A Travellerspoint blog

Trying To Find a Reason Go To Branson

Snow, Cold and More Car Trouble Make It an Unsuccessful Search


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & AFV Winter 2006 & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

I heard so much about Branson, I decided we should go and see for ourselves.

Friday 17 February 2006

I attempted to have Bob drive up the scenic Arkansas route 7
large_100_7542.JPGlarge_100_7495.JPGlarge_100_7497.JPGScenic Arkansas Route 7

Scenic Arkansas Route 7


to Jasper (which was reputed to have green water in the river), but he got very impatient with the turns and ups and downs. We stopped for lunch at Frank's Hickory House BBQ in Choctaw.
Bob going into the Hickory House BBQ

Bob going into the Hickory House BBQ


This was one of those places that has a menu with semi-phonetic hillbilly type spelling.
2793071-Hillbilly_Vibe_Choctaw.jpgHillbilly menu

Hillbilly menu

Inside Frank's Hickory House

Inside Frank's Hickory House


Bob had the
BBQ plate

BBQ plate


which came with coleslaw and
A milkshake

A milkshake


I had
A sandwich and tater tots

A sandwich and tater tots

Broasted Chicken, Fresh Donuts, Sausage Biscuits

Broasted Chicken, Fresh Donuts, Sausage Biscuits

Leaving Choctaw

Leaving Choctaw

large_100_7513.JPG
Then we crossed to US 65 which was easier driving. Our next stop was the Buffalo River National River Visitor's Center at Tyler Bend. We had not visited a National River before we visited the Buffalo River, but later in this trip, we also visited the New River National River in West Virginia.
Entrance sign

Entrance sign


The National Park Service has gotten creative. Now we not only have National Parks, but also National Parkways (roads), National Seashores, National Historic Parks, and now National Rivers. The Buffalo River is one of the National Rivers. During the era when the Corps of Engineers was building dams on every river, the Buffalo was protected from a dam-building project at first by being made a state park. The history of the protection effort is a story that is told in the film that is shown at the Visitor's Center at Tyler Bend. The Buffalo River was designated a National River in 1972.

The NPS website says: It begins as a trickle in the Boston Mountains 15 miles above the park boundary. Following what is likely an ancient riverbed, the Buffalo .. travel[s] eastward through the Ozarks and into the White River. The national river has three designated wilderness areas within its boundaries

The bluffs reach as high as 440 feet above the river - the highest in the Ozarks. There are many species of plants and animals native to the park. But it the river isn't just about hiking, fishing and boating. Prehistoric sites dating back 10,000 years and historic cultural sites are located throughout the park from bluff shelters once occupied by Archaic Indians to the cabins built by early settlers. Four areas, Boxley Valley, The Parker-Hickman Farmstead at Erbie, the CCC-built structures at Buffalo Point and the Rush mining district, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

When we drove in towards the visitor's center, I took some pictures of the information on the signs that were along the road. The first one is a map of the park.
River map

River map


Next are pictures of activities to do in the park.
673994602778601-Recreational..ional_Park.jpgDiscover the Buffalo

Discover the Buffalo


The third sign offers rules and regulations for the various activities such as camping, hunting, fishing and horseback riding.
Explore the Park

Explore the Park


It also offers rules and safety warnings for the backcountry, and boating. The last picture is one I took when we were leaving the park of the sign on the highway at the entrance to the Visitor's Center road.
Sign at the highway entrance

Sign at the highway entrance

The Wildlife Officer's car in the parking lot

The Wildlife Officer's car in the parking lot


One thing we could do even in the winter was go to the visitor's center and have our National Park Passport stamped. This visitor's center is open year round 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m
Walkway of natural materials to the visitor

Walkway of natural materials to the visitor

Visitor's center

Visitor's center

The store at the Tyler's Bend Visitor Center

The store at the Tyler's Bend Visitor Center


As usual the NPS Visitor's Center are worth a visit.
From Tyler Visitor Center

From Tyler Visitor Center


They had the usual film about the park founding
Informational film

Informational film


and recreation in the park.
Cave entrance from the film

Cave entrance from the film


a display showing local animals,
Display about local animals

Display about local animals


a simulated stream,
Rocks and simulated stream in visitor's center

Rocks and simulated stream in visitor's center


and warnings about dangers in the area.
Dangers posted in visitor's Center

Dangers posted in visitor's Center


There are about, 200 species of birds here and half of them (such as cardinals) are here year round. There was a stuffed hawk 'flying' in the rafters,
Stuffed hawk

Stuffed hawk


and a pictures of a Wood Duck which is said to be a common sight on almost any section of the river.
Wood duck, gar, turtle and iris in exhibit

Wood duck, gar, turtle and iris in exhibit


We may have seen a Bald Eagles resting in trees on the way out. They are easier to see when you don't have leaves on the trees.

Part of the film at the visitor's center showed various forms of recreation available in the park. It looked like it would be a lot of fun to be outdoors on "The Best Canoe Stream in the United States" It made me quite jealous that I could not do that too, but not at this time of year - you'd need an exposure suit to avoid hypothermia. (We had four inches of snow the next day, and the temperatures were down below freezing)

Family float trips were one of the possibilities. Trips could be for a day or several days, camping out on the banks of the river.
Movie shown at visitor's center

Movie shown at visitor's center


From Arkansas 7 to Highway 123 (or Carver)-is about 10 miles in length. This is a fine float, especially for families. It features class I rapids, gravel bars, and numerous bluffs. Campsites and access are available at Carver or two and a half miles upstream at Hasty.

The 27 mile trip from US 65 to Buffalo Point (still referred to by many as ''the old state park'') is a long, lazy float ideally suited for those interested in casual canoeing. The scenery's good, and the rapids are interesting but easy. Other access points within this part of the river include Gilbert, Maumee North, Maumee South, and the Highway 14 crossing

The Buffalo's final stretch-from Buffalo Point to Buffalo City (on the White River) is 30 miles in length, with only a single takeout point (Rush) in between. The 7.5-mile float from Buffalo Point to Rush is short, safe, and scenic - perfect for families. The remaining 23 mile trip passes through some of Arkansas's wildest country, including better than 39,000 acres of wilderness (the Lower Buffalo Wilderness and the adjacent Leatherwood Wilderness). This is the one for those wanting to get away from it all.
679934912778530-Table_with_r..ional_Park.jpgRiver model

River model


Equipment: You may bring your own canoe, kayak, raft, or john boat; or you can rent one from local authorized concessioners – no permit is required. Motors must be less than 10 horsepower and properly registered in the state of Arkansas. Life jackets are required in all boats, and must be worn by children 12 and younger. No glass containers are permitted within 50 feet of the river or its tributaries.
Safety for boating

Safety for boating

If you want to float down the river, you leave your vehicle at the place where you want to get out, and the concessionaire takes you and your equipment up the river to the put-in place. Then you float down stream to where you are parked. You can camp on the many gravel bars along the river or in the developed campgrounds at most major access points along the way. Be prepared for an all night chorus of whip-poor-wills in the spring

About two dozen concessionaires rent canoes along the Buffalo and offer other related services. In addition, several rent Jon Boats and can provide complete fishing packages.

The Buffalo's corridor is also a great locale for hiking and backpacking, but expeditions should be scheduled outside the tick/chigger season (i.e. in the winter) Ticks are not only annoying, but they are disease vectors. Incidents of both Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease have been attributed to ticks in this region. Stay on trails (avoid walking through tall grass) and wear long sleeved clothing.
Ticks

Ticks


The picture is an exhibit of various ticks and their sizes. The common dog tick (#2) is at the top - it is the biggest and blackest one. The Lone Star tick is on the left

The other items listed were poison ivy, bees and wasps, and poisonous snakes (cottonmouth, copperhead and rattlesnakes). The picture shows a cottonmouth snake in the foreground, and in the back is a harmless northern water snake.
Snakes that occur in the park

Snakes that occur in the park


Other hazards which are not related to flora and fauna are climbing on the river bluffs, and especially jumping from a height into the river.
River bluffs from the film

River bluffs from the film


Never swim alone or during high water. There are no life-guarded swimming areas. One should also avoid caves, sinkholes, and abandoned wells and mineshafts. When the river is flooded, there may be too much current so you need to check the level of the river before you start.
Warning for fall

Warning for fall


Hunting is allowed (with the appropriate permit) in the hunting season, so during that time you will need to wear Hunter Orange clothing.

Over the fireplace there was a pair of elk antlers. The elk were extinct in this area but due to a re-stocking project, now special-permit hunting is required to keep the ever-growing population in balance. Since visitors see elk most frequently in the late winter and early spring, I had hoped that we would see some but we did not.

Elk antlers on top of the fireplace

Elk antlers on top of the fireplace


Between 1981 and 1985, 112 Rocky Mountain Elk were stocked in Newton County near Buffalo National Park. the habitat of the Buffalo National River provides suitable habitat for its survival. Elk now number nearly 500 animals and have spread along the river corridor from Boxley Valley to the Tyler Bend area. the most promising place to view elk is at Boxley Valley....

The antlers on display were found by a park ranger in the Tyler Bend area. Bull elk antlers can weight up to 40 pounds and are shed every year. Adult bulls can have 6 to 8 "points" on one antler.
Sign between elk antlers

Sign between elk antlers


Counting only points on one antler:
A six point bull is called a "Royal"
A seven point bull is an "Imperial"
An eight point bull is called a "Monarch"

Which one is on display here?
.
The last picture is of an animal which people think is a hazard, but is actually endangered and we are more of a hazard to it than it is to us.
Survey poster

Survey poster

Then we continued on to Branson MO
Road to Branson

Road to Branson

From Afar

From Afar


where we have a studio apartment at the Sunterra resort Plantation at Fall Creek for a week at $199/week (under the Last Call rate). Normally it would be $1400.00 for 6 people. We were on the fourth floor, but there was an elevator.
Sunterra resort

Sunterra resort


Their write-up said: Each studio unit is 314 square feet and can accommodate up to 2 people. Each unit has one bathroom
Bathroom

Bathroom


and one queen bed.
Studio apartment bed

Studio apartment bed


There is a partial kitchen that includes a mini microwave, 2-burner stove, under the counter refrigerator, one sink, and table set for two.

There was a couch with an end table and a phone (local calls were 25 cents each),
Couch in studio unit

Couch in studio unit


a TV on a chest,
TV

TV


which can be seen from the couch or the bed. The studio kitchen was a stove top, a microwave, a toaster, a coffee pot, and a very small refrigerator. The main problem with the refrigerator was that the freezer was tiny. We couldn't put anything much into it. It was too small for even a little bottle of water.
Kitchenette in studio apartment

Kitchenette in studio apartment


Dusk

Dusk


After we checked in, we blundered around in the cold and dark looking for a place to have dinner. We ended up at Shorty Small's Ribs and Steaks
Shorty's

Shorty's


and then we almost couldn't find our way back to the condo. Shorty's is a chain with other full service restaurants in AK, OK and KS plus some that they call 'casual dining'.
collage of website photos

collage of website photos


The menu has "The Legend of Shorty Small"

Who The Heck is Shorty Small?

This story starts back in eighteen eighty-eight; it's about a mining town slapjack who made the worst pancakes ever. (But, if you're hungry, who gives a damn . . .). Well, anyway, the story we really want to tell is about his son, Shorty. Shorty was born in nineteen thirty-four. Needless to say, Ol' Josh was seventy-four when Shorty was born.

Well, as Shorty grew on plain folks' food, he attained the great height of five feet two inches, and he expan'ed to two hundred and ninety pounds. And Shorty jus' kept on expan'in'. . . and expan'in' and expan'in'. . . We won't mention his weight again, but we'll tell of his inheritance of the saloon business from his pappy, Ol' Josh. By the way, Ol' Josh kept the fire hot and fathered sixteen more youngin's named Lenzie, Drew, Ervin, Pat, Bill, Patrick, Rodney, Chuckie, Tracy, Daniel, Brad, Dave, Tarek, and Craig. Ol' Josh died happy at a hunnert and four. In fact, it was a hunnert and four degrees the day he died.

There were lots of women in Shorty's life, and he loved `em all includin': Kathi, Paula, Katie, Linda, Jennifer, "Boom Boom", Michele and Pat (but not at the same time...). But none caught his fancy like Sadie Woedzinski (wad*zen*skee!). Sadie was just a skinny young thang, an' she was gooder than gold. But years of cookin' for Shorty - and his inherited interest in young ladies - began to show a lot of wear and tear on poor Sadie, yet she still stuck by his side (it was the right side - not the left).

Bob had ribs
Bob's ribs

Bob's ribs


I had
Steak

Steak

Blackberry cobbler and ice cream

Blackberry cobbler and ice cream


It was all good.

Saturday 18 February 2006

The snow that had been predicted for yesterday came today. It snowed. A lot. Well - about 4 inches and it got down to 10 deg F. Everything was cleared asap, but it was still cold and there was some ice. It is a considerable distance from town - you couldn't walk to any activities that were not on the grounds. The resort does have activities on site. There was an indoor pool with a hot tub, and I enjoyed the water aerobics three mornings a week - there were participants from both the town and the resort.. There are more water aerobics days during the regular season. The resort has 4 outdoor pools as well as the indoor, but that wasn't an option in February. In season there is trout fishing, tennis, basketball, volleyball. There was a horseshoe pit and an 18 hole miniature golf course, as well as a playground for the kids and an area to barbecue in.
Horseshoe pit

Horseshoe pit

Miniature golf

Miniature golf

Playground

Playground


There is an activity room where you can check out equipment (including towels for the pool), and there is a small fitness center. The activity director schedules card games and people play dominos. There is a computer to hook up to the internet for 15 minutes at a time, and at present there is free wireless access in the activity room. (They said they were going to charge for it eventually.) They also have a library of movies for viewing in your room(s)

There is a constant offer to get free show tickets, but you would have to listen to a timeshare presentation. If you don't care about the free tickets, or really hate timeshare presentations, then you don't have to attend the talk.

Across the street was a small mini-mart and gas station.. So we spent the day inside and ate the food we'd had in the cooler and watched the Olympics.
Branson highway after snow

Branson highway after snow


Bob went down and started the car, and it did start, but we didn't go anywhere.

Sunday 19 February 2006

It was very very cold. We stayed inside and just ate tuna fish sandwiches.
Tuna sandwich

Tuna sandwich

The restaurant is only open on weekends at this time of year, although they did have a dinner show at the resort. It was a retrospective of male country singers. We didn't go because we are not country music people.

Monday 20 February 2006

Snow has been cleared from the streets, and it is warmer, so Bob plugged in the car to warm it up (it is a diesel car and has a block heater), and we started out to go to the Trout Hatchery about 11. The car had NO POWER WHATSOEVER. I thought I might have to get out and push it up the hill. Bob said it was the transmission. So almost before we got out of the resort, I decided to scrap the plans to go to the hatchery, and just go to the grocery store to get some more food.
Road sign

Road sign


Driving is difficult even when there is little or no traffic. It must be horrible in the summer. We saw some of the "attractions" on our trip.
Branson Globe

Branson Globe

Theatre

Theatre

Lost Treasure Golf

Lost Treasure Golf

Ripley's Believe it or Not

Ripley's Believe it or Not


We managed to get to the Jubilee (grocery store) by 11:30
Grocery store

Grocery store


and Bob bought some Lean Cuisine meals. The freezer on the little refrigerator in the unit isn't big enough for more than about 3 of those packages. I suggested we have lunch while we were there (no problem with food thawing), but the McDonalds next door was being rehabbed inside and had only a drive-through,
McDonalds

McDonalds


and Bob didn't want to drive through. So we went to Taco Bell, at which point I found out that he doesn't LIKE Taco Bell and in fact doesn't really like any Mexican food except tacos.

We came back to the unit - the transmission seems to be working a little better now.

Tuesday 21 February 2006

I had decided that we ought to see at least one show while we were in Branson, and Bob doesn't care for country music, so I thought the IMAX theatre would be a good compromise.
Resort buildings and landscaping

Resort buildings and landscaping

Water feature

Water feature

Water feature

Water feature


In December 2006 they had

Nascar
NASCAR ad

NASCAR ad

Fighter Pilot Operation Red Flag is the final training for pilots and their aircrews before being sent into actual combat. Follow pilot, John Stratton, as he makes his way through this extraordinary event held over the desert of Nevada at super-sonic speeds!

Greece Secrets of the Past - Be transported back 2,500 years - to the Golden Age of Civilization! Witness a great volcanic eruption, beautiful views of the Aegean sea, and sunsets silhouetting the Parthenon as it appeared the year it was completed!

Mysteries of the Nile -Join a breathtaking expedition down the world's greatest & most deadly river, the Blue Nile - as a team of explorers travel along all 3,260 treacherous miles of the river to become the first ever to complete a full descent from source to sea.

Forces of Nature - Come-face-to face with Earth's most destructive forces! Witness the awesome spectacle of an earthquake, travel to the brink of erupting volcanoes, and follow scientists as they barrel toward severe and tornadic storms! Narrated by Kevin Bacon.

We decided on a show called "Ozarks-Legacy and Legend", which purported to be a history of the area which was shown once at 4 pm.
Ozarks-Legacy and Legend

Ozarks-Legacy and Legend


In the morning I had made an appointment with the hairdresser for right after water aerobics. But the hairdresser wanted to cancel (the first time this happened) and do it at 4, which conflicted with the IMAX.

We started off at 3:30, and got there way early
Information Booth

Information Booth


Sign in the front of the theatre

Sign in the front of the theatre

IMAX theater entrance

IMAX theater entrance


so we wandered around the mall that the theatre was in (there was also a real movie theatre and a 'show' type theatre there,
Regular movie theatre entrance

Regular movie theatre entrance


plus a lot of stores and a food court).
Quiznos

Quiznos

Fudge

Fudge

]Baskin Robbins

Baskin Robbins

2794708-Inside_of_Shadowbox_Gifts_Branson.jpgShadowbox Gifts

Shadowbox Gifts

Fabulous Finds Jewelry

Fabulous Finds Jewelry

Ozarks Mountain Quilt Company

Ozarks Mountain Quilt Company

Clothing at Fashion Liquidators

Clothing at Fashion Liquidators

Movie poster

Movie poster


IMAX

IMAX


I won't critique the film here, but some of it was somewhat unbelievable. Like how a kid could just pick up a fiddle for the first time and start to play a reel and dance in it at the same time, and why a couple of kids who were out for a picnic one day and fell into a cave would have a kerosene lantern with them.

Also the obligatory airplane sequence - a barnstormer is going to take two poor kids up for a ride without them paying something?
Obligatory IMAX airplane flight

Obligatory IMAX airplane flight


We ate a very early dinner at McFarlains, which was supposed to be a family restaurant with local recipes. It was in the IMAX mall.
Entrance sign in the mall

Entrance sign in the mall


I didn't think the food was very good.McFarlain's offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. In the mornings there is a large breakfast buffet.
Dessert exhibit

Dessert exhibit


There is also a little store associated with it where you can purchase a McFarlain's cookbook and several food items, including cornbread mix, and jams.
McFarlain's products

McFarlain's products


I got fried green tomatoes, which were greasy.
Fried green tomatoes and meatloaf

Fried green tomatoes and meatloaf


Bob got
Fish and Chips???

Fish and Chips???


but the chips were just regular fries. We took a lot of it home with us.
Cornbread

Cornbread


Except for the cornbread, which was good, I was disappointed. The car is working somewhat better.

Wednesday 22 February 2006

This time when I went to the water aerobics,
Pool

Pool


I took my computer with me to use the wireless instead of using the very very slow dial-up modem which cost 25 cents for each call. (We had $4 worth of charges when we left - I was kind of hoping that they wouldn't actually keep track like when we were in Ormond Beach when they used the honor system for charging.) The hairdresser again wanted to postpone my appointment (again), so I said OK and went and used the computer until she was ready for me. She cut my hair, and then when she was getting ready to do the waxing, some people from Sunterra came in to ask question (Are you a timeshare owner? No. What is your favorite vacation memory?)

The beauty shop person charged double what was listed for the waxing. Chin and lip were all supposed to be $5 and she charged $10 each. She is a private contractor who rents the space.
Shepard of the Hills Hatchery Conservation Center sign

Shepard of the Hills Hatchery Conservation Center sign


After eating lunch, we finally went out to the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery which was right below the dam. Dam

Dam


Electric lines from the dam

Electric lines from the dam


I'm not a fisherman, but neither am I really one for going to country music shows.
Bright Red Cardinal in a Tree

Bright Red Cardinal in a Tree


So I found this place one of the most interesting places in Branson.
Put your Butts here (by the Handicapped door opener)

Put your Butts here (by the Handicapped door opener)

Bob going in

Bob going in

Film "Ozark Rainbows" flyer

Film "Ozark Rainbows" flyer


We visited the Conservation Center which had several informative exhibits on fishing
122951902650984-Exhibit_expl..ng_Branson.jpgBait v.s. Lure and Fly Fishing

Bait v.s. Lure and Fly Fishing

Lake Taneycomo part of the exhibit

Lake Taneycomo part of the exhibit


Turtles

Turtles


Hellbender

Hellbender

Salamanders

Salamanders

FREE - Please take one

FREE - Please take one


and also saw the incubation tanks.
One of the fish tanks

One of the fish tanks


Broodstock Trout at the hatchery

Broodstock Trout at the hatchery


Guided hatchery tours are provided at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. weekdays from Memorial Day to Labor Day. But we were there in the winter, so we did the self-guided tours.
The facility website says;
The hatchery typically produces 1,125,000 catchable trout annually, weighing 301,000 pounds. Lake Taneycomo receives 700,000 catchable trout per year...
Rules of the Pools

Rules of the Pools

Bob at the hatchery

Bob at the hatchery


Food machine signs (machines were empty)

Food machine signs (machines were empty)

On demand feeder

On demand feeder


This facility completes all trout production phases. Egg incubation and early rearing is completed in the hatchery building in jar type incubation units, and aluminum/fiberglass tanks. Twelve, outdoor concrete raceways are used for intermediate rearing,
Concrete raceways

Concrete raceways


2650988-Hatchery_Fish_in_the_ponds_Branson.jpgHatchery Fish in the ponds

Hatchery Fish in the ponds


and final rearing is completed in twenty outdoor concrete raceways. Three earthen ponds are also used for fish production. Spawning and broodstock holding operations are accomplished in four separate raceways.

Caution

Caution


The area has a boat ramp and several fishing access points along Lake Taneycomo, where trout fishing is allowed year-round. You need to bring your own equipment. All trout fishing areas require a Missouri fishing permit or exemption.

Permit prices as of July 1, 2009 are:

  • Resident (ages 16-64) $12 (residents 65 and older and younger than 16 are exempt)
  • Nonresident (age 16 and up) $42
  • Daily Fishing Permit $7
  • Trout Permit $7
  • Daily Trout Tag (trout parks only) $3
  • Daily Trout Tag (age 15 years or younger) $3.50

A trout permit is required to possess trout, except in areas where a daily trout fishing tag is required. Must also have a fishing permit or qualify for an exemption.

A trout permit is required for all fishing in winter catch-and-release fishing in trout parks; and for all fishing year-round in Lake Taneycomo upstream from U.S. Highway 65 bridge.

Looking down the road near our unit

Looking down the road near our unit


We went to Montana Mike's for dinner.
Montana Mikes Steak House sign

Montana Mikes Steak House sign


Sign

Sign


All Montana Mike’s offer beer and wine with most locations having a full bar.A survey website says: A full-service casual dining steakhouse that specializes in satisfying big appetites at an exceptional value!
Inside Montana Mikes

Inside Montana Mikes


You’ll feast on a selection of naturally aged steaks, hand-cut right in the restaurant and grilled. Montana Mike’s menu offers grilled chicken, baby back ribs, chicken-fried steak, catfish and of course our mouth-watering steaks including Mike’s 22-ounce Sirloin, a Mile High 16-ounce Ribeye or a delicious Porterhouse. Guests can choose from a list of delicious appetizers including fried mushrooms, Mike’s famous potato boats or hand-breaded onion rings. We also offer fresh salads, pastas and other seasonal menus and promotions throughout the year

2795125-Menu_Branson.jpgPart of Montana Mike's menu

Part of Montana Mike's menu


Montana Mike's is a chain with locations in TX, OK, KS, IL, IN and KY in addition to Missouri.
Sign with specials held by a wooden bear

Sign with specials held by a wooden bear


I had a steak (which came with Texas toast), and root beer. I don't remember much else about it.
Steak

Steak


Root Beer

Root Beer


Thursday 23 February 2006

I went to the water aerobics for the last time. The snow is melted and it is pretty warm. We left as soon as I could get dried off from the pool (the water aerobics was from 9:30 to 10:30 and we left at 11) for a visit to Wilson's Creek Battleground - a NPS site which was south of Springfield. We had lunch at KFC before we got there.
Chicken, biscuit and coleslaw

Chicken, biscuit and coleslaw

Chicken, biscuit and sides

Chicken, biscuit and sides

Soup and dessert

Soup and dessert


Almost the only way to get to Wilson's Creek is by car. And even that is not particularly straightforward.
Road to Springfield

Road to Springfield

Road to Wilson Creek

Road to Wilson Creek

Welcome to Wilson' Creek Battlefield

Welcome to Wilson' Creek Battlefield


When we were there, we saw this car in the parking lot.
NPS alternative fuel car

NPS alternative fuel car


In addition to the picture of the field with the cannon, it says Wilson's Creek National Battlefield with the National Park Service logo, and under that, the label on the back of the car says "Clean Cities" (U.S. Department of Energy)

I found information on this on a NPS website (listed below)

Wilson's Creek Wraps Up Hybrid Technology
A partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Program and Toyota Motor Sales has put a Toyota Prius? hybrid vehicle on the road at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield. The car will be used in the park and the Springfield, Missouri, area by interpretive rangers and other park staff. Driving the vehicle will help educate more than 200,000 annual visitors about hybrid technology and the NPS commitment to exploring innovative ways to better protect, manage, and preserve natural resources. Toyota Motor Sales donated the graphics "wrap" for the vehicle, which features images of the battlefield landscape complete with a cannon and rows of corn. Toyota also provided informational cards for visitors that explain hybrid technology and recognize the park's dedication to environmental stewardship and sustainability.

This was actually a very interesting site for finding out about local Civil War history and I got my first stamp in the North Central section of my passport.

The sidewalk to the Visitor's Center had a kind of TimeLine of events in the sidewalk leading up to and away from the door. I tried to get pictures of some of the more significant ones leading up to the Battle of Wilson Creek (August 10, 1861)

The partial list of the dates is

1820 Missouri Compromise

1820 Missouri Compromise


Missouri Statehood - August 1821
Compromise of 1850

Compromise of 1850


Kansas-Nebraska Act - May, 1854
Dred Scott Decision - March 6, 1857

Dred Scott Decision - March 6, 1857


John Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry - October 16-18, 1859
Lincoln elected president Nov 6, 1860

Lincoln elected president Nov 6, 1860


South Carolina secedes - December 20, 1860
Missouri Secession Convention- February 28 - March 22, 1861

Missouri Secession Convention- February 28 - March 22, 1861


Fort Sumter - April 12, 1861
Camp Jackson - May 10, 1861

Camp Jackson - May 10, 1861


Planters House Meeting - June 11, 1861
Battle of Booneville - June 17, 1861

Battle of Booneville - June 17, 1861


Battle of Carthage - July 5, 1861

Bob walking up to the Visitor's Center

Bob walking up to the Visitor's Center

And going away from the Visitor's Center

Siege of Lextington September 12-20, 1861

Siege of Lextington September 12-20, 1861


Battle of Pea Ridge - March 7-8 1862

Battle of Pea Ridge - March 7-8 1862


Battle of Prairie Grove - December 7, 1862

Battle of Prairie Grove - December 7, 1862


Battle of Springfield - January 8, 1863
Battle of Honey springs - July 17, 1861

Battle of Honey springs - July 17, 1861


Raid on Lawrence - August 31, 1863
Lee Surrenders at Appomattox - April 9, 1865
Wilson's Creek National Battlefield established

Wilson's Creek National Battlefield established


Wilson's Creek Blue and Gray Reunion - 1883 and 1897
Visitor's center sign

Visitor's center sign


The Visitor Center is open every day 8 - 5. It has a small museum with exhibits about the battle, a thirteen minute film (always a good deal at a NPS site),
The film explaining the battle

The film explaining the battle


and a bookstore.
Bookstore

Bookstore


There was supposed to be a fiber optics map program but it wasn't in operation when we were there. It had been sent to be repaired. The rangers said it was one of the most popular of the exhibits there. Also in the Visitor's Center is a research library which is open Tuesday to Saturday
Entrance to the library

Entrance to the library


Museum exhibit at Wilson Creek

Museum exhibit at Wilson Creek


Union Cavalry uniform and saddle

Union Cavalry uniform and saddle


The sign in the case says:
Private Charles WOod, Company K, 4th Michigan Cavalry used this Model 1859 McClellan saddle. Wood, a resident of Attica Michigan was forty-one when he enlisted on August 9, 1862. Promoted to sergeant, he died of disease at Stanford, Kentucky on October 26, 1862.

Sergeant Levi Patterson, Company F. 2nd Indiana Cavalry wore the cavalry uniform jacket. He enlisted on September 12, 1861, and participated in the fighting at Perryville Kentucky, Chickamauga Georgia and in the various battles and skirmishes of the Atlanta Campaign. He was mustered out on October 4, 1864.
Sword of the first Union General killed

Sword of the first Union General killed


Other items in this case include a Model 1859 .52 Sharps Carbine and Colt Army Savage Staff and Remington revolvers.
Map explaining the geography of the CSA

Map explaining the geography of the CSA

Map of the army movements

Map of the army movements

We found out when we visited the Visitor's center that there is a 4.9 mile paved tour road.
Road around the battlefield

Road around the battlefield


There are eight interpretive stops at significant points to the battle. Wilson's Creek National Battlefield Travel Guide:
Gibson's Mill

Gibson's Mill

Ray Springhouse

Ray Springhouse

Ray Springhouse

Ray Springhouse

Road up to the Ray House

Road up to the Ray House

Ray House

Ray House

Ray Family information

Ray Family information

Bedroom

Bedroom

Looking into the dining room

Looking into the dining room

Fight in Ray's Cornfield

Fight in Ray's Cornfield

56095082743861-Self_Guided_..attlefield.jpgPulaski Arkansas Battery

Pulaski Arkansas Battery

Price's Headquarters

Price's Headquarters

Pulaski Batter and Price's HQ 1/4 mile

Pulaski Batter and Price's HQ 1/4 mile

Sigel's Attack

Sigel's Attack

Information on Col. Franz Sigel

Information on Col. Franz Sigel


Rout of Sigel's Column

Rout of Sigel's Column


Map

Map


There are five walking trails off the tour road for individual exploration, varying in length from one-fourth of a mile to three-fourths of a mile.
Walking trail

Walking trail


Walking on a trail

Walking on a trail

East Battlefield Overlook stairs

East Battlefield Overlook stairs


Only automobiles, buses, walkers, bikers and horseback riders are allowed on this road, and bikes are only allowed on the road, not on the trails.
Horse crossing sign

Horse crossing sign


Although I did not do it myself, there are many indications that horseback riding is one way to see the park, perhaps from the perspective of a cavalryman. There are signs throughout the park indicating parking for horse trailers, there are hitching posts,
Hitching posts

Hitching posts


and there are maps of the trails for the use of horses.
Wire Road - Horses and Hikers only

Wire Road - Horses and Hikers only


The seven mile trail system for horseback riding and hiking is accessible from the tour road. There is a link on the on the NPS website which talks about Staff Rides.
Hillside in February

Hillside in February


Cannon

Cannon

Battlefield

Battlefield

On the way back I got us quite lost. I didn't have a Missouri map (this is the only state I've been to so far where there wasn't a Visitor's Center on the entrance road with a place to get a state map - probably because we didn't come in on an interstate), and the Missouri roads are both lettered and numbered. I wanted to go back on route ZZ to route M,
Junction with road M

Junction with road M


but we got onto route FF,
Junction FF

Junction FF


which dead ended into a place with a gravel road on one side and the other side started out paved and then became gravel, and when we got to the top of a hill there was a sign which said that the road was flooded at high water. That didn't look promising.
Route F to the left

Route F to the left


We ended up at the south side of Springfield, and found US 65 to drive back to Branson.
Missouri Sheriff

Missouri Sheriff


The Pantry - gas station near condo

The Pantry - gas station near condo


Bob got fuel back by the resort about 4. I had the computer with me and he let me out at the front desk area. I went and did the internet until about 6:30 when a whole bunch of rowdy seniors (about 18-20 of them) came in to play dominos, and took all the chairs and tables there. I called and talked to Mother while I was walking back to the unit.

Friday 24 February 2006

Checked out at 9. Started the drive to Memphis.
From our balcony the day we checked out

From our balcony the day we checked out

We were to stay at a Red Roof Inn, but I have canceled this reservation and we are going to be at the Navy Lodge there near Memphis for $40/night.
Driving out across the dam

Driving out across the dam


Maybe it is the weather, or the car trouble, but I have no desire to ever visit Branson again. It seems full of tourist traps and theaters showing shows I don't want to pay to see. All the worst characteristic of Atlantic City and Myrtle Beach with out the ocean. They are even building a Titanic museum - miles from any water where such a ship could have sailed.
Titanic Museum being built

Titanic Museum being built

Posted by greatgrandmaR 15:04 Archived in USA

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Comments

Canoeing (how bad was my spelling?) in Buffalo River sounds like fun, but maybe not in that weather. Clever idea to offer to take your equipments up river so you can float down to you car!

That Texas toast looks suspicious, was it really bread?

I whole-heartedly agree with you about the Titanic museum, seems odd to place it somewhere where there is no real connection to it. Were there maybe lot of immigrants located in Branson who were on Titanic?

by hennaonthetrek

Float trips are offered a lot of places. I've done one in Belize where I floated down the river on an inner tube of a tire. I don't know how to spell canoeing, but spell check doesn't correct it so you spelled it right.

Texas toast is really just bread sliced very thick. It is usually heavily buttered. It's pretty good.

The people on the Titanic especially the third class passengers mostly died and are still down there on the bottom of the ocean. Very few of the immigrants made it to the lifeboats. The company thought the ship was unsinkable so they didn't have life boats for everyone. Not even all the first and second class passengers were saved.

Branson was started about 100 years ago (a year after the Titanic sank) when they built the dam which gave them a lake. It is famous for the live entertainment shows, and stuff like fishing, go karts, zip lines, and the Duck (which is an amphibious vehicle). It is a vacation place, not a real place.

by greatgrandmaR

I guess you are right, I once read about similar floating trip which was on Cambodia.

Well, if you are thinking about the silver lining of things. I don't think anyone will make that mistake (about the lifeboats) ever again.
I have been wanting to visit Belfast Titanic Museum, there, at least it eligible reason for the Museum ;)

by hennaonthetrek

Yes, after the Titanic there were rules about lifeboats and there are supposed to be drills so that the passengers know how to get there and what to do. And so does the crew. It doesn't always work. The Costa Concordia when it sank resulted in 33 deaths. It would have been more except the ship was grounded and didn't sink all the way.

by greatgrandmaR

Do you mean that the evacuation doesn't always work?

The Costa Concordias sinking was doe to captains error I think, he steered too close to the coast.

by hennaonthetrek

Yes the Costa Concordia sinking was due to the captain's error. But that captain made other errors. He did not order evacuation of the ship- I think at one point he said NOT to evacuate. The crew was apparently not trained very well. Some of the crew ordered people back to their cabins even after they were lowering the lifeboats. There may not have been a lifeboat drill after people got on at the last port. Some people died when they jumped off the ship and some died underwater in their cabins. It was like the Titanic but on a smaller scale and in shallower water.

by greatgrandmaR

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