Lady Blah Blah in stunning costume
The glorious, notorious, ravishing, divine, and sublimely talented Lady Blah Blah (Keri King) made a special appearance at Unity of the Hills women’s group as a special farewell tribute to yours truly.
Lady Blah Blah and the Blahettes
And of course Lady Blah Blah doesn’t go anywhere nowadays without her gorgeous, energetic backup group, the Blahettes (Marilyn Harper and Norma Judah).
What a send off! Now do you understand why I found it so difficult to leave Branson?
Note: Sorry, but I couldn’t find a way to enlarge these photos. But I think you get the gist of how hilarious the evening was!
Mount Rushmore sculpted with faces of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Lincoln.
We are now officially residents of South Dakota! After being Colorado residents for some 30 years, it was difficult to give up our allegiance to that beautiful state. But now that we’re on the road as full-time RVers, practicality (and budget) cry for priority. The cost of registering and licensing our RV and car is about a tenth the cost. Our insurance premiums go down, too. And Alternative Resources looks after all our paperwork needs and mail forwarding, which makes being on the road all the easier (and relieves friends from doing some of those tasks for us).
Besides all the practical benefits, South Dakota has a lot of beauty and great people going for it, too. Everyone in Sioux Falls greeted us warmly and went out of their way to provide great customer service. They included Carol and her co-workers at the Driver’s License office, who found a temporary solution to a glitch in my documents so I wouldn’t have to drive another 700 miles round trip to apply for my license; the woman at the local Social Security office; the friendly staff at Alternative Resources; and the young woman at the front desk of Motel 6 who did administrative somersaults to make sure we had the “right” receipt to satisfy legal requirements — and even called after we got settled to make sure our room was fine. (The Sioux Falls Motel 6 is basic and simple with sterile decor, but it’s clean, inexpensive and permits pets with no additional fee. That pleased David, our dog Sonya and me.)
Now we’re parked by a lake in Suncatcher RV Park in the countryside near Leavenworth, Kansas. Sonya gets to run and chase balls to her heart’s content in a huge field. A family of ducks waddles by every few hours. And colorful butterflies flit about. After the emotional exhaustion of our farewell to friends in Branson and three days on the road, I’m especially grateful for this peaceful setting to sit back and relax.
Wiens Weirdo Card says it all! -- by artist Jack Wiens
Saying good-bye to our dear friends here in Branson has been an emotional experience. We’ve had the joy of sharing life’s journey with so many precious people these past six months. I wonder if knowing we’d be here for only a short length of time made us reach out more, show our true selves more boldly, and do things in the moment instead of waiting until “we had more time.” Possibly. What I do know is that we’ve made great friends with whom we’ll want to stay in touch no matter how many miles separate us.
Our artist friend Jack Wiens captured us in this humorous Wiens Weirdo Card as a farewell memento, inscribed inside with touching words by him and his dear partner Alex. We don’t dare show the card to our dog Sonya — she may get ideas!
We hit the road tomorrow, heading to points west, sad to leave our great new friends, yet eager to see what lies ahead.
This pretty critter was lying still as a twig on the wood deck outside our RV. And that’s exactly what I thought it was — a twig — until it moved on its own power. To get its photo, David put it on a lawn chair whose color isn’t in this insect’s camouflage palette.
I absolutely loved our site alongside the woods these past five months. Cardinals and other birds, squirrels, leaves budding and unfurling into brilliant green, salamanders, dragon flies, lightning bugs — all gave their beautiful performances. And I cherished every one of them. All this just a couple blocks off Branson’s Strip.
Unfortunately we had to move to another site for our last few days here to make room for the work campers replacing us. We can still see the woods, but we’re not parked right alongside them, and our living room windows no longer face them. Now we have neighbors on each side — the typical high density living of commercial RV parks.
In the evening when the temperature becomes pleasant, I’ll take a walk along the woods and catch another of nature’s performances.
Britt poses with his new friend, a beautiful butterfly that landed on his finger at the Butterfly Palace. Photo credit: David Muenker
Watching hundreds of colorful butterflies flit and flutter about made me catch my breath. Was it the freedom of their flight? The beautiful designs on their wings? My admiration of the metamorphous they went through to become these radiant creatures?
All I know is that the wonderful sight brought tears to my eyes when I toured the Butterfly Palace here in Branson, Missouri. As the butterflies flitted by in the aviary, they flew close to my face as if they wanted to kiss me on the cheek and say, “Look at me! Aren’t I beautiful?”
I always enjoy seeing nature up close, preferably in the wild. For some reason, I was especially moved here. Maybe it’s because the butterflies reminded me of the wonderful metamorphosis my own life has been going through since David and I started our new lifestyle as fulltime RVers.
Our visit to the Butterfly Palace had the added joy of seeing one of our young friends from Unity of the Hills Church. A butterfly chose to give him a special hello by landing on his fingertip!
You're bound to get wet on the Lost River of the Ozarks ride, Silver Dollar City. Photo credit: David Muenker
Silver Dollar City is the Disney World of the Ozarks so spending a day at Branson’s theme park was a must. I’m glad we did! We met up with some friends who filled us in on the Powder Keg roller coaster and other wild rides. The daughter razzed her mother with “You had no problem hitchhiking across Pakistan but you freaked out on the Powder Keg!” She was braver than I. I wasn’t going anywhere near that stomach-flipping, nerve-wracking ride.
I managed to dodge the kids and adults on Tom & Huck’s RiverBlast who were gleefully drenching passersby. But as the day got hotter, the thought of getting wet was appealing. Plus I wanted an excuse to join in all the laughing and squealing that was dancing through the air.
My choice was the Lost River of the Ozarks ride. David and I got in a round “boat” with a mother and her three little girls. Hurray! In their company, I could let my “little girl” out. Totally uninhibited, I squealed to my heart’s delight with each drop over a “rapid” – and screamed when cold water splashed all over me. Oddly, the boat always turned so that either the little four-year-old or I got drenched. Meanwhile the others scarcely got wet.
Park admission includes free entry to the shows. The stunt dogs amazed us, especially when they did multiple somersaults in the air. In the park’s 1880s town, we watched several masterful craftsmen at work. Before leaving, we toured cavernous Marvel Cave (also included with admission). At one time, shows and weddings were conducted inside it!
With seasonal festivals, live music evening performances, and numerous rides, shows and fascinating shops (far more than we could explore in a day), it’s no wonder that families who live in the region buy season passes to Silver Dollar City. I’m sorry we’re going to miss the holiday season when every tree and storefront in Silver Dollar City sparkles with lights.