After a one-day weather delay in Oxford, we hit the road Monday morning. Listening to the radio before departure, we ditched our previously planned route along back roads – the first small town we would pass through had tornado damage, and the list of flooded roads was too extensive for us to research. We’d seen the flooding on I-40 between Memphis and Nashville on TV, but I-55 seemed to be open and dry. We changed our plans, picked up I-55, and had a happily uneventful drive up to Memphis.
On previous visits here (Odel’s birthplace), we’ve stayed across the Mississippi in West Memphis, Arkansas, in one of our favorite RV parks, Tom Sawyer’s Mississippi River RV Park. It fronts on the Mississippi and we’ve spent many peaceful hours watching the big barges and cruise ships pass by in front of us. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place with friendly owners. The downsides? The neighborhood is far from appealing, the walking is limited, and it is a 45 minute drive to visit Odel’s family on the other side of Memphis. Also, very fresh in our minds since the big storms of the weekend: there is no safe tornado shelter there, or nearby.
This visit, we decided to try the Agricenter International, a huge fairgrounds-type complex on the east side of Memphis (click here to read our review). The Memphis NOAA radar site is located here, with a huge, tornado-safe shelter a short distance from our campsite.
While the sites are nothing to rave about (fairgrounds style parking), the area is great: miles of walking/biking trails right out of the campground and in an adjacent county park, with convenient shopping and restaurants very nearby. Best of all, it is a 10 minute drive to visit Odel’s family.
When the choice is “mediocre campground, convenient area” vs.. “wonderful campground, inconvenient/questionable area”, we’ll usually put up with the mediocre campground. In this case, we got lucky with our campsite – we’re in a less-congested part of the 200+ site campground, with open space (no RV sites) on the passenger side. We were so pleased with our site, the friendly host, and the convenience of the location, we upped our reservation from 10 days to 2 weeks.
As soon as we were set up, we went to the on-site Farmer’s Market, open May through October 6 days a week. Hard to beat fresh produce available for purchase a short walk away! Next, we were off for our customary walk, this time on another part of this HUGE complex. Quick showers, and we headed over to Audrey’s (Odel’s niece) house for a family get-together before we all headed off to the Bonefish Grill for a celebratory dinner.
Today: chores (we picked up our mail and the Boomer mail yesterday) and errands. We discovered that one of the trails we planned to walk is underwater; the Wolf River on the southern boundary of the Agricenter is flooded from the weekend’s storms.
Tomorrow I catch an early flight out to Sacramento - while Odel visits with his family here in Memphis, I’ll visit my parents, sister and girlfriends in Sacramento for 5 days. No blog posting from there – too busy having fun! Back in a week…