USA Road Trip - Day 20 (Little Rock, Arkansas to Branson, Missouri)

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April 4th 2016
Published: April 7th 2016
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Little Rock, AR to Branson, MO

Breakfast was a classic B & B feast. No idea what we had. It was explained but too hard to remember sorry ! We had breakfast at 8.30am sharp with a couple from Conway, Arkansas and chatted with them for a while. They were staying in the adjoining carriage house so we actually had the whole B & B building to ourselves. The owners of this place have had it since 1993 and their granddaughter was serving us today. She said the place has been on the market for US $1.2M for 5 years which I reckon is a bargain for something that has such historical value and is ranked in USA top 10 B & B by some magazines. They bought the place for $150,000- and it needed a massive restoration to be done. I was really struggling with my back spasms so Kerry actually had to carry the luggage downstairs on her own and into the car. The first task after breakfast was to call Top Of The Rock Golf Course and cancel my game booked for tomorrow, bummer !. Like Kerry missing out on Billy Bobs in Fort Worth this was a big disappointment for me. I’ll just have to live with the website images for now. We left around 9.30am and first stop was petrol and Mr. Tom Tom did a great job of finding one only 290 metres from our B & B. Next was Walgreens Pharmacy were Kerry bought some anti-inflammatory pills and some heat packs for me. I was OK sitting in the car but struggled walking. Just could not straighten myself up looking like the hunchback from Notre Dame. Let’s hope it gets better soon ! Off we go and it is a bit over 3 hours driving today so not too bad. As we leave Little Rock it is not long before we are seeing some different scenery on Highway 65 as we rive into the Ozark Mountains. Yes we have discovered some hills and mountains here finally ! The scenery is beautiful as the dogwoods are flowering and the deciduous trees are getting their new spring growth. I can only imagine how breathtaking this region would look in their fall. One thing we noticed in the last 2 days has been the number of loudspeaker sirens positioned everywhere on cell phone towers. We presume these are used to act as warnings for the tornado’s as we are right in the danger zone area now. First stop was at a gas station to buy a coffee. I sent Kerry in to get them and said I would follow her in as I would slowly find my way inside a few minutes later to join her and where to my surprise they had about 4 or 5 poker machines !. I was planning to take a few extra stops today so I could get a stretch and we stopped at a flea market (nothing good there), and then we detoured into a small town called Leslie. Kerry had done the research last night to look for some interesting places to visit on the drive and she mentioned it to the couple we had breakfast with this morning who confirmed it was a nice place to visit. But everything was closed ! Next we stopped at some place for lunch high on a hill called Fergusons Country Store and yes it’s soup again (vegetable this time) with some corn bread which is pretty rich and needs to be smothered with butter for my palate to accept. As we reach Ridgedale we are now in Missouri (that is US state # 29 ticked off). Not too much further and we drive into Branson and arrive at the Hilton at Branson Landing. I had used HHonours App to check in online and confirmed room 304. The App was cool as it had a had floor plan of the building etc. . When we went to our room Kerry looked out the window and saw train racks across the road. Kerry called the front desk to see if we could get a room change. Doris said no as all were booked out. A few minutes later a guy called Paul delivered our luggage and asked if we liked the room. We told him this was our third room next to a train line (after Aiken and Fort Worth) and we were not happy. We told him we tried to change rooms but Doris said no. He said he would make a call. He managed to get us a room change to 227. We now have a spa bath, private laundry (that will come in handy as we need to do some washing) and a private outdoor balcony overlooking the Branson promenade area. No fee to pay for the upgrade, but he earned his $5-tip. We later realise they have an Indoor heated pool here and a Jacuzzi so down we go. I spend 15 minutes in the spa and another 10 minutes in the pool (all to myself I might add !) and this is just what I needed. Afterwards I actually manage to walk a few laps of the pool without significant back pain, so hydrotherapy is the go !. We then head to dinner and there is a nice place downstairs called Big Whiskey’s American Restaurant where I had a 12 oz. sirloin steak whilst Kerry had fish with rice. I had a 22 oz. local beer called Boulevard Pale Ale. Later I would go back to the room and watch the NCAA final game between Villanova an NC State. A real cliffhanger and I lose the $10- bet with Luke after a buzzer beater. We are here for the next 3 nights so time to take a breath and slow things down a bit. Branson is a place that was not on our original itinerary, but I came across it somewhere in google and turns out it is a massively popular tourist place for the locals as it is virtually dead centre in America. They claim here it is the entertainment capital of America having more live shows than even Las Vegas. Hence we are here to see a bit of the night life.

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