On Friday, July 18th, with jacks up, we headed from Mountain Home, Arkansas to near Wynne, Arkansas – approximately 30 miles from West Memphis, Arkansas. It was an easy day of travel (154.5 miles), with a few stops along the way, and we pulled into Village Creek State Park (which is ironic, since we will be volunteer park hosts at Village Creek State Park in Lumberton, Texas from October through December) around 4:30 in the afternoon. Jacks down and set up!
The following morning, Dick/Grampa and Logan took pictures behind our campsite – where Dick thinks he got into some poison ivy, which is why you should never wear sandals when in the woods.
We were then on the road for the afternoon to West Memphis, Arkansas and the Mississippi River. After not finding much of interest to us in West Memphis, Arkansas, we drove over to Memphis, Tennessee – across the Mississippi River (which we were used to crossing at Baton Rouge, Louisiana). At least I can now say that I have been to Beale Street in Memphis, which was interesting. We took in the sights; toured the Rock n Soul Museum (http://www.memphisrocknsoul.org/), which I loved and could have stayed longer, but it was just okay with Dick and Logan; and had barbeque at a place recommended to us, which was very pricey and not nearly up to par with what Dick can fix or that we had at Mikey’s near Mountain View, Arkansas. Even though I had not planned to tour Elvis Presley’s home, I am sorry that I did not think to at least drive by it – again, to say that I had seen it. Oh, well!
Our plan was to leave Village Creek State Park on Sunday, July 20th. However, when we went to raise the jacks that morning, they barely moved and stopped. We would never have lowered them, except that the RV tech had assured us that it would be okay. Naturally, this was Sunday, but we called Good Sam (“GS”) Roadside Assistance once , and told them exactly what we needed, and that we were not interested in a repair, but just to get the jacks up.
First, they sent a person with a wrecker company, who had Dick checking the HWH (who manufactures our hydraulic system) manual and making phone calls to see what he should do. After 40 minutes (at $85 per hour), I called GS Roadside Assistance and told them we would NOT pay this man, who knew nothing about RVs. Needless to say, no one could be found to come to our location on Sunday, so we had to extend our stay for another night.
On Monday morning, we received a call from GS Roadside Assistance giving us the information on another tech who would be sent. Long story short, after talking to him, he did not know what to do and told us to call another company. The rep with GS Roadside Assistance told us that, if they sent someone we requested and the job could not be done, they would send no one else – even though they could not find someone capable of doing the job.
Totally frustrated, Dick called the RV tech from Leach in Mountain Home, who told him to drain the hydraulic fluid to manually raise the jacks. Bingo, it worked, and we prepared to hit the road – and deal with these repairs when we return to Texas! I tell this story to, hopefully, save another RVer from the headaches we have had.
By the way, Dick found that, when our hydraulic fluid was topped off in Jasper, Texas, the wrong fluid was used, causing the pump motors to work too hard. Unfortunately, we cannot prove this! Fortunately, however, we do have a GS Extended Warranty policy so, when we settle in one place long enough to arrange for the repair, it should only cost us our deductible. That story really was meant to be shorter! Sorry!
From Village Creek State Park near Wynne, Arkansas, we traveled only 136 miles to the Walmart parking lot in Jackson, Tennessee to stock up on supplies and stay overnight. It was nice catching up on movies that we had not seen with Logan (since we had no TV set up on this trip) – especially when we were so close to Redbox locations – and cheap entertainment, too. For those who are wondering, we always call ahead to be sure there is no problem parking on the outer edges of the Walmart parking lot, as some communities have ordinances that do not allow it. Also, since we run our generator to cook and for ACs, plus we usually buy supplies, it is not less expensive than most campgrounds for an overnight stay – but it is sometimes convenient.
On Tuesday, July 22nd, we hit the road once more to Cedar Creek COE Park near Mount Juliet, Tennessee (near Nashville). We only had 148 miles to travel and arrived at 1:30 p.m., but it was a very stressful drive through Nashville and to the park on roads barely wide enough in our lane for the motor home (“MH”). The good news was that we would be here for 6 nights – and another great campground. Check it out at: Cedar Creek COE Park - Mount Juliet, TN.
We spent Wednesday hanging out at the campground, and I was pleased to learn there was a washer and dryer on site and within walking distance of our campsite. So much better than having to go to a laundromat - even if it was still a chore - and I could dry on board (but not wash, since we had no sewer hookup). Logan had been wanting to roast marshmallows over a fire - like we did when tent camping - so Dick, with Logan’s assistance, lit a fire, we roasted hot dogs and, as soon as Logan started roasting marshmallows, it started to rain, so we had another movie night!
On Thursday, July 24th, we headed a few miles up the road to The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson. Logan has always enjoyed studying the life of Sam Houston, who was a friend of President Jackson, as part of Texas history, so he was looking forward to this tour and thoroughly enjoyed it, as did Dick and I. You can tour the home (but no pictures may be taken in the home) – and Logan and Dick are the third and fourth people sitting on the bench - and explore the grounds with headphones to listen to stories at different locations. This was a great history lesson and well worth the trip!
Here are a few facts from the website at http://www.thehermitage.com/visit/:
“Since opening in 1889, President Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage has welcomed over 15 million guests. Located just minutes from downtown Nashville, this charming National Historic Site encourages visitors to step back in time and learn more about the rich life of the 7th President of the United States. Guests are welcome to explore the 1,120 acres of majestic property, complete with many educational activities that the entire family will enjoy. The highlights of a visit to The Hermitage include: President Jackson’s mansion, beautiful grounds, the original Hermitage home, spectacular Southern gardens, a museum filled with historical information and artifacts, enslaved memorials, and much, much more.”
To give us all some down time, we took excursions usually every 2 days, with the other day spent catching up and for Logan to swim, ride his bike, watch movies and just hang out.
On Saturday, July 26th, we drove into Nashville to tour the Parthenon, which is the world’s only full scaled replica of the ancient Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The following information is from their website:
“The Parthenon stands proudly as the centerpiece of Centennial Park, Nashville's premier urban park. The re-creation of the 42-foot statue Athena is the focus of the Parthenon just as it was in ancient Greece. The building and the Athena statue are both full-scale replicas of the Athenian originals.
“Originally built for Tennessee's 1897 Centennial Exposition, this replica of the original Parthenon in Athens serves as a monument to what is considered the pinnacle of classical architecture. The plaster replicas of the Parthenon Marbles found in the Naos are direct casts of the original sculptures which adorned the pediments of the Athenian Parthenon, dating back to 438 B.C. The originals of these powerful fragments are housed in the British Museum in London.”
For more information on the Parthenon, check out the following website: Parthenon - Nashville, TN.
For those 62 and older who have the Federal Senior Pass, which I have mentioned in earlier blogs, the card is good at the Parthenon for half-price entry, but each person must have their own card (which is not necessary for park reservations, but Dick and I each have a card, which saved us a few dollars).
Logan really wanted to visit the Parthenon, as he is an avid reader of the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, and a portion of the movie, “The Lightning Thief”, was filmed at the Parthenon in Nashville, plus he enjoys studying Greek Mythology. It was interesting to me, too, as I remembered very little from this period of history – unlike Dick, who remembers history well.
The statue of Athena was phenomenal!
From the Parthenon, we drove to Broadway and Music Row, which I can also now say that I have been there, done that. I would probably have a lot of fun with our daughter Michelle and other girls and would love to attend shows – but this was not Dick and Logan’s thing. Thank you, guys, for humoring me!
After paying $15 to park for 2 hours and walking 2 blocks on a very hot day, past the Ryman Auditorium, which I would have loved to have toured, we located Jack’s Bar-B-Que, which had been highly recommended to us.
Dick had this to say about Jack’s Bar-B-Que: “Their ribs are delicious, prices are very reasonable, but I don't know if it was worth a 2-block walk and back up and down a hill to pay downtown parking fees of $15 for two hours, then wait in a chow-line that wrapped around in front of a neighboring business (the Stand, the sign with the black oval, in the picture) in the heat for 15 minutes in about 95º heat, only to go through their entrance and find there is another 50-foot line to get served cafeteria-style. The sides were less than mediocre – basically, my green beans were taken out of a can, washed with no seasoning added, then boiled until they were almost (not quite) mushy. At one point, Judy asked an employee about a to-go box for Logan, and was treated with total indifference and told to ‘go downstairs and ask for one' (we were two flights up from downstairs). After the meal, you are expected to clean your own table and dump your trays – ‘McDonald’s-style’... no wait, at fast food places, often you get someone asking if everything was acceptable! To sum it all up, I would prefer to go to a small Mom & Pop bar-b-que shack out in the boonies. The food was excellent, but I didn't care for the price we had to pay (especially in comfort) in addition to the food.” That about sums it up, plus Dick’s barbeque is much better!
After lunch, Dick went back to the car (he had seen all he wanted to see) to wait for Logan and I while we walked along Broadway and made a few stops, including the Visitor’s Center and Ernest Tubbs Record Shop.
We then headed out of the city and back to the suburbs and the park!
The next day (Sunday, July 27th) was spent getting ready to travel again and begin heading south. Logan had another swim in Old Hickory Lake and, back at the park that evening, the Canada geese walking along the bank of the lake caught my attention.
Thanks for stopping by and traveling with us and hope to see ya soon for the next phase of our RV vacation!