Tales of Blue Aweigh travel blog

View of downtown Branson from Table Rock

I really do LOVE my bike!!

The angry sky during the tornado threat

Tornado damage

Downtown Hilton tornado damage

A sign that we would not be threatened any longer

Our trusted weather radio...well worth $20.00!

We were unlucky enough to pass through Texas and Oklahoma with lots of rain, thunder and lightning so after a few nights at rest stops we decided it was time to settle in.

Over the years many people have mentioned that Branson, Missouri is a great place to visit. Therefore this trip seemed like a great opportunity to do so. We stayed at the America’s Best Campground, ABC for short, just a few miles outside of the downtown area.

Our first day was spent making a stop at the Visitor’s Center to get all the necessary maps and recommendations. We were advised that a multi-loop trail for hiking and biking was very close and would allow us to view the dam. So off we went and logged 11 miles at the Table Rock Dam and marina recreational area. The trails were definitely for mountain bikes but we were able to enjoy it nonetheless. My bike, which I absolutely LOVE (no exaggeration) is a comfort bike while Mike’s is a mountain bike. Due to the fact that we used these bikes for morning exercise to Mondo’s beach from our former home when we were house dwellers, we put Continental tires on them. These tires are a bit fat but good for road rides as they have a nice cushy feel to them but definitely don’t have the gripping power for off road trails. Overall the tires are great for multi-use and we are able to enjoy whatever trails we find along the way.

Branson is no doubt a family friendly town. There are countless venues for entertainment from musical and magical acts to dance troops, dinner shows, amusement parks and museums. There is something for everyone. We decided to take in an amusement park, Silver Dollar City, to fill my need for roller coasters. My hubby will go along but this is something he does to indulge me. Mike participates but prefers terra firma or “at sea”. Silver Dollar City is a good sized and hilly family friendly park. We had lovely weather and got our fill of rides, exhibits, BBQ, musical acts (harpist and a yodeler) acrobats from Kenya, Hawaiian dancers, and a final stadium concert from Third Day, a Christian group which I thoroughly enjoyed and …sticky buns to go. Couldn’t have had a better day with my Sweetheart!

As we acclimated to the Missouri area we were watching TV one evening and found that a tornado was headed our way! Now tornados are something neither of us have experience with, nor wished to, and were unsure exactly what to do. We had two options; outrun it or take our chances and wait it out. We chose the latter. It became disturbing to hear emergency broadcasts on the TV hour by hour and learned that we should purchase a NOAA Weather Radio for just this situation. We ran over to the local Wal-Mart which had hundreds ready for just this situation. For $20.00 I bought a little piece of mind. It basically works like this; enter your county, when a watch or warning occurs an alarm goes off (to scare the hell out of you), and the NOAA voice, similar sounding to the marine radio voice, tells you how long you have till freak out time. The TV broadcasts talk a lot about finding shelter. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that an RV is a really bad place to seek shelter. What will we do?? There are bathrooms in the campground, or…..let’s talk to the office and see what they suggest. Branson had a tornado just a few months prior and while out and aboutwe witnessed the damage ourselves so surely they will know what to do. This made us certain that a tornado here was a VERY real possibility. The owner was enjoying the sultry weather which precedes tornados on his home’s porch which is attached to the office. After a bit of advice, he so kindly offered that should the need arise we may come and join him and his family in their attached basement. How is that for hospitality?? This simple act of kindness made me love Branson and Missourians.

As it turns out, the alarm did sound with a tornado watch for severe weather and hail. It was very scary. It appeared that hail was to be a bigger problem than an actual tornado. Lacking a garage or anything to park beneath we decided to head to a local bank with lots of overhang for their drive up banking. We sat there for an hour or so, feeling a little lame, nothing materialized. All in all we got the tornado experience without the wreckage. We dodged the bullet!

After a third trip to really good BBQ restaurant in town, Danna’s BBQ, we finished up our experience with a stroll through the fish hatchery, a hike at Lake Taneycomo, riverfront shopping and a big goodbye to Branson.

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