At Memphis, TN, we were supposed to dock at the Beale Street Wharf downtown, but it lacked sufficient water depth. So we tied up to trees at the Upper Mud Island boat ramp, more than a mile north of downtown.
Our landing was primitive. The steep boat ramp was heavily scored for traction. Fine for cars, not so good for ankles. The Duchess traveled with its own golf carts to shuttle those who didn't care to climb.
The golf carts also came in handy reprovisioning the boat. The food crew was distressed at our remote location.
At least one of the trees was heavily scarred from mooring ropes, so I was glad to see that our staff had padded the ropes for protection.
Jim had forgotten to bring a sun hat, so our first stop was the Bass Pro Shop contained in the Memphis Pyramid.
The place is enormous with a self-contained hotel along with the store and a fake creek and wetland. Although it was disorienting, we managed to score the desired hat and escape to catch the next HOHO bus to downtown.
Our next destination was the Peabody Hotel for the March of the Ducks. It seems silly, but I've heard of the Peabody ducks my entire life and couldn't miss the 11am march. (Check the link for the lowdown on the ducks, and their care.)
We weren't the only ones. The concierge recommended a spot on the balcony as having the best view.
The "Duckmaster" started the program with an introduction to the duck tradition. He then took the elevator to the rooftop retreat where the ducks live when not on duty.
When the elevator returns, the ducks make a beeline (duckline?) for the pond where they will spend the day.
After the duck march we returned to the boat for lunch. Jim decided to spend the afternoon on board, but I wanted to see more of Memphis.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis at the Lorraine Motel. The hotel/motel is now the home of the National Civil Rights Museum. Unfortunately it is closed on Tuesday, the day we had in Memphis.
Across the street from the museum is the Upstanders mural, created to honor Memphis residents who have stood up for social justice. The only one I recognized was Ida B. Wells, pictured in the center. Find out more about this pioneering activist at the link.
Beale Street is considered the Home of the Blues and is a major tourist attraction in Memphis. It may be pretty special on a Friday night, but on an early Tuesday afternoon it seemed like a tourist trap to me.
Instead I walked down to the Beale Street Wharf, where our boat was supposed to have docked. It's clear that there was no way the American Duchess could have gotten in with the low water.
After catching the bus back to the boat, I enjoyed the ride around the rest of the HOHO stops.
Sun Studio was a popular stop. If Beale Street is the birthplace of the Blues, Sun Studio claims to be the birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll by its work with artists Howlin' Wolf, B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and many others. This original building is now primarily a tourist attraction.
After we left Memphis, we enjoyed another presentation by the Riverlorian.
Every afternoon cruise director Judy would give a presentation on our next day's stop. It was mid-presentation of our scheduled stop at Terrene Landing that we received word that we couldn't dock there due to ... wait for it ... low water.
Instead we would stop at Tunica, MS.
We were disappointed to miss the Terrene Landing stop for two reasons:
1) We had signed up an extension to Indianola, MS, to visit B. B. King's home and museum and were disappointed to miss it. I also harbored a hankering to see if we could visit the Indianola Pecan House, where I have ordered pecans and various edible gifts for many years. And...
2) Tunica is not the garden spot of Mississippi.
This was also the day we learned we could not stop in Vicksburg! Do I need to say why?
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