Greetings from Branson, MO!

vraiblonde

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149403


This is our kinda town. Good clean family fun - and lots of it. At Branson Landing today they did the national anthem to a water fountain show and everybody stopped what they were doing and put their hand over their heart. Suck it, AntiFa!

Our RV park is right on the lake - Monello can walk across the street from our site and drop a line, and we can launch the boats. A short walk up the street is Branson Landing with shops, dining, entertainment, etc. A short walk up the other street is downtown Branson, with more shops, dining, and entertainment. A short drive in any direction is still more shops, dining, and - you guessed it - entertainment.

My folks used to have a vacation home here and I spent a week with them once. We went to a couple of shows, and they were so G rated that if one of the songs had a "damn" or "hell" in it, they change it to darn or heck. Even as much as I cuss, I still appreciate wholesome entertainment.

There is also a free trolley to tote people around the city. It stops right at our RV park, so that's convenient. My plan is to get on and just go for a ride, see the sights.

Branson is wide open, baby, and there will be several firework shows on Friday and Saturday.



🎆🎆:patriot:
 
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UglyBear

Well-Known Member
Vrai, keep living the dream!
Just for my personal thinking: you and Monello have been carting around from place to place, interacting with various folks, crossing state lines and such. And you are fine. Not a drop of fever, cough, anything.
From as much as I know you from your posts, you won’t let anyone put a “practice hijab” on you (danged mask), and you are hanging out in crowded places. And you are fine.
Either you have a super immune system, or this COVID is a whole bunch of BS.
 

vraiblonde

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Vrai, keep living the dream!
Just for my personal thinking: you and Monello have been carting around from place to place, interacting with various folks, crossing state lines and such. And you are fine. Not a drop of fever, cough, anything.
From as much as I know you from your posts, you won’t let anyone put a “practice hijab” on you (danged mask), and you are hanging out in crowded places. And you are fine.
Either you have a super immune system, or this COVID is a whole bunch of BS.
Through Texas and Oklahoma and Arkansas and now Missouri, we've encountered maybe two establishments that required a mask to enter. Oh, and the restaurant in Fort Smith that required us to wear a mask until our drinks were served. :crazy: I think masks and freakouts are generally in the big cities and the coasts. Middle America is like, yeah, no.

There are signs everywhere saying to social distance and "this thing gets sanitized every 10 minutes" and blah blah blah, but except for the government shutdowns that have put small businesses out of commission, we have been largely unaffected by COVID. Branson got some pushback and the city council was like, "Yeah, blow it out yer bung," and elected to not turn their tourist mecca and thriving economy into a ghost town.

South Padre Island is still under lockdown because of Brownsville (which looks like a monument to disease). The Comal county dude is having fun with his power and comes up with some arbitrary restriction every week.

I keep thinking it would serve me right if I got Kung Flu and died, just because I've been debunking it so hard. But even karma seems to be unimpressed by this virus.
 
My sister just tried to make a drop off of stuff collected for a women's shelter in Frederick, MD and was told because of COVID19 she would have to make an appointment.

Oh well, now they aren't getting stuff.
 

Sneakers

Just sneakin' around....
My sister just tried to make a drop off of stuff collected for a women's shelter in Frederick, MD and was told because of COVID19 she would have to make an appointment.

Oh well, now they aren't getting stuff.
Same with ReStore here in Lex Park. Stuff is still in the garage waiting.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
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We had the best pre- Fourth of July! Went to Branson Landing for music, fireworks, and lovely adult beverages.

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A bazillion people - no masks, no social distancing. I want to live here forever.

Afterward we went to the Paddlewheel where the kids hang out. DJ and dancing, lots of fun. And nobody acting like an ass - even the young drunkards here are pleasant.

I think tomorrow we're going to put the boats in the water if the weather cooperates. Yesterday and today it rained like hell, then miraculously cleared up for fireworks.
 

Monello

Sexually compliant
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Many places we travel to, Vrai and I will say we need to do XXX while we are here. XXX is usually a city bus or some sort of transportation. SPI has a shuttle that we say we should take but never have.

Yesterday we actually got on the Branson Trolley. It has 13 stops around lower downtown. 1 loop takes about 45 minutes. 1 of the stops in by a Dollar General on the outskirts of town. I asked the driver if anyone ever gets off that stop. He says never but a few people will get on at that location.

We made it to stop 7, which is right on lower Main St. Across the street from the stop is Dick's Old Time 5 & Dime. To get in, you have to wait in line. 73 people are allowed in at a time. Good thing you had to wait, because while we were in there, the aisles were jammed. There is so much to see, that you have to stand in 1 spot for a while to take it all in.

The store itself is a hodge podge of several store. Imagine if a toy store, a craft store, a Sharper Image, kitchen store, the outdoor section of Walmart and a candy store merged into 1 place, then shrank down to 1/4 of it's original size. That would be Dick's.

I bought some metal puzzles. They are the kind that look like they are impossible to solve. But if you keep at it long enough, you will find some sort of point where if you wiggle the pieces enough, you can get the pieces apart. I also got some sort of trivial pursuit cards and black licorice. Vrai scored a bacon and potato chip chocolate bar.

After the store we headed to a market but none of the advertised stores interested us. Heading up the street it was hot and now a cold beverage was on our minds. The street where we were on had stores, just that none of them sold cold liquids. There was an everything Amish store that had a cooler out front that was filled with half frozen bottles of water. I guess they never figured that you could put 100% liquid water and ice cubes in a cooler to have delicious cold water to quench the thirst of weary shopper.

We got 2 bottles then headed inside to pay. The store was empty except us and the 2 people behind the counter. He tried to hard sell us a few items in the store. Pointed out all the discounts we could get if we bought multiples of this or that. Vrai played nice and roamed around a few of the aisles trying to look interested. I just hung around the counter area. Shop keep brings me a black belt. Asks if I need 1. Then proceeds to tell me how many thousands of these belts he has sold. That belt must have weighed 6 pounds. If nothing else, they used a lot of leather to make it. It would make a great present for parents of unruly children that still believe in corporal punishment.

At some point Vrai asked me if we should walk back or wait for the shuttle. I said let's walk. It's was either down hill or level all the way back to the campground. But it was hot and muggy. I only drank half of my water since the rest of it was frozen solid. Once we got to the landing, we were fading fast. We tried to get a drink at the Paddlewheel. That's the place we stopped at after the fireworks on Friday night. But they didn't open for at least another half hour.

So we rested a while before we finished our trek home. I drank about a half gallon of cold liquid then took a nap. It's not Arizona summer hot here but it sure wears you down after a while. I have to give credit to people that put roofs on homes in the summer. I'd last 3 hours tops doing that sort of work.

Even though we roll around all over the place, that is just how we live. It's not like every day is an adventure. Some days, especially during the lockdown, we don't even leave the campground. But Branson for me feels like this place is our summer vacation. There's a lot to see and do here. Each day I learn of more things that are available to travelers. There is a scenic train and a dinner boat cruise that I will have to check out. We have both things in different places with mixed results.

Last night we had bonus fireworks. Best part was I didn't even have to move my seat to view them. Right across the river is the town of Hollister. We leave the drapes of the RV open, so it acts like a picture window. A little after 9 the show started and went on for over 20 minutes.

Today is another warm, sunny day here. Maybe we'll take the boat for a float on the river. The river we are on is a tailwater that comes out of a dam a few miles away. The water is very cold. If you stand along the river, you will feel very cool breezes that come along at random times. They are quite refreshing. Early and late in the day there is always a haze above the water. It was an eerie effect on the landscape. Like something that you would see in a horror movie. There's no shortage of people fishing the river but not much catching is going on.

I'll post some pics here shortly.
 

vraiblonde

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BACON AND POTATO CHIP CHOCOLATE, PEOPLE!!!

It was called "Pigs 'N Taters". It was like somewhat savory chocolate with salty crispies. They had probably a dozen interesting chocolate bar concoctions that I went, "Huh," and walked past but the bacon and potato chip just jumped right into my hand before I knew what was happening. I'm not a big chocolate person but it was pretty tasty.

Today we took the boats out on the river. This is great paddle water because there's not a lot of current and lots of interesting sights. Plus the boaters and jetskiers aren't jackholes so you don't have to do defensive maneuvers. At Branson Landing they do a fountain show at the top of every hour and this time we got to see it from the water, which was kind of exciting.

There's an amphicar that we see out on the water, turns out it's a tour boat. It's a little pricey though - $70 for two people, 25 minutes. But it's slick and I told Monello that when I hit the lottery I'll buy him one.

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We're digging Branson. :yahoo:
 

vraiblonde

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Yesterday we found the cute little town of Hollister. It's right across the river from us, with a Bavarian style downtown area. We stopped at Downing Street Pour House for lunch - a pimiento cheese snack plate for me and soup/sammie for Monello.

While there we met a fellow barfly who told us about Crazy Craig's Cheeky Monkey Bar. It has a jungle tiki theme, as imagined by a pack of bikers on acid. Everyone was super friendly and chill, a great find. We were greeted with a Monkey shot and a bite of pulled pork that they smoke onsite. That BBQ was some kinda good, so I want to go back and get a meal of it.

We also hit up the Branson farmers market and picked up chimney cake, which is a sweet dough wrapped around a fat dowel, then baked.

Branson is definitely going on the permanent list. I could totally see living here, as in right here, at this RV park.
 

vraiblonde

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Also, Branson is super cheap to live in. You can buy a condo overlooking Branson Landing, and therefore the lake, for $55k. If you and your spouse only make $10/hr each, you can still live well in Branson.

I honestly don't understand people who stay in a crappy location they hate when there are so many happy places in this country.
 
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Monello

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I have had zero luck fishing the river out in front of the RV. I've seen 4 trout caught. Every time I pass someone with a fishing pole, I inquire if they had any luck. Not 1 person has said yes. Yesterday they stocked more trout. I'm not sure it will make a difference.

Thursday I drove over to the dam. We are on Lake Taneycomo, which is really a river wedged between 2 dams. The dam above us makes hydroelectric power. They open up a few gate and let millions of gallons of water out to flow into the lake where we are. This water release creates a current which no other lake that I'm aware of has a constant current in it. I was itching to catch a fish. I had never caught a fish in Missouri. Prior to arriving here I thought I'd be catching all sorts of fish given our location. On Table Rock lake I managed to hook 4 panfish with the fly pole. So now I can add Missouri to the list of states where I have caught fish. So far this year I've added Oklahoma and Missouri to that list. Last year I added Arizona. I'm up to 21 states where I've caught fish. The issue is each state requires it's own fishing license. Some places are very pricey. It was $150 to fish in Alaska. That's just for the permit, a piece of paper. So wish me luck because in a few days I will again walk over to the docks and try my luck at catching a trout on a body of water that the Branson chamber of commerce claims is 1 of the premier trout waters in the US.
 

vraiblonde

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Today we went to Dolly Parton's Stampede. There's one in Gatlinburg that we thought we should go to but never did, so we decided to go to the one here. It was fun but I wouldn't call it a "must see", especially since it was a bit pricey. The food was okay - a whole capon, a slice of roast pork, a potato wedge, and a half a corn cob, then a turnover for dessert. If they had a show with a reduced price and no meal, that would be the way to go.

The funnest thing about it was that it's a progbot's nightmare. Unabashedly patriotic, with "North" vs. "South" doing riding contests and piglet races and such - we were South and our team won. 😎 A couple years ago it was called "Dixie Stampede" and was a Civil War themed show. This new iteration is completely inoffensive, but I'm pretty sure Lefties would hate it anyway. In fact, I'm sure they'd hate Branson in general. :lol:
 

RareBreed

Throwing the deuces
Today we went to Dolly Parton's Stampede. There's one in Gatlinburg that we thought we should go to but never did, so we decided to go to the one here. It was fun but I wouldn't call it a "must see", especially since it was a bit pricey. The food was okay - a whole capon, a slice of roast pork, a potato wedge, and a half a corn cob, then a turnover for dessert. If they had a show with a reduced price and no meal, that would be the way to go.

The funnest thing about it was that it's a progbot's nightmare. Unabashedly patriotic, with "North" vs. "South" doing riding contests and piglet races and such - we were South and our team won. 😎 A couple years ago it was called "Dixie Stampede" and was a Civil War themed show. This new iteration is completely inoffensive, but I'm pretty sure Lefties would hate it anyway. In fact, I'm sure they'd hate Branson in general. :lol:
We went to the one in Gatlinburg and really enjoyed it.
 

vraiblonde

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We went to the one in Gatlinburg and really enjoyed it.
If you liked Gatlinburg you would enjoy Branson. It's a lot of the same vibe and type of people. There's the strip, which is like the main drag in Pigeon Forge with all the Ripley's and shows and mini golf and go-carts, then there are other areas that are more like downtown Gatlinburg. I've heard other people compare it to Vegas, I guess because of the shows, but I see no similarity at all.
 

vraiblonde

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If you're bored in Branson it's your own fault. There are a zillion things to see and do here.

Yesterday we saw the Anthems of Rock show. Branson, as you might guess, is a bastion of country music and gospel but there are plenty of other shows. Comedy, magic, and this rock show featuring songs by Queen, Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin, etc. The dancers were the best part, I thought. I always wonder where they're from and how the ended up in Branson.

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After the show we went to Mel's Hard Luck Diner, home of the original singing servers. If you've ever been to Ellen's Stardust in NYC, it's like that with better food. Your server is also your entertainment, and in the middle of taking your order will go, "Hang on a sec..." and grab the mic to belt out a tune. I requested our gal to do "Ooh Baby Baby" and she knocked it out of the park.

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The show's aren't Vegas expensive, but tickets for two after taxes, fees, etc, will set you back around $100, so it's not something you'd do every day. If you're a Branson resident you get in for $15, though, which is a sweet deal.

This is the perfect place for me to be during all the nationwide commotion with riots and COVID and Trump-hate and blah blah blah. Very calm, everyone is polite, drivers routinely stop and let others in, it's a happy place with nice folks and no activists.

We didn't eat at Billy Gail's but it was so cute, tucked away in the woods, that I think we should go back and get some breakfast or something.

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Monello

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Yesterday we went to a show and then to get a bite to eat, and watch a show. I'm not a big country music fan so when Vrai asked for my show input, the Anthem of Rock sounded like something I'd enjoy. If you have ever been on a cruise ship and went to their house show, it's very much like that. 4 main singers and 5 dancers. We weren't required to wear masks in the theater. They take your picture when you come in, then package it with a picture of the cast. The cast picture had 1 extra person in it, probably a multipurpose back up person. Because how does the show go on when 1 of the cast members gets sick?

I'm probably forgetting some of the bands but they did Chicago, Elton John, Eagles, Journey, Bon Jovi, Heart, Queen, The Beatles, Aerosmith, Rollins Stones, etc. They vary the tempo to give the dancers a break every now and then. 50 minutes in we got a 20 minute intermission.

You don't get the entire song, just the more riveting portions of the music. It was fairly fast paced with very little break in between songs. The singers & dancers earn their pay, however much that is. We tried to figure out how much someone doing that job in Branson would pay. Speaking of pay, when we got our tickets, the guy behind the counter had an unusual hairdo. It was a tight afro with the top portion dyed or painted in an almost silver like color. From a distance it looked gray but up close it was more silver. Plus he had on some eye make up. But hey, different strokes. Turns out he was 1 of the show's dancers. So the dancers multi task in that venue.

The singers are very talented. Vrai said 1 of the female singers was a half note late on a lot of songs but I'm not song savvy enough to pick up on that. It seemed fine to me. The dancers get a great cardio workout for sure. The audience was varied but skewed towards older. We spoke to 2 thirty year olds and they said they can relate to that era of music.

Here's their promo video. Watching the video, I don't recognize all the people in it, so they do have extra cast members. The dancer Courtney reminded me of Olive Oyl. Her hair was pulled back real tight to her head

Then it was off to Mel's Hard Luck Diner with it's singing waiters. Food is OK, nothing gourmet. 1 of the families sitting near us order some sort of novelty ice cream. There was a bunch of people at their table. Their server brought over mountain of ice cream, toppings and whipped cream. It probably weighted a few pounds. Our server suggested that it's not worth getting unless you have at least 6 people eating it. The Man Vs. Food guy tried to eat 1 himself. Between the calories and the potential brain freeze, it's not surprising he wasn't able to finish it.

I got up early the other day an was on the water before 6am. I finally managed to catch a few trout. Fishing is generally slow. Not many anglers are having luck but that doesn't seem to be stopping them from trying. No matter when I go outside, at least half a dozen people are on the docks fishing. Saw 2 teen swimming last night. They said the water was quite chilly. The lake website lists it at around 54 degrees. It's been in the 90s here lately. So if you swim in Branson you run the risk of both hypothermia and hyperthermia at the same time. Good thing it rained last night and it should cool down a bit.
 
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