It has been so much fun showing Steve and Jackie around during their first visit to Branson. They seem to have enjoyed themselves immensely, and we were equally happy to be their tour guides, giving them the benefit of our many visits here.
By now, we are pretty much old hands at finding the best entertainment and places to eat, and they seem to have confirmed that our experience was very helpful. I don't think they really knew what to expect and, if they didn't have a good time, then they fooled us completely.
We've seen some really good shows featuring all kinds of music, and they seemed impressed with the quality of the performances. I guess our personal favorites were those featuring 50s and 60s tunes that we loved during our teen years when music was all important. But there's' something for every taste here, and it is all very well done.
Not only is this totally clean entertainment, but there is almost no crime here, and the many attractions like Silver Dollar City are a mecca for kids. You also won't find a more patriotic place than Branson, where every show includes a salute to veterans. And where else but Branson would you find a sign like this in a business's parking lot:
This is so refreshing after the vitriol against the military we see on TV every day.
Our last event was a tour of Table Rock Lake on the Branson Belle, a huge showboat built here on the lake. We enjoyed a lively dinner show in the theater in addition to the views from the various outside decks:
The boat was propelled by a real paddle wheel:
While the girls went shopping near the end of our time together, Steve and I took in a war museum and an antique car and farm equipment museum, both of which were very interesting. In this photo, Steve is standing beside a 1909 steam-powered tractor. He seemed to know a good deal about it, so I asked him how old he was when it was invented. I don't think he found my question very amusing, for some reason.
At the car museum, I really wanted this 1956 Cadillac Eldorado for a tow car, but I couldn't swing the $178,000 price tag. I was surprised to find here three rare and quite pristine Eldorados, a '56, a '57 and a '58, all for sale for around the same price. Sigh.
We also spent some time at Big Cedar, the resort complex on Table Rock Lake owned by Bass Pro Shops. It has to be one of the most picturesque places around, and we took a number of photos:
Oh, the dangers I face when trying to get the best photo. I had to ford this raging stream to get in position to take the photo of the chapel above. It's a wonder I didn't drown:
We had plenty of good eats, too. I can't list them all, but below is a photo of our gang eating catfish at the Flat Creek Cafe near West Branson. (Yes, it was good enough to be listed on our favorites page.)
When we weren't going to shows and restaurants and the like, we spent a good deal of time just sitting around, enjoying the near perfect weather. Here's a photo of Sandy, bringing her overstuffed glass of iced tea to a 'happy hour' outside Steve and Jackie's coach. (Those who know Sandy understand that she likes a little tea with her ice. No, I don't get it either but, if she's going to have a vice, this one is pretty tame, I guess.)
From here, we fondly but sadly said goodbye to Steve and Jackie, who are northbound to Minnesota, taking their time along the way to see some new sights. We will soon be making our way back to Texas, where we will see friends and relatives, attend a rally and prepare for our Hawaiian cruise that begins in about five weeks.
I hope our enjoyment of this stage of our lives is evident to readers, especially those contemplating fulltime RVing. We are still pinching ourselves at our good fortune in experiencing the freedom of stress free and obligation free living, all the while traveling to, well, wherever we wish and staying as long as we want. Add to this the many wonderful friends we've made whose paths we cross from time to time, and it is almost too good to be true.
Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life;
please forgive me if I don't appreciate it as I should each day.
You don't stop playing when you get old; you get old when you stop playing.