Sunday, April 19, 2009


It seems to me …a person should never say never and here is one reason why:

When we checked in at Tom Sawyer’s RV Park, the much-anticipated park bordering the Mississippi River in West Memphis, AR we were told that even though we had specifically reserved a “riverfront” site, there were none available. It seemed we would have to take a site in the second row, also called a “riverfront” site but one row back with gravel pull-thrus. The front row sites all have a cement pull-thru. The gravel sites are a bit extravagant for us but the cement sites are even more, about another $30 a week. When we called for reservations, the woman on the phone assured us we would have a “riverfront” site without the cement pull-thru and since we didn’t know they call all three rows of sites, “riverfront” sites, and it was not explained to us (we have never been here before) in our ignorance, we believed we had reserved a site right on the river.

Needless to say, I was livid when the woman behind the desk seemed indifferent to our displeasure, shrugged her shoulders and made no attempt to find a way rectify the situation. I had to leave the office because had I stayed I might have said something I would regret. Also, I might have told her where to put our reservation and left if we hadn’t been on the road all day and needed to stop and rest. There were lots of things we could have done but we swallowed our anger, considered the free laundry facilities as a consolation and settled in to the second row site. It wasn’t too bad after we got a look down inside the park and decided we could live with the mix up but would make sure we aired our complaints on the web. Phil wrote his account of what happened on the website and I planned to share my less than gracious thoughts in the blog.

Two days ago, a car pulled up and the driver knocked on our door. He introduced himself as the owner of the park. He informed Phil he had heard we were very unhappy and he also understood how it had happened and took total responsibility. He told Phil he had torn up our check. He agreed the park website needed to be more clear and he also offered a front row site beginning today. We declined as we are leaving on Wednesday so he told Phil if we ever came back to this park, he would personally guarantee we had a front row site. Now, that variety of admirable business practice is so rare and uncommon, we had to tell our readers about what happened. Phil promptly put a reversal of our opinion on the website and since we had vowed to never return to this park, it seems to me … a person should never say never!

A few thoughts about Arkansas: It is in fact a very beautiful state. We were surprised to see the proliferation of planted Pine forests (thousands of acres) and enjoyed seeing the multitude of turtles sunning themselves in the bayous as we drove the back roads. All the beef we have eaten in Arkansas has been lean, flavorful and notably tender. I have no idea why that is but the cattle we have seen are being raised on green, grassy pastures with not a stockyard in evidence anywhere we have traveled. Could there be a correlation? Obviously, because it is springtime, wild flowers abound but the wild Wysteria is spectacular. Climbing trees up to 50 feet in the air and in full bloom, it makes for many ooohs and aaaahs as we drive along off the beaten path (sorry we didn’t get any pictures). West Memphis, where our RV Park is located is accessed through some dangerously decaying neighborhoods. It is sad to see how some people in the richest country in the world, so full of opportunity choose to live. My mother always told me that being clean doesn’t cost a nickel but that concept seems foreign to many living near where we are located this week.

Lots of photos this week. Sorry I am so late but our Internet was unavailable due to heavy rain and thick, low clouds for several hours this morning.

Until next time,


  1. I hope the owner gave you that promise in writing. You just know someone will forget that it was ever said. Sounds like a wonderful trip.

  2. It's called Southern Hospitality Joy! I'm glad he made it right.. Just wondered if you have money for gas after doing the Elvis tour :) Oh but it's worth it. The first time I ever visited it Elvis was still alive and all you could do was walk around the edge. I remember pulling off a leaf to send to my cousin~ (I wonder if my initials are still carved there) Another time we visited his Aunt was still alive and living there. Now it's managed by others but it still gives anyone raised in the 50's goose bumps! Hope you got to see downtown Memphis, it's really beautiful and some wonderful food and music AND the Peabody Hotel.

    I've been to his Tupelo house too but it's really a replica. The area around it is for real though. It's worth seeing.

    There are some very poor area's in the south. Anywhere in the delta you are going to see what you are seeing. I think they have just given up.

  3. Of all the times I have been to Tennessee, I have never been to Memphis. Well I have changed planes there but to see anything besides the inside of the airport, I haven't. Am glad your trip is going well.

  4. Thanks for the tour of Graceland! Your eyes, your camera, and your narrative helped us see another "must see" in this land of ours!

  5. Hey guys... I am so happy that the owner of Tom Sawyers made it right for you... It is one of our favorite parks and we have visited there many times... We love the barges on the river and also Memphis itself... We always visit Beale Street for some of the best ribs in the country. Also we were at Hot Springs last summer where I enjoyed a luxurious bath and spa treatment... A fabulous spot to visit... Have a safe trip


  6. So many business people miss the greatest opportunity ... to just do the right thing. Our society has gotten so used to unfair practices, rude business people and having to "make do" that when we come across someone who steps up to do the right thing ... we are overjoyed. That guy was smart ... now he'll have a return customer who tells others!

    Sounds like you're having a fabulous trip!

    Small Footprints