Saturday, August 14, 2010

Navy Reunion - Branson, MO - Day 3

Starting mileage: 37479
Ending mileage: 37726
Miles driven: 247
Gas price: $2.52

We were on the road this morning at 9:15 A.M. Fortunately, the motel had a luggage cart that Dave was able to use when arrived yesterday and this morning to haul everything out to the car. It was unmercifully hot here yesterday and this morning. The car thermometer read 103 degrees; just seems so wrong to be the temperature this far north of Atlanta (well, maybe that's because we are more west than north).

We headed out to fill up with gas this morning. Then, we are heading west still on Hwy 412.

There was even more farming in this area. The sign leading out of town stated that this area was the Cotton Capital of Missouri. So, there ya go. Cotton is not just in the south.

We hardly got organized when we were in Arkansas. The majority of our day will be driving through Arkansas.

These people take their farming seriously!

Much of the day was driving through farming and then into the low foothills of the Ozark mountains.

Hardy, Arkansas, is one of the foothill towns that has not changed much since the 1920s, so here's a few shots of this quaint town.

For lunch today, we stopped at Sonic in Salem, AR, and just kept the car running for the AC while we parked under the awning. They sure have some yummy onion rings.

Our drive began to get a little twisty as we started to climb into the Ozark mountain area. Here's a good view shot.

We crossed over Norfolk Lake just east of Mountain Home, AR.

The landscape changed again. As you can see the rock seems more soft and forgiving. Maybe it's shale? Not really sure.

And, here we are entering Missouri yet again.

For those of you who have not been to Branson, let's just say, it's a sea of cars and people. There are three routes you can take to avoid the main drag, called "The Strip," which is Hwy 76.

As we came around one of the bends working our way to the hotel, we were faced with a half-scale model of the Titanic.

We arrived at the hotel around 5 PM. It's very "King Arthur." It's called the Stone Castle Inn, and it certainly lives up to its name. Here's a few pictures.

Because we have pets, we are banished to the highest castle. The complex on the left is where the Navy group meets and 90% of the attendees reside. We are in the complex to the far-far right.

Our room is very nice, however.

Our friends, Pixie & Oscar, called about 9 PM stating that they had arrived at the airport in Springfield, MO. However, their luggage had not! They were taking the shuttle to the hotel (about an hour's drive). And, we'll see them in the morning.

Although the hotel is acommodating to pets, there is no convenient area in which to walk the dog. Either its a small patch of gravel in front of the parked cars on the main level, or you have to climb 2 flights of stairs off the second floor deck up to the street above. Then, the grass is at a 45% slant down toward the building. So, if you are unsteady on your feet, like I am, we choose the gravel on the first floor.

Kalli is a hoot in the elevator. She goes in fine. But, as soon as it starts to go, she backs up and gets completely behind my legs. As soon as she hears the "ding" to announce the arrival of the floor, she is ready to bold.

Well, it's been a long day. So, we'll sign off for now. Tomorrow we'll meet up with our friends and check-in at registration. No activities until Monday, so we'll have a chance to rest and chat.

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