Mar and Gar's Adventures

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Final Branson Post

I have been neglectful of posting to my blog this week. We got home at midnight Tuesday night (the 14th) and I had to quickly do a bunch of things to head out of town for a three day weekend with a bunch of girlfriends. My intent was to post about the last of the trip while we had a few lazy days on Camano Island but I came home early Saturday due to the death of a very good friend. So, I will attempt to recap the last part of our trip to Missouri and Arkansas if I can remember that far back!
I left off with pizza on Thursday night. Well, Friday morning we decided to take another road trip. This time we were going to head east. The weather predictions were for more heavy rain, wind, flash flooding, and possible tornadoes but watching the weather on TV was confusing since we weren’t familiar with the various towns and counties. Fortunately, we made a wise decision and until about 6:00 p.m. had not rain – just clouds.
We had lunch at a little cafe by a marina on Bull Shoals Lake. I am completely convinced we had stopped at this place 8 years ago on our drive back from Nashville. I think by the time we were done eating and drove through the marina and park I had pretty much convinced Garry of the same thing.
The plan was to spend a night in Mountain Home, Arkansas because I read about a classic car show on Saturday by the Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, it got cancelled due to bad weather but we had a nice time in Mountain Home. When we meandered back toward Branson on the Arkansas side of the lakes we went through a town called Yellville. It came after Gassville. Yellville was having their 69th annual Turkey Trot festival. We had just missed the parade but we stopped and walked through the festival area… very typical event. Lots of food like funnel cakes, smoked turkey legs, jambalaya plus some booths with games or selling stuff. There was a band playing so we listened awhile then headed back on our journey. I had seen on the map that there was a free ferry ride across Bull Shoals Lake so I wanted to see it and maybe take a ride. The ferry goes from Peel, Arkansas over to Protem, Missouri. It is a little tiny ferry that holds maybe six cars. It runs every 45 minutes during daylight hours only. The problem was that the ferry would take us back to the side we had just been on – the same exact roads from the day before so we rode the ferry over, then turned around and road it right back. It was really cute. They let a little boy – maybe 5 or 6 years old – go up in the wheel house and ‘run’ the boat. He was thrilled!
We got back to Branson and decided we were ready to come home. I tried to get us on an earlier flight but could not but we decided to leave Branson a day early and head to Springfield do things around there.
So, Sunday morning we headed north to Springfield. We had been told by several people that you ABSOLUTELY HAD to go to the headquarter store for Bass Pro Shops so we did. We spent a few hours there and decided to split the visit and go back again on Monday. This place is huge and very cool. Of course there is all the stuff in the world to buy for fishing and hunting but there are some great aquatic displays with live fish a many kinds, alligators, turtles – you name it. They are building a huge addition for some kind of indoor animal park. There are some great museums in the place too, so that is what we went back and saw on Monday.
There was nothing too adventurous after that. We came home through Dallas and with a slightly delayed flight out of Dallas got home about midnight on Tuesday.
We are really pleased with all we saw and did in the Ozarks and now that is off our list. Time to add some new destination.


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Rain

And people think it rains in Seattle! Ha! It really rains here in Missouri and Arkansas. Before we left on the trip the weather report sounded pretty good with a few showers later in the week. That rapidly changed to predicted heavy rain, lots of lightning and lots of flash flooding. And sure enough that has all happened.

Through a completely lucky way of planning our day trips out of Branson we avoided almost all rain until Friday. Wednesday was supposed to be nice and it was. Wednesday night we had an incredible lightning and rain storm that went on for hours. There was some thunder but different thunder than what we get… more of a long drawn out rumble instead of big loud bangs.

Thursday it was cloudy so we headed out west of Branson, but again the goal was down into Arkansas. We always take as many back roads as possible and that is pretty easy out here. The weather got nicer and nicer as the day went on. My goal was to see Eureka Springs. What a cool town – built in the late 1800s in the hills with very narrow streets and cobblestone like sidewalks. After the Civil War it was a popular healing place for wounded soldiers because of the natural springs. I think it was good not only for physical ailments but for mental… what we now call post traumatic stress.

Eureka Springs is now very very touristy and this week is a huge annual Folk festival so the town was hopping. I don’t see how so many small do-dad, artsy, souvenier places can be in one town but they are. We didn’t go into any shops but walked around and enjoyed imagining what it would have been like years ago.

Leaving Eureka Springs we meandered around to more lakes then slowly headed back toward Branson on a different route. We went through a town called Berryville and soon found out why we kept seeing semi trucks with loads of live chickens. Berryville’s main industry is Tyson Chicken. When you drive in you small chicken nuggets. Really! Tyson chicken processing plants, chicken farms, Tyson corn fields… And this is just one of many Tyson locations.

We got back to our place and decided to stay in for the night and watch Thursday night football so had a pizza delivered and just relaxed.

Friday morning’s weather told us about the heavy rains that had hit the area we had been in on Thursday. One of the roads we travelled most of the day was closed due to flash flooding so we sure were lucky that we went the day we did. We had mostly sunshine.


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First Full Day

Road trip is our name. Road trip is our game. Wednesday morning, after a few housekeeping things with Diamond Resorts, we hit the road. There are so many lakes here and of course we like water so we go looking for that. Many of the lakes here are because of dams built from the 1940’s to the 1960’s, so basically the dammed rivers make the lakes. The White River is the river that goes by our condo. We drove a few miles and crossed the Table Rock dam which is the dam that forms our lake by our condo. We went to their visitor center and enjoyed a movie about the history of the area and learned about the flooding and the building of the dam. If I understand almost all of the lakes here are really reservoir lakes formed by a series of dams. It is all very beautiful but also interesting to see what it was like before the dams.

We had no goal for the day. Just a road trip. But before we left Seattle I had tried some research and found a place in Jasper, Arkansas, known for its chicken fried steak. Well, you all know how Gar does love that. We happened to get to Jasper at lunch time so had to go the Ozark Cafe. Jasper has a population of less than 600 people by the way. The Ozark Cafe has been there since 1909. It was a great place. The chicken fried steak was good, but we have had as good if not better (sorry — Trip Advisor review later), but it was so friendly and the atmosphere was fantastic. Very glad we stopped.

Because we had no real no plan I just kept reading a map and telling Gar where to turn. Of course we stopped whenever I yelled “stop!” so I could take a picture.

We made it back to Branson around late dinner time so decided to go to a sports bar I had read about. We will be here on Sunday and need to find a place that will be broadcasting the Seahawks – Dallas game. Well, Gar was tired of driving so he told me it was my turn. OK… new car to me… new area.. and I had enjoyed happy hour at our place. I took the wrong turn out of our place and ended up in the Wyndham time share, so turned around and down the road I went again. Oh, oh! Blue light special. I pull over and now am thinking I am off to jail. I learned it pays to be white haired and confused looking in Branson. Our rental car has parking lights that come on automatically but not driving lights. He told me to turn them on and have a nice night! Whew!

We checked out the sports bar and that is probably where we will be on Sunday. From what I can tell with local TV listings that will be he smart thing to do if we hope to see the Seahawks win again.


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Oops

OK.. Keep in mind I sorta forgot something important.   Tuesday was the 33rd anniversary of our 1st date.  A blind date no less.  Well, I remembered it last week but not this week… But Garry remembered with a card that said “33 years of love and fun”.  It has been fun and love and adventure all the time.image image


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We Don’t Travel Enough

Why is that?  Because I can’t remember how to insert pictures where I want them in the post.  They just show up in strange places so I take them out and try again – and again – and again.  So here are the ones I tried to insert.  I will try to figure this out later.

View through bedroom window

View through bedroom window

Nice kitchen.

Nice kitchen.

The river (lake) in front of our place.

The river (lake) in front of our place.

Our living room

Our living room