pockets with the profits from their sweat and deaths?

The second part of the museum is across the street, and not as many people were there.  I’m not sure if they didn’t know it was there, or they didn’t want to see the view either.

IMG_66406′ to my left is the dilapidated bathroom where James Earl Ray stood when he shot Martin Luther King on the second story balcony of the Lorraine Motel.  Right where the wreath is hanging on the railing.  The museum had recently recreated it and the bedroom where Ray stayed.  The rest of this floor of the museum was dedicated to the evidence they would have used at the trial had it happened, the conspiracy theories, and a wall of, “where do we go now?” I went outside and thanked God for Martin Luther King and all those who stood up for what they knew was right and paid the ultimate price.

Day 463 of Life on the Road as a Family, Tom Sawyer RV Park, Arkansas

We drove from Jackson to the edge of the Mississippi river on the Arkansa side, once again excited to be near this huge, historic, thriving river.  This will be one of the few RV parks we’ll tout, and it’s got less amenities than many. But who cares about a pool or playground when you’ve got the river right out your front window?  Another traveller had told Dan about this park months ago, and Dan quickly made the reservation only to be called two weeks ago and told that they were going to be flooding, so we couldn’t come.  They were so nice about it, and we felt bad for them because we knew they’d be losing a lot of the springtime travelers returning home to the colder northern states.  We made other reservations, and figured, oh well, just another detour.

Then they called a few days ago and said the river was to crest the night before our arrival, and would we like to come anyway? Would we?!  We cancelled the other reservations and headed up the road.

IMG_6465 After driving up and over the HUGE berm to get to the campground, this was the second building we encountered in the campground. The first one was the office, which was on wheels.  This is a restroom facility, with the nicest laundry room we’ve seen on the trip located upstairs.  We were a little apprehensive driving over the berm with our home, not sure what we would find.  We knew the campground was still 2/3 closed.  I was instantly glad that we weren’t here in 2011!

IMG_6449Here’s our view of the Mississippi River for a week!  It’s at flood stage, 30.6′.  We found out later that this campground’s location is used by the weather reporting on NOAA  because of it’s prime location to Memphis  – which is just a speck to the right of the tree.   Dan and I brought our chairs out here to sit and watch the barge traffic go by – it’s the coolest thing EVER.  We were supposed to run errands today and do some homework and cook a big dinner and, and , and… and we spent the afternoon right here instead.

IMG_6475This was the first barge we saw, and we were so happy!  Everyone from the campground comes to the edge of the water to watch them pass and we speculate on what they are carrying, where they’ve been, and where they will unload.  A few of them have open storage so you can see the coal and rocks, but most were covered like this one.  Sometimes the captain honks, but we usually can’t even see a human being anywhere on it.  We saw the American Queen riverboat go by later in the week, and it was even more magical. We tried to get Nate to read Tom Sawyer before we got here, so he could see the romance and mystery and commerce of the Mississippi, but he couldn’t get into it. His loss.

I probably took 20 barge pictures today, so you’re lucky I didn’t post all of them.  Another perfect day on the road.  Almost makes up for the debacle week of New Orleans.  Almost.