Pink dogwoods in full blossom. Photo credit: David Muenker
Dogwoods and redbuds make springtime in the Ozarks especially gorgeous. When the slopes were still winter brown, these flowering trees instilled us with hope that spring was quickly approaching. They showed off their beauty before the oaks and other trees unfurled their leaves. And they continued to radiate their beauty even after leafed out trees began to hide them from view.
White dogwood blossoms are breathtaking beautiful, especially in the wild. Seeing pink dogwood blossoms is a rare treat.
The blossoms have now run their course and green-leafed trees cover the slopes like a thick, lush carpet. But the uplifting beauty of those white and pink blossoms is etched in my memory.
Four friends enjoy a fun day and yummy lunch in Eureka Springs, AR. (Dick and Susie Wheeler, David and Rose Muenker) Photo taken on David's camera by a friendly passerby.
Making new friends is one of the greatest joys of being on the road. This past week we had the fun of sharing Branson with Dick and Susie Wheeler. After mutual friends at Mile Hi Church in Denver introduced us via email, they invited us to spend a weekend at their home on Lake Barkley in Kentucky. That was at the beginning our journey. Six months and many lessons of the road later, we got to show them some of the highlights of “our town,” Branson, and its surroundings.
First, they joined us for an inspiring and uplifting morning at Unity of the Hills church, followed by an afternoon of walking and conversation along Table Rock Lake. We introduced them to our favorite eatery, Danna’s Bar BQ & Burger Shop, where we devoured delicious pulled pork and catfish. And we marveled at voices-turned-musical instruments at the popular show, SIX.
Best of all, we took a day trip to the historic town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. After admiring the stately, late-1800s houses and spa-focused hotels gracing the residential streets, we explored art galleries and boutiques. Shops offered everything from exquisite knives to trendy clothing and designer sunglasses. I still have my eyes on those wild tights designed to look like jeans!
Our lunch at the underground Mud Street Cafe was memorable. Despite being windowless, it glowed with color and the warmth of personable servers. I ate the best grilled cheese sandwich ever! Where else can you get one made with three tasty cheeses, sauteed mushrooms, spinach, sunflower seeds and alfalfa sprouts?
Combine a great ambiance and delicious food with fun conversation with two new dear friends and voila! — you have the recipe for joy and contentment!
A raging thunderstorm with high winds just roared through Branson. Our awning has been tightly anchored for the past month, providing much appreciated shade in the late afternoons and withstanding storms when they’ve passed through. But today’s storm just snarled at the 3/8-inch diameter, 8-inch long stakes holding the posts into the ground, whipped up one corner of the awning and yanked the awning arm out of the post in the ground. (It even bent one of the steel stakes!) David jumped out of the RV into the pummeling storm and managed to collapse the awning before the wind could shred it. For the next half hour, the awning hung like a wet blanket against the entrance side of the RV while the rain continued to pour.
Now the sky is calm. We managed to retract the awning. The frame got battered but we hope it’s easily fixed. instead of having to invest in a (costly) replacement. All the wonderful benefits of our particular site come with this one downside: we’re at a right angle to the path of the winds., which puts our awning in jeopardy. All the “official” sites in the park are angled in a protective way.
This experience adds one more reason to invest in a newer RV model the next time around. The new ones come with awnings that automatically retract when a built-in sensor detects the wind speed has reached a certain level.
Our little “trouble” is nothing compared to what the folks in Yazoo City, Mississippi are dealing with. Most of their town was destroyed within minutes today by a tornado.
Ah, the sun is back out. Time to take a deep breath, be grateful that our home is intact and return to the business of living.
Redbud and Dogwood trees beautify Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area near Branson, MO - photo credit: David Muenker
The redbuds and dogwoods are in full, glorious bloom right now. We’re lucky to have an extensive network of trails less than a 5-minute drive away from our RV home at the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area. Redbuds and dogwoods top one of the ridges single-file, alternating their pink and white glory. It’s one of those sights that takes my breath away and reminds me how marvelous the natural world is.
The natural world also reminds us it’s in control. David came back from a hike with poison ivy and ticks. And we’ve heard the locals bemoan the “green goo” – the green pollen that covers everything right now. So far we haven’t had an allergic reaction to the stuff.
Sonya enjoys hiking in the Branson area. Photo credit: David Muenker
Sonya loves joining us on our hikes, even on a leash. Her nose twitches constantly. The aromas must be like a smorgasbord to her. And she’s intrigued by the local critters, from lizards to woodchucks.
She has also become quite the gatekeeper at Branson Shenanigans RV Park. Our RV is at the entrance to the park so she has designated herself as the official guard dog, begging guests to ooh and aah over her (good) – and barking at passersby whom she doesn’t want near the property (not always good).
JEERK at Hughes Brothers Theatre, Branson, Missouri
Crazed and crazy. Boundless energy. Super talented tappers. Five deranged Swedes combine all this and more as JEERK – Rhythm Artist Group. We didn’t have a clue what we were in for when the owners of Branson Shenanigan’s RV Park (where we’re work camping) invited us to join them last night. We heard something about Swedish guys and tap dancing.
Were we amazed! These crazy Swedes have taken tap dancing to a delightfully frenetic 21st century level. This isn’t the tap dancing of Shirley Temple, Fred Astaire or even Gregory Hines. These guys have earned their taps by learning from their predecessors and finessing those skills into their unique choreography. From hockey sticks to oil drums, they use a variety of props as instruments to accompany their tap dancing. And lots of comedy, too.
Take a look at this JEERK trailer.
And girl friends, the guys are a great sight just to look at. I had my favorites, as I imagine every female in the audience did. (Have you been to the show? Who did you glue your eyes on?)
Just like the other Branson shows we’ve seen so far, JEERK seemed to appeal to everyone, from the 2-year-old boy who sat next to me and the teenagers in front of me to the 82-year-old woman on the aisle seat. Amazing!