We stayed as long as we could at the Tom Sawyer RV Park until the staff came and told us we HAD to pull out as the water was rapidly rising to above flood stage. We both really enjoyed this park as it had widely spaced level sites, the fabulous view of the river, and it was so close to Memphis. As the photos show, you can see how much the river had risen before we were forced to leave.
Even with the threat of flooding hanging over our stay we really had a wonderful time in Memphis and can’t wait to go back. The main reason we added this stop to our trip was to visit our niece and nephew-in-law, Rose and David. David is stationed in Memphis with the Coast Guard and Rose is a stylist at the Lakewood Pavo Salon. We were able to have several meals together at some of their favorite restaurants and Rose accompanied us on our excursion to the Brooks Art Museum. It was so nice to connect with family on our journey and to see how the kids have grown into such a happy, dynamic couple. Joanna was able to even fit in an appointment with Rose at Pavo for a trim!
During the week when Rose and David were working we explored Memphis going to the new Civil Rights Museum and the we took a tour of the Gibson Guitar Factory. We can highly recommend both tours! Plan to spend several hours at the National Civil Rights Museum as they have done an incredible job recounting African American history from slavery to the assassination of Martin Luther King. We spent 5 hours there and we felt like we only skimmed the surface. We topped off our day with excellent BBQ from Central BBQ which happened to be right across the street from the museum.
The Gibson Factory Tour was really cool as we were able to watch the skilled Luthiers as they hand-made hollow body and semi-hollow body electric guitars. We were able to see the process from raw wood to finish product, even getting to hear one being played for the first time after it had been finished. We followed the tour with a walk down historic Beale Street, stopping in the shops and listening to the street musicians.
Joanna has been attending various church services while we have been on the road, her old church in Bothell, a service held at the snowbird RV park, but the best so far has to be the Idlewild Presbyterian church in Memphis. This historic southern cathedral is beautiful inside and out, with an amazing organ, angelic choir, and a traditional southern service.
While we were at the RV Park we chatted with another Phaeton owner who had just come from the Tiffin Service Center in Red Bay. Tiffin has a first come, first served policy so you cannot make an appointment, instead you have to go to the Center and get a queue number. The other owner had gotten their number but they would have a 2 1/2 week wait for service. Hearing this we knew we would have to make changes to our plans as we had hoped to get our service done before going to the FMCA
Rally in Perry, GA. We extended our stay in Memphis until the flood pushed us out but we still needed to fill the extra two weeks that we had planned to be at Tiffin before the rally so we grabbed a site in Tupelo, MS at the Campground at Barnes Crossing for the first week. We had an enjoyable week doing a bit of sightseeing. We drove a section of the Natchez Trace Parkway and hiked on the original Old Trace where so many traders had walked between Natchez and Nashville. One day we took a walk around Tupelo and the Tupelo Car Museum and even took a quick visit to Elvis Birthplace. Then we ran down to Red Bay, got a queue number which will be for after the rally, then we moved on to Anniston, AL for a week stay to prep for a week of boondocking at the rally.
Once we got to Anniston we realized we were within a 4 hour drive to Pensacola, FL. Jonathan had a few items he still needed to finalize after his mother’s death last year so we left the RV at the Campground of Oxford and boogied down to the coast for a quick two night get-a-way at the Hilton on Pensacola Beach. We were able to finalize Jonathan’s parents estate, get several walks on the beach, a little pool time, and eat lots of seafood. We even took an afternoon and drove over to our mail service office in Crestview and picked up two packages. Then we boogied back up to Anniston to finish prepping for the rally. We’ve prepped meals, done laundry, filled/emptied our tanks, and gone through the rally brochure so we are ready for a week of education, social interaction, and volunteering.
Though we have not finished our experimental year of full-timing, we have decided that we are going to sell the house in Murrysville. There is just so much of the country we still want to explore and the house should not sit there empty. We contacted our realtor and have put the house on the market and Leslie has been very proactive and helped us by doing all the work of opening up the house, getting it cleaned and staged, and ready for showing while we have been on the road. Though we had originally thought we would wait till we are back in PA in April to get it ready, Leslie really felt we needed to get it on the market as soon as possible. So if you know of anyone in Western PA looking for a nice little bungalow send them our way!
Oh and getting back to the rising river … the Mississippi crested at 39.44 ft so the water would be 9 ft deep where our coach was parked. David went out to the park just to check and sent us this picture. He could not even get down the levee as the water was so high and he had to stop nearly a mile from where we had been camped. We would have been floating down the Mississippi!
Again the freedom to make changes! The last month has not quite been what we originally planned but every change has opened up new opportunities and just added to the adventure! Next up will be the FMCA Rally!