"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Monday, November 18, 2013

West Memphis, Arkansas: Tom Sawyer Mississippi Campground

I don't usually write too much about the campgrounds where we stay; there's just so much information out there describing and reviewing RV parks, that we don't think it's much of a contribution. (By the way, my favorite place to find campgrounds online is RV Park Reviews.)  This one is so unique though, that I thought it was worth noting.

Tom Sawyers Campground is right on the banks of the Mississippi, on the river side of the extensive levees that protect West Memphis, so it floods regularly. You can understand why the park has not developed its landscaping too much. There are three large sections, two on the river and one under the trees. The sites on the river are long and wide, many with concrete pads and all with full hook-ups. One section is for 5th wheels and the other for motorhomes, so that the hook-ups are on the correct side to have your picture window facing the river. Nice touch.

Everything in the park is set up to minimize damage when flooding occurs. Above you can see how the power box is built up on stilts. Below you'll see the laundry room, on the second floor of this little shed, with the 2011 high water mark indicated on the side.  (BTW, the laundry is brand new and FREE!)  There is a second laundry/bath house on wheels, so that it can be moved to higher ground. Smart. 

The park has a lot of open space, and since it's shoulder season, there are not many guests. That explains why there are almost no other RV's in these pictures, which were taken mid-week when we arrived to a near empty park. It did fill up a bit on the weekend, so that we had neighbors on either side. 

There is an extensive, well maintained, and wide trail system woven around the perimeter and interior of what must be at least 40 acres of property. This was my favorite part of the park. Great bird watching too. We saw a pair of pileated woodpeckers, lots of warblers and smaller woodpeckers, a clump of large white birds hanging out on the river (too far to ID, maybe swans), an American kestrel, a pair of red tail hawks, great blue herons and lots of killdeer. 

Here the trail goes up onto the nearby levee. 

There are three large ponds stocked with fish, and the river offers ever-changing scenery. Many barges and tugs of all sizes going by all day and night. The Mississippi is alive and well as a shipping corridor, for those of you from other parts of the country.

The park is just outside of West Memphis, which is not a city I'd recommend for any purpose, except that it could be a great commuting town into Memphis (if it weren't so depressed). It takes about 10 minutes to get across the river and into downtown Memphis from here. Easy-peasy for sight seeing.

Nice benches placed all along the river. Because of the great trails I was out walking or bike riding many times, and because of some great sunsets and a full moon, I was taking a lot of pictures too.

Rick says "Where the heck is she now?"

Addendum: There were many, many tornadoes in the midwest and mid south yesterday, just north of us, and it isn't even tornado season. Our hearts and prayers go out to all those who lost their homes or loved ones. It reminds us to be grateful again that we have had so few problems with the weather, as being in an RV does make one more vulnerable to extreme weather. 

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