Branson: Day 1

We are headed to Branson today. No surprise that we left after lunch.

This is our first time to go to Branson since 2007 (if I remember correctly). Usually as we dip out the driveway, someone says “Wait! Wait! I forgot something!” Surprisingly we didn’t hear that today. Success already.

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It is also an incredibly beautiful day. Sun out. Sky never bluer. Fields luscious with corn. Trees rich green. Makes quite the window seat view.

Off to Branson, MO. 6+ hour trip. Leggo.

1:03P.M. Our packed Taurus slugs out the slanted driveway.

He's thrilled about all those snacks

He’s thrilled about all those snacks

1:14P.M. We cross the Mississippi River. Always a beauty.

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1:19P.M. I realize that the radio is a very bad thing. I love to listen to the radio, but it exploits so many precious songs that I wish could just stay little secrets to all those hipsters who really search for music and use it for comfort. I say this because my favorite song “Love Somebody” by Maroon 5 has finally been thrown onto the radio to be tarnished by every station until it’s not golden anymore. Despite this, I’m still going to practice playing this song on piano like I have for the past few weeks.

1:42P.M. “Wagon Wheel” comes on the radio, and Mom turns it up.

Somewhere around 2:00P.M., Benjamin and I finally got bored with reading our books and fell asleep.

3:49P.M. Mom says that she wants one of those spastic blow-up noodle people that usually live outside car dealerships. She says it would be great for Halloween… (She wants the blue one)

4:03P.M. Our halfway mark is Greenbrier, AR, and what an incredible feat for no one to have to use the bathroom yet!

4:17P.M. As I struggle to close the Gladware that holds the chocolate chip pecan cookies, Mom pops her head out from the front seat to say “I’m hungry”.

4:31P.M. Oh wait, bathroom break at the McDonald’s in Clinton, AR. It has a Redbox. Are you serious? Oh wait there’s more. All the customers and workers look either very redneck, possibly inbred, or “like real vacationers” as Mom puts it. Benjamin was quick to notice all the tattoos on their bodies, and Mom real liked the many exotic hairstyles.

4:46P.M. Mom takes the wheel.

4:55P.M. We spontaneously decide to see the “World Wonder” Natural Bridge!

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“Winding Road Ahead” is the first sign we are greeted with as we turn off the highway. Should we go back? No, of course not; it can’t be that bad. The yellow diamond signs for this specific caution should be redrawn because the road is much curvier than the original signs.

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We also pass multiple signs that advise shifting to low gear. Oh the steepness, oh the fun. We finally make it to the bottom where it does turn out to be a tourist trap as expected, but we still decide to pay the nice lady to see the bridge.

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We walk through a couple tiny cabins and up and down steep rocks but not over the bridge.

Not even fifty yards into the trail you see the beautiful bridge above and to the left, but as the trail comes to an end we discover that you are not allowed to walk on or cross over the bridge. You’ve got to be kidding me.

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We really wanted to climb on the bridge not just look at it but…

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My family saw this sign as more of advice and decide not to follow it. I mean, we didn’t sign a waiver did we? As we kept venturing more and more off the trail we kept thinking:

Do not… seek… the treasure” –O Brother, Where Art Thou?

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"Not responsible for accidents"

“Not responsible for accidents”

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We found a few caves too!

We found a few caves too!

 

To say the least, we had a lot of fun exploring uncharted areas and figuring out which flora was poisonous.

5:38P.M. Back on the road again!

5:54P.M. We cross the Little Red River (that could), located in Leslie, AR “One of Arkansas’ best kept secrets”.

6:45P.M. I show Mom how to use Instagram while we are stopped for gas.

6:52P.M. Now, Dad insists on showing me his app for photo filtering.

7:12P.M. Shipley’s Donuts is everywhere.

7:44P.M. I look at my GPS, realize we are going the wrong direction, and no one will listen to me. I keep telling them that we are not headed towards the dam, but they won’t listen.

7:48P.M. We finally reach the dead end which signals that we drove the wrong “dam” way. Now they listen.

7:51P.M. “Is Google Maps right?”

7:58P.M. Back on track and we spot a deer!

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8:04P.M. Two deer!

8:16P.M. We have arrived!

Sunset view from the dam

Sunset view from the dam

(I just realized I have had chicken for every meal today.)

 

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