Thursday, September 17, 2009

BRANSON AND HOLLISTER, MO

We arrived in Branson and enjoyed the scenic drive from North Little Rock, AR. When we began approaching the Ozark Mountain region the highway had about the steepest grade we have encountered so far - 7%, which is quite steep for truckers and some coaches. RV and our Allegro Bus handled the steep grade without any difficulty. Our 2-stage exhaust brake is an invaluable and necessary safety feature on rigs our size. (This device automatically slows the coach down when engaged; i.e., a steep grade).

Our campground turned out to be a place you would come to enjoy trout fishing on Lake Taneycomo. While we enjoyed the carillon concerts from the College Of The Ozarks, directly across the lake, 3 days was enough at Cooper Creek, and we were fortunate enough to move the coach over to a campground in Old Branson, close to Branson Landing. Although this is a city-maintained campground, Lakeside RV Campground is quite a value. We are lakefront, and thoroughly enjoy an abundance of ducks and geese, trout/fly fishermen on the shore, as well as 3 different floating docks in the lake, outside our door. Shopping, a marina and restaurants are very convenient.


We are especially excited to visit Anna, my cousin, and Steve, her husband, who live in Hollister, MO, extremely close to Branson. Anna and Steve live in an absolutely beautiful home developed on land owned by the late Tennessee Ernie Ford. They have a lovely waterfall flowing in their designer backyard. Their home was as warm and inviting as their hospitality. We were so ecstatic to visit with them, enjoy their company, and be shown parts of the area we would never have visited. Areas like Big Cedar, Table Rock Dam, the new Branson airport, and Murder Rock. For family members who remember Anna's sons, Chris and Ben, it's great to hear Chris is a senior at Ole Miss (applying for Law School soon), and Ben, is serving our country in Iraq, in the United States Army. A side note: Members of the congregation of First Presbyterian Church, Branson, just baked and mailed Ben (in Iraq) approximately 30 pounds of various homemade cookies while we were here.

Trivia they shared with us: Lake Taneycomo derives its name from Taney County, MO.; thus, Taneycomo. By the way, each year 1,000,000 trout are released in the lake for fishing.

Some of the things we've done since we've been here is see the show voted #1 - called SIX (6 brothers); The World Famous Platters Show, Spirit Of The Dance, The 12 Irish Tenors, and a walking tour of the Titanic (an incredible experience). The performers in the shows we attended always recognized the men and women in the audience who were veterans and had served in the armed forces of our country.

We enjoyed Sunday brunch with Steve and Anna at Big Cedar, a huge resort developed by Johnny Morris, owner of Bass Pro Shops. This was one of the most beautiful resorts we've seen anywhere. Later in the week we made a trip to Springfield, MO, the Granddaddy of all BPS.


We had lunch at the College Of The Ozarks (Hardwork U), which was most impressive. Students who are unable to afford a college education can attend by working 15 hours a week, and one 40 hour week during the semester - we met the staff in their tremendous dining facilities, and learned a great deal about the college which has been in existence since 1906 and has approximately 1500 coed students, primarily from the Ozark area. It was such a wonderful experience for RV and I, we came back to their drop-dead-delicious Sunday Brunch with Anna and Steve, after we attended First Presbyterian Church with them.


An advantage an RVer has is to attend the shows at your own pace but if you keep going at a pace of some of the tour buses we see, you'll go home exhausted. Some of these people come in, eat 3 meals a day and see 3 shows (or more)... each day! Remember, this is not a vacation for us -it's a way of life!

We've been in the Branson, MO area for about 10 days, YIKES! and will leave tomorrow to return to the Little Rock, AR area where we have a reservation at the Downtown Riverside RV Park, a new waterfront campground on the Arkansas River, across from the Clinton Presidential Center. RVparkriversidenlr@northlittlerock.ar.gov.
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