2013 Trip Eight, Nov. 3 and 4, The Ozarks

Branson, MO Nov. 3 and 4, Sunday and Monday

part of the Chateau grounds

part of the Chateau grounds

Our pace has slowed down a little. Sunday morning we did the 10:30 mass at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church. It holds 1300 people at a time. They welcome their “parishioners for a day”. Only about one-third of the people at mass belong to the parish, the rest of us are visitors or “parishioners for a day”.

the Chateau

the Chateau

We enjoyed Sunday brunch at the Château Hotel and resort. This was our treat, in advance, of attending the timeshare presentation on Monday morning. The meal was fine and the view was quite enjoyable. A pianist wearing a straw boater (look it up you younger folks) played soothing music in the background. We still have $25 of our certificate left to spend on a lunch or breakfast later in the week.

Table Rock Lake Dam upstream side

Table Rock Lake Dam upstream side

After the brunch, we drove to the Table Rock Lake Dam visitor center. The visitor center was built in 2010 and does an excellent job of education about the construction of the dam during 1954-1958. This is one of eight dams along the White River. The original purpose was flood control and power generation, recreation was an added purpose. There is a display devoted to the US Army Corps of Engineers in addition. The multiple visitor center hosts were extremely knowledgeable and interested in sharing that knowledge.

Table Rock Lake Dam Downstream side

Table Rock Lake Dam Downstream side

We drove around Branson a bit and were able to experience the traffic jams on highway 76, the main location for the theaters. After grocery shopping, it was back to the timeshare and a relaxing evening doing nothing much.

White river valley downstream from dam

White river valley downstream from dam

Monday morning, of course, was our long-awaited timeshare presentation. The property here is very nice, only five years old, and it appears that their other properties are equally elaborate. They could not meet our price point to entice us to buy, however. A 5 mile hike along Table Rock Lake in the state park was our afternoon exercise. This paved, handicapped accessible hike was a nice change from our recent trend of exposed tree roots, stones and boulders. Most of the trails in the park are closed due to hunting season.

a smooth hiking trail by the lake

a smooth hiking trail by the lake

Dinner was at Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks. This private, liberal arts college has 1500 students and was begun just over 100 years ago by a Presbyterian minister. Its nickname is “Hard Work U”. Students pay no tuition. They have to work 15 hours per week around campus and one 40 hour week during the summer. Their work and endowments cover the tuition cost. The Keeter Center has a restaurant and conference student staffed by the students. The students work in the restaurant, dairy, farm, print shop, etc.

We thought we had plenty of time to have dinner and make our evening show. When we arrived, we found there would be a 30 minute wait. One of us was concerned whether we had enough time but through judicious eating of dessert first (they sell their own ice cream at a kiosk in the lobby) and reading the menu prior to being seated we had plenty of time to make it to the show.

Tonight’s show was put on by the Baldknobbers. “Bald knobs” are hill tops without trees and evidently there was also a vigilante group by that name in the late 1800s after the Civil War. The vigilantes began as former Union sympathizers who tried to fight the lawlessness of the area after the Civil War. They grew, lost their focus and moral compass, and generated an opposing group. Animosities between individuals in the two groups continued for decades even as the groups officially went out of existence.

Baldknobbers show

Baldknobbers show

We knew none of this when we chose the show. The Baldknobbers were the original show in Branson so we chose them. They have been in operation for over 50 years with the third generation of the family now involved. The Smithsonian has a collection of their memorabilia.

The show had a 30 minute pre-show of comedy and singing. The jokes were so corny you had to laugh. The first half of the show was their normal country-style blend of comedy and singing. The second half was their Christmas show. We thoroughly enjoyed the performance.

Chris and I have decided we need to get to South Beach quickly though. We need to re-assure ourselves that the U.S. has citizens less than age 60, no make that age 70. Other than the college, we have not seen many younger people lately.

Ed and Chris Monday, Nov. 4 midnight

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