Tuesday, April 22, 2014

4/22/2014 No Matter How Hard We Tried

(Memphis, TN)

We had such plans today.  We were going to go downtown and see all the sights. Beale Street, the Duck Walk, take in a music studio tour, go out to lunch, maybe even stay long enough for dinner and take in a show.  Oh what plans we had.

I called a tour company yesterday and found all the details on a three hour tour that would give us a good look at Memphis.  The tour started at 2:30 in the afternoon.  I called the bus company first thing this morning to find out what bus we needed to take to get downtown.  Turns out where we needed to go to pick up the tour would entail two buses and a trolley.  OK, we’ll leave in plenty of time to do that.  I then called the tour company to make our reservations for the afternoon tour bus.  Uh-uh.  They weren’t running that particular tour today.  They were yesterday when I talked with them, but between then and now their plans changed.  We’ll go to plan B as there was another tour we were interested in but it was our second choice.  A close second to be sure but second all the same.  Yes, that tour was on and started in forty minutes.  There was no way we could do what we had to do and get downtown in forty minutes.  Ok, so tour company tours are out. 

On to Plan C.  We’ll get a trolley pass and show ourselves around.  We needed cash for the bus so I had to hit an ATM machine.  Oh. Em. Gee.  Four dollar and seventy five cent fee for using the ATM machine.  Does anyone else find that fee just utterly ridiculous?  I understand a fee but I think that one is highway robbery.

So we head to the bus stop and we don’t have wait but for ten minutes.  We get on and Bob hands the bus driver a $20 bill.  That is after all what the ATM dispensed.  Mr. Bus Driver says we have to have correct change.  Bus drivers don’t carry change???  OK, there’s a store two doors down, we’ll get change and wait for the next bus.  While we’re waiting Bob says, “You know, taking two buses and a trolley to get to Beale street in a town we know nothing about may not exactly be a good idea for us.”  I agreed.

On to Plan D.  We decided that we would get two hop on – hop off bus passes for a bus that runs a dedicated loop from attraction to attraction and you can get on and get off as you please.  No narration like we would have had on the tour. 

We headed to the Graceland plaza to get the tickets.  Just as we got close we noticed the sign that the bus leaves on the hour.  Nine minutes.  We had nine minutes to get to the ticket window, hope there wasn’t a line, give our request for two tickets, pay for them and get to the bus stop.  Not gonna happen.  There is just too much to do in nine minutes.

So.  We took this as an omen.  We were not meant to go downtown.  Now you are probably asking why we just didn’t’ drive The Beast downtown.  The answer is twofold.  One, finding parking for The Beast is difficult at best.  We didn’t know what we were going to find as far as parking lots were concerned.  Secondly, plain and simple we just didn’t feel it was a good idea to leave our truck and the thousands of dollars worth of tools and equipment in it on a street or in a parking lot unattended.  Memphis is not a crime free area by any means.

So home we went.  A couple of hours later Bob suggested we go get fuel so that we wouldn’t have to do it while hooked to the 5th wheel.  So off we went.  While we were out I suggested that we take a ride and at least drive down Beale Street so we could at least say we saw it.  Again, off we went.

I don’t know how we did it.  We were going along fine and the next thing you know we’re back in Arkansas!   We don’t have a clue how we did that.

We went through some pretty unsavory looking neighborhoods.  We saw a total of two streets in the city that we would even consider living on.  Beautiful homes, nice looking manicured lawns, all surrounded by no other way to describe it other than a slum area.

Memphis’ street walkers are out in the daytime!  Oh how they dress!  Actually, now that I think about it there wasn’t a whole lot of “dress” involved here.  I was so taken aback at what I was seeing walking down the street in broad daylight that I didn’t even have presence of mind to lift the camera off my lap and snap a few.  Just as well, I may be have been seen doing that and I could have ended up being shot at!  Yeah, we were in that kind of neighborhood.  Bob got us out of there as quickly as he could.

I was so glad when we got back into the RV park.  Taking the tours probably would have been fine but exploring this city on your own could be risky.  Not a place we were comfortable in.

You can have Memphis, I’ll take Nashville any day.

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