March 25th - 26th
John demonstrating what he really thought of Arkansas.
John and Sissy aboard the Branson Scenic Railway.
Driving the roads around Branson and Table Rock.
Andy Williams 'Moon River' Theater.
Route 65 heading into Branson.
We were up bright and early to get out of Arkansas as fast as we could. As you know from the web page for Morrilton, that placed "sucked." But, we did decide to give some of our money to the local folks by stopping by the Cracker Barrel for breakfast and ANOTHER gift for Jessy!
The waitress at the restaurant told us to go about 100 miles out of our way to get to Branson the easy way. Well, you know John - he's gonna do it his way! We took Route 7 north through the Ozark and Boston Mountain ranges. John said it would be a good test for the truck. It was foggy and raining the entire way, but John did the speed limit (or less) going around turns. We even went through a town where the population was 7 including the coon dog! We stopped for pics when we reached a break in the fog, and Sissy snapped one of John demonstrating what he actually thought of Arkansas (pissin' in the wind atop a mountain view pull-off).
We arrived in Branson about 1100 after traveling about 200 miles (you know we really left early leaving Arkansas). The weather was cold and misting, but we found a Travel Information stop without any problems. They referred us to the Branson Shenanigan's RV Park which is where we setup camp. If someone ever tells you its impossible to create a campground on the side of a mountain, don't believe them. We can attest that it is possible. In any event, the site was level and we even had a deck overlooking the valley below.
Laundry at the campground, showers and a quick change of clothes were next before trying to find the local post office to mail a diskette and post cards. It took about an hour, but we finally located it with some help from a local. Hark, behold - Sissy forgot the stuff to mail back at the trailer. Oh well, tomorrow was just another day and we mailed it then.
B.T. Bones Steakhouse was on the agenda for dinner, and you'll never guess what happened. Sissy's belly hurt so bad from laughing, and John gazed into space with disbelief. We were conversing with the waitress about Branson, its population (6,240 residents) and the weather both during winter and summer. During winter, just about everything closes down, but during summer tourists arrive spending their money. The waitress said it was hot and humid in the summertime, but the money was good. We couldn't believe they actually had humidity here, so John asked where it came from: lake? river? Of course not! With a very intellectual look on her face, the waitress said "I think it comes from Texas!" Sissy lost it and almost fell out of the booth. John was amazed that truely educated people could actually live here and work as waitresses!
Tuesday morning we woke up to 27 degrees and cloudy, so bike riding was out. Oh well, there's always Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona for that. Around town in the truck for pics, sightseeing and a car wash we went. And, don't forget the post office! We mailed the stuff first thing!
Branson is located in the mountains, and the strip itself is located on a ridge. Since neither of us had been here before, we pictured it being spread out like Myrtle Beach but that was not the case. It is congested like Atlantic Avenue in Virginia Beach, but worse. There's a 2 lane highway running from old downtown to the east and out of town to the west. When the locals want to build something new near the strip, they just haul in more rock, pile it up on the side of the mountain and then build. It's amazing things don't just slide right down when it rains. Just think, if they keep building sooner or later they will simply connect 2 mountain tops together and create a plateau.
After a car wash, pics and a stop for lunch (we brought our own) it was to old downtown and a ride on the Branson Scenic Railway. The old train had vintage rail cars for the tourists to ride in and even a snack bar and dining car! The ride was north for about 45 minutes and then south for the same amount of time (go figure). We had a nice time, and were able to chat with the conductor, the engineer (Bob) and some folks from Iowa who were down for a few shows.
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