Sunday, May 16, 2010


Yes, we are still in Memphis (click here to read our campground review).  The weather report when we awoke this morning: rain, fog, and mist.  Peeking out the window, that looked to be right on target.  It poured again last night (same as the night before); the atmosphere holds as much humidity as is possible without it actually falling as drops.   We westerners are oh, so ready for a change!

Waterlogged Yesterday was the sort of day I usually DON’T report, the perfect illustration of why we have a love/hate relationship with campground reservations.  Although we try to avoid making reservations, when we want to be in a specific location on specific “in season” dates, we do it – which guarantees that we will either a) regret that we are “on a schedule” when we have to pass up interesting places and events or b) have a mechanical problem/breakdown.

Enter option b. 

A couple months ago, still winter, we made a reservation at a campground in Maryland, for a visit to Odel’s daughter, Kim.  Thinking ahead – far, far, ahead - we planned to stay over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, one of the dreaded Major Camping Holidays.  We would be settled two days before the busy weekend began, and stay for a week.  Hurray for us – smart planning!

From there, the remainder of our winter travel plans flowed, including our current stop in Memphis and a visit to Cincinnati to visit Rosanna’s daughter, Joy and her husband Greg.  Since I was flying to Sacramento from Memphis, and since we had specific plans in Cincinnati, we made reservations for both stops.  Memphis early May, Cincinnati mid-May, Maryland late May – and all in-between stops would be on our whim and a spontaneous schedule, our vastly preferred travel mode.

Our refrigerator put a stop to all that.  As the temperature rose in Memphis, it also rose inside our refrigerator.  When even the highest temperature setting resulted in slippery ice cubes and alarmingly high internal temperatures, we called a mobile RV service.  Long story short, we will be in Memphis until at least Wednesday morning, perhaps longer. 

After absorbing the discouraging diagnosis, we fired up the phones to adjust our reservations – which is why we HATE making ‘em!  Both campgrounds (county campgrounds that give credits rather than refunds) were willing to push our reservations by a few days, so we soon had our schedule adjusted.

And then the big OOPS!  Forgetting about Memorial Day, we moved our reservation in Maryland from Thursday (for one week), to Sunday (for one week).  As we looked for a campground along our route for Friday and Saturday, it hit us: we were talking about Memorial Day weekend, the kickoff to the summer camping season.  The resulting flurry of phone calls emphasized our beginner’s mistake – not a space to be found.

So much for our smart planning!  After two hours of phone calls and a thorough, panicky review of ALL our numerous directories, favorite websites, and handwritten notes tucked away in files – to NO avail – we had our AHA moment.  If we drove 250 miles a day (instead of our usual 150 +/- miles), we could cover the ground from Cincinnati to our Maryland campground in two days, arriving on Friday… and if our karma was perfect and our stars aligned, a quick phone call could retrieve the space we had so recently given up before it was reserved by someone else.

Odel was on the phone in a heartbeat and re-reserved our site for both Friday and Saturday.  Whew! 

Now we’re in a holding pattern, here in Memphis until at least Wednesday morning (if the part arrives and can be installed on Tuesday).  There are far worse places to be “stuck”, and far worse challenges to solve – after all, our ice maker is still working, able to keep up with our copious consumption of iced tea. :) 

All this shuffling of travel plans motivated me to begin researching our summer travels.  Today I (gasp) MADE ANOTHER RESERVATION!  Duluth, Minnesota, holds a giant Blues Festival mid-August – 2010 is the 22nd annual event.  Since our first trip to Duluth in 2003, I’ve wanted to stay at the downtown marina “campground” there (asphalt parking facing the boats, right on the water), and the music festival site is just 10 blocks away.  When I called, I snagged the last RV site available.   The good news?  No pre-payment required, so a change in plans isn’t a financial blow. 

It’s the new “anchor” to our summer plans: Duluth, Minnesota, mid-August.  Average high temperature?  75 degrees.  Three days of blues bands, water views, sunshine.  Sometimes it pays to make a reservation.  :)


  1. Mid August, 75 degrees. It sounds lovely!

  2. Duluth is wonderful. The canal zone is great. If you decide to stay longer there is a nice state park just outside of Duluth called Jay Cooke. Has great hiking trails and is on the Will Munger state bike trail which goes all the way into Duluth. Summer is wonderful there. We spent a long weekend there this winter too. It was -13 or better every night and it was still a beautiful fun place to stay.

  3. OH those reservations really make it difficult, but also make it easy! LOL The few times we have made reservations, each time there was a snafu! Either they lost it, they overbooked, or the site they saved for us was wayyy too small or sloped etc. We try to be thorough and tell them our exact length and needs, but some places just don't *get it*. Well, then they don't get our business either.

    We find we are lucky enough to get places by the seat of our pants, or be flexible enough to move on down the road.

    But Memorial Day, that can be a problem as you said. Sounds like your Duluth plan will be delightful!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard