On the road again to a destination where we can store the RV for a few days while we head north to Indiana. We can’t bring the RV because the campgrounds up north are closed for the season so we will stay in a hotel for a few days. I plan to take a 30 minute hot shower every day. We were originally going to stay at a campground in Mississippi on the Tennessee border but we decided to book one closer to Memphis since we’ve never checked out the famous Beale Street scene.
I looked online and found a campground with excellent reviews (some of the best reviews yet) in West Memphis which is actually in Arkansas. Tom Sawyer’s campground is on the banks of the Mississippi River and everyone raved about it. We arrived in the afternoon on a very gray, rainy day and it looked like the surface of the moon. The management was very pleasant but the campground is definitely not what I expected. It was so muddy, we actually ran over the sewer without knowing it because it was under water in a muddy rut.
the shores of the Mississippi across from Memphis
the river can flood rapidly and lots of stuff is on stilts. The laundry room’s sign shows where the river crested in 2011.
The whole surrounding area is also very odd As soon as you leave the campground and go over the wooded hilltops, you are in a very industrial, flat, brown area covered with gasoline tanks. Apparently Valero has some plant there and the area smells like gas. I’m grateful that we are just parking near there and not really hanging out. We may try to see Beale Street when we return from Indiana but I haven’t been very impressed with the general area. We’ll see.
La Quinta, Kokomo, Indiana
We spent the entire day driving from Arkansas to Indiana via Missouri and Illinois. We arrived in Kokomo at 6:30 pm while our son Sean and our granddaughter Adilene were home in their beautiful newly purchased Victorian house. It was built in 1870 and is in amazing condition.
Sean & Christine’s ‘new’ home in Indiana, built in 1870!
The house is so interesting with so much character and grandeur. Our daughter-in-law, Christine is away but will be coming home tomorrow night and we will celebrate Christmas with her and Sean and grandkids Adilene and Aiden on Monday.
Happy Christmas! & Happy Christmas with Buddha and with Adilene!
Baker had a blast playing with their 3 month old yellow lab puppy, Layla.
Layla and Baker, Adilene and Sean
Christine was due home around 8 pm but her flight was delayed so we took Adilene back to our hotel for a fun evening of swimming and Monopoly.
Sean and Christine picked Adilene up in the early AM for school but we had our family Xmas dinner with Sean, Christine, Adilene and Aiden after school and then opened gifts.
It was a short visit but wonderful.
Everyone holds still for a moment: Aiden, Susan, John, Christine, Sean, Baker, Adilene, & Layla
with the kids & dogs, and one with Christine’s mom Dawn (Grandma Dawn!)
Back to Tom Sawyer’s Campground
Despite the ongoing muddy conditions, we extended our stay one night so we could visit Memphis
Still no sunshine in West Memphis, Arkansas but it is a very quick, convenient drive across the river to Memphis proper and the campground does offer a very modern, well-equipped laundry that is totally free. I’ve never seen that before and probably won’t ever see it again. After washing everything I could, we drove to Memphis to see Beale Street and then onto a tour of Graceland.
Beale St and BB King Blvd by day
Elvis’s Graceland –
After Graceland, we went back to the city for a great BBQ dinner at the world famous Rendevouz. We capped off the evening with a night cap at the gorgeous Peabody Hotel.
BBQ at Rendezvous among lots of memorabilia (Eli & Peyton with owner) & Peabody Hotel
Some more Memphis at night –
Lake Catherine State Park, Hot Springs, Arkansas
On our way again. I’m not sorry to leave West Memphis, Arkansas, though Memphis was a lot of fun. On to Hot Springs, Arkansas and beautiful Lake Catherine State Park. This is an entirely different part of Arkansas. There are stately pine trees everywhere and we are in a semi-secluded, yet highly civilized site on the banks of the glistening, clear blue Lake Catherine with views of the the Ouachita (Wa Sha Ta) mountains on the horizon. This is one of my favorite spots on the trip so far. The park is very clean, peaceful and private. I may even consider passing through Arkansas again someday.
Lake Catherine AR. The lake gets 3′ higher in the summer when they open the dam. The power plant across the lake became a lit-up palace at night
We took a ride into the city of Hot Springs this afternoon which is the childhood home of Bill Clinton. It is a great place with a vibrant downtown strip filled with historic bathhouses and bars frequented by famous gangsters and baseball players in the early 1900’s. They would come to Hot Springs to soak in the thermal baths after filling up on whiskey and other delights along historic Central Avenue. The downtown was lit up for Christmas and Hot Spring’s Eastern and Western mountains surround the town.
Historic bathhouses and gin-mills in Hot Springs AR at Christmas
If there were a yarn store in town, this place would be perfect for our annual bed and breakfast weekend with my BFF Debbi.
We were supposed to check out of Lake Catherine State Park on Christmas Eve but we like it so much, we decided to spend Christmas here. Then we were going to check out on 12/26 but there was a high wind advisory for the route we would have been taking so we stayed another extra day. During the extra days in Hot Springs, we managed to fit in a round of golf, take 2 beautiful hikes, visit the local Planet Fitness and see the # 1 attraction in our area- Garvin Woodland Park, an arboretum managed by the landscape design department of the University of Arkansas. During the holiday season, the park opens late in the day for their special “Holiday Lights” extravaganza. The pictures will tell the story. It was amazing.
Garvan Woodland Gardens and U of A (Arkansas) put together a Christmas light show each year that goes on and on
KOA Shreveport-Bossier, Shreveport, Louisiana
We have a short stopover in Shreveport. The KOA campground is very pleasant and well maintained. We only have one full day to explore the area so we settled on three things to do.
#1- Walk along the Louisiana Boardwalk in Bossier City along the Red River. It’s basically an outdoor shopping mall with a walking path that winds along the river that separates Shreveport from Bossier City.
Shreveport LA waterfront boardwalk & mall
#2- Eat lunch at the famous Herby K’s restaurant. Herby K’s is truly a hole in the wall, down and dirty, Louisiana Cajun style restaurant around two miles away from the downtown area of Shreveport. It is a family owned dive with great Southern style cooking that has been operating since 1936. The surrounding neighborhood, however, looks like a bomb hit it. It is reminiscent of the South Bronx in the 1970’s. The restaurant is the only open establishment in the entire neighborhood. I had their famous fried shrimp buster and John had delicious gumbo and a fried catfish sandwich.
What’s more amazing than Herbie K’s since 1936 is ………the neighborhood it’s in:
the First National Bank (Avenue Branch)
#3- Gamble at one of their riverside casinos. We went to Horseshoes Casino in Bossier City and had a great time breaking even in blackjack (John) and losing some money in the slots (Me). It was worth every penny.
Making our contribution to the wall of money (10,000 $100 bills)
Pecan Plantation- Granbury, Texas
Moved on to the Pecan Plantation Campground in my sister-in-law Barbara’s community. We have a great site in this private, small campground with everything we need. Unfortunately the weather forecast is a bit disconcerting because it is forecast to fall below freezing several nights during our stay….not at all what I would have expected from Texas.
Happy New Year in the Pecan Plantation
Despite the cold weather (and some frigid rain/ice), we’ve been having a great visit with Barbara and her adult children, our niece and nephew- Jessie and Richie, respectively. Barbara joined us in the RV for dinner our first night here and then we had dinner at her lovely home the next two nights. We visited Jessie’s tiny home which is such a cool space. On New Year’s Eve, we went to the movies. Barbara and I saw Mary Poppins and John and Richie saw Aquaman.
Jessie’s tiny house and Barbara, Ritchie and Jess from their recent CO outing
The weather is horrible today, but we are going to venture out tonight for dinner. The weather is supposed to finally warm up later in the week so we will likely extend our stay a bit so that we can enjoy the nice weather and visit both Dallas and Fort Worth.
Today was a Planet Fitness day which would be unremarkable and not worth mentioning if it weren’t for the adventure we had on our return trip from Cleburne, Texas where the gym is located. It’s about 20 mile away from Granbury and, apparently there aren’t many major roads around because the Google maps GPS lady took us on a crazy route home on a variety of country roads. It had been freezing and raining steadily all day and one of the roads we were on was completely flooded and I mean FLOODED, There was a raging river surging across the road right in front of us. It was so scary. Luckily, John is a very intelligent person so he didn’t attempt to plow ahead. We backed up our monster truck and turned around as the GPS lady was screaming at us to “PROCEED TO THE ROUTE”. We took another road trying to get to a main route and we approached a small bridge that wasn’t yet flooded but the creek underneath it was right up to the level of the road and running pretty forcefully. We gingerly crossed over and finally made it to a main road. It was quite the adventure. I was so traumatized from that journey, we scrapped our plans for dinner in town but had a terrific meal at the Pecan Plantation clubhouse.
no available photos of rivers overflowing roads and bridges in Cleburne TX ——-1st 2 pix are artist renderings:
———————apologies for any excessive delays in publishing
Granbury & plenty more to be continued if and when adequate wifi/cellular connections ever become available again.