Branson 2008




Diary of my trip to Branson MO with my sister Joanne, David, and Linda November 2008
10/31/08  We left San Diego this morning via American Airlines for our Midwest trip to Branson and Wisconsin.  The plane was only ¼ full to our surprise.  The flight was delayed 1 hour.  My sister and her husband Dave drove from Madison Wisconsin and picked us up at the St. Louis airport.  We ate at Bandana's BBQ (314) 849-1162 · 11750 GRAVOIS RD · SAINT LOUIS, MO 63127.  The pulled dry smoked pork plate was to die for.  We then checked into a Drury Suites hotel which was really first class and only cost $66 per night.

11/1/08
    Got up at 7:00 am and had the free breakfast at the hotel which was quite good especially the Belgium waffle which you prepared yourself.  We were on the road by 8:30 am and started the 4 hour drive to Branson.  We actually found a gas station a Phillips 66 that cost $1.91 for regular.  We stopped at the Cracker Barrel for lunch.  We got checked into our Condo at Indian Point Resort near Silver Dollar City in West Branson at 3:00 pm.  Joanne brought home made chicken noodle soup which we had for dinner.

11/2/08
    Got up at 6:30 am as Linda’s snoring did not allow me to sleep longer.  We had breakfast in the condo.  We went to the free church service at 10:30am at the Legends in Concert Theater.  The non denominational pastor who has been doing these free shows for 13 years is really inspirational and the gospel singers are also very good.  We then went to the new Branson Landing and had lunch at the Bass owned Fish House Restaurant which was excellent.  We spent some time shopping at the Landing.  We then headed to the Show Boat Branson Belle paddle boat for a cruise including; dinner and a variety show on the boat. The comedian grew on you and the singer dancers did all Christmas Music.

11/3/08    Got up at 7:15am this morning and had a shower before hot water heater ran out.  We went to the Lowe Family performance at the Welk Theater at 10:30 am.  9 of this very talented family performed a wonderful Christmas show.  They could all sing, dance, and play many instruments.  They will be on KPBS this year.  Next we drove home to the condo for a left over lunch.  Linda and I stayed home and I slept a couple hours while Joanne and David did shopping in the Branson shops.  My sister and brother-in-law are on the go almost constantly a way too active pace for me.  I didn’t realize that my sister booked 2 shows a day almost every day. At 4:00 pm we all left to see Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede show.  This show is very popular and almost sold out.  It cost about $43 each and is well worth it as it includes and excellent western style sit down dinner while you watch the show.  Its held in a very well designed Roman type Coliseum.  The live horses are beautiful animals well groomed and ridden by talented trick riders.  This showed lived up to its excellent reputation.  I would recommend that all Branson visitors put this show on their agenda,

11/4/08
    Got up at 7:15am and had a shower just as the hot water ran out.  We started the day out with a morning show called the “The Twelve Irish Tenors”  The girls loved the show as they were all quite handsome and did have great voices.  The choreography and sets were impressive.  We then went to lunch at the “Hard Luck Café” where all the waiters were good singers and did sing to you while having lunch.  The food was editable but not gourmet.  Next Joanne insisted on more shopping.  I did really enjoy a shop that specialized in hand made wood products.  The turned bowls and carved items were very impressive.  Next Linda and I went to the Yakov Smirnoff show a well know comedian who has performed in Branson for 14 years.  I confused him with Victor Borge the pianist comedian but I still enjoyed the show allot as he was really funny and also inspirational.  Joanne and Dave picked us up after the show and we return to our condo.  We cooked a steak dinner at home which was excellent.  We then checked out the Jacuzzi which full of fallen leaves which we hand plucked out of the water.  Went to bed early as the election results were depressing us.

11/5/08
    Slept a little later has we stayed in the condo until 4:00pm while Jo and Dave did shopping and attended the Danny O’Donnell show their main reason for going to Branson.  They discovered that the show lasted 3 hours and they had to leave early to meet us for dinner.  We went to the College of the Ozarks for dinner at the culinary center operated by the students.  The food was quite good but no beer or wine was allowed with ones dinner.  We then headed for our last headliner show called “Six”.  The show consisted of 6 brothers who only used mikes for their act with no back up music or band.  They used to play at the Aladdin’s in Las Vegas, but moved to Branson to be in a more religious and conservative atmosphere for their kids as they were all married with family.  The first year in Branson they were voted best new show in town.  This year they have been voted best show in town,  They are all excellent singers, good comedians, and can do amazing things with their mikes imitating drums and duope type music.  I would recommend that anyone visiting Branson NOT miss this show as it was an up tempo very entertaining 2.5 hours of entertainment.  Got to bed about 11:00pm.

11/6/08
    Got up late and spent some time on my web pages and diary for the trip.  We attended Silver Dollar City at 1:00 pm which is close to our condo.  Our condo cost about $1100 for 7 days.  There was a reason it was cheap, as it had several maintenance issues including several plumbing plug ups.  The dish washer sounded like a thrashing machine reverberating all through the condo.  The back porch was really nice however with a great view of the autumn trees and Table Rock Reservoir.  At Silver Dollar City we rushed from show to show seeing perhaps four.  The Dickens “Christmas Carol” play was the best.  I got really tired but recouped after getting a snack finally around 7:00pm.  I was glad to get home and rest at 9:30 pm.

11/7/08    Got up at 8:00am to have breakfast at Crispy Cream Donuts.  They are to die for when they are warm.  We then visited a craft center that has some really neat wood products.  After that we again returned to Silver Dollar city for shopping, a train ride, and couple more shows.  We also did a group western photo which turned out great and was lots of fun.  We had succotash and funnel cakes for lunch.  Yum yum.  Joanne got lots of shopping in and we did lots of photography

11/8/08
    Left Branson and headed north toward Wisconsin to Joanne’s house.  We stopped at Bandana’s in St. Louis for lunch.  We stayed at the Drury Hotel in Springfield, IL.  This is a great hotel chain for mid price ranged rooms. 

11/9/08    We headed north again about 9:00 am.  We had lunch at Mary’s Market in Rockford which was excellent.  I stopped at Rockford Airport to rent an economy car for a week.  It was GMC Cobalt II which is low budget car to be avoided.  The 2 door front door is so long I have to out of the car to close it.  The  car has a bad turning ratio and does not hold the road well.  It sure doesn’t compare in quality to my Duramax Chevy diesel truck.  Brought my portable gps along and it guided me to Joanne’s house in Wisconsin arriving about 5:00 pm.  Got unpacked and Joanne ordered local take out pizza for dinner.

11/10/08  Slept in until 9:00 am taking it easy most of the day at Joanne’s house catching up on digital photo processing and web surfing while Joanne and David worked at the UW.  At 4:00 pm we drove to pick up mother and then to dinner at the Texas Roadhouse in Madison.

11/11/08  Slept late until 10:00am.  Linda and I drove to Carr Valley Cheese House in Wisconsin Dells to purchase 4 varieties of blue ribbon cheese which we got to taste before buying.  In the late afternoon we met JO & Dave who escorted us to 3 yarn and quilt shops to Linda’s delight.  Next we went to Imperial Gardens Chinese Restaurant which was excellent as usual.

11/12/08  We got up early about 6:30am and were off to Rockford, IL so Linda could visit my other sister Charlene and Mike  before returning to San Diego via O’Hare.  Linda got to spend about 2-1/2 hours visiting before getting on her Van Gelder bus to O’Hare Airport.  I was really sick with a cold and couldn’t even eat lunch for fear of up chucking.   After buying some cold remedies with Charlene at Wal-Mart, I left alone about 1:00pm for Wisconsin.  I was able to drive OK and made it back about 2:30pm.  I jumped in bed with my electric blanket and cold medicine immediately.  I stayed in bed until 10:00am the next morning feeling a little better.

11/13/08  I was able to eat some breakfast now.  I actually felt a lot better today and worked on my web site and email all day.  Joanne and Dave brought home chicken soup from Costco for dinner.

11/14/08  Finally got out of bed at 10:00am as my cold is worse today and only slept ½ the night.  We went to Amish bakery and store about noon.  At night we went the Red Lobster restaurant with mother for Friday fish fry.  We all enjoyed the food and company a lot.  After some shopping by Joanne we took mother home.  Joanne attended to several services that a 93 year old woman needs help with.  Mother really appreciates her two daughters making it easier for her to stay in her own apartment as opposed to going into an assisted living place which she really wants to avoid.  Joanne and Charlene are great daughters to mother helping her a lot.  After dropping mother off we stopped at Culvers for Turtle sundaes  YUM YUM.
CONSUMER REPORTS INTERESTING INFO:
11/15/08  My cold is worse this morning having gone to my chest.  Some times thinking you will live is worse than the alternative.  Both Jo and Dave do not work on Fridays anymore so they were up early; removing Halloween lights and putting up Christmas lights on their wooded property.  I helped them clean out their cloths dryer vent pipe which turned out to be a 1 hour project for the three of us.  It required a special brush pushed through pipe with shop vac to clean up removed lint.  The brush jammed all the time so it was necessary to disconnect the vent pipe at the joints.  I recommend any one using this vent for 20 years definitely clean it, to improve dryer efficiency and/or to prevent possible fire.  We spent the rest of the day watching the very exciting Wisconsin – Minnesota football game.  Wisconsin came back the second half from a 10 point deficit.  David and Joanne made some great vegetarian omelets for lunch.

11/16/08  Feeling a lot better this morning but still a long ways from being over this cursed Wisconsin cold.  I drove to Rockford with the rental car to meet Charlene and Mike.  We met at Steak’n Shake for lunch and then went to the Rockford Airport to return my rental car.  We came home and watched the Packers beat the Bears football game, then the Pittsburgh – Sand Diego game which ended to my home town’s disfavor.  Charlene cooked a delicious 4 bean casserole for dinner.  At night we watched the movie Moulin Rouge with Nicole Kidman on Mike’s new media system.  His new speakers were really awesome especially the base response which really made the show so much better.  

11/17/08 Slept until 9:30am.  Charlene made me a poached egg on toast with jelly for breakfast.  At noon we went to Edwards Apple Orchards for lunch; pulled beef sandwich, hot apple cider, and two hot cake donuts.  We came home after a bit of shopping, napped, and watched TV. 

11/18/08  We went to A Japanese Hibachi Steak House called Niban which was very good.  When we returned home we did another movie called “Blackhawk Down”  The movie was a war store about Somalia which was really gory blood and guts.  The helicopter, gun, and rockets produced fantastic sound effects on Mikes new speakers.

11/19/08
    Charlene made a delicious pot roast for dinner.  We watched “Commander & Chief” movie with Russell Crow tonight which was good for showing off Mike's new speakers and also a very good movie.

11/20/08    Got up at 6:00am; showered, had breakfast, and packed for trip to Boston.  Mike took me to the Rockford Clock tower to catch the 7:00am Van Gelder bus (fare $18) to Chicago O’Hara airport






Last updated on April 23, 2009