From Oklahoma we entered the state of Arkansas for the first time. Our first stop was on the Arkansas River at an Army Corp of Engineer Campground call Toad Suck Ferry. What an unusually name! It is so unique that it is listed as the worst named town in the United States. It really isn’t a town so much as a small community. The name came many years ago when the steamboats were travelling down the Arkansas River and pulled over to the side of the river so the captain and crew could enjoy a beer or two at the local tavern. The locals didn’t appreciate the rowdiness of the crew and would say “They suck on bottle ‘til they swell up like toads”. Hence the name Toad Suck. A cute story for an interesting named community.
As we travel I use Trip Advisor for finding interesting places to see and also restaurants. Joe was celebrating his 64th birthday so a quick check with Trip Advisor and we found a rib place with high reviews in the college town of Conway, AR. The reviews weren’t wrong – excellent food in this little dive of a place called Hog Pen Barbeque. Always fun to find these small mom and pop places and all the more fun when the food was as good as we had there.
The COE campground was okay but not something we would return to. We love staying at Corp parks because they are so reasonable, they are most times on a lake or river, and usually there is a lock and dam. This one had all three. The park had three picnic areas right in the park which is unusual and created way to much traffic going past our site. This along with no security would be reasons we probably wouldn’t return.
West Memphis, Arkansas was our next stop. Yup that was Arkansas! West Memphis is on one side of the Mississippi River in Arkansas and Memphis is on the other side of the river in Tennessee. We stayed at a nice little RV Park that was right on the Mississippi River and I do mean right on the river. Tom Sawyer RV Park gets flooded often in the spring because it does sit on the banks of the river. Two things that was great about this park was that they had three camping areas set-up; one for 5th wheels, one for motorhomes, and one for extended stay people. Our 5th wheel site gave us the view from our back and side windows of the great Mississippi River with all of its barge traffic. The motorhome section gave them a view out their front window. It was great to watch barges going by all day and night. We couldn’t believe the amount of barge traffic on the river. But the very best part of this RV Park was that it had FREE laundry in a very, very nice facility. The only drawback was that it was up two flights of stairs so when the park was flooded it didn’t hurt the laundry facility. I didn’t care about the stairs. LOVED IT!
Using Trip Advisor we decided to cross the Mississippi to go into Memphis and check out a few things. Joe had driven by Elvis Presley’s estate when he was in the area for Toro a few years ago so he took me past that. Neither of us was interested in going inside besides the line was very long. We are a little unusual and like to visit old cemeteries. There was one listed on Trip Advisor so we decided to find it and explore. We drove and drove and the more we drove around Memphis the more uncomfortable we became. We have driven in some pretty depressed areas and have felt not the safest but normally you drive through them within a few blocks. Not in Memphis. It seemed we just couldn’t get out of areas where we really felt uncomfortably unsafe. After what seemed a long time of looking for the old cemetery we finally found it but at this point we decided we just needed to get out of the area and went back to the safety of our home. It is not often we have said that we really felt unsafe but driving around Memphis we really had that feeling. We were glad to move on.
Our next stop was at one of our favorite Corp of Engineer Parks, Seven Points, on J. Percy Priest Lake in Nashville, TN. We stayed here eighteen months ago on our way to Florida and loved it then and it still had the same feel. We reserved the same site because it sits on the lake and you have no close neighbors. Peaceful and beautiful all rolled up together. All the sites in this park are wonderful and because of that it books up every weekend. We discover with our travels that we can stay at state parks, county parks, corps parks during the week without any trouble but must have reservations way ahead of time for weekends or we won’t get in. We therefore normally stay at privately owned RV parks on weekends because they almost always have openings. Of course if we plan far enough ahead we can normally reserve a site anywhere. But who likes to plan!
Joe and I love to watch the American Pickers on the History cable station. So we decided to find Mike Wolfe’s store in Nashville, Antique Archaeology. It wasn’t hard to find because of all the people doing the same thing we were. The shop is in a beautiful old building that housed the Marathon Motor Car in the early 1900s. The company manufactured touring cars from 1914 to 1918. The building currently is home to many small businesses including Antique Archaeology. It was fun to walk through the small shop owned by Mike Wolfe of the Pickers and see some of the things we watched him pick on his show. His original store is in LeClaire, Iowa which we hope someday to also visit. The other picker on the show, Frank Fritz, owns a store in Savanna, IL called Frank Fritz Finds. We are hoping to stop at his store on our way back to Minnesota. We have to have some silly adventures in our travels and this is one.
Our next stop was in Bowling Green, Kentucky. We needed to waste a few nights before our reservations started in Ohio so we decided to stop here to see the National Corvette Museum. Yup we are thinking of buying a corvette to pull behind our 5th wheel so where better to check them out. REALLY! We are way too old to crawl down into a corvette but we did want to see the big sink hole that opened up on Feb 12 of this year in the museum and swallowed up eight collector’s corvettes. We couldn’t see the sink hole because of safety but we were able to see seven of the eight cars they pulled out of the hole. The eighth one was retrieved a few days after we had been there. It will be interesting to see if they will be able to restore these corvettes with the condition they came out of the hole in. The museum would be great if you are interested in corvettes but it was worth going just to see the results of the sink hole that was just recently covered on the news. Just a little more of our silly adventures.
Off to Ohio and a visit with our son Zach and his wife Lauren. Our drive through the beautiful states of Tennessee and Kentucky was fabulous even without the trees filled out. We have such a beautiful country and we are very lucky to be seeing some of it. How many people can say they spent one night on the Arkansas River and the next night on the Mississippi River? We know we are truly lucky when we see all the poverty in our country and see how people live and say a little prayer of thanks for looking out for us, our kids and friends and family.
Stay safe and always be thankful for all the little things in life!