John & Brenda's Excellent Tour travel blog

Dinner on the balcony of our Branson condo

Our condo in Branson (rear view)

View from our condo balcony

Table Rock Lake in Branson

May 5

Glad to have a noon checkout deadline, we took our time packing up for the short (45 Mile) trip from Springfield to Branson. The close proximity makes Springfield the primary airport terminus for Branson. The trip down takes you into the ancient Ozark Mountains (really just hills) on a rolling highway cut through the sedimentary rock that looks like deliberate stack stone masonry work.

After crawling along the traffic of the single lane main drag (Highway 76), we easily found our condo at the Falls development. We were fortunate to have an early check-in with everything all set for us. Others not so fortunate sat around the lobby or fell into the on-site timeshare pitch. The offer of the pitch is something you can't avoid, as they make it part of the check-in process.

We respectfully declined the pitch (complete with 2 free show tickets) and drove to our unit in an adjacent complex where we found our unit was huge and bright, with a very comfortable layout, a great balcony and view and great air conditioning. The joy of the air conditioning was particularly driven home as we built up quite a sweat moving in, up the 20 stairs (no elevator) in the 85°F heat and high humidity....time for a well-earned beer with our feet up.

Brenda was delighted with the in-unit laundry set-up and was able to catch up on our rather large pile of it. She has been missing cooking (honestly!) and was happy to make up a grocery list for our week (she truly is a domestic goddess!). We took a short tour to the nearby dam and Table Rock Lake where they have probably the only flat bicycle path in the area. We were looking forward to getting the bikes off their rack and taking a spin later in the week. On our way back, we previewed a very nice looking bit rather hilly golf course that we hoped to get back to as well.

Branson, if you didn't already know, is the US capital of second-run, mid-range or aging entertainers and its main street is a string of nice little show theatres for live acts. It features mainly country or nostalgia music and comedy with headliners like Mickey Gilley, Andy Williams, Bill Medley (Righteous Brothers) and Yakov Smirnoff (remember Night Court?). We hope to take in a couple of the high-end shows later in the week.

We had a beautiful dinner in the sunset on our balcony with birds singing in the nearby trees, great food and great company.

May 6

While Brenda worked out in the well-appointed but hot gym (adjacent to the steamy indoor pool), I found an Internet Café nearby to update this Journal. The downside to our deluxe accommodation is that there is no high-speed Internet connection except on their terminal in the Registration Center, for which you have to line up.

Since rain was threatened and delivered, we decided to forgo biking or golf. We went into the centre of town and parked for a walk-around to scope things out. This town is not used to pedestrians; the sidewalks are very narrow, there are no crosswalks and the traffic is oblivious to anyone walking. We took our lives in our hands and headed to the Dick Clark American Bandstand Theater where we decided to book a night later in the week to see the Bill Medley and Paul Revere and the Raiders Show.

In spite of the off and on rain of the day, the sunset was drop dead gorgeous as we ate a fabulous pasta dinner on our balcony. We decided that the only thing missing for total perfection was candles, which we would buy on our next shopping trip.

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