Monday, July 29, 2013

Branson Times Two!

The July campout with our Good Sam chapter, “The Modern Wagoneers,” was more than a week away and I was getting cabin fever.  So, Susan suggested “let’s leave a few days early, go to Eureka Springs and Branson, then drop down through Missouri via I-44 and meet the group in Grove.”  Because I always do what I’m told, I readied the truck and coach and off we went. 

On the road to Eureka Springs, we saw a few nice cars on a transport parked at a truck stop . . . .


My weakness is clean, sixties, Cadillacs.  The car pictured above is a 1964 Cadillac, Coupe de Ville, convertible.  Except for a little underbody rust, she looked sweet!  Susan wouldn’t let me inquire whether it was for sale.  

Susan called ahead and reserved an RV site at “Wanderlust RV Park” in Eureka Springs, which is located at 468 Passion Play Rd., Eureka Springs, Arkansas 72632. 


Their telephone number is (479) 253-7385.  The park is a Good Sam “approved” park and offers 90 full-hookup sites, but be sure to ask for site 47, if it’s available. 


We had a site along the road frontage.  Traffic noise didn’t present a problem, but the site had no view.  Site 47 is in the back portion of the park and has a beautiful view of the Ozark surroundings. 

The park manager recommended “Catfish Cabin” and “La Familia” for dinner, and “Ozark Mountain Hoe-Down” for an evening show.  Don’t eat at La Familia in Eureka Springs!  The food was disgusting, and the service was just as bad.  Catfish Cabin, on the other hand, was excellent! 

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If you care to take in a show, definitely see Ozark Mountain Hoe-Down!  We laughed for over an hour, and the music wasn’t bad, either! 

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The singer/comedian, pictured above-right, bares a striking resemblance to our youngest granddaughter, Sheridyn, in her cheer uniform.  Both restaurants and the music show are located along Highway 62 through Eureka Springs.

We discovered a long time ago that if we really want to learn an area and its history well, we should hire a local guide service to give us a tour.  Eureka Springs has a transit system that offers an open-air guide, and we highly recommend it.  The depot is located at 137 W. Van Buren (Hwy. 62 West), and the telephone number is (479) 253-9572.  Go to for more information. 


The trolley operates year round and we had a narrated tour conducted by Tim Garrison.  Ask for his tour if he’s available.  Tim is a native of Eureka Springs and has an extensive knowledge of the area and its history. 


One of the first stops on the tour was the “Crescent Hotel,” billed as “The haunted hotel where some guests checked out . . . but never left.”  The “Crescent” was built in 1886 and offers nightly ghost tours.  The following are a few views from our visit . . . .

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The hotel is located at 75 Prospect Avenue, Historic Loop, Eureka Springs, Arkansas 72632.  You can call (800) 342-9766 for reservations, or visit

“Grotto Spring” was another interesting stop on the tour.  It is one of 62 original springs in the community, and the water flows from a natural grotto. 


The City of Eureka Springs employees a full-time gardener to maintain the landscaping around the springs, and what a beautiful job he does. 

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One of the most jaw-dropping characteristics about Eureka Springs is the architecture . . . .

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And, another is the atmosphere . . . .

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The winding and twisting roads to Eureka Springs are much better today than they were 20 years ago, but still challenging for an RVer.  Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful place to visit and you should go if you have the opportunity. 

We left Eureka Springs after two nights and headed across the state line to Branson, Missouri.  If you read previous segments of this blog you are probably aware that our coach incurred substantial hail damage earlier in the year.  I initially thought our truck escaped the ravages of the storm, but today the light hit the hood just right and revealed a few small dents.  About half way to Branson, an 18-wheeler loaded with gravel (and no screen) tossed a rock and chipped our windshield. 


Only two years old and 29K miles.  “Hey Sue, maybe it’s time for a new one!”  Her reply: “NOT!”

We had reserved a site where we regularly stay at the Branson KOA.  The luxury sites are numbered 130-134.  If we’re with another couple, we generally try to reserve sites 130 and 131 because they face each other.  In other words, the RV doors open toward one another.  All these sites have concrete patios with outdoor furniture and chimineas.  A little pricy, but worth it! This trip, however, we stayed in site 151, which is classified as a premium site.  It’s immediately adjacent to the grassy picnic area, which Maynard prefers for obvious reasons. 

If you visit the Branson KOA, be sure to go next door and buy a cinnamon roll or two from the “Cedar Creek Coffee” store.  The business operates to support disabled individuals by providing them employment opportunities while teaching them new skills. 


And the cinnamon rolls are excellent!


Being our first trip to Branson this season (Branson x 1), we purchased the “Branson Guest Card.”  The cost of the card is about $20, but considering the discount it provides at most restaurants, music shows, and attractions, it’s well worth the nominal investment.  The card can be purchased at most participating businesses where it is accepted. 

We haven’t seen the Shoji Tobuchi show in 16 years, so we thought it was about time to see it again. 


Shoji has a fantastic laser show to accompany his skillful fiddle performance, but what I found most interesting is his theater and lavish restrooms . . . .

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Yes, that’s a billiard table in the men’s room! 

We also saw Paul Harris and the Cleverlys.  Paul Harris has been a comedian around Branson for some time, but if you haven’t seen the Cleverlys perform, you’re missing out.  These guys are hilarious! 

Now, every time we visit Branson, Susan makes it a point to visit the Scrapbook store.


A Blue Bell ice cream store used to be next door and I would enjoy my favorite malt while she shopped.  Upon our arrival at the Scrapbook store we quickly learned that the ice cream store closed at the end of last season.  Well, rather than wait in the truck for about an hour, I visited the nearby dulcimer store.


Guess what Susan and I now own?  Not only does she have a dulcimer, but I have a chord stick! DSCN4042

With a little more practice I may be good enough to join the Cleverlys! 

We left Branson after 3 nights and headed west toward Grove for the campout.  For me, Branson gets old after 2 nights and I’m ready to move on. 


Cedar Oaks RV Resort is located at 1550 83rd Street, Grove, Oklahoma, and on a point of Grand Lake. 


Typically, we all park under the beautiful grove of trees (as pictured above), but this time only a few had shade while the rest of us were in an unmowed field in the blazing sun.  I’ve always championed this park, but I was sorely disappointed that management didn’t do a better job of providing better sites for our club.  After all, RV clubs is their bread and butter! 


Because the consumption of good food is one of my favorite pastimes, I regularly rave about my wife’s and fellow RVers’ cooking skills.  This campout was no exception!

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Below, we shared a rally room with our friends from Drumright, Oklahoma, the “Sim-R-On Sams.”


This campout was extra special, as we welcomed back a former member, Rose Wagner (pictured with Gary Tidball) . . . ,


And our newest members, David and Christy Cline . . . .



Above, Mary Wier assists Wilma Adams with her new phone.  Below left, Rosie and Donna Keever strike a pose for the photographer, while Ann Fowler enjoys a book under the shade of her RV awning (lower right). 

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It’s always sad when we leave a chapter campout and head home, but we were looking forward to an extended trip to Fun Valley, Colorado with the grandchildren the following week.  But with limited time and news that the recent fires may have left Fun Valley with minimal staff, we opted to return to Branson (Branson x 2) with a trip itinerary planned around preteen activities. 


Above, are Sheridyn (Tumbleweed) and Trenton (Thumper).  All grandchildren receive a nickname upon birth which is characteristic of their newborn personality.  Yes, we have a strange family, but I bet you do, too!  We also have “Cindy Pecos” and “Baby Leo,” but Cindy, the oldest, was too busy to accompany us on this trip, and Baby Leo is just too little. 

It seemed no sooner than we got home that we were on the road again to Branson.  Susan caught the following picture as we pulled out of OKC . . . .


See, other folks are just as weird as we are! 

As Susan read her book and the kids watched movies in the backseat, I monitored the truck and coach and kept a steady hand on the wheel, until the left, inside, truck tire blew out. 


Thanks to the help of the attendant at “Hood Service Center,” I-44, Exit 61 in Missouri, we got the spare on and resumed our trip toward Branson.  I didn’t get the attendant’s name that helped us change the tire, but I strongly recommend Hood’s if you find yourself in need of help along this stretch of highway.  Not only helpful, but quick and courteous! 

Hood’s didn’t have a matching Michelin for the truck, but I bought a replacement in Branson.  Upon our return to OKC, I took the truck to Discount Tires where I previously purchased warranty certificates for all the tires.  Pay attention to your sidewalls!  Even if you have plenty of tread, minimal cracking can cause a blowout!  These tires had only 29K miles, but the folks at Discount Tire replaced an additional four tires under warranty.  Better safe than sorry!   

Once in Branson, we returned to the KOA.  The grandkids enjoyed the pool and inflated pillow between music shows and attractions.

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They each had the option of choosing a music show or other activity.  Tumbleweed picked “Hannah’s Mirror Maze,” and Thumper picked “Ripley’s Believe it or Not!” 


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They pulled me through this thing at least four times.  I was totally worn out by the end of the day, both physically and mentally.  Although I never had any trouble navigating the legal system, I couldn’t seem to find my way out of the mirror maze!  


At least Ripley’s was at a much slower pace . . . .


From shrunken heads (lower left), and the tallest man (lower right) . . . ,

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to the spiraling tunnel (upper left) and the shooting gallery (upper right), Ripley’s turned out to be good, clean, family amusement! 

For a 1950’s “soda and malt shop” experience, visit “Jackie B. Goode’s Uptown Cafe,” 285 Hwy. 165, Branson, Missouri.  They have a great grilled chicken sandwich on croissant! 


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We treated the kids to “The Magic Comedy of Taylor Reed” on the second night of our stay in Branson.  Taylor’s a great illusionist and was a previous contestant on “America’s Got Talent.”


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Of course we couldn’t get away without seeing “Six” again! 


Arguably, “Six” is the best current music show playing in Branson.  If you go, it’s at the “Mickey Gilley Theatre” on Hwy. 76.  It, too, is pricey, but well worth the money. 

Finally, something for me! 


A 1969 Cadillac, Coupe de Ville, convertible.  With the exception of the orange peel paint and cracked dash, she looks pretty clean!  What I appreciate about the two vehicles depicted in this segment of “The Adventure” is that they both appear to be “stock.”  That is, no after-market accessories, i.e., custom wheels, modified body, etc.  My best observation is that they are all original.  I wonder if this ‘69 can be towed with all four down?

Well, two trips to Branson in as many weeks (Branson Times Two!).  Susan and I agree that we’ve seen enough of Branson for awhile.  But one final question; why do people have to take their dogs everywhere?


At least Maynard waits patiently in the coach!