The Ryman, Nashville, Tennessee

Day 222

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HOW DEE      

     Samuel Porter Jones, born October 16, 1847 in Oak Bowery, Alabama, was an American lawyer and businessman. Although he was known as a brilliant lawyer, he was also an alcoholic. One day he found the light, quit drinking and became ordained as a Methodist preacher, like his grandfather, great-grandfather and four of his uncles. Subsequently he  became a prominent Methodist revivalist preacher across the Southern United States. In his sermons, he preached that alcohol and idleness were sinful.  

     Thomas Green Ryman was born October 12, 1841 in Nashville, Tennessee. He learned the trade of his father, a fisherman. After the Civil War he prospered in Nashville with a fleet of riverboats and saloons. He was a wealthy and respected leader in Nashville. He had heard of Samuel Jones and went with some of his friends in 1885 to the tent revival with intent to heckle Jones. Instead Ryman was so impressed with Jones that he was converted on the spot. Soon after, he pledged to build a tabernacle so the people of Nashville could attend the large-scale revival indoors. Construction of the Union Gospel Tabernacle began in 1889 and opened in 1892. Though the building was designed to be a house of worship, a purpose it continued to serve throughout most of its early existence, it was often leased to promoters for non-religious events in an effort to pay off its debts and remain open.

    Upon his death on December 23, 1904, the Union Gospel Tabernacle was renamed The Ryman Auditorium.

     We toured The Ryman. The venue is very popular because of the church’s acoustics.

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     The church has 250 pews, which seats 2362.

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     These are the original oak pews  from 1892. Not that comfortable to sit on for a 2 hour show. 

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Nashville, Tennessee

Day 220

     The Overmountain Men were American frontiersmen from west of the Appalachian Mountains who took part in the American Revolutionary War. While they were present at multiple engagements in the war’s southern campaign, they are best known for their role in the American victory at the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780. The term “overmountain” refers to the fact that their settlements were west of, or “over”, the Appalachians — the range being the primary geographical boundary dividing the 13 American colonies from the western frontier. The Overmountain Men hailed from parts of Virginia, North Carolina, and what is now Tennessee and Kentucky.

     The town of Nashville was founded by James Robertson, John Donelson, and a party of Overmountain Men in 1779, near the original Cumberland settlement of Fort Nashborough. It was named for Francis Nash, the American Revolutionary War hero. Nashville quickly grew as a port because of its strategic location on the Cumberland River, a tributary of the Ohio River. Today it is the capital of the state of Tennessee. Tennessee became a State June 1, 1796.

     Because of the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium, Nashville has become the destination for those aspiring to make their name in music, especially Country.

     Every bar, every restaurant, every street corner was filled with musicians seeking attention.

   Here Barbara is watching a magician

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 Moving bars are traveling down the street (we have seen this in other cities)

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     Tidbit of Information: Tennessee is known as the “Volunteer State”, a nickname earned during the War of 1812 because of the prominent role played by volunteer soldiers from Tennessee, especially during the Battle of New Orleans.

 

Hermitage, Tennessee

Day 219

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     Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767 in the Waxhaws, an area on the boarder of North and South Carolina. By age 20 he had his license to practice law in North Carolina.

     In 1788 he marries Rachel Donelson Robarts. He remarries her in 1794. She had been married before to an abusive husband. She had left him, then met Jackson. In 1788 she had gotten word her husband divorced her, but in fact had only filed the papers. When the divorce finally went through, they remarried to make it lawful.

     In 1804 he buys a 420 acre plantation and names it Hermitage

     On June 18, 1812 President Madison declares war on Great Britain. Andrew Jackson had been active in Tennessee politics and had held numerous  positions. Without formal military training he was appointed a position in the Army. Ultimately he was assigned to go to New Orleans to repel the anticipated invasion of the British. If the British were successful, they could sail up the Mississippi and divide the Country in half, which would invariably change the outcome of the war. There was not much hope that Jackson could stop the British with only 5359 local militia against the British well trained 8392 seasoned troops.

     The battle began on January 8, 1815. Jackson won a decisive victory, losing only 13 killed and 39 wounded to the British’s 300 killed and 1500 wounded. (Do you think those figures were inflated like Vietnam?)

     Although it took almost a month for the news to reach Washington, Jackson became an instant American Hero and made him the most famous general since George Washington.

     Based on his popularity Jackson ran for President. His first try for President resulted in Jackson getting the popular vote, but losing the electoral.  The campaigns were brutal. No subject was off limits. Jackson’s opponents used every dirty trick they could, including calling Jackson immoral for the marriage to Rachel. Reviewing what went on during these campaigns, you can’t help but notice the similarities to the recent Trump campaign. This includes one of his first acts as President was signing the Indian Removal Act, which he promised to do during his campaign. He is quoted as saying “…they and my white children are to near to each other to live in harmony and peace.” History repeats itself.

     Jackson believed that since the President is elected by all the people, he is the only member of  government representing all the people. Almost immediately there was friction between Jackson, Congress, and the Courts. During his two terms as President, he asserted powers that no President had before. With dissension among members of his cabinet, Jackson started looking outside for guidance, something no President had done before. The opposition press dubbed these advisors his “kitchen cabinet”.

     Andrew Jackson left Washington, after two terms as President, for home on March 7, 1837.

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     Andrew and Rachel Jackson’s first home on the Hermitage was a substantial and well furnished 2 story log cabin. They lived there from 1804 until 1821. As a result of Jackson’s fame from the 1815 battle, the home no longer reflected his status as a hero, or the fashion of the time. He build a federal style brick home, which he enlarged over time during his Presidency

The tour of the Hermitage was both guided and self guided.

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     Cotton was the cash crop of the Plantation. When Jackson returned here after his Presidency, he had 1000 acres and 150 slaves.

     One of the interesting things was that you could go to the cotton fields and pick cotton. Trying to get the seeds out of the cotton was almost impossible by hand. Thank you Eli Whitney.

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Jackson died on June 8, 1845 at the Hermitage.

     Two interesting facts about Jackson: He is the only President to pay off the national debt and the first President to be a resident of a State other than Massachusetts or Virginia.

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Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Tennessee

Day 218

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     The Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a 5 floor collection of everything dealing with Country Music. I am not a fan of Country Music, but after spending 5 hours here, I have a new appreciation. 

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The admission fee included a hand held electronic guided tour. 

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I liked the guitar for a 4 arm person:

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     We were there from 12 noon till 5:00 PM when they told us we had to leave. Still, we were not able to see everything.

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Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, Tennessee

Day 217

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     The Grand Ole Opry started as the WSM radio show Barn Dance on the fifth-floor radio studio of the National Life & Accident Insurance Company in downtown Nashville on November 28, 1925. The studio was created to advertise and promote their insurance. The stations’ call letters are derived from the company’s motto, “We Shield Millions“. The Opry, founded by George D. Hay, was dedicated to honoring hillbilly music and its history. The Opry showcases a mix of singers performing country, bluegrass, folk, gospel, and comedic performances and skits.Though not originally a stage show, the Opry began to attract listeners from around the area who would come to the WSM studio to see it live. Because of its popularity and lack of space in the radio studio, the Opry moved to a permanent home, the Ryman Auditorium, on June 5, 1943, and broadcasted there every week for nearly 31 years thereafter.

Upon our arrival we purchased tickets to the Grand Ole Opry.

Our seats were not that great. 

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As, from the beginning, there were various singers: 

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      While we were here we purchased tickets for Straight No Chasers later this week also at The Ryman.

Technical Stuff:

West Memphis, AR to Goodlettsville, TN    237.7 miles

4 hours 29 minutes

12.1 MPG

Diesel: $ 2.19

Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee

Day 216

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     Beale Street was created in 1841 by entrepreneur and developer Robertson Topp, who named it for some military hero. In the 1860s, many black traveling musicians began performing on Beale. It was soon, and today is, a Mecca of aspiring blues players. Strolling down the street, you can hear music emanating from the various restaurants and bars. 

     The shops on Beale street sprang up in the 1890 – 1900 with waves of immigrants, Italians, Jews, Greeks, and Chinese coming here to seek their fortunes. By 1910, they were catering mostly to a black clientele. 

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     We stopped at Silky O’Sullivan’s for lunch. Two musicians were playing at the restaurant. On the patio were the bar’s goats,

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and cement walk with hand prints and signatures of various personalties. 

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     Not far off the street was the Memphis Rock N Soul museum, which covered the early years of blues in Memphis, from gospel to blues morphing into Rock & Roll and hillbilly music (now called country music).

     Here I am with my homeboys:

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     WIDA radio station was a white owned station that catered to the black community of Memphis. Its black announcer, Nat D. Williams, was a history teacher at the high school. He hosted and announced amateur nights on Beale Street.

     Tidbit of information: In 1952, Sam Phillips, started a hotel he called Holiday Inn in Memphis.  

Here, this Buds for you:

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Cotton Exchange, Memphis, Tennessee

Day 215

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     When I think of cotton fields, I think of “Gone With The Wind” and darkies in the field.

     Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793. (“gin” stands for engine and not a still.) That made separating the seeds from the cotton easier, the cotton still had to be picked by hand.

     Although Samuel S. Rembert and Jedediah Prescott received the first patent for a cotton harvester in 1850, it was not until 1936 that the first commercial harvester was produced by John and Mack Rust. 

     Delta Airlines, named for the Delta of the Mississippi where it was founded, began as the world’s first crop dusting organization in 1924. 

     After the Civil War, Cotton was traded as a commodity. Because of its location on the Mississippi River, Memphis became a center point of cotton sales in the South. The Memphis Cotton Exchange was incorporated on April 20, 1874 to regulate cotton marketing in the city. The exchange had exclusive membership, limited to men only. 

     Cotton is graded into qualities based on the content of seeds and other stuff in the cotton. This is called classing. For example, a higher quality cotton would be used for bed sheets, with a lower quality for denim jeans. This is where the phrase “fair to middling” comes from. It had to be done in natural sunlight, therefore it was done on the top floor of the Exchange under north facing skylights. It could not be done on cloudy days.  

     The centerpiece of the exchange was a large blackboard placed high above the trading floor. Only members were allowed on the trading floor, and you had to be invited to be a member. 

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    Everything changed with the advent of the computer, which made it possible to get prices and trade electronically. The exchange closed in 1974. 

     Tidbit of information: The Confederate currency was backed by cotton rather than gold. You can see the image of cotton on every note issued by the Southern States. 

     Do you recognize this symbol? day-215-cotton-exchange-tn-8461_fotor

     In the 1950’s and 60’s synthetic fibers were becoming more popular because of their ease of use and being wrinkle free. As a result, textile mills were buying less cotton. Cotton Inc. was formed in 1970 to promote the use of cotton and therefore their share of the market. In 1973 they introduced the “seal of cotton” so the consumer could easily identify cotton products. Evidently it worked. (Sort of “look for the union label”). You sang that in your head, didn’t you?

 

 

 

West Memphis, Arkansas

Day 213

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     We have turned east and are heading towards Maryland, expecting to arrive home in about a month. 

     Today we are staying in West Memphis, Arkansas. Our campsite is right on the Mississippi River, which I can view as I type this. 

     We had another challenge as we drove here. About 6 tenths of a mile before the campsite we came upon a railroad crossing (it seems a lot of our campsites are next to railroad crossings, or depots). The gates were down and a train was stopped on the tracks. We waited about a half hour, then decided to call the campground for suggestions. They told us to turn around and gave us a route that would get us around the train. The street we were on was a normal size side street, which would not allow us to turn around. There was a tractor trailer ahead of us and 3 behind us, also waiting to cross the train tracks. 

     The tractor trailer ahead of us drove up to the train and turned into a warehouse lot, where he turned around and exited in the opposite direction down the street. We followed his example and did the same thing. 

     We followed the directions of the campground host which took us a couple of miles down a street which paralleled the train tracks. We eventually turned to cross the train track and saw the end of the train which blocked our initial crossing. If the train had 5 more cars, we would not have been able to cross even here. 

     When we arrived at the campground, appropriately called Tom Sawyer’s Mississippi RV Park, we were informed that since we were on the riverside of the levy we will be notified if the Mississippi rises to a crest, so that we can evacuate. 

     After setting up camp, we walked along the banks of the river. It was fairly low as there has been little rain in the area for the last month or so. However, we did notice all the electric was up on towers. 

     We went to look at the laundry facilities, which was also elevated with this sign:

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Technical Stuff:

Hot Springs, AR to West Memphis, AR 205.4 miles

4 hours 18 minutes

11.9 MPG

Diesel: $2.10

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Day 209

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     The hot springs in Hot Springs, Arkansas is created by thermal fusion. Other springs, like in Yellowstone National Park, are heated by volcanic action. 

     First, the statistical information that I present in these blogs is provide me by the National Park Rangers, Docents, or Placards at the places we visit. Second, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the information I received at Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas in reference to the age of the water. 

    The spring water comes from rainfall that seeps down into the earth where it is heated by the heat generated from the earth’s core. To become a hot spring, the water must find a fault in the core to rapidly make it’s way to the surface, otherwise it would cool as it returns to the surface. The temperature of the water here at Hot Springs is 143 degrees. 

     According to the Park Ranger, the water in the springs fell as rain over 4,000 years ago. This is determined by carbon dating. 4,000 years ago? I find that hard to believe. Further, according to the Ranger, 

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750,000 gallons of water comes up through the springs each day. Therefore, if it doesn’t rain here ever again, they have water for the next 4,000 years?

     Further, if I drink this water, and there are numerous fountains throughout the city, then fall into a cave and die, and my body is found 1 year later, at which time they decide to do carbon dating on me, will they think I am 4000 years old? Just saying. 

     This area was part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. President Jefferson sent explorers William Dunbar and George Hunter to investigate the Springs, which had been known to French fur traders and indians for some time. The report to Jefferson became widely known, drawing many people to this area for what they thought was a therapeutic value to the hot water. 

     There are 47 springs here. Crude bathhouses were built over the springs. However, as the area grew the water became contaminated because the residents and visitors dumped their waste into the streams. This caused the Federal Government to take the unprecedented step in 1832 of creating part of this area as a Reservation. Nevertheless they did nothing to control the land until 1877 when the Government took steps to preserve the creek and springs. 

     By 1916 the Government had walled in or covered and locked most of the springs to prevent contamination.

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   They did leave a number of places you can access the springs. 

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     At this spring I tried putting my hand in the far end, but the temperature, 137 degrees, was too hot for me keep it in the water for more that a few seconds. 

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     The configuration of the Hot Springs National Park is unique in that a city had been developed before the Feds took over. Therefore part of the city is actually in the National Park. The only brewery in a National Park is located here. We stopped in so I could have a beer (root). We had a table overlooking one of the springs.

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     Today, there are only 2 bathhouses in operationOf course we could not pass up the opportunity to bathe in the hot spring water at one of the bath houses. There were 4 pools, each 2 degrees warmer than the previous, culminating at 104 degrees.

Technical Stuff:

Branson, MO to Hot Springs, AR 232.1 miles

5 hours 22 minutes

10.6 MPG

Diesel: $2.24

Shoji Tabuchi Show, Branson, Missouri

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Shoji Tabuchi, pronounced 田淵 章, is a …>>>>>… guess.

     Shoji Tabuchi was born April 16, 1944 in Daishoji, Ishikawa, Japan. Started playing the violin at age 7. Came to the United States in the 60’s and became an American Citizen. He became well known after playing at the Grand Ole Opera in Tennessee. He started playing in Branson in the 80’s, and now has his own theater. A true American success story.

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His step-daughter also performs in the show:

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Branson Landing, Missouri

Day 206

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     Barbara needed a shopping fix, so we went to Branson Landing, an outdoor shopping mall. She picked up some small gifts. Can’t buy too much, no place to put it in our 40 ft. home. While she did that, I sat with my new friend.

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Walked along the boardwalk by the river. Actually it was a cement walk. 

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     There was a neat water display fountain. We were told that in the evening there is a lighted water display presentation. So we chose to eat dinner at a steakhouse restaurant with a balcony over-looking the fountain.

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Showboat, Branson, Missouri

Day 204

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Went on a riverboat for dinner, a show, and a cruise.

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However, most of it was for show. For example, the smoke stacks were for show,

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The 10 ft. diameter helm was for show,

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     Even the Capitan was for show. Not only that, it wasn’t even a river, it was a lake. The Boat is powered by diesel fuel, which turns a generator, which creates electricity to run the Boat. No steam. The Boat is steered by a computer. 

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The knob in the lower left corner turns the rudder, which steers the ship. 

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So, before they retrofitted, where was the engine room?

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The Boat has a 700 capacity seating theater.

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There was a nice meal, (except no soda, and the lemonade was weak) accompanied by singers,

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Acrobat,

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Violinist,

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and a Ventriloquist,

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If you don’t finish your peas, you walk the plank.

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Weird Branson, Missouri

Day 203

    Brief look back at Mount Rushmore, the winter heads were there.

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     Like the Wisconsin Dells, weird things seemed to be attracted to Branson, Missouri. For example, why would the Titanic, an ocean liner, be in a landlocked state?

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Why would King Kong come here?

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     Missouri is an agricultural State, so I can see chickens and meatballs.

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Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, Branson, Missouri

Day 202

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     We travelled around Branson. I don’t know who he is, or supposed to be, but he was big:

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     Came across a picture of Whistler’s father:

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    Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede is a dinner horse show. No, the horse was not the dinner. 

     Prior to the show was a pre-show with a juggler:

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     Lots of cowboys and cowgirls:

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     Barbara enjoyed the show

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Silver Dollar City, Branson, MO

Day 199

     Silver Dollar City is an  1880s-style theme park located in Branson, Missouri. It is the old west, with numerous craftsman and shows, and a full amusement park for the kids. Most of the venues in Branson are changing over for their christmas shows. Today was the last day of it’s regular shows at Silver City. Tomorrow they will close for 4 days as they convert to their christmas theme which will run through the 1st of the year. 

     We saw numerous shows through out the day, including:

     The dance hall girls at the Silver City Saloon day-199-silver-city-mo-7653_fotor day-199-silver-city-mo-7662_fotor

     Which included a shootout.

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     The Homestead Pikers, a backwoods group,

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     A presentation on wild horses, which still roam the West,

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     Barbara stopped to try on the local fashions,

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     The Cajun group was very entertaining. Makes me looking forward to going to New Orleans next year, day-199-silver-city-mo-7727_fotor day-199-silver-city-mo-7717_fotor day-199-silver-city-mo-7734_fotor

     Took a ride on the Stream Engine around the park, which was a real steam engine, day-199-silver-city-mo-7741_fotor day-199-silver-city-mo-7752_fotor day-199-silver-city-mo-7751_fotor

     The train was robbed by backwoods outlaws,

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     Saw a magic show, eh! He will never make it to Carniege Hall, day-199-silver-city-mo-7772_fotor

     Now, this is the way life should be,

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     Unfortunately, it landed me in the hoosegow

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     This guy was taking logs,

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     hand carving them to this for a log cabin, day-199-silver-city-mo-7778_fotor

     And now, our day has ended.day-199-silver-city-mo-7796_fotor

Branson, Missouri

Day 198

     The community of Branson was named after Ruben Branson. In 1882 Reuben opened a general store and post office in the area. Branson was formally incorporated in 1912. 

     Jim Owen, Mayor of Branson for 12 years and entrepreneur, built the first theater in 1934. Called “The Hillbilly Theater” it began to attract people from far and wide to tour the area. 1959 saw the completion of Table Rock Dam on the White River, which created Table Rock Lake. Also in 1959, the Baldknobbers Jamboree opened the first live music show in Branson.

     We are staying at Branson Stagecoach Campground, located next to Table Rock Dam. Unfortunately, you cannot see the lake or dam from the Campground. This is what we see.

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     Not as nice as our last campground. 

Technical Stuff:

Lake of the Ozarks, MO to Branson MO 149.2 miles

3 hours 39 minutes

9.7 miles per gallon

Diesel: $2.19

 

Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

Day 195

Technical Stuff:

     No sightseeing today. I am going to give you some insight as to what goes on behind the curtain.

     We are leaving Hannibal, Missouri, as we are Mark Twain’ed out. Barbara wants to go to Branson, Missouri. We will probably spend 1 to 2 weeks there as she wants to see some shows. There appears to be over 100 shows available. 

     Since Branson is about 300 miles from Hannibal it is not feasible to make it in one trip. We make about 50 miles in an hour, plus stop for lunch and stretch our legs, makes it a 7 hour journey. Might be ok in a car, but not pulling the Sphinx. So we need to make a stop in-between. The question is where? There does not appear to be anything of real interest between the two cities. Therefore we are looking for a spot about 150 miles from Hannibal. In a previous post I explained the different tools we use in planning a route. In this case we chose Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri because it sounds cool. 

     In choosing an RV park we look at location, travel distance, and price. We belong to a number of clubs that offer discounts on stays. KOA offers 10%, as does Good Sam, AAA, and AARP. Harvest Hosts offer the best deal, free. Passport America offers 50% off published prices. RV parks that accept Passport America usually do so because they are new, looking to establish a client base, are in an undesirable location, or are old and have gone into disrepair. 

     Cross Creek RV Park in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, accepts Passport America. The nightly stay was only $17.72, with full hook ups, (water, sewer, and electricity). Before we book a site we consult the Web, reviews, Google Earth – which gives us an arial view of the area, Trip Advisor, etc. Consulting all of those, we still might not know everything we should about the site. This RV park was off the beaten track in a hilly area. A hint was when we made the reservation the host said “you will go down a steep hill, which you will also have to go up when you leave.” That ended up being an understatement.

     After leaving the main highway we went down a gravel, washboard road for two and half miles. The grade was so steep I used first gear, if I had a 1/2 gear I would have used that. Don’t forget, I have 16,000 pounds of a moving home pushing the truck. The Sphinx does have electric brakes which are matched to the truck brakes. 

     Upon arrival we were offered two sites. The first a pull through and the second a back-in. They are just as they appear, that is, in a pull through site you enter one end, hook up, and when you leave continue on through the site to exit. Obviously when you have a 21 ft truck and a 40 ft 5th wheel, that is an advantage. In a back-in you must maneuver the truck and RV so that they line up with the utilities. Utilities for all RVs are on the left (driver side) of the campsite. That is fortunate since the RV connections are always on that side. 

     If you are driving a Class A or C RV that is not a problem. You just back it up like you would your car. If your RV is a 5th Wheel, it bends in the middle. When backing up you must turn the steering wheel of the truck in the opposite direction you want the back of the 5th wheel to go. So, if you want the back to go to the right, you must turn the steering wheel to the left. Not intuitive. A trick is to put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and move your hand in the same direction you want the rear of the 5th Wheel to turn. Try doing that with your lawn tractor and cart, not as easy as it sounds. 

     We asked to see both sites. The pull through went up a steep hill, then leveled where the utilities were located. It probably would have been ok for a 20 or 25 ft. RV. I don’t think our 40 ft. would have faired well.

     The second site was down by a lake. Because of the configuration of the road you had to back up a considerable distance to get to the site, and then continue backing up to get in the site, but the ground looked level. We chose that site, and this is the view:

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     Not bad. Although this was one of the more difficult sites to get into and level, it was the most scenic of all our sites since the Everglades.

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      No traffic sounds from the highway, no trains, no airplanes, and no close neighbors, other than these: 

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Quack, Quack, Quack.

Hannibal, Missouri to Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri 153.2 miles

3 hours 27 minutes

9.2 MPG

Diesel: $2.27 gallon

Walking Hannibal, Missouri

Day 193

     When we stay in a town we normally spend the first day riding around to get our bearings. The next day or so we tour or hike our areas of interest. Then, if the weather is nice, we walk the town. Today was that day. Mark Twain’s Hannibal is about 10 blocks long by 4 blocks wide.

    We wandered and looked at the various mansions, including touring the Rockcliff Mansion. 

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    In Hannibal, you can’t kick a stone without hitting something labeled Mark Twain: Mark Twain restaurant, Mark Twain ice cream parlor, Mark Twain souvenir shop, Mark Twain brewery, Mark Twain candy store, Mark Twain antiques, etc.

     We walked the 244 steps from the statute of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn

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to the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse.

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On the way, I think I saw a Monarch Butterfly

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     I am not sure, as it was the same size as a regular butterfly. It might have been a Viceroy Butterfly. Maybe Lisa, my sister-in-law, can verify.

      The Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse stands on Cardiff Hill overlooking Hannibal, Missouri, on the banks of the Mississippi River. On November 11, 1934 construction on the lighthouse was commenced. The lighthouse was the first in the nation to be “inland”, which rendered it not as an aid to navigation, but to shine light over the year-long festivities surrounding the celebration of Mark Twain’s 100th birthday, and therefore purely for decoration.

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     The lighthouse was lit by President Franklin D. Roosevelt from the White House on January 15, 1935. Technicians installed lines that connected the beacon of the lighthouse to the president’s desk in the Oval Office so that he could light the beacon with the turn of a key. I bet that cost the taxpayers a pretty penny.

  Unfortunately it blew down in a windstorm in 1960.

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     It was rebuilt, lit and dedicated on May 24, 1963 by President Kennedy in the same manner that Roosevelt did it in 1935. In 1994 the lighthouse was refurbished and rededicated by President Clinton.

     Today, the lighthouse is again in disrepair. Inside visitation is not allowed as it is structurally unsound. Not a lasting tribute, I would think.

Mark Twain Cave, Hannibal, Missouri

Day 192

     We went to the Mark Twain Cave. It was much more interesting than the Wind Cave. Here, they let you touch the walls. The cave was discovered in 1819 when a hunter was following his dog who went into the cave. Since then it has been a major attraction.

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Numerous people left their mark on the walls.

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     This cave featured prominently in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It is where he and Becky got lost, and where Injun Joe was found dead.

     We also attended a one man show of Mark Twain, Jim Waddell, it was ok, but not great. Barbara and I were the only ones in the audience. I would have thought since it was only the two of us there would have been more interaction between the actor and us. There was none. He played it as if we were not there.

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