YOUR FIRST RV TRIP: TIPS FOR SUCCESS

Have you ever watched someone trying to learn a new skill? Think of children learning to ride a bike. At first, they will require a lot of assistance, such as training wheels or a parent running alongside. Eventually, they’ll make some independent strides of their own—with plenty of wobbling and crashing involved. After a while, they’ll get it. And they’ll soar off down the street on their way to many wonderful adventures.

 

New RV owners may find themselves facing a similar learning curve. If it’s been a long time since you learned something new, it can be intimidating to suddenly find yourself in a situation where you’re wondering, “How in the world am I going to get this trailer through a tight gas station parking lot? Will I be able to empty the black tank without spilling it everywhere? Am I properly lighting this propane stove, or am I going to damage my rig?”

 

We’ve been RVing for 8 years now, but we still remember the nervousness we faced before our first trip. Even once we became seasoned RVers, we still faced the same apprehension every time we pulled out for a journey with a newer, bigger rig. The good thing is we can assure you that our unease was soon replaced with enthusiasm as we became accustomed to our new equipment.

 

The greatest adventure of your life is just around the corner–and we want to help you get to the fun part faster. Thanks to our years of experience, we have the following tips to help you make your first RV trip a success:

 

 

  1. Camp Close to Home for Your First Few Trips

You finally bought the RV of your dreams…now it’s time to hit those dream destinations, right? Not so fast. For your first few trips, you’ll want to book campgrounds close to home. This will allow you to gain confidence as you learn how to operate your new rig. Also, it takes a few trips to figure out what to stock in your RV. If you camp close to home, you can easily run home to grab the must-needed items, and you’ll be in familiar territory.

 

  1. Reserve a Private Campground for Your First Trip

If you want to spark an internet debate, just ask the people on an RV forum whether public parks or private campgrounds are better. While no one can debate that beauty and solitude are often found in our nation’s state and national parks, there are some added amenities that make private campgrounds a perfect choice for your first trip. First, they often have full hookups. Until you understand your rig and your family’s needs, it’s better to have electricity, water, and sewer onsite. Also, private parks often have helpful staff members who can assist with things like backing into a site for the first time.

 

 

  1. Reserve a Pull-Thru Site at Your First Campground

There are many beautiful campsites in this nation. Some are easy to pull right into, while others require backing down a long driveway at a 30-degree angle while trying to avoid some trees. You will eventually be able to veer your trailer into practically any spot with ease, but you can avoid some headaches for your first trip by booking a pull-thru site. A pull-thru site is one that is situated between two roads, making it easy to pull right in when you arrive and pull right out when you leave…no backing up required. On your first trip, you have enough to worry about without having to angle a trailer into a spot. Keep it easy peasy with a pull-thru!

 

  1. Divide and Conquer During Setup

Arriving at a campground is a little different from arriving at a hotel. There are quite a few tasks that need to be done in order to secure your trailer and set up a cozy campsite. Doing these for the first time takes a lot longer than it will once you learn your rhythm and routines. If you have younger kids, the easiest thing to do is to get them out from underfoot so one adult of the family can truly concentrate on setup, while the other concentrates on keeping the kids happy and safe. If you have older kids, they can help with the setup process.

 

 

  1. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

Even if you’re not usually the type of person to ask for help from random strangers on the street, you’ll learn that this is a wonderful benefit from campground culture, when needed. As you are learning to operate a new rig, there will, undoubtedly, be some tasks you forget how to do or never learned in the first place. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most of your neighbors were in your shoes at one time or another and will kindly pay it forward.

 

  1. Don’t be Afraid to Say No to Help When Backing In

One of the silly things that stress us out is feeling like other RVers are judging us when we are backing in the rig. For reasons unknown to us, there are some people who like to kick back in their camp chairs and watch other RVers set up camp. Some will eagerly jump in and offer to help, which is great—except when it isn’t. If you don’t want the help, don’t worry about politely declining with a simple, “Hey, we are new at this, and we want to learn how to do it. We’ll let you know if we need some assistance!”

 

 

  1. Expect the Unexpected—and Don’t Let it Get You Down

Things may go wrong, as they inevitably will. Perhaps you didn’t understand how long to cool the fridge and had nowhere to put your piles of groceries. Perhaps you found out something isn’t working in the RV or broke something that was working. Stuff happens. Try not to lose too much of your vacation time fretting over mistakes and mishaps. Do your best to problem solve and move on.

 

 

  1. Avoid Driving at Night

If at all possible, plan your early trips to include driving and setting up during daylight hours. Driving at night can be risky. If you have a breakdown, you’ll have a harder time finding help since the auto parts stores, garages, and RV dealerships will be closed. Setting up at night can also be immensely more difficult due to the lack of sight.

 

  1. Breathe. Go Slow. Have Fun.

Things will eventually get easier! You will soon be able to set up camp blindfolded. Until then, all you can do is be patient with yourself as you learn. Don’t be too critical on yourself…and don’t forget to have fun along the way.

 

Once you get your first-time jitters out of the way and gain some useful experiences, you can rest easy knowing that the road ahead is much smoother, with far fewer pit stops. You will get the hang of operating, maintaining, and towing that beautiful new RV. It won’t always be easy, but it will definitely be worth the effort, especially when you finally do take that dream rig to your dream destinations. Pretty soon, you’ll be like the kid on the bike, pedaling fast with a smile on your face.

 

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

     It’s the time of year for giving and if you’re like me, treating yourself to a few items on your own wish list as well. Since I grew up in a camping family in the 1970’s, using a lot of hand me down items from the 1950’s, I tend to be drawn to classic camp items that evoke the nostalgia of happy times and the simple pleasures of life. I found a few of those to share as well as some new things bound for classic status. Here are a few of my favorite things!

Mollyjogger Old School Ice Box – When you come across these in an antiques shop they tend to be pricey and sketchy. I’m reluctant to put ice in them if I plan to put that ice in a beverage later. They usually have pitted aluminum walls. I’ve been using this new “Old” Ice Box on my bar now for two years. It is where I store the ice I use for drinks. It will keep a bag of ice for about 24 hours and its size makes it great for the floor of the passenger seat in my truck too. I keep drinks, snacks and lunch handy there. Plus, it just looks great! $89.

 

 

Kavu Long Johns – These are long johns with a twist. In addition to the classic bottom to top one piece style they have the added features of a drawstring hoodie, center pockets and thumb loops, a requirement for cold nights around the campfire.  They are 97% polyester jacquard knit for easy washing and have tight cuffs and bottom hem to keep the cold out. A classic! They are the perfect sleep, nap and lounge apparel on a chilly campout.  $90

 

 

Keen Sneakers – Those who know me know that I love statement footwear! It’s hard to get me out of my bowling shoes but these sneakers hit the mark for me. First of all, they are plaid. Can there be too much plaid in the world? I think not. They are a classic design with lots of toe space, soft interior, nicely rolled edges that don’t rub, aluminum eyelets that let your feet breathe and a really rich fleece fabric that brushes clean. These are not hiking shoes. They are day tripping shoes for running errands, getting stuff done and looking cute while doing it. $79

 

 

Pendleton Motor Robe – Back in the old days when my grandfather would take us somewhere in his car on those freezing Chicago winter days, he had the Pendleton blanket on the seat for us to sit on. My grandfather was a steel worker in Indiana who owned very few duplicates of things. He had a dress coat, a suit, a summer and winter hat and he had a few Pendleton shirts! We all wish we knew what happened to them!! He understood the value of a dollar and quality. There are few things more timeless than quality wool and items that get passed down. I have taken to giving this blanket to the nieces and nephews as engagement gifts in homage to our “Poppy.” It’s a great size for the RVer in your life because it serves many purposes. It fits on a camp chair nicely and adds a layer of warmth between you and the night air. It folds neatly across the bottom of a bed to pull up in the night if it gets too cold. It’s a great lap robe around the fire, at a game or while tailgating and even if you have seat heaters, it’s a welcoming sight to a cold hiker getting back to the car! $99

National Parks Candles – The Good and Well Supply Company was started by Megan McLaughlin, a Girl Camper on a quest to harness the scents in nature. She traveled the US camping in her tent and storing up treasured memories from National Parks. She resettled in the Pacific Northwest and began making 100% soy candles in small batches that she sells in pint, half pint and travel tins. The labels are truly art and each candle is made from 100% renewable soy, have balsa wood wicks, are petroleum free, GMO free, and lead free. A portion of each sale is donated to the National Parks Foundation. $36

The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles – by Laura Farenthold.  A good read for RV lovers and anyone who has ever been dealt a crushing blow in life. This is no sad tale of widowhood and its trials but instead it’s the tale of a woman who used RVing to help herself and daughters gain their footing again after the sudden loss of her husband and the girls’ dad. It is full of poignant, funny, and mystical coincidences that kept me turning the pages at a rapid rate. It’s a book of hope, chutzpah and perseverance mixed in with stories of our National Parks, backroad towns and the strangers they met along the way who were angels in disguise. A really uplifting read. $15

 

 

LL Bean Boots – There are two things about these boots that grabbed me. One, I love festive footwear and two, plaid IS my favorite color. I have bought several pairs of LL Bean knockoffs over the years while my sister in law has had the same LL Bean boots since high school. Every year she breaks them out for winter footwear, sledding events and to use to and from the ski slopes at her family’s weekend home in Vermont. I realized that if I added up all my quick-to-deteriorate replicas I could have owned the real McCoy! I indulged in the 10”, hand crafted 106 year old tried and true design and think I just acquired my last pair of boots. That’s Yankee thrift for you. They are incredibly warm with duck rubber soles, shearling lining and wool plaid outer layer. The boot bottom has Thinsulate lining and supported steel shank, they are triple stitched and still handmade the old fashioned way, one boot at a time, by craftsmen (elves?) in Maine. They also are just sooooo cute!!! $245

Wicked Good Cupcakes – I fell in love with this idea when I first saw this mother- daughter duo present their idea on Shark Tank. I then received a six pack of these gooey homemade cupcakes in Mason jars and fell in love with their taste. They are now my new go-to “have to send a gift” item.  I’m thrilled to find a fun alternative to flowers and fruit baskets. I recently spent close to $90 to send a fruit bouquet to a camping buddy in need of a hug from afar.  I wish I had known that for $26 I could have sent her two S’mores in a jar and sat around a virtual campfire with her. They come freshly made and packed in ice packs. They will last a week without refrigeration on your countertop but can be frozen for up to six months!! Wicked good idea!! Two pack $26 including shipping.

Dune Jewelry – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up a shell or sand or pine cones from far off places and packed them to take home. What happens when it gets home is the problem. How do you keep and display sand from a favorite beach? Dune Jewelry makes beautiful keepsake pieces to remember a vacation by. You can mail them your own sand, dried flower petals, crushed stones or other elements that you gathered on a vacation and then choose a design.  They offer cuff bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings and charms. If you don’t have your own sand they have an element bank to choose from. I purchased a necklace filled with sand from the beaches in Cape May, NJ. We had a home there when our children were little, and my oldest daughter is very sentimental about Cape May. I was thrilled when I saw they had Cape May sand in stock!! Each piece of jewelry is handmade by metal artisans. I’m thinking of starting a travel charm bracelet with element charms from the National Parks. After all, how many hoodie sweatshirts can you have? $36-$200

 

 

Old School Flashlight – When we camped as kids there were two light sources after dark, the Coleman lantern which kids could not touch, and the single flashlight our family owned. If you had to walk to the bathroom at night you were “entrusted” with the flashlight under pain of severe reprisal should anything happen to it. The batteries were probably more valuable than the flashlight.  I collect vintage flashlights which I use while camping and display around the house and trailer. I was excited to come across this little treasure online. The Chrome Vintage Flashlight is made by United Pacific and costs $9.95 on Amazon. It uses two “D” batteries, has the kid intriguing Morse Code Button in case of danger and the built in retractable hook to hang it from the tent pole at night. It’s sure to inspire lots of nostalgia and tales of the old days if you put it in an “old fart’s” stocking. $10

 

 

Williams Sonoma – Plaid Insulated Beverage Container. It’s a new “old” thermos with a nod to the Plaid Skotch Koolers I grew up with. This new version of a camp classic holds 16 fluid ounces, has double walled insulation to keep beverages hot for up to 12 hours and like the old version, the cap is also the cup!! $29.95

 

 

Chill Angel – I was gifted these incredible PJ’s last year and this year I got a second pair in this festive Christmas color for myself. I used these camping all year and discovered what they knew in the old days about the properties of wool. Have you ever wondered how the Civil War reenactors can be standing around in the heat in July and not sweating? It’s the wool uniform. These Merino wool pajamas are made of the best moisture managing and temperature regulating fabric known to man. They are made from super fine Merino wool that feels so soft on your skin but which also rapidly dissipates heat, minimizing temperature spikes during your sleep cycle. If you are one of those people who wakes up during the night kicking off the covers because you are hot, these PJ’s will return you to normal temperature and back to sleep quickly. If you just like luxurious pajamas that keep you cool in hot weather and very warm in winter you will love these as much as I do. They are not just sleepwear though. They are the perfect loungewear on a rainy day and a great gift for outdoor enthusiasts. $39-$139

 

 

Camco “Life Is Better at the Campsite” Goodies – This year Camco Manufacturing came out with a new product line aptly titled, “Life Is Better at the Campsite.” I couldn’t agree more! I’ve got two fun items for the holidays from Camco. The first is their new wrapping paper which is a perfect way to wrap gifts for your RVing friends! But, look closely, it’s not actually holiday paper. It’s all seasons. You can put a pretty Christmas bow on it during the holidays or use it for birthday gifts in July! The other fun items from Camco are their happy mugs!! I really loved this red ceramic one. It’s got speckles that make it look like snowflakes and it holds 12 oz. You can also put this in the microwave. It’s full of holiday cheer!! This will be my official hot chocolate and hot toddy mug all winter. I think it’s a great stocking stuffer or grab bag gift. Paper – $16 Mug – $10

 

 

 

 

https://www.mollyjogger.com/cart

https://kavu.com/products/wildwood?variant=12113657593927

https://www.keenfootwear.com/p/W-ELSA-SNEAKER-FLEECE.html?dwvar_W-ELSA-SNEAKER-FLEECE_color=1017967&cgid=womens_footwear_shoes

https://www.pendleton-usa.com/product/motor-robe-with-leather-carrier-71376.html?dwvar_71376_color=9442&cgid=blankets-throws#start=5&cgid=blankets-throws

 

https://goodandwellsupplyco.com/collections/national-park-candles

https://www.amazon.com/Pink-Steering-Wheel-Chronicles-Story/dp/1578267684/ref=asc_df_1578267684/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312176338241&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=14434448599435065161&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9003956&hvtargid=aud-466606931481:pla-490943437427&psc=1&tag=&ref=&adgrpid=60258870897&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvadid=312176338241&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=14434448599435065161&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9003956&hvtargid=aud-466606931481:pla-490943437427

 

https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/121340?page=bean-boot-10-shearling-lined-wool-plaid&bc=474-630&feat=630-GN1&csp=f&attrValue_0=Bn%20Boot%20Brown/Burgundy/Bn%20Boot%20Brown/Gum

https://www.wickedgoodcupcakes.com/

https://dunejewelry.com/

https://www.amazon.com/United-Pacific-C5013-Vintage-Flashlight/dp/B07BKR5LPZ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1543975543&sr=8-2&keywords=Chrome+Vintage+Flashlight

 

https://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/plaid-insulated-beverage-container/

https://chillangel.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Camco-Decorative-Different-Designs-Excellent-53239/dp/B07K565B5F

https://www.amazon.com/Vintage-USA-vintage-interior-Flashlight/dp/B01GCELIVM/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1543972589&sr=8-10&keywords=Chrome+Vintage+Flashlight

 

 

 

 

TIPS FOR CLEANING YOUR RV’S INTERIOR

 

The new camping season will be here before we know it and before it arrives you’ll want to give the interior of your RV a good deep clean! It may sound strange but I love cleaning my RV. Really! One, it takes much less time than cleaning my house even when it’s a pull-out-everything-from-cabinets deep clean. Two, my RV is my escape, my retreat, and that makes it feel like less of a chore and more like a chance to give her the pampering she deserves.

 

Below is how I clean my RV’s interior. I like to start with the ceilings. Then I work from one end to the other and finally finish with the floors. It’s so satisfying to know that my RV is clean and ready to go for the next adventure.

 

I’ve included a lot of small tips to help make the cleaning process more efficient, but I want to stress my favorite tip: While you are cleaning keep an eye out for any items that may need repair or require preventative maintenance and write it down. Cleaning is a perfect time to do this because you are going over every surface. If you do this along with regular exterior inspections your RV is sure to give you many years of enjoyment!

 

Tip: If possible, plan your cleaning on a reasonably warm day so you can open the windows. You don’t want to be breathing the cleaning product fumes and the air circulation will help things dry out quicker and cut down on odors.

 

Alright grab your supplies and get scrubbing!

Supplies

Multi-purpose Cleaner

Glass Cleaner

Floor Cleaner

Boxes of Baking Soda

Magic Sponge (for any tough marks on ceilings or walls)

Gloves

Vacuum with attachments

Rags and/or Paper Towels

Sponges

Step Stool

Garden Hose

Something to take notes on: phone or paper or my handy PDF checklist linked below! 🙂

 

Ceilings

 

Start with the ceilings so you can vacuum or sweep up anything that may drop out of the vents or fans. Use your vacuum attachment to suck up any cobwebs that may have collected on the ceiling and clean out any dust that may have accumulated in the vents/fans. Pull out the screens and vacuum them. If they are really dirty you may want to wash them with water. Don’t forget to vacuum the vents of your air conditioner and check the filter to see if it needs to be replaced or cleaned.

 

Tip: While wiping the ceiling down with a damp cloth, look closely for signs of discoloration or any “bubbling”. Make a note of any spots that may need some preventative maintenance.

 

Bedroom(s)

 

 

 

Start by cleaning the windows. Next scan the walls noting the condition. Wipe the walls paying special attention to the doorways where dirt tends to accumulate. Take out all bedding and give it a good shake. If the RV has been in storage, I like to wash everything to get ready for the new camping season. If I’m in the middle of camping season, I’ll likely just fold it and put it away. Next, vacuum the closets and clean mirrors. Finally, if you aren’t going to be camping for a few months, stick a box of baking soda in the closet.

 

Tip: Don’t forget to vacuum the under-the-bed storage compartment if you have it!

 

Bathroom(s)

 

 

Start with the walls to remove any personal product residue. Next is the toilet and tanks. You can use a garden hose to spray down inside the tank as best as you can. Drop in some holding tank treatment to keep things fresh and wipe down the toilet. Pull out your belongings from the cabinets and wipe the shelves. Clean the mirror, sink, and shower or tub. Make notes of anything that needs maintenance or supplies you may be running low on and need to replenish.

 

Tip: There is a special attachment for your hose (pictured above) to make the job of cleaning the tank easier. Or a number of people swear that you can keep your tank really clean by putting a bag of ice in it during drives. The movement of the ice scrubs the tank for you. If you do this regularly you may be able to skip the spraying the tank step.

 

Kitchen

 

 

 

Start by cleaning upper cabinets that way you can easily vacuum or wipe away anything that falls down. I throw away any expired or stale food and quickly wipe out the cabinets. This is really important to make sure you don’t feed any unexpected “guests”. Clean the microwave. Next move on to the walls around the kitchen, paying special attention to the area above the sink and the stove and scrubbing away any residue. Give the stovetop and inside the oven a good scrub. Wipe out the inside of the fridge and freezer and leave a new box of baking soda to keep things fresh. Finally wipe down the sink and counters. Few things feel as satisfying as a sparkling clean sink. Don’t forget to take notes for maintenance issues or needed supplies.

 

Tip: Heat up a bowl of water in the microwave a few minutes before wiping it out. The steam will loosen any grime making it easy to clean.

 

Living Area

 

 

Last but not least let’s give the living area a good clean. Wipe down the walls and windows. Dust and wipe down any upper cabinets. If you have a pull-out bed in the sofa, pull it out to vacuum underneath. Wipe down table. Lastly, dust the TV and entertainment system.

 

Tip: Store items under the dinette in bins or boxes that make it easy to pull things out to clean underneath.

 

Floors

 

 

We started by cleaning the ceilings of the entire RV and now we are going to end with the floors. Give them a good clean with the vacuum and then mop all the hard surface floors.

Tip: Enjoy the satisfaction of having a super clean RV! 🙂

 

That’s it! You’re done! To make things even easier for yourself I’ve put together a PDF “RV Interior Cleaning Checklist” for you to print out and use! CLICK HERE for PDF!

 

Do you have any tips for cleaning your RV’s interior? Please share in the comments below!

 

Thanks to Trailer Source for letting me use one of their RVs for photos while our Airstream is in the middle of a major remodel! If you are in Colorado be sure to check them out! They have a great selection of RVs.

SIMPLE BOURBON APPLE CRISP

When I Go RVing with my family, we make everything over the fire. We grill steak,

veggies, potatoes and more. We even heat up our cider with mulling spices to stay warm over

the fire. It’s always the best dinners in the world.

 

By the time dinner is over though, I start to crave something sweet. Not something too

sweet, but something that will really hit the spot. You know what I mean?

 

Bourbon… Apples… Sugar…

 

When I have a sweet tooth craving around the campfire, I tend to make my Simple Bourbon

Apple Crisp. Made with tons of sliced apples, bourbon, brown sugar, cinnamon and more. This

one skillet dessert is so simple to make with minimal dishes or prep work. Seriously, it only

takes about 15 minutes of work.

 

So why does it only take 15 minutes?

 

Instead of baking the crisp, you will cook the apples then add a blend of oats, pecans,

and more sugar. Stir in this blend to the added crunch and texture that we all love about fruit

crisps.

 

Add a little bit of bourbon for a night cap, and I am off to bed in the RV. Goodnight!

 

 

Recipe:

Cooking Details

Yields: 2-4 Servings

Cook: 10 minutes

Prep: 5 minutes

Equipment: Cast Iron Skillet and Spatula.

 

Fruit Ingredients:

  • 8 apples, sliced
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp maple syrup

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Vanilla ice cream (with serving)

 

 

  1. In a skillet, add butter and let melt until beginning to brown. In a bowl, add all fruit

ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add fruit ingredients to skillet and cook for 8 minutes.

  1. In another bowl, add all topping ingredients. Pull skillet off of fire, add toppings and let

sit for 2 extra minutes.

  1. Serve with ice cream and enjoy!

 

EXPLORING A DIFFERENT SIDE OF MEMPHIS

If I say the words “Memphis, Tennessee”, what are the first things that come to mind? For many, we are sure Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley would top the list. For others, Memphis is definitely known as a great place to get incredible barbecue. Both of those are true and as we headed to Memphis, we wanted to see some of the best-known sites, while experiencing some of the lesser known must-see sites. All of this is from a local’s point of view. The only problem was figuring out where we would stay. This can be one of the most important decisions you can make when selecting a campground close to a major city.

 

Picking the Right Campground – Home Base

 

We knew we were going to be spending 4-5 days in the Memphis area and picking a solid campground would be key. Our “homebase campground” is a huge factor in the overall enjoyment when visiting cities. This time we chose the Memphis Jelly Stone Campground, which just happened to be located in the state of Mississippi, go figure.

 

 

That’s because the Mississippi state line is just outside the city limits of Memphis. We knew with our frequent daily excursions, having a kid friendly campground would be the key to keeping the entire family happy. We learned a long time ago that just piling the kids up in the car and touring sites without factoring in plenty of fun time is a recipe for disaster. That’s especially true if we planned to hit any sensitive museums. Once we chose the Memphis Jelly Stone, we showed the kids all the things to do at the campground and they were 100% on board. Being that it was July, we knew it was going to be hot.

 

Tetherball Time!!

 

Water Slides!!!

 

This Jelly Stone had a nice pool, water slides, gaga ball, tether ball and even a basketball court.

 

 

Not to leave out Ebony, it had multiple “off leash” dog parks, one even lakeside! So with everyone happy with our homebase, it was time to venture out and explore Memphis.

 

The National Civil Rights Museum

 

With this year marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, it was very important for us to take time to visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

 

 

For those who don’t know, this museum is actually formally known as the Lorraine Motel, and it became a national site to remember and preserve the last days in the life of Martin Luther King. We always make it a point to try to visit national historic sites, museums, and landmarks wherever we travel. But this site in particular with the 50th anniversary year was going to be a special visit, and it did not disappoint. My advice to you would be to plan at least a two-day visit at this museum. There’s so much to see and to absorb.

 

 

We have made it a point as we homeschool our boys to expose them to as much American history as possible, and that includes African-American history. Sometimes easy to separate, but it really should not be. This museum did a phenomenal job of covering not only the impact that Martin Luther King Jr. made on this country, but the key moments and facts of the civil rights struggle from generations ago to today.

 

 

I would say the most striking moment from our entire visit at the museum was as we passed from exhibit to exhibit and our boys said more than once, “Mom! Dad! We’ve been there.” Whether it was the replica of the Edmund Pettis Bridge from Selma, or the market lunch counter from the Greensboro, North Carolina lunch counter sit-ins.

 

 

We have taken our boys to these locations, and it’s not always easy sometimes, they’re scared. Sometimes they’re confused struggling with the question of why people would treat us like that. But our resolute determination is to expose them to things that are in their best interest and to hear them say to us that they remember visiting many of those places are priceless moments and experiences while RVing.

 

A Pyramid in Memphis?  – Bass Pro Shop

 

On a lighter note, we heard we just had to go check out the Bass Pro Shop Pyramid. No, we didn’t do a lot of research, so we had no idea what to expect.  As we drove nearer, in the distance we could see this pyramid reach up into the skies.

 

 

I’m going to say that this place was pretty cool. You can take this unique elevator to the top observation deck. It changes colors every few minutes. There is a $10 fee per person to ride up.

 

Elevator to the Observation Deck

 

And the view from the observation deck on a clear day/evening was worth the fee (for at least one person). Inside there was an aquarium fish tank that even had live alligators! Also, if you needed anything, and I mean anything for your camping trip, they had it.

 

Justin Marvels at the Fish Tank

 

We didn’t have a chance to eat at the on-site restaurant (due to a long wait), but we heard good things about it.

 

Musical History in Memphis – Stax Records

 

We had planned to visit Graceland, but then decided to check out maybe a slightly lesser known, but important musical history site, Stax Records.

 

 

Second only to Motown, Stax Records place is cemented in American Soul music history. Artists such as the Staple Sisters, Dramatics, Isaac Hayes and Otis Redding launched their careers in the studios of Stax. Stax Records and Southern Soul music were one in the same.

 

 

 

Time to Eat – Memphis BBQ Anyone?

 

Memphis is known as a place to get top BBQ, but how in the world do you choose where to go?

 

So Many Wonderful BBQ Choices in Memphis

 

One of the things we have learned most in RV travel is to ask locals the best place to eat. Tia has a girlfriend that grew up in Memphis, and she said the well-known places are good, but if we didn’t mind going to a different part of town, we would find even better BBQ. So we did and went to Central BBQ.

 

 

I was worried since Tia has become a vegan that she wouldn’t be able to eat, but she loved the BBQ portabella mushroom sandwich. The kids loved the homemade mac and cheese. I wanted to taste a few items.

 

 

So I started with the jerk and dry rubbed wings and ended with the slab of baby back ribs. This place didn’t disappoint!

 

We Will Return…

 

Memphis is a fun history filled place to visit. You may be drawn there to visit because of Graceland, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but Memphis has so much more to offer. I know we only scratched the surface of things to do and see in Memphis.

 

 

So if or should I say, when you go, plan wisely, eat local recommendations and take in a few of the sites we visited. The history will draw you in and the food and music will keep you going back.

 

 

Keith Sims

Soulful RV Family