Our Next Chapter

Are We Safe Here?

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There are muggings, froggings, ropings and broncos in Memphis, TN.

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We came to the realization this week that if we count when we moved out of the house to the RV parked next to our garage, that we have now been full time RVing for six months as of March 1st! If we count November 1 when we “hit the road” then we have a few months. Barb prefers to keep to the later date, because the six month mark is symbolic downsizing mark in RVing. Where the second purge begins, where if you have not used something for six months, pitch it, give it or otherwise stop hauling it! Due to a leaky water connection, our “basement” got flooded and we had to pull everything out to air dry it. In all respects, we really don’t have a lot of extra things stored onboard.

Barb’s Little Visitor

One evening this past week, Barb was “reading” in the bathroom and Jason was watching TV in the living space below. When all of a sudden the RV started to shake and there was squealing with words that “would make a sailor blush with shame” coming from the bathroom. While Barb was “reading” a little brown and green four-legged critter jumped from the window above her, onto her and then onto the way behind the toilet. This little tree frog probably jumped on board in Georgia, or came up with us from Winter Garden, and decided it was time to announce his presence! After chasing him around for a while, Jason finally caught him and released him to a green grass patch out in the park. Needless to say, it did offer some fresh entertainment to an otherwise quiet evening.

Barb’s little friend, the tree frog

Last weekend was the beginning of our “ascent” to Wisconsin. We are in Memphis for two weeks at the Agricenter International Center. Our first impressions of Memphis were really negative because of several factors that seem to keep compounding on each other. We even considered moving out after the first few hours, or contemplating just making it one week instead of two.

Crime alert outside of the Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid

What really got us questioning our safety was the number of police surveillance cameras that are everywhere. They have flashing blue strobe lights on them to draw attention to the fact you are being watched and you should not be naughty. Plus we are always seeing one, if not two or three, county sheriff squad cars parked somewhere around the Agricenter complex. The two staff at the amazing One and Only BBQ restaurant across the street from the RV Park told us not to go to the grocery store three blocks up the road because there have been serial muggings there! Down at the Bass Pro shops they had several signs as you walked from the parking lot to the building warning of thefts. Ultimately we decided to stay and are pleased that we did, we just had to find the “right” places to be and give some trust in the area. Memphis is actually a pretty large metro area with a significant geographic footprint, our “home” at the Shelby Farm Park area is in the middle of that.


This RV Park is part of a huge 4,000 acre complex that has recreation, rodeo facilities, perpetual farmers market, expo center, research and education facilities. What we don’t understand is that with 4,000 acres is why the campsites are horribly tight and are laid out the oddest of any spot we have been in 18 years of RVing. The sites are all full hookup (water, electric and sewer) as well as pull through. The sewer hook ups are poured in concrete at each site and they did two at a time. This forces you to have to pull from the North for one rig and south for the other. This then has two rigs door to door and the other utility side to utility side. Then not only are really tight side to side, there is no place to park your truck once you unhook either. If there was this super tight urban environment (like we at St. Louis RV Park) then it would make sense, but if you have thousands of acres to work with why? It is really too bad. Also, in the way this RV park is situated the locals use it as a traffic jam by-pass at 60 MPH down the campground roads.

Memphis has to grow on you. Not exaggerating, there are pot holes in their major roadways that are at least a foot deep, the utility lines are in disrepair, tons of litter along the roads and in some cases you could grab onto power lines sagging along the road they are so low and just generally most areas seem “tired.” It seems Memphis must have expanded quickly all at once, most of the roadways are the same odd color orange and that material has deteriorated all at the same time across the city. The local TV news is all over the issue of potholes and the litter too this week. There are signs flanking the roads that say $3,000 fine for littering! They report that over 500 potholes per day are being filled, but now no one is picking up the litter?

Regardless, we decided to venture out and the first place we checked out was the Mississippi River waterfront. Unfortunately, the Mud Island Park complex doesn’t open until April. The water was very high, with the river cresting this past week. When we drove over into Arkansaw the waters are backed up for miles into the low land areas. We stumbled across the Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid which is a Las Vegas like themed inside of the pyramid construction, there is a hotel on the second and third floors as well as a observation deck you can pay to go up and take a view of the city. The same overpriced goods that any of Bass Pro shop of course is available.

Jason and Barb in front of the iconic Oscar Mayer Wienermobile in the parking lot of the Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid

The highlight of our week has been the spotting of an icon from our “first” “official” “date” in Hudson, when we met the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile together. Since that fateful day we have spotted in the wild at various places around the country. Just as we were about to drive out of the parking lot at the pyramid, flying past us goes the Wienermobile! It zipped down to the front door, parked, and out popped one of the occupants who snapped a picture of it in front of the pyramid. We followed it down and snapped a picture, then he jumped back in and away it went. But it went to the back of the parking lot and parked! So we took an opportunity to get some pictures with our favorite corporate icon.

Less fun this week, was a trip to the vet for Rico. The little guy has been tossing his cookies after every meal. We have tried a number of different things. The cost of the vet visit here was half of any visit back in Wisconsin, and some really nice staff at the East Gate Vet Clinic in Memphis. Ultimately, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with him. Both cats have been olympic grade competitive eaters and try to outdo each other. Both cats weights are down and we decided to put them back on “free feeding” so that they don’t feel like they have to inhale their food. Both now are slower and actually chewing their food. This change has really reduced the cleanup on aisle 2 issues after Rico eats, but now both are much more sleepy with full bellies!

Fifty years ago Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4th, 1968, in Memphis, TN, at the Lorraine Motel. The Civil Rights Museum is now situated at the site of the old motel and has a very high-caliber set of exhibits affiliate with the Smithsonian Museum. “Its exhibits trace the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the 17th century to the present.” Across the street there is a second museum that is more focus on King himself, the assassination and the subsequent police investigations. There is so much information to take in at these two museums, opened in 1991, and through a variety of media added in a $27.5M renovation in 2013/2014. In addition to the exhibit itself, it was more interesting to eavesdrop on conversations of the generation that lived through the times depicted in each area. A gentleman sitting at a replicate of diner, talking about the sit ins that he was part of in his youth. Or, the women that all wanted to get their pictures on the bus together. The exhibit progresses from the 17th century to today, with the final thought about human trafficking that still exists across the world today.

The museum was an emotional visit before lunch, then we zipped a few miles up to a BBQ joint that was recommended to us by a co-worker of Jason’s. The Cozy Corner Restaurant from the outside screams, “beware, don’t come in and we don’t have any BBQ either!” Inside was some amazing food, friendly and modern. The food was very flavorful and we can say without hesitation we have now had some real authentic Memphis BBQ! Jason had the recommended Cornish hen, beans and potato salad followed up with banana pudding. Barb had the wings and ribs combo with the BBQ spaghetti and the beans. Now to visit 99 more restaurants to try all of the 101 BBQ joints in Memphis.


We wrapped up Saturday evening with some fun at the Tennessee High School Challenge Rodeo which was held at the Agricenter Arena right next to our RV park. Girls and boys competing in numerous competitions for their titles, from goat roping to bull riding! This had a 4-H or FFA feel to it, with most of the stands being the competitor’s families. Regardless, they put on a great performance while they compete for their titles.

We will be in Memphis for one more week and then will head North a bit further toward Wisconsin. How close we get will be depending on the forecast!

CampgroundAgricenter RV Park
7777 Walnut Grove Rd.
Memphis, TN 38120

901-355-1977
Nights Stayed14: March 3-17, 2018
Parking SiteSite 140

Watched one guy getting arrested just outside the Northeast entry to the RV park. Constant police presence in the area.

The sites are really really tight. One site pulls in to the South and the next the North, so you end up door to door with your neighbor instead of the traditional doors all facing the same way. All sites are water, electric and sewer. No picnic tables. All gravel and for the most part it is very muddy when it rains. The Agricenter is a busy complex with over 4000 acres, yet the RV park you are on top of each other. Location is in the middle of the Memphis metro and for the most part it is very quiet despite 6 lanes of traffic on the East and North side that you do not hear.

There are tons of events that host at this site. Rodeos, trade shows, hot tub shows and other "public" events bring people to the park. The Show Place is on site, but that is on the far Northeast end of the park. The Expo Center is mid-way to the Northwest of the RV park. So if you don't want to be near that, make sure to get a site on the West end of the RV park.
Restaurants

  • One and Only BBQ - located just outside the East entry to the park, has "Grandma Winget's" banana pudding recipe!
  • Marcos Pizza - restaurant at German Town good for dine in and they deliver. They feature "grill chicken" as a speciality for their pizza. Marcos Uno replaced with chicken and baccon, add extra mushrooms and add tomatoes are great. Their brownie dessert is also amazing.
  • Cozy Corner Restaurant - Jason bought a t-shirt here and had the recommended cornish hen, beans and potato salad followed up with banana pudding. Barb had the wings and ribs combo with the BBQ spaghetti and the beans. (Banana pudding was nothing special though, nothing like the One and Only recipe.)
  • Tazikis Cafe - located in Germantown about 5-10 minutes SE of the Agricenter. Vibrant mediterranean flavors with amazingly fresh ingredients. Went there three times in two weeks! It is a chain of about 40 stores across the lower half of the United States.
  • The Pie Folks - located North about 5 minutes, "just OK' pies
Attractions
WELS ChurchesGloria Dei Lutheran Church
5415 Raleigh Lagrange Rd
Memphis, TN 38134


Services on Sunday morning at 10:15AM
Mid-week lenten services with supper at 6:15PM and service at 7PM
Remember for Next TimeCamping World of Memphis is not in Memphis and is south about 20 minutes over in Mississippi. Not an original Camping World store, but it is well done, helpful staff and you can fill with expensive propane.

Avoid Back Yard Burgers just down from Camping World, that was horrible. One of our few 1 star ratings on Google maps.

Germantown is like "Woodbury, MN" and is only about 5 minutes south. There is a tourist area we didn't explore.

Super Target, Super Walmart and Kroger are about 1 mile North of Agricenter. Kroger in Germantown next to Marcos Pizza and Taziki Cafe.
AT&T Coverage4G LTE very good, low latency - there is a tower right on the park property with many sectors, so you could end up in a sector that is heavy. They were working on the tower while we were here and we had some complete short outages.
Verizon Coverage4G LTE good
WiFi CoverageYes, they are using a mesh network and it doesn't work. Overloaded or too much interference. Typical RV park WiFi. It is free, you get the access information at the check in.
Anytime FitnessAnytime Fitness has one site open about 10 minutes Northeast of the RV park and one showing as closed to the Southeast. The NE gym is pretty good, clean and a good selection of different equipment.
Mail ServicesCan receive packages at main address. Must have the phone number and the name in the address.

You can have packages delivered to the main address. The office is not well equipped though to manage those, so be careful. The is a Whole Foods 5 minutes to the South, I don't know if they have an Amazon locker but if they do I would use that if you can for your Amazon items.

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