Travel to Tunica Mississippi

Saturday June 30th 2018

The overnight lows were in the mid to upper 70s. The full sunshine quickly warmed the air into the 90s. It was not a fun day for packing up and moving. I split my time between the outside tasks in the heat and the inside tasks in the cool air conditioning. It would be more efficient to do all of the inside then all of the outside, but by splitting the tasks up I get a chance to cool down a little. I try to use the same approach when setting up, but it takes time to get the inside cooled down.


Site 117 at the Sam’s Town RV park.

I got on the road around 11AM and was off the road shortly after noon. I traveled from Arkansas through a little bit of Tennessee to Tunica Mississippi all in about fifty miles. For the next five nights over the Fourth of July holiday I’ll be at the Sam’s Town RV park. There are seven casinos in the Tunica area that have activities going on to celebrate the holiday. There are fireworks scheduled for tomorrow night and July 3rd that should be fun to see.


Many darkening clouds developed as the afternoon progressed.

Unlike the places closer to Memphis there is plenty of room in the RV park. This isn’t the kind of place that will draw vacationing families or most travelers. There are nice level sites with cement pads and full hookups in a wide open field. When I arrived there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. As the afternoon went on scattered fluffy clouds developed all around the area. This evening the sky to the north darkened and lightening was visible. The storm moved away to the north and east. It didn’t rain here at all, but a faint rainbow was visible behind the storm as it moved away.

Tomorrow I need to checkout the schedule for the fireworks. I believe the Sunday night show is sponsored by the Horseshoe Casino. I think that is too far away to see the fireworks from here, so I’ll need to scout out a place to view them.


Blossom of the day.

The weather got in the way again.

Friday June 29th 2018

A line of thunderstorms arrived in the area last night around 11PM. It was unclear how severe the storms would be. The National Weather Service had warnings out that included this county, but the description seemed to be an area west of here. I stayed up and awake until the storm front was fully by this area at about 2AM. It never got extreme. There was some wind and a lot of rain. This morning my RV home was on the side of lake size puddle.


The water had receded some by the time I took this picture. It was necessary to make a very large detour to get from the door of my RV home to the car without getting wet.

The weather forecasters got yesterday’s storms wrong. They had the majority of the severe storms passing to the east of Memphis. Instead there were storms passing north to south on the west and the east of Memphis. The city proper missed most of the heavy weather. The forecasters also got today wrong. The forecast was for higher temperatures than yesterday. What we got was heavy cloud cover during the middle of the day. This kept the temperature down in the eighties, but it was still very humid.


Blossom of the day.

If I’d known today was going to by cloudy and thus a good day to be outside, I’d have planned to do some touring in downtown Memphis. Of course since I was up half the night it would have been a slow start. Instead I did some food shopping and generally got ready to move tomorrow. I’m moving from the northwest of Memphis in Arkansas to the south side of Memphis in Mississippi. I’ll be about twice as far from Memphis at around thirty five miles. The goal is to be in at location for the holiday that is near some good fireworks. It also doesn’t hurt that the park I’m going to is less than half the cost of this one.


Tonight’s sunset.

Memphis and the Weather

Thursday June 28th 2018

The heat advisory continued in the Memphis area today. The high humidity combined with temperatures above 95 degrees produced a heat index in the hundreds. As I’m writing this blog entry a new line of severe thunderstorms is starting to move down from the north. The current path has the worst of it passing to the east of here, but I’m sure it’s going to get wet and windy.


View to the north of the Interstate 40 bridge into Memphis.

When your new to an area it is very hard to know how to react to the local media. The TV weather talkers are really trying to get the word of warning out about the heat and storms. I don’t know how serious to take their warnings. Are they enamored with new technology that allows them to forecast more accurately and over selling the severity? Is the current weather really unusual and dangerous? The heat and humidity don’t seem that unusually bad. I wouldn’t want to do much outside physical activity, but light activity with plenty of water seems doable. The weather talkers are calling for people to limit outside activity and stay in air conditioned buildings.


View to the south of the railroad bridges and the Interstate 55 bridge into Memphis.

The thunderstorms are harder to ignore. I don’t know what unusual is for the area and I don’t know what the normal local weather patterns look like. When you live in an area for a few years you know the paths storms usually take around hills or along bodies of water. Also, I don’t know the weather talkers track record. What happened the last few times they called “wolf”? In my RV home I can’t do much if a storm is coming. If it’s a really bad storm I could bring the slide rooms in. The next step would be to evacuate to a structure with more stability. The only way to know is to watch the weather radar Apps on my phone.

My uncertainty about the weather conditions means I have to err on the cautious side. Today I didn’t do a lot of outside activity. I drove into Memphis to do more touring, but mostly just drove around and looked at things out the car windows. I got a good view of Beal Street from the traffic lights at the barricades turning it into a pedestrian area. It might be interesting at night, but the daytime view didn’t motivate me to park the car. Similarly, I wasn’t motivated to look for the ducks in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel. My one stop was at the Tom Lee park on the Mississippi River. If there was some shade I would have stayed there for a while. There wasn’t any activity in the river or I would have stayed longer even without the shade.


Today’s blossom.

First Visit to Memphis

Wednesday June 27th 2018

Yesterday evening’s thunderstorm didn’t do anything to break the heat and humidity. Today was another day with a heat advisory in place. The temperature reached the mid nineties with high humidity. The reported heat index was 105.


Elvis is in the building. This statue of Elvis is in the Tennessee Welcome Center.


B,.B. King statue.

In the late morning I headed into Memphis to start touring. My first stop was the Tennessee Welcome center just over the Interstate 40 bridge on the banks of the river. My goal was to get better information about the attractions in the area. The Welcome Center is a modern building in a park like setting overlooking a marina on Mud Island with various bridges and roads towering above the area. In the Welcome Center are two massive statues of the cities musical celebrities. One is of Elvis Presley and the other is of B.B. King.


I saw the bridge crossing from the Civic Center area to Mud Island Park near the Tennessee Welcome Center. I thought it was only a pedestrian bridge until I saw the tram moving along under the structure.


Pyramid building that is now a Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World. It is very bright and reflective.

Just north of the Welcome Center, on the other side of the I-40 overpass, is a massive glass and aluminum pyramid. It was originally built as an arena in 1991. The facility is now the home of a huge Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World. Inside the aquariums, ponds and outdoor scenes are over the top even by Bass Pro standards. The big Catfish and Alligator Gar in the ponds are only dwarfed by the actual Alligators in one of the other ponds. I didn’t set out to go shopping today, but I found a couple of things I’ve been looking for. I found a new hat and a new pair of New Balance shoes. They were on sale, so the price was quite reasonable.


Catfish in one of the ponds at the Bass Pro Shop.


This fish is four to five feet long.

After about three hours in a very small area of Memphis I returned to camp for lunch and to get out of the heat. Tomorrow I’ll return to the downtown area for more touring.


Tonight’s sunset.


Laundry Day

Tuesday June 26th 2018

It was already approaching eighty when I got up this morning. The temperature didn’t cool off much at all last night. The actual temperature topped out in the mid 90s, but taking the humidity into account the heat index was over 100 degrees today. There was good breeze that made it more comfortable than the numbers make it sound.


Bed of various colors of Impatience in front of the campground office.

This evening the area is under a severe thunderstorm watch. The local television stations all have an outline of the area counties on the bottom corner of the screen. I find these indicators completely useless for people unfamiliar with the area. It is easy to find out the name of the county for your location. Finding out its shape is a little harder. Then you need to compare the shape of the county with all the counties on the little outline map on the TV. A simple crawl across the bottom of the screen with all the counties impacted by name would be much easier for people unfamiliar with the area. After all that I determined I’m at the southern edge of the watch area. The radar display on my phone Apps are a lot easier to watch.


The warmth overnight caused the air conditioner to cycle on and off all night. Up until last night it didn’t come on very often overnight. The consequence is that I didn’t get a very good nights sleep. I was very slow getting going this morning. Breakfast lasted most of the morning in front of the TV. Getting into tourist mode didn’t happen. The chief accomplishment for the day was catching up with the laundry. The facility at this campground had many machines, but almost half were broken. There were plenty of machines at two in the afternoon, but later in the day it might have been a problem. This park is mostly empty during the day. It fills up quickly as night approaches.


The weather is forecast to get hotter as the days go by. It is averaging more than five degrees above normal for this time of year. With the increasing humidity it is going to get really warm, but I’m getting acclimated. I’m writing about it because the weather is always an easy topic when you don’t have anything better to write about.

Travel Day to the Memphis Area

Monday June 25th 2018

Today was a relatively short travel day from the Little Rock area to the Memphis area. It was a journey of about 150 miles. Yesterday’s storm were over and the temperture was back into the low 90s with plenty of humidity. There was also just enough wind to be noticeable. I needed to be alert for sudden gusts, but I could still take one hand off the wheel when necessary.


Site 25 at the Memphis KOA in Marion Arkansas.

I didn’t rush getting ready to travel this morning. Checkout time wasn’t until 3PM so I had plenty of time. I left my site at eleven thirty to dump the holding tanks at the dumping station. It was necessary to traverse an entire loop of the campground to get to the dump station. Once the tanks were dumped I still had too hitch up the car to be toad. I finally departed the campground a little after noon. A very late starting time for me.

The trip was not without its challenges. The usual issue of finding a suitable gas station to fill the tank was one of today’s challenges. I had used Google Maps to scout out the locations to buy gas. I missed the exit for my first choice. It turned out to be in a hilly area that Google Maps didn’t clue me in about. I got off the highway at the exit for my second choice only to find one station closed and two others that were not easily accessible. Back on the interstate heading east I watched the gas gauge fall below a quarter tank. I still had plenty of range, but I don’t like to get that far down. Using the highway advertisement signs I picked an exit with four gas stations hoping one would be accessible. I got lucky and found two stations I could get in and out of with out issue. The good news is that I saved seven cents a gallon over my first choice. For 57 gallons a gas that was about four dollars of savings.

The road conditions today were pretty good compared to some of the interstate highways I’ve been on lately. The only road condition challenge was in the eight mile stretch they were widening and repaving the road. Traffic came to a standstill while everybody worked their way into a single lane. The state of Arkansas started warning about the merge ten miles ahead of time and provided much better signs near the merge than some of the states I traveled through.

I arrived at my destination a little after three. Setting up in the ninety plus degree temperatures was not fun. I took my time completing the setup. Once the air conditioner got the inside temperature under control I took a break. There really is a difference between the “dry heat” of the southwest and this heat with humidity. I didn’t react to the high temperatures last summer nearly as much as I am this humid heat.


Tonight’s sunset.

Rain Early and Storms Late

Sunday June 24th 2018

Today started wet and ended stormy. In between it was sunny and humid in the low nineties. Around midnight last night there was a period of loud thunder nearby, but it never produced any rain. The rain came without the thunder near dawn into the morning. It remained cloudy until early afternoon.


This large boat is based out of the marina just up river from my campsite.

Near nightfall the second wave arrived. At line of “severe” thunderstorms moved into the area from the west. The National Weather Service declared a Severe Thunderstorm warning for the area. The storm arrived with a lot of wind followed by heavy rain. The wind dropped another branch from a tree beside my RV. It missed everything of value, but did block the road in front of my site during the storm. I dragged it out of the way after the rain letup. As the storm passed through, the lightning across the river to the north was spectacular. I’m glad I wasn’t in the areas it was striking. I think the storms are over for tonight.


The thunderstorm moving in from the west.

During the day I made another grocery run to the Walmart Supercenter. I should be set for the next week for basic supplies. In my opinion Walmart’s selection of meats is generally poor. This one seemed to be worst than usual. I need to find a dedicated name brand grocery store to get some some meat. That will have to wait until I reposition my RV home tomorrow.


View out my front window of the early windy stage of the storm. Shortly after I took this picture a small branch came down into the road area between my rig and the red truck.

I spent a good part of the day getting ready to move tomorrow. I’ve been negligent in putting things away after I finish using them. The outside is ready to go, but the inside still needs to have things stowed. I’m only moving about one hundred and fifty miles to the Memphis area tomorrow. Check out time here is late at 3PM, so I can take my time in the morning.


Little Blue Heron or perhaps an Night Heron.

Stormy Start to Saturday

Saturday June 23rd 2018

Today began early. Around 4:30 this morning a storm front passed through the area. As usual the noisy rain on the roof woke me up. The noise steadily increased as did the sound of thunder and the bright flashes of lightning in the skylight and around the curtains. It was enough to get me out of bed to check the weather radar and any alerts. There was a sever storm watch in place, but the warnings weren’t for this area. With that knowledge I tried to get back to sleep, but it took awhile.


This branch was on the ground behind my RV this morning as proof of the storm.

Everything was drying out by the time I got up. Lots of leaves and a few branches on the ground provided evidence of the storms strength. It was calm with high cloud cover most of the day. The temperature never got above the mid eighties. Toward evening the sky cleared and the sun came out. The current forecast has tomorrow starting the same as today with a line of storms.


The fishing tournament check-in station all ready for the fishermen to return with their catch.

The park was very busy with day use activities today. A company was holding an outing in one of the shelters at the other end of the park. You could just here the amplified voices at my site. Judging by the number of cars there were probably a few hundred people at the outing. The other big activity was much quieter and much closer to my site. A bass fishing tournament on the river was based at the boat launching ramp just down the road from my site. Most of the boats had already launched by the time I got up. There were about twenty empty boat trailers in the parking lot. There wasn’t any activity until the fishermen started coming in between three and four in the afternoon. I missed the whole thing. By the time I decided to walk over it was all over. They were draining the tanks and taking down the banners.


The calm river late this afternoon. All of the boats have left the river for the day.

I spent most of the day sitting outside reading and watching television. It was nice to have a day that didn’t need air conditioning to be comfortable.


Blossom of the day.

Another Bicycle Ride on the Arkansas River Trail

Friday June 22nd 2018

The humidity was gone today. In its place was a stiff breeze of 10-15 mph. The temperature still got into the low nineties.


Murray Dam from about a mile below the dam on the Arkansas River.


Looking up the Little Maumelle River from the merge with the Arkansas River.

I returned to Two Rivers park for some more bicycle riding on the Arkansas River Trail. Today I rode along the river to the east about three miles further than yesterday. I was much better prepared today. The only problem I had was after a long stretch in full sunlight. I was sweating profusely from the under the bicycle helmet. It was enough to cause me to reverse direction and head back to where I started. Unfortunately, the return trip was into the wind.


The deer were in the swamp again today when I passed at the start of my ride. When I stopped to take pictures on the return ride, they were no where to be seen. There were a lot more people around today, so I’m not surprised the deer were hiding. The only other semi-exotic animal I saw was a snake wiggling across the trail. I gave it plenty of room, but it looked rather ordinary.

Back at the campground the park is filling up for the weekend. For the first time since last weekend all of the sites around me are occupied. It is interesting to watch people arrive with their toys. A motorhome arrived at the site across the street followed immediately by a truck pulling a boat trailer with two personal water craft. The driver of pulling the boat trailer wasn’t familiar with backing up a trailer. It was kind of entertaining. A couple of sites away a truck arrived with a trailer. After setting up the truck departed to return a couple of hours later pulling a boat trailer with a fishing boat. Everybody has a different way to get their water toys here.


The geese came to visit this evening.


The geese family brought the children for supper.

This evening the resident geese came to visit all of the new arrivals. They were slowly marching down the road spread out on both sides. An arriving truck didn’t know how to deal with them and stopped in the road to wait for the geese to move on. Five minutes later three cars were waiting for the geese to get out of the road. The driver of the third car in line got out and annoyed the geese into moving out of the road. From what I’ve observed if you keep driving slowly at the geese they will let you pass. I’m not sure I’d try it without having seen that it works.


Flower blossom of the Day.


Bicycle Ride in Two Rivers Park

Thursday June 21st 2018

It’s officially summer. The weather has been “summer like” for the last month. Today was no exception. The temperature topped out around 90 with high humidity early and drier conditions late in the day. Yesterday’s late in the day rain ended with the day. The sound of rain on the roof of the RV was gone by midnight. I woke up to bright sunshine this morning.


A deer and her fawn walking along the trail ahead of me. This image is zoomed and cropped. I didn’t get very close before they turned into the woods.

I returned to the Two Rivers park with my bicycle this morning. My goal was to ride the trails in the park and follow the trails east along the Arkansas River toward downtown Little Rock. Most of the trail is tree lined and there were enough clouds in the sky that I didn’t think the heat would be a problem. I would have been fine if I’d set a slow pace and remembered to drink water. As it was I only got to the “Big Dam Bridge” before I was feeling the heat. I sat under a tree opposite the Murray Dam and sipped my water for fifteen minutes or so. My return trip was at a slower pace with more water breaks. I wasn’t going to risk going further today.


Interstate 430 over the Arkansas River.


Pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Little Maumelle River just before it joins the Arkansas River.


The “Big Dam Bridge” pedestrian bridge above the Murray Dam.


The “Big Dam Bridge”, the Murray Dam and the Murray Lock in the foreground.

On the ride I passed the swamp I watched the deer in on Tuesday. There were two deer and several birds in the swamp today. Further down the trail I started to ride up on a deer with her fawn. I stopped to take a picture from a good distance away. They got spooked and went off the trail into the woods. It is amazing that a relatively small area between two rivers near the build up of a big city has so many deer.


Two deer and several birds in the swamp.

I rode about six miles overall and could have kept going when I got back to the car. Between the animals and the great views of the river it was a nice ride. Tomorrow I’ll be more prepared and will take it slower. The chance to see more deer and more of the river is drawing me back.


Blossom of the Day.