Joplin Branson Missouri
Joplin & Branson, Missouri

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Joplin & Branson, Missouri


Places Visited: Missouri: Joplin & Branson, Missouri

Monday September 24, 2001 Wal-Mart: Joplin, Missouri, Elevation 1,600'

Scenery changed as we traveled today. We spent the weekend in Dodge City, Kansas so that we could tour a large slaughterhouse on Monday. When we called this morning to arrange the tour they informed us that they only did tours arranged by the home office in Wichita and those tours were always for big customers. Ouch! We spent the entire weekend in Dodge City just to do this tour. Oh well! You do not win them all. AMEN! As we have traveled east from the shadow of the Rockies, trees have been exceedingly scarce to non-existent. Miles upon miles of open prairie has been the norm. Approaching Wichita trees began to appear. Between Wichita and Joplin, Missouri we left the prairie and deciduous trees appeared. Oaks, sycamores, catalpa, mimosa and magnolia trees became common. It happened in a flash. There was prairie and then it was gone. In Wichita we saw the first crews mowing the side of the road since we left east Texas almost 6-months ago. Things are GREEN again. Absolutely amazing, we feel back at home. East of Wichita we see trees, we are not familiar with, that have a lime green fruit, probably apples. Some were planted in a long single row along a road. Others were scattered along the roadside. Some had fruit the size of grapefruit others the size of lemons. Someone familiar with the area let us know if these were apple trees. Thanks in advance.

Tuesday September 25, 2001 ABC AMERICA'S BEST CAMPGROUND: Branson, Missouri,

We chose a route from Joplin to Branson on country roads. It was a beautiful drive as we soak up green vegetation once again. Outside of the alpine forest in the mountains we have seen very little green in over 5-months. Sumac is turning red and yellow poplars are turning yellow along the way.

Shortly after arriving in Branson we get a call from our Daughter-In-Law's parents who have also just arrived in Branson. It is unbelievable that we would both be traveling around this great country and just by chance be in the same town on the same day. We make arrangements to meet for dinner and a show.

We ate at B.T. Bones then went to the Presley show. The Presley's are a quality variety act. We noticed that virtually everyone in attendance was over 70-years old. Later we learned that it was the time of year (after Labor Day). It seems that the average age of tourist in Branson jumps dramatically after Labor Day. During the show several tour groups in the audience were recognized. One from "East Brent" Florida caught our ear. East Brent just happens to be a large Baptist Church in Pensacola. During intermission we made our way down to where they were sitting and low and behold found three men that I had worked with at the Naval Air Rework Facility. Some of you will remember working with George Van Meter, George Smith and Ben Carpenter. What a good surprise. Most of these men have been retired for 10 to 20 years. For those of you that know them they have not changed. They are all looking real good (for old men) J.

Wednesday September 26, 2001 ABC AMERICA'S BEST CAMPGROUND: Branson, Missouri,

Vern and Elaine, friends that we met and spent time with in Colorado called this morning. They are in another RV-Park here in town. They have a relative in town that is well placed in the community and has access to free/cut-rate show tickets. They have arranged for us to meet them for dinner and show tonight.

Joyce and I spent the early afternoon in "old" Branson doing shops and mingling with busloads of tourist. Watching people is about as entertaining as anything I can think of. Groups of old men mingling outside of shops while groups of wives scurry about looking at tacky STUFF. Most have nametags that identify them with a certain tour group. I suppose that helps them remember which buss to get on.

We met Vern & Elaine at McFarlain's, in the I-MAX theatre, for dinner then it was off to Braschler's for their 8:00 variety show.

Thursday September 27, 2001 ABC AMERICA'S BEST CAMPGROUND: Branson, Missouri,

The weather is Great. It is cool at night with a high of 72 during the day. The sun is shining the birds are singing. Old folks are walking the streets. J Yes, we are still in Branson. The locals tell us that the average age is 65 so we are really feeling young in this crowd. It is a joy indeed to see so many senior citizens enjoying the shows and having a good time. We are reminded of Joyce's parents and know that they would have loved visiting Branson because they enjoyed all types of music.

We visited a gristmill operated by College of the Ozarks. College kids were operating three cottage industries, a gristmill, a series of weaving looms, and a basket weaving section. A water wheel powered three sets of grinding rocks that grind corn and other grain on a daily basis. Upstairs in the building 6 or 8 college students were operating looms like our ancestors did years and years ago. We have seen the looms in many historical museums but this is the first time we have watched them being operated. In the basement we can see the belts, pulleys and other mechanical things that convert waterpower into energy to operate the grinding rocks in the gristmill. Also in the basement a group of students were weaving baskets with traditional materials.

We met Vern & Elaine for dinner then it was off to the Lawrence Welk show complete with the Lennon Sisters. It was a very professional performance . The sensational singing and dancing tribute featured a salute to Burt Bacharach . The staff of the Welk show included a group of very talented young women and men who looked to be in their twenties. A young lady in the group is the daughter of one of the Lennon sisters. Joyce remembers all the Saturday nights she watched the Welk show with her parents when she was just a kid. Mike can't remember watching the famous Welk show with his family, and his mother was a music teacher (I think he was rebelling during those days.) Experiencing one of these shows every night could get addicting. After this we are not sure how we are going to keep entertained once we return to Pensacola.

Friday September 28, 2001 ABC AMERICA'S BEST CAMPGROUND: Branson, Missouri,

We had an early lunch today and then back to the RV park to catch up on routine and exercise. I t is a beautiful day for walking and visiting with folks in the park. The park office has a great front porch complete with high back rocking chairs like we might see at Cracker Barrel.

It is a beautiful fall day in the Ozarks, the weather is warm and we have on our shorts again. Joyce says she can feel fall in the air. We needed a light cardigan or jacket for dinner and the scheduled show tonight. We meet Vern and Elaine for dinner then head to the Incredible Acrobats of China. The Acrobats of China were world-class entertainment.

Saturday September 29, 2001 ABC AMERICA'S BEST CAMPGROUND: Branson, Missouri,

This is another beautiful day with high temperatures in the low-70's. Joyce and I spent the morning walking in the park then headed to one of the local outlet malls where we met Vern and Elaine. Joyce and Elaine went wild while Vern and I held down a variety of benches.

The Platter's were our entertainment for tonight. We can see why they have been named vocal group of the year, in Branson, three different times. They put on a super show. Their music brings back memories.

Sunday September 30, 2001 ABC AMERICA'S BEST CAMPGROUND: Branson, Missouri,

We met Vern and Elaine for worship services at the Lawrence Welk Theatre. Barbara Fairchild leads a group in worship. Musicians from many of the shows in Branson join Barbara for her two-hour worship and praise service. Afterward we met at the Friendship house on the campus of College of the Ozarks for lunch.

We again met Vern and Elaine at Bobby Vinton's Theatre for his 8:00 show with the Glen Miller Orchestra. I had forgotten how many hits this 60's heartthrob had. The women were wild about his love songs.

Mike & Joyce Hendrix

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Until next time remember how good life is.

Mike & Joyce Hendrix

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