We landed in Memphis the week before Labor Day staying at one of our most favorite rv parks, Tom Sawyer RV Park which is actually in West Memphis, Arkansas, but is a short trip over the river to Memphis. We had a great site overlooking the Mississippi River.
It is so much fun to just sit and watch the barge traffic going back and forth. It is amazing how many barges can be put together for one tug boat to push down the river. This is the view from our back window.
We did lots of sightseeing while we were there. We headed downtown to tour the Cotton Museum.
While cotton was king, Memphis was one of the centers dealing in cotton. The museum is located in original Cotton Exchange Building. I thought the exchange room was really interesting, reminded me of the New York Stock Exchange.
High above on the wall were chalkboards where prices were written for brokers to see the going rate. The man at the wall is actually a life-size mannequin showing how people actually climbed the ladders to write the prices on the board.
We also went to Beale Street.
Beale Street reminded me of Bourbon Street on a smaller scale.
While down on Beale Street, we were close to the Gibson Guitar Factory. We bought tickets for their first tour of the day and thoroughly enjoyed going through the factory. Pictures were not allowed on the tour, so the only one I have is the waiting room.
When you walk into the factory, the first thing I noticed was the strong smell of sawdust. The humidity is kept high so the sawdust does not stay in the air, but is dropped to the ground. We went to a variety of stations examining and learning about how the Gibson guitar is made.
Another thing that I thought was interesting is that Gibson does not have "second" guitars. If a mistake is made, the guitar is destroyed and a new one is begun.
Across the street from the Gibson Guitar Store is the Rock n Soul Museum. We really enjoyed spending several hours here. It was really interesting learning more about the music from Memphis.
There was one room dedicated to Sun Records.
An interesting tidbit that I did not know was that in the fifties there was a radio station, WHER, made up entirely of female broadcasters.
We walked over to The Peabody Hotel because I wanted to see the Peabody Ducks. Each day the ducks are brought down to the lobby for their swim and then taken back to their quarters in the afternoon. The ducks come out of the elevator and walk down the red carpet, climb some stairs and jump into the fountain.
We missed their arrival, but got to see them swimming in the fountain.
The Civil Rights Museum was another place we visited. The Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was assassinated has been turned into a museum that traces the history of the Civil Rights Movement.