The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

Tom Sawyer and the Mighty Mississippi

We enjoyed our two nights at Tom Sawyer Mississippi River RV Park. The endless traffic of barges coming down the Mississippi River is the main attraction. You won't find a pool or a recreation room but you will enjoy the view and the peaceful atmosphere.

This is the view out my back window. We were in the second row of this area and, even though other RVs eventually parked in front of us, we could still see in front of us. There are also benches along the water front so you can relax and take in the sites.

We saw some small flowers in the grass.


Of course, Tom Sawyer would definitely have a tree house with a ladder for easy access.

There are three different RV areas. Ours was open, this one was very treed and shady, and the third was a combination of both open and treed.

If you like to fish, there are a couple of stocked ponds.

I am the 5th wheel on the left with friend Mary Jane in the mini-motorhome to my right.

We missed Tom the first time we drove in.

Downtown Memphis is around the bend. The boat left center was a paddle wheeler which appeared to be grounded or pulled up on shore but it was too far away for me to be able to tell for sure.

It was very interesting and relaxing to watch the barges chug by us.

Some tugs pushed five or six barges.


This one almost looked like it was double wide.


The row in front of us filled in but we could still see between and all the benches along the riverside were nice.
 
If your GPS tells you to come in on 8th St, ignore it and go further until you come to the South Loop and take that back around. 8th Street is very rough and has a rather high railroad crossing.

Graceland Is Missing Elvis

Our second adventure of the day was a trip to Graceland, the home of the King of Rock and Roll.

After buying our tickets inside, we headed back outside to tour Elvis's airplanes. A word about the tickets....not cheap! But there are options. We took the Graceland and Airplanes option and it was enough to satisfy us. They give senior discounts and (although not listed!) military discounts so be sure to show your military I.D. card if you have one when you buy your ticket. They gave both discounts!

You can walk through the plane and there are videos and narrative to tell you more as you go along. For example, Elvis once took Lisa Marie to Colorado on a whim when he realized she had never seen snow. They took off without notice, spent a few hours with her playing in the snow, and then came home.

By today's standards, the planes are not opulent. Everything is covered with plastic to preserve the leather and fabric. The sink in the bathroom did have real gold flecks in it.

Then we went back in the big building to watch a short video before boarding a bus to cross the street over to Graceland itself. Each person gets a video tablet and headphones.

Graceland is pretty but not as large as you probably expect.

The bus drops you off at the front door where you wait for your groups' time to entire. There is a short briefing and then you turn on your tablet to listen to the narrative as you go through the house.

First up inside the door is the living room. The rooms are roped off but you can see them easily. It was pretty with beautiful stained glass.

You want to follow the directions on the video exactly or you can miss something and get out of order making it challenging to get back to the right spot. The dining room was nice. The décor of both the living room and dining room still seem stylish and traditional.

As you move on to the TV room, the décor becomes more aged and dated because nothing has been changed from when Elvis lived here.

A bar area.

The pool or game room is very unique. There are hundreds of yards of folded fabric covering the ceiling and all the walls.


This is the Jungle room with Lisa Marie's favorite round chair in the corner.


I missed a picture of the kitchen but it was just a normal family kitchen in dated 70s décor. This is the back o the house. You do not get to tour the upstairs bedrooms at all.

This was the office.

The Smokehouse/Gun Range/Storage room.


Another view of the back of the house. There were stables and a pasture for horses but we didn't see the horses outside.

The cars are no longer at the house under the carport as they used to be. Next up was another building that contained lots of pictures and memorabilia. This is Elvis's birth certificate.

Elvis and his mother Gladys and dad Vernon. Elvis was very close to his mother.

Purchase of Graceland

History of Graceland before Elvis bought it.

Priscilla's wedding dress.

An oil painting of Graceland in the winter.



Some furnishings picked out by one of Elvis's girlfriends in later years. Very garish.

The swimming pool added after Elvis bought Graceland.



The Memorial Garden

Elvis, his mother Gladys, his father Vernon, and his grandmother Minnie Mae Presley are buried here. There is also a memorial stone for Elvis's twin brother who was stillborn. It is interesting to note that Elvis's grandmother, Minnie Mae outlived Elvis as well as his mother and father.

This month is the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death.



After the bus took us back to the main complex, we found this map. The cars, gold records, and costumes were originally housed at Graceland itself and were all part of the original tour of Graceland. Now they have been moved to new buildings added to the complex and you have to buy a more extensive ticket to see them.
 
Priscilla Presley managed the Graceland tour business until Lisa Marie was 21 and she took over the business. I believe she sold out her share of the business about 6 years ago and the whole operation is run by a business conglomerate.......bigger complex, higher prices, more profits.  We did enjoy the tour we took and would have needed an entire day, deeper pockets, and more energy to add the other buildings to our tour.