Saturday, September 22, 2018

On the Mississippi

We pulled into one of our favorite RV parks yesterday afternoon, before the sky opened.

Tom Sawyer RV Park, in the depressed city of West Memphis, Arkansas, sits directly on the flat banks of the Mississippi River.

When you get off I-40 and drive up and over the levee you wonder if you've read the directions correctly.    We've been here before, so we knew where we were going, but I remember our first time.   Dave kept asking me if I was SURE I knew there was an RV Park down there.    I thought I was, but.....

You drive down a long, kudzu covered, tree lined lane and through an eerie looking stone gate.     You check in to a tiny "office" on wheels and then follow a UTV, past the raised laundry room building, through more trees that open into a huge, grassy field with The River in view.

I can't imagine The River being that high!

The RV sites are all arranged to take advantage of the fantastic River view.  Most of the year.   On our way to our site we noticed the electric transformers were all very high....with stairs up to them.     We noticed two houses up in the trees....

When you make reservations for this park online, they ask that you check the River Stage and Flood charts before coming.   If they are at a certain number or above for your reservation.....don't come.    This is why....

satellite view of Tom Sawyer RV at flood stage!

Part of the year this entire area is underwater!    They drive the office away, turn off the power and let the mighty Mississippi have her way with the property.   When she's finished, they move back in and are open for business.

tomorrow we'll move to one of those front row sites

those beautiful clouds brought us some nasty weather

It was 96 degrees with very similar humidity numbers yesterday.    It rained most of the night and it has been spitting on and off all day today.      We've enjoyed watching traffic on the very busy River.

Some barges and push boats move by quickly with the rapid current.

one of the smallest push/barge combinations

When they come from the opposite direction, against the current, they have a hard time and must really use all their strength to move the barges ahead.   We've seen combinations of 20 or more laden barges being pushed along the river!

this boat was really digging in to move the 20 barges it had in front

It's interesting to see two pass by each other at the bend, or pass each other going in the same direction.     These pilots are gutsy!

We were scheduled to leave here tomorrow for the next stop on our path west.....Petit Jean State Park.   I say "were" because we've decided to stay put for at least one more day.   The entire rest of the state of Arkansas is under a flood watch/warning and since we managed to avoid a hurricane we'd like to avoid a flood as well.     We'll have to move sites in the morning, but that's a good thing - we'll have a front row site, right next to The River!

Stay tuned.....


  1. This is a wonderful park. I remember our visit and how strange it was to see the office on wheels, laundry room on the second floor, and electric boxes way up with steps to them. But what a wonderful view of the river. We loved sitting out and watching all the various barges. It sure is a busy river. Glad you are staying put and not heading into flooding. Hope the rain stops there at Tom Sawyer and the river stays put. Enjoy watching the river action:)

  2. Thanks for the preview, Sue, now we know what to expect when we get there sometime late Fall.

  3. We stayed at a beautiful nearby state park when we visited Memphis, but Tom Sawyer is on our list for our next visit for something different. So interesting to see how they've planned for the river rising. Enjoy your Happy Hour and Second Cup from your front row site!

  4. We have always wanted to stay at that park. Interesting about looking at the charts. I can't image how much clean up they must have to do.

  5. I looked into that park when we were headed to Memphis our first spring, but I got freaked out by the stories of flooding. I just envisioned them closing the park and us driving around downtown Memphis in our RV with nowhere to go.... I was a little more nervous back then. :) Anyway, next time we head through the area, we'll stay there. It would be fun to just hang out and watch the barges go by.

  6. Great pics of this unique park - brings back wonderful memories! It is intimidating to see that flood mark on the side of the building!!! This storm is really wide - we're getting pounded with rain in Delaware as well. Enjoy the River.

  7. How bizarre, to my western city-girl eyes, that a park is able to survive year after year by simply allowing the river to take over when it must! Genius!

  8. Interesting place to stay. Glad you enjoyed it when it wasn't flooded.