S: 2012 Vacation to Branson, MO
BC: Final Day of Vacation We stop for lunch at the Prasek Hillje Smokehouse in El Campo. Before starting the last leg of our trip back home Jack suffers from a major sinus headache due to a bad rain storm headed towards south Texas. Bob drives the last 175 miles out of the 2391.5 miles driven for the whole trip. 4/19/12 - Arrive at home 5:30 pm Where do we travel to next... Tennessee ... here we come! | Photos taken by Renee McMonagle & Celia Kaiser
FC: 2012 Branson Vacation Including Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, & Texas
1: Our trip began on | The trip began at 6:30 am on April 12, 2012. The Kaisers arrive to pick up the McMonagles. 6:45 am then return to Kaiser house to pick up forgotten jackets. | Bob drove the first 60 miles to Oakville, Texas for a Country Breakfast at Van's. Huge Biscuit w/ Gravy Bacon or Sausage Eggs & Potatoes $3.50 Back on the road by 8:50 am
3: Beautiful fields of Bluebonnets between Waco & Corsicana | Texas
4: Jack is disappointed, we arrive a few minutes before closing but apparently they closed early today.
5: We still manage to see the outside of the buildings through the chain link fence. | Who's that handsome cowboy!
7: 4/12/12 - 1st Day 5:13 pm we arrive in south Dallas at ... 5:30 pm we are entering the north side of Dallas' city limits ... 5:48 pm we come to a dead stop due to traffic... 6:15 pm we've traveled less than 250 ft. When opportunity arrives Jack decides to take an alternate exit to get off Hwy 75 7:00pm We get back on Hwy 75 to get around traffic jam. We've traveled less than 15 miles.
8: 7:20 pm we cross the Red River into Oklahoma looking for somewhere to spend the night. Decide to stay at Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, OK. Cheapest hotel during the whole trip ... $68.
9: A quick supper in the casino food court then off to play the slots ... After a while two guys next to Renee tell her she's won $100. She's never won before. Celia comes out $8.00 ahead so they decide to call it a night and head off to bed.
10: After eating a delicious breakfast at the Bledsoe Diner where they served Chocolate Gravy (none of us brave enough to try it), we were headed to McAlester, OK and drove past this mock cattle drive.
11: As we traveled through Oklahoma we began seeing large patches of these "red flowers", we were told they were a type of clover. Bob braved the tall grass so we could see a clover flower up close.
12: 4/13/12 - Fort Gibson, Oklahoma
13: 1833-1835 - 5% of adjutants office occupied by Jefferson Davis | 1824-1836 - In honor of the men of the 7th US Infantry & their commander, Gen. Matthew Arbuckle, who founded Ft. Gibson on 4/12/1824 & all other soldiers of the War of 1812. | Civil War Camp Scene Dinnertime | C. O. Quarters 1864 - 1890
15: 4/14/12 at Silver Dollar City The morning begins with a trip back in time. We listen to some great music inside the Parnell cabin in the Frontier area.
18: Everyone must attend school at the Oak Trail School #3. Bob wanted to be the "Teacher's Pet".
19: April 14, 2012 Renee & Celia enjoyed some singing at the Wilderness Church. Renee gets her photo with the church pianist.
21: Whether we strolled or rolled the scenery was fabulous.
23: Traveling through Silver Dollar City there was much to see, the Quality Furniture Workshop, the workings of the old water well system, and a ride on the Steam Train Scenic Railway Line.
24: We enjoyed an entertaining skit with the train conductor, two brothers and their departed Ma.
26: A walk through the Christmas Hollow House and watching the World Famous Glass Blowers was fun and entertaining
27: So much to see and only one day to see it all. Sometimes we just had to stroll or roll on by.
29: Celia & Renee enjoyed the Italian Flag Performers then Bob & Jack got kissed by a saloon girl. Everyone enjoyed the Vaudeville Show at Silver Dollar Saloon.
30: Kerry Christensen, The Swiss Cowboy entertained us all with his Mouth Trumpet and Accordion playing while yodeling at the same time.
31: The end of a fun filled day at Silver Dollar City was followed by a lobster & seafood buffet that surprised us all when we received the bill. Needless to say NO tip was left that night. | Jack's comment after our $32.95 per person meal at Whipper-Snappers was we not only got screwed but raped as well!!
32: April 15, 2012 -- The day began with a drive out to the Southern Belle Paddle Boat docked at the White River Landing to check out the scenery and to see if the weather turned bad (we were under a "tornado watch") would the boat still sail. We found out the show would go on but we may have to stay tied to the dock due to the rain and possible tornadoes. Before the rain began we were able to walk though the beautiful gardens on the way to the Southern Belle. The squirrels were very entertaining as they collected their acorns in the grass.
34: To pass the time before boarding the showboat we drove to see Table Rock Dam and Shepard of the Hills Fish Hatchery. As the rain begins in full force we arrive back at White Rock Landing where while waiting for the rain to let up before we make a run for the dock, Bob tries his hand at sailing a paper boat on the rippling waters in the parking lot.
35: After we sprinted through the rain to the dock & gift shop Bob & Jack spend time in the men's room blow drying their shirts. Once we board the ship and get seated we were entertained with the pre-show performed by the Lamar High School Show Choirs. The Captain soon appears to state we won't be sailing due to the tornado alerts but the show will continue as planned.
36: After locating their seats, Celia & Renee decide to check out the boat before the main show begins. They spot Bob & Jack from the 2nd floor of the ballroom.
37: Check out the view from all sides of the boat including the dock house & gift shop . Enough sight seeing on the boat must retun to our seats as the show is about to begin.
38: We were thoroughly entertained by the following cast of performers. Hosted by comedian/magician Funny, Hyper, Magic Boy Christopher James World"s Only Aerial Violin Player, Piano Player & Singer Janice Martin Five male vocalists & dancers The Showmen | Branson Belle Showboat
39: "Made in America"
40: After the storm and on our way to see Paul Harris and the Cleverlys at The White House Theatre we saw Godzilla climbing a building and a beautiful double rainbow.
41: Monday, April 16, 2012 A new day and we are headed south to Arkansas. We spot a pretty church in Harrison, AR. While traveling down Scenic Hwy 7 we find what seems to be a modern day ghost town.
42: Beautiful scenery, winding roads, old buildings, unbelievable waterfalls...what more could you want! | We continue our driving
43: tour through the Ozarks. | We drove through a section of Buffalo National Park to check out the scenery. While looking around heard a gun shot and decided it was time to load up and continue our drive through Arkansas.
44: Somewhere driving through the Ozarks of Arkansas.
46: Good Times | Methodist Church | Jasper, AR
47: Fun Times | Babbling brook... | New word for Bob! "nestled"
48: April 16, 2012 | We make a short side trip some- where in Arkansas.
49: Arkansas | Awesome Place!
51: After driving all morning and way into the afternoon along winding roads we finally come upon a small town, Kingston. We drive around the town square gazebo and find the Valley Café for lunch. Chicken Fried Steak all around, it's good but not the best ever. Next door is an old bank building with an antique vault in front window. We go inside to take a picture but are told we can't because it's a working vault at the bank, however we can buy a post card that tells about the vault. The post card does not show the safe but does have a picture of the bank building.. Back on the road again...Eureka Springs here we come.
52: Crescent Hotel & Spa 4/16-17/12 Eureka Springs, AR 2 Bedroom Condo with fireplace.
56: In and around Eureka Springs. 4/17/12
57: Crescent Hotel and Grounds Left Eureka Springs 10:27 am on Hwy 23 - 58 degrees
58: Awesome, Beautiful, Amazing... like being in an outdoor church with a/c & heat. | Thorncrown Chapel
60: Scenic "vistas" and "quaint" houses...more new words for Bob.
61: Curving roads, steep grades, sharp turns, narrow bridges...all made for an interesting drive.
63: Two, Three, | Five, Six, | Ten..he made it without falling in! | One, | Four, | Seven, | Eight, | Nine,
65: Hot Springs, AK April 17, 2013 Bath Houses & Churches
66: Hot Springs Observation Tower
71: 4/18/12 Continuing our journey through Arkansas, we have breakfast at Dan's with good friends of Jack & Renee's while visiting for 2 hours in Benton, Arkansas. | Bonnie & Hez Bearden with Jack & Renee | An old cabin with a new roof. | Another one of those 'quaint' houses 'nestled' in a valley.
72: Fordyce AK, 1st Presbyterian Church and County Court House
73: Traveling through Arkansas, lots of churches and some historic ironwork statues.
74: El Dorado, AK Sandwiches for lunch at House of Wiley's. Unique Guitars displayed around town square 4/18/12
75: After being seated at cafe, a male waiter arrives, Bob asks why we didn't get the cute female waitress. Male waiter leaves & sends over the cute female waitress. Is that not sexual harassment, Bob?
76: 4/19/12 - Had a fun but short visit with Jeff, Monica & staff at Stone Oak Farms & Transport in Opelousas, LA | Crossed into Louisiana 3:27 pm 4/18/12 | We couldn't get rooms at the race track casino in Opelousas because it was opening weekend for the horse races.
78: 4/19/12 Traveling across Louisiana we see lots of different churches.
79: Saw lots of crawfish farms and rice fields driving through southern Louisiana. Spot a farmer in a boat & a crop dusting plane landing in a field next to highway.
80: It's always fun to travel to other states but nothing beats being home in TEXAS! 2:30 pm 4/19/12
81: 4/19/12 - After 7 days of traveling through Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana we found our way to Galveston, Texas, where we spent our final night at Moody Gardens Resort & Spa.
82: Galveston, Texas
83: Our final morning before heading home we spent viewing the beautiful churches and historical buildings around Galveston. | April 20, 2012