Branson, Missouri

Good morning, my friends, and welcome to the "Show Me" state. Just now I had to inquire of The Google to ask why Missouri is the "Show Me" state. I found a couple of answers right here.

We backtracked our way out of Arkansas's state park yesterday. Fairly soon, we found ourselves crossing over the Arkansas River.

Looking out my window, it looked like this. It's a fairly large river.

Looking out Mike's window, it looks like this:

The Arkansas River is the same river we saw when we visited the Royal Gorge Bridge in Canon City, Colorado. And that's a long way from Arkansas. Here's how it looked to us when we stood on the bridge.

At the time, I'd never heard of the Arkansas River. Now I've crossed over it at least twice.

Our drive was relatively short yesterday. As is my practice, I looked up the small towns we passed through along the way. We were well along when we passed through Harrison, Arkansas. And I'm sorry to pick on you Harrison, but my goodness. Y'all have a pretty bad rep on Wikipedia.

First off...Sam Walton opened only the second Wal-Mart store ever right here in Harrison. And there's nothing wrong with that, especially if you happen to like Wal-Mart. 

It was, however, disappointing to learn this about Harrison:

"The community has a history of racism: there were two race riots in the early 20th century and an influx of white supremacist organizations during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Because of this, a number of sources have called it 'the most racist town in the United States'."

The entry goes on to list the many race-related incidents that have taken place in Harrison over the centuries, but starts the 21st century with this notation:

"Harrison's Community Task Force on Race Relations was established in 2003 to 'promote diversity and respond to racial-bias accusations against the city.' City officials have made efforts to counteract organized racist activity with educational forums and billboards promoting tolerance. They also attempted to downplay the city's racist reputation and improve its image by editing the town's Wikipedia article."

Despite that, there were at least two disturbing billboards as we drove into town. Try to do better, Harrison. Don’t make me use my social worker voice. And don't blame me...I'm just the messenger.

Driving on, we were nearing the state line. Much of yesterday's drive looked like this: 

We passed by fields of yellow wildflowers.

We also saw more fields of red clover.

And it was a good day for barns.

This one was hiding. You cannot escape my shutter finger of doom.

We were very near our final destination of Branson when we came upon this pastoral scene. That hillside looks like a good place to be a cow.

Finally...here we are. And, Branson, I knew so little about you until I looked you up.

Here's what Wikipedia says about you:

"Branson has long been a popular destination for vacationers from Missouri and around the country. The collection of entertainment theaters along 76 Country Boulevard (and to a lesser extent along Shepherd of the Hills Expressway), including Dolly Parton's Stampede, has increased Branson's popularity as a tourist destination."

We hadn't planned on attending any shows (especially since I didn't even know about this). We may or may not, but we drove in along Hwy 76, and made a left turn where I snapped the image below. Look off in the background, and you can see one of the theaters. In any case, it looks like a fun place to walk around. 

Some of you have noticed Smitty's enhanced courage as we've traveled along. It's true he's more brave the longer we're on the road. When we arrived at the RV park here, he wanted to get out for a walk right away.

He sampled the Mewssouri grass and found it to his liking. Of course, the grass that grows beside the sewer connection is the greenest and most tasty.

Sadie seems resigned to her indoor-only status, and she doesn't cry or whine like she used to. Instead, she enjoyed the sunshine from her catio.

Right after Smitty had his walk, I turned to this most important of all tasks...adding Missouri to the map. Ta-Da!! You're looking good there, Missouri.  And, Kentucky, you're next.

There was some time to finish up Kitten #9 once we were all set up. It's been rinsed and dried now. I'll press it later today and then post an unwrinkled picture.

And that meant I needed to get Block #3 for Grandpa's bridges ready to go. I'm hoping to get started on this today.

We're moving kind of fast this morning. We have tickets to a cave tour early this morning. I'm not sure what all we're going to see, and I'm a little concerned I might have been snagged by a tourist trap. I'll say more about it when I know more. My expectation is this, however: We're going to tour a cave by golf cart. Yes, you read that right. I'll say more about it in my next post.

Right now, I need to get going on breakfast, and we need to get out the door. Getting some place early is extremely hard for retired people. I was telling Mike yesterday that when young Erik was born, I despaired of ever getting anywhere on time ever again. His needs subsumed everything else. The same thing has happened in retirement. Lazy mornings subsume everything else, and having obligations seems like a colossal inconvenience.

That said...I'm curious about the cave tour with golf carts. Aren't you? More later, my friends. 


Barbara said...

We've come a long way, but there is still a lot of discrimination. ~ Aretha Franklin

Marianne said...

Wow! I read the Wikipedia article on Harrison. How sad to live in a place with that kind of reputation! To paraphrase Aretha, We still have a long way to go.

Nice to see such idyllic landscape along the way to Branson, though!

dgs said...

Beautiful area, but what a terrible reputation for any community. I sure hope the locals are willing to change it. I've been to Branson several times, but it has been decades since I've been back and I understand it has grown a lot. I did enjoy the small town feeling and shopping (great walnut bowls) and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Burl Ives in a local themed play that was well worth seeing (outdoor stage setting with a large cast). Probably still playing given it had a local theme, but Burl Ives played the lead role perfectly. I'm not sure if the name of the play was Sheppard of the Hills, or not. Great production, so I do hope you will give a show in Branson a try.

piecefulwendy said...

Rather sobering read about Harrison. Glad you were just passing through. I'm curious about the golf cart cave tour - you find so many interesting things to do!

Terri in BC said...

I'm interested in seeing your golf cart cave tour! It sounds like fun. 2 years ago, I did a walking cave tour in Slovenia (Skocjan Caves) and I sure could have used a golf cart, as I was recovering from food poisoning!

Sara said...

We've visited Branson a number of times - saw great shows each time. Played a couple of fun golf courses. And when our teenage daughters were with us, we girls spent time and money at a huge outlet mall there.

I must agree that a lazy slow morning is my thing.

kc said...

Our very first workamping gig was Branson City Lakeside RV park, right down there under the bridge, off Boxcar Willie Drive, on the White River. We helped open the Bass Pro Shop there, along with White River Fish House. Good times! I worked in the office, 8 hrs, 2 days a week, while Driver worked 4 hrs from 5-9 pm, same 2 days. In his spare time, he'd take my hair dryer and sit in the curve, in the golf cart, wearing his cowboy hat, and point the hair dryer at speeding cars, as they careened down the street towards the boat launch. Slowed em down, every time, as they thought he was a radar cop. Funniest thing ever. We were considered "city employees" (even though we were volunteers) and "in the business" so we got to see all the shows for free. We just showed up about 10 minutes before showtime and got the best seats in the house that weren't sold, usually the best/priciest seats they had. Be sure to visit Shoji Tabuchi's theatre, and visit his bathrooms. Spectacular. And try to catch the fire and water show at the waterfront. If traffic on the main drag gets bad, you can make better time on the little-known,only used by locals- back roads that parallel the main street. There used to be an awesome meat market in Harrison, MO, just over the big bridge. They had jalapeno stuffed chicken breasts that Driver loooved. If you can, take a duck boat ride, it's tremendous fun. And the cafeteria at the College is awesome. Well, it WAS, I guess it still is.

Christine said...

Glad you've arrived safely.
Love all the barn photos. What an amazing range.... So interesting.
Exciting things to explore.... I soooo agree with you about early mornings..... Having to get up before 10.00hrs is early!!!

Kate said...

Branson's traffic is insane, hopefully you've hit when it's not so bad. Missouri has some wonderful cave systems. Hope the one you visited wasn't just a tourist trap.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

So sad about the reputation of that town - and it must be difficult for the residents to try to overcome their history (and try not to repeat it).
Once more I enjoyed seeing the wonderful barns along the way.

Lyndsey said...

The barn photos are great, I'm always impressed by the diversity of the designs and size. Smitty really has got very brave about his walks.