Sunday, August 22, 2010

Navy Reunion - Branson, MO - Day 11

Starting mileage: 37791
Ending mileage: 38067
Miles driven: 276
Gas prices: $2.42

Here is the round-trip route we are taking to Branson. I forgot to post this on the first day of the blog entries. This will give you an idea of the back roads travel we opted to take. We traveled the lower route going to Branson, and traveled the upper route returning home. The red circles indicate overnight stops.

I felt very organized this trip with my maps. I find planning a trip a lot of the fun. I had done all of my planning and printing on the AAA website using their TripTik feature. I had ordered all the state and area maps for where we were traveling. I highlighted our routes on all the maps, folded them for the best viewing, and added labels to the top of each folded map. This way, I could reach into my handy-dandy travel tote and pull out what I needed easily. Yes, I am a little more than "anal" when I plan a trip. I also had the AAA Tour books for the areas we traveled through. So, if I wanted to find out about a city, I could look it up and read about it. When I did look up a city, I read aloud so that Dave could hear the details. But, I'm not all together sure he didn't tune me out with his "hearing loss." LOL.

OK. Back to today's activities. Awoke at 7:30 this morning to get packed up to leave. The weather was hot again today, but the humidity was down a bit, which made it a little easier on Dave. Of course, he does the majority of the work in getting us vacated. He gathered the luggage cart from the first floor and made three trips to repack the car. He hauled two large suitcases, two backpack-sized suitcases, large metal dog crate, three large totes filled with snacks and dog supplies, litter boxes, pet dishes, two computers, and my Bi-Pap machine. The last item to get loaded was Graykitty in her crate. She doesn't like riding on the luggage rack and meows mightily all the way to the car.

We were headed out at 9:30 AM. Our first stop was Ozark, MO, where we found a QT gas station and filled up for the remainder of today's travels.

After we left Springfield, we turned onto Highway 60 and traveled that for the remainder of the day. The first part of the trip continued with more of the limestone earth.

Then we drove through mostly farm land. We are still trying to discern what crop they were growing. There was corn, rice, and cotton. But there is also the elusive crop we can't identify.

We drove through the business district of Willow Springs to find a place to eat lunch as it looked like a fairly large city. It was almost deserted. But, it was an interesting old town. Most of the old town stores were empty. So sad. We trudge along to Mountain View where we stopped at Blimpie. More sandwiches!

After leaving Mountain View, we were surprised to see a wide right-hand "emergency" lane that was etched with carriage ruts from the extensive Amish community. The road could have used a good pooper-scooping as well. However, it was certainly bio-degradable material! We did not see any Amish, but their farms and the road ruts were a sure telltale sign.

We drove through the Mark Twain National Forrest. The road was great and the scenery was beautiful. Rolling hills and some twisty-turny roads. Most of it was a divided four-lane highway, so the drive was pleasantly comfortable and gave Dave an opportunity to sightsee without running off the road!

Before reaching the city of Van Buren, MO, we crossed the beautiful Current River.

Van Buren is quite a recreational area. There are lots of campgrounds and great access to river activities. The area is known as the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. There are float trips you can take for a leisure view of the area.

We continued on Highway 60, which was a great driving highway. No traffic. Flat, wide lanes. At I-55 we headed north for one exit and stayed at the Super 8 Motel in Sikeston, MO.

Sikeston is the original home of the Throwed Rolls restaurant. I had hoped Dave and I could go there for dinner, but we couldn't leave Kalli in the room without crating her. And, the crate is quite a project to put together. If you have an opportunity to eat at a Throwed Rolls restaurant, do so. Mom and I did years ago when we went to Branson. It's quite unique to have rolls thrown across the room to you while you are served your dinner in buckets. It's fun.

At the motel, the room attendants were from India. When I would take Kalli out for a walk, those guys would back up about 15 feet to get away from her. I have never seen people so frightened of a dog on a leash. Of course, Kalli is far from threatening. She backs up herself whenever people approach her. I guess that's "tit for tat."

There was a McDs next door to the motel. So, I opted (at Dave's shock) to walk over and get us one of their new fruit smoothies. They were tasty and cool. The weather was still hot, but no humidity to speak of. Yea.

For dinner, we ordered a delivered meal from a rib place. Dave got short ribs and I opted for the unique and quite unusual (LOL) corn dog minis. I really didn't want another burger or sandwich. I balanced it out with their coleslaw. Dave topped his meal with apple pie and I topped mine with a chocolate fudge cake a la mode.

Shortly after dinner, Dave and Kalli opted for the following activity.

I watched some TV and after Kalli's 9 PM walk, I assumed the horizontal position as well. Can't wait to be home in just two more days!

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