Gypsy Journal (5) 1/1/2009 - 12/31/2009 travel blog

Marland Estate Mansion, Ponca City, Oklahoma

Formal dining room, Marland Estate Mansion, Ponca City, Oklahoma

First Spa, Marland Estate Mansion, Ponca City, Oklahoma

Ceiling in Marland Estate Mansion, Ponca City, Oklahoma

The Strip, Branson, Missouri

Shoji's Theater, Branson, Missouri

Tom and Debbie

Jam Session at Turkey Creek

5/4 – 5/16

It took us seven days to travel 1434 miles from Casa Grande to Hollister, Missouri along US60. As usual, we found Wal-Mart parking lots to stay for the nights along the way. The towns we stopped in were Claypool, Arizona; Socorro, New Mexico; Clovis, New Mexico; Canyon, Texas; Enid, Oklahoma; and Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The first day we stopped at D&R Family RV in Phoenix where we had new batteries installed in our house. That was a total of eight batteries, six for the house and two that start the house’s engine. We left Phoenix considerably poorer.

In Canyon, Texas we went to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. This is a good museum that covers the history of the Texas plains including its major industries: cattle and oil. In Ponca City we visited the Marland Estate mansion. E. W. Marland was one of the late 1920’s oil barons. At one point, he controlled 10% of the oil reserves in the world. Between 1925 and 1928 his house was constructed and he moved in at the end of 1928. This mansion cost him about 2.5 million dollars, has 43,561 square feet and includes 55 rooms (10 bedrooms), 7 fireplaces and 3 kitchens. The home is quite beautiful. Unfortunately, the year he moved into his mansion his company was taken over by JP Morgan – Marland was the victim of a hostile takeover. He moved out of the house in 1931 and into a cottage on the property.

In Hollister, Missouri we stayed at Turkey Creek RV Village. We headed for Hollister because it is right next to Branson. This is our first time in this area and it was time to see what the entertainment capital of Missouri is all about. The town of Branson is certainly something that did NOT impress us. It started out as a small, attractive town on a lazy river. As all the tourist attractions came to town (restaurants, stores, motels and, of course, all the theaters) the buildings just sprang up along a couple of the streets heading out of town. As a result, the “strip” is now about five miles long with very few buildings that are even attractive. All is not lost however, the Ozark Mountains, which surround Branson, are beautiful.

While we were in Branson we:

>saw two of the shows in town. The New Shanghai Circus featuring the Acrobats of China was excellent. For two hours we watched a large group of athletes do unbelievable things with their bodies. The grace and showmanship was outstanding. The other show was the Shoji Tabuchi Show. Shoji is an excellent violinist and played a wide variety of tunes from Broadway hits to country to 1950’s. The show included his eight piece band, about 15 singers and dancers and Tabuchi’s daughter who is a pretty good singer. The admission price was reasonable, about $33 a person per show.

>visited Tom and Debbie McIlwain who were staying at a Corp of Engineers park about eight miles from our campground. We had a great visit and towards the end of our stay in Hollister they came up to our campground for a couple of nights. Joan and Debbie did some shopping while Tom showed Ken some new tricks on the computer.

>both played and sang at a park jam session.

>got to spend about 30 minutes in an old stone house basement during a tornado warning – at 12:30 AM. Luckily the tornado was about three miles away.

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