Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chicago, IL - 04/04/13

Thursday – April 4, 2013

The wet, bone-chilling 40 degree weather persists here this morning at the Dogwood Campground in the Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park near Memphis, Tennessee. This is unusually cold weather for this part of the country at this time of year. The weather is forcast to reach the low-60’s today.

Spring has arrived and it is time to return to our home in the Chicago area. We departed the Dogwood campground at 6:40 a.m. under a light rain. The rain followed us for 194 miles until we reached Illinois. Eighteen miles into Illinois, we left the rain behind us and had a sunny sky overhead. It was so nice to see the sun after having spent the past several days under an overcast sky.

We arrived home at 6:50 p.m. Our snowbird adventure that began on December 7, 2012 encompassed a 6,052 mile journey that took us through 10 States over a period of four months. We had a wonderful time meeting new friends, exploring new locations and revisiting a few of our favorite restaurants and scenic wilderness areas.

Total miles traveled today: 568

Tomorrow we begin to plan another adventure for late summer, early fall 2013.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

SOB Memphis, TN - 04/04/13

Wednesday – April 3, 2013 Find more about Weather in Memphis, TN Click on WeatherUnderground Graphic for Weather on April 3, 2013 The rain had stopped sometime last night, started again around 3:30 p.m. and finally stopped by 5:30 p.m. An overcast sky had prevailed throughout the day, keeping the temperature quite chilly, in the high 40’s, here at the Dogwood campground in the Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park near Memphis, Tennessee.

This afternoon we visited Memphis. Our first stop was to the Visitor Center located on Riverside Drive that allows 2-hour free parking. There is one parking lot for automobiles and another parking lot for RV’s. We use this parking lot for our short visits to the Beale Street Historic District in Memphis. Across the street from the Visitor Center visitors can take the Riverside Electric Trolley to the Historic District. These are historic old-time trollys that make a complete loop through the Historic District and back to the Visitor Center. The cost to ride the trolly is $1.00 per ride, $3.50 for an all day pass and $9.00 for a 3-day pass. This is a great way to visit the area and enjoy a ride on a trolly from another era in time.

We had a late lunch at the SOB Gastropub (South of Beale) in Memphis, Tennessee. The restaurant is located on Main Street south of Beale Street. We discovered this restaurant on the Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives television program in a segment we watched in March 2013.

The SOB is a small storefront restaurant located at 361 South Main Street in Memphis. We arrived there at 4:15 p.m. and there was only one other couple dining there. We selected two of the side dishes profiled on the Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives program; the first was duck fried rice and the second was maple bacon braised brussel sprouts. OMG! These two dishes were absolutely delicious. The duck fried rice came with a fried egg on top of brown rice with chunks of duck meat dispersed throughout the rice. The brussel sprouts were quartered and mixed with chunks of thick bacon set in a maple syrup-based sauce. This was one of the most unusual, but delicious, preparations of brussel sprouts we have ever had the pleasure of dining on. In addition to these two side dishes, Sharon ordered the seared chicken sandwich with roasted chilies and mozzarella and Cajun potatoes (very thin, slightly crisp, potato slices with a Cajun seasoning) for her entrée. I ordered the wild boar sausage spaetzle with onions and havarti dill for my entrée. The blending of the ingredients used to prepare these entrée’s were absolutely delightful to the palate. We topped off our dining experience with a Coca-Cola bread pudding accompanied by a scoop of Jack Daniels ice cream topped off with Coca-Cola syrup. What more can I say! This unpretentious small restaurant has a chef that excels in food preparation that will delight the taste buds of the most discriminating diner. When we left the restaurant at 5:30 p.m., about two-thirds of the tables were already occupied. We will definitely be dining here on our future visits to Memphis.

We returned to our campsite at the Dogwood campground in the Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, very content with our dining experience at the SOB. We decided a return visit to Memphis in the summer or fall of this year would be added to our travel plans.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Memphis, TN - 04/02/13

Tuesday – April 2, 2013 Find more about Weather in Memphis, TN Click on WeatherUnderground Graphic for Weather on April 2, 2013

Tuesday – April 2, 2013

We awoke to a dramatic change in the weather from the warm sunny day we enjoyed on Monday, here at the Maumelle Park Campground near Little Rock, Arkansas. A cold front from the north moved into the area bringing much colder and windy weather. The sky was overcast with the possibility of rain and the temperature in the high 40’s. Time to travel to our next destination.

We departed Maumelle at 9:45 a.m. Our destination is the Dogwood Campground in the Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park near Memphis, Tennessee. We arrived there at 1:10 p.m. and selected campsite #12. This is a very nice campsite and will be our first choice on our future visits.

Of interest to us was the Tennessee State Parks camping price change for 2013. They now offer senior citizens, from any State, a 25% discount from April 1st through October 31st and a 50% discount from November 1st through March 31st. In prior years, these discounts only applied to senior citizen residents of Tennessee. We certainly appreciated this policy change, since we had camped here in December 2012 and paid the full price at that time.

The Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park comprises 12,617 acres and is located 13 miles north of Memphis. Bordering the mighty Mississippi River, two-thirds of the part is bottomland hardwood forests of large oak, cypress and tupelo. The park contains 18 miles of hiking trails, a 3-mile bike trial, and beautiful picnic areas and playgrounds. A boat ramp is maintained on the Mississippi River. Deer, turkey, beaver, foxes and over 200 species of birds and other wildlife are abundant. The park is named for Edward J. Meeman, courageous conservation editor of Scripps-Howard newspapers who helped establish this park, as well as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The parks nature center has live reptile and raptor displays as well as a variety of programs, including pontoon boat trips, deep swamp canoe floats and guided hikes.

The State Park has one campground (Dogwood) with 49 campsites suitable for RV’s. The campground has a well-paved road and each campsite has a paved parking pad with electric and water hookups. Facilities include one well-maintained restroom with flush toilets and hot showers. The campsites are surrounded by a heavily wooded forest and offer a fair degree of privacy between campsites. Despite the heavily forested campsites we are able to get excellent television reception with our DISH Tailgater system.

We will spend two nights at the Dogwood campground while we sample the cuisine at two restaurants profiled on the Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives television program in March 2013. The first one is the Memphis BBQ Co. in Horn Lake, Mississippi. The second one is the SOB (South of Beale), located in Memphis on Main Street south of Beale Street.

We dined at the Memphis BBQ Co. at 5:00 p.m. this afternoon and it certainly lived up to its glowing review on the Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives program. It is located 30 miles southwest of the Dogwood campground. It is a large restaurant conveniently located adjacent to a Strip Mall with the mall parking lot suitable for large RV parking. We ordered the fried green tomatoes as an appetizer. Sharon ordered the half-slab of spare ribs and I ordered the half-slab of baby back ribs for our main course. The main courses come with two sides and include a slice of corn bread. We both agreed the spare ribs and baby back ribs were delicious, but we enjoyed the baby back ribs more. The baby back ribs were juicier and had more meat on them. The fried green tomatoes were delicious and the best we have ever had. The corn bread was a pleasant surprise. It was a large portion, delicious and very moist, the best we have ever had. This restaurant has now been added to one of our favorites in the Memphis area.

We returned to our campsite at the Dogwood campground under a steady rain and a bone-chilling temperature in the mid-40’s. In short order we were warm and cozy inside our Casita trailer.

Camping Fee: $20.00 per night ($15.00 with 25% discount for senior citizens from any State).
Campsite: 12

Total miles traveled today: 169

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Little Rock, AR - 04/01/13

Monday – April 1, 2013 Find more about Weather in Little Rock, AR Click on WeatherUnderground Graphic for Weather on April 1, 2013

Time to move on! We departed the Rocky Point Campground at Wright Patman Lake near Texarkana, Texas at 9:10 a.m. We were originally planning to drive straight through to Memphis, Tennessee, but we decided in route to spend the night at the Maumelle Park Campground near Little Rock, Arkansas.

We arrived at the Maumelle Park campground at 1:00 p.m. and were assigned a campsite facing the river. This is a beautiful C.O.E. campground located right next to the shoreline of the Arkansas River. There are 130 campsites designated for RV or tent camping that are located within Loops A, B C, D, E and F. Campsites A10 through A18 and B20 through B37 are located next to the shoreline of the Arkansas River. All other campsites are located within partially wooded areas. There are three restroom facilities with flush toilets and hot showers. There are five private room showers, with locking doors, per restroom facility.

After a brief period of relaxation, under a beautiful sunny sky with the temperature in the low-70’s, we were eager to begin our tour of the campground. So off we go! This campground is spread out over a very large area, providing the campers with a beneficial heart healthy walk of about one mile throughout the campground. Loop A campsites are located by a boat marina that houses some very large yachts and houseboats. All of the berths were filled, so we were able to view a variety of boat styles and sizes. Upon our return to our campsite, we heard a low rumbling sound coming from the direction of the river. We looked up and observed a riverboat tethered to four barges traveling south on the river. We never cease to be entertained by the sight of these riverboat barges plying their trade on our mighty river waterways.

The Maumelle Park campground provided pleasant memories of my visits here during the middle to late1990’s. I used this campground as my home base for our 1995 Safari Motorhome when I would make sales calls on manufacturing companies within the Little Rock area.

We look forward to a restful night in this lovely state park.

Camping Fee: $12.00 per night with our Golden Age Passport).
Campsite: B22

Total miles traveled today: 164

Tomorrow another adventure begins.