USA Road Trip - Day 21 (Branson, Missouri)

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April 5th 2016
Published: April 8th 2016
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Branson, MO

Late start to the day as we finally had a chance for a lay in after 3 weeks away. We have no breakfast included here at the Hilton and started the day with a muffin and banana left over from the previous day. We drove to the Visitors Information Centre (the official one that is, noting there seems to be about 30 visitor’s centres around here !). We had booked tickets to 2 shows here and had to collect our tickets. Whilst we were there we asked for some advice on breakfast and he gave us two suggestions being Billy Gails Café about 15 minutes’ drive away and The Farmhouse Restaurant which is close to where we are staying in Bransons Landing. Since we are already in the car we decide on Billy Gails Café. It was a pleasant drive getting there anyway and we got to see a bit more of the area along the way. When we saw the menu we noticed they served breakfast all day and as it was now around midday we had a chance to order ala carte breakfast which was the first time on this trip we got to order breakfast this way ! Kerry ordered 2 eggs sunny side up with an English muffin and it cost $4-00. I splashed out and included hash browns instead of the muffin which cost $5-00. What an expensive breakfast ! When asked how I’d like my eggs the waitress said “fried, scrambled or basted”. I have never heard of eggs being basted and she said it was like poached so I thought I’d give it a try. Well they were delicious and the hash browns took up half the plate and were so freshly made. We then kept driving along what they call the Strip on Highway 76 and we were amazed at how many attractions, show theatres, restaurants and hotel there was. We came across the Titanic Museum and this is something Kerry had heard about so we went in. It costs about $25- and I thought at first that might be a bit pricey for what I thought would be a tacky exhibit. Wow was I wrong. This place is an amazing museum and has so many actual artifacts recovered from passengers, and from family members of those who died on the ship. It came with another audio tour (as they seem to have everywhere over here now). If you want a bit more detail about any exhibit press the number on your gadget and listen like a cell phone to a commentary. They had replicas of different sections of the ship including elevators, bedrooms, and the famous staircase. There was so much information about the stories behind the story. I mean about the people on the ship. I did not realise but the Titanic sailed on a 2 day voyage from Belfast to Southampton and to France before returning to Ireland before the fateful sailing across the Atlantic. There was one chap who took loads of photos on his camera who only did the original 2 day sail, and his family found a bunch of unprocessed negatives in a trunk in his home after he died, and they were only developed like 20 years ago or something, and they are the only photos ever taken on the Titanic revealing so much about the ship (they had all these photos on display). One of the most fascinating things was that they told the true story about how the band kept playing as the ship went down. Apparently 2 of the musicians survived and one of them was the violinist and the actual violin he used was recovered and was on display. It was bought for $1.7M a few years ago but the private owner had agreed to display it here for a short period. So cool to see it. They had so many original things like watches, letters, jewellery on display that family members had given to the museum. This was well worth it and we were there for at least 2 hours. After driving around the strip area more we decided it was time to head down the road to the College of the Ozarks where we had pre-booked an early dinner for 4.30pm at the Keeter Centre. Kerry found out about this place online where it is a working college where students work in the Hotel and Restaurant instead of paying tuition fees. It had great reviews so worth a visit. The main building is huge and built like a massive log cabin and was so nice inside. As it was early there was not a lot of people here for dinner. We had Jessie as our waiter who is studying Criminal Justice and hopes to graduate this year and become an Air Marshall. He said they have about 1500 students enrolled. I was a bit hungry so I ordered the Signature Smoked Tomato Soup for an appetizer and it was so creamy. Kerry ordered the Chicken Alfredo Fettuccini and they make the Pasta here so it was pretty good. I had decided to finally try the Chicken Fried Steak we had seen everywhere. It was covered by a white gravy sauce and accompanied by the freshest green beans I have ever had. All the vegetables are grown here on campus. After the first bite my description to Kerry was that it tasted like KFC but it was a steak. How bizzare ! After that we went back to the Hilton where I did another swimming therapy session and then we were off to see our first show at the American Theatre. It was called a 70’s music show starring Barry Williams who I’m sure is well known to all readers although not perhaps by his real name but that of his alter ego Greg Brady (from the Brady Brunch TV Show). He is pretty talented and had a good band and other singers doing about 2 hours of live music from that period. It was fun and he even taught the crowd (including Kerry) a couple of neat Brady Bunch dance moves . The theatre seats about 700 and is not real flash. There was only about 150 here I guess and we were seated in the third row. But the band played with all the energy you would expect regardless of how empty it was. We then went to Walmart to buy some fruit, a new green iPhone charger (as mine was playing up), and more water bottles. We also found a bargain with a 6 x 500ml bottles of Coke zero for only $2.50. What a deal ! Weather was really nice sunny all day and got to 26 degrees. We are here again in Branson tomorrow and will also have an easy day as I am still trying to rest my back.


8th April 2016

LOTS of miles covered. 🙂 So close and yet so far! You could have continued up to Chicago and flown home from here. 😔

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