October 17, 2011

Coming Around the Mountain

Stuck in the Ozarks, after dark, AGAIN!  Lawd, Lawd!  This time, at least, the destination was the Ozarks.  Branson, MO, to be exact.  However, the game plan was not to be caught on those damned mountains, in the dark, again.  See, once burned....

The trip from Memphis should have taken about 5.5 hours.  Of course, a stop for lunch added to the time but the sun was shining...who was counting?  Out of Memphis, through Arkansas, and into Missouri.  Alrighty, then! Arkansas was flat as a pancake.  Missouri, at that end of the state, was another matter.  Up the mountain; down the mountain; around the mountain.  You know that it is steep when the car appears to be losing power (while still doing 65) navigating the upward climb. Through towns with populations of less than 200, less than a 1,000, and anywhere in-between. Hmm.  You know that outsiders are definitely not welcomed in these parts.  Around the mountain.  Here we go damned shoulders; no damned guard rails.  Nothing but a straight descent down into trees.  But the scenery, trees were starting to change colors, was beautiful.  Somewhere along the way, we saw a rainbow.  Daughter-in-law's camera captured this shot from the car.

S-curves, squiggly curves, curves for the next 3 miles (downhill, no less), and did I mention no guardrails?  Mountains to the left; mountains to the right; mountains straight ahead.  Daylight is fading fast.  Lawd, Lawd.  Another 2 hours to Branson, you say?  Why did we pick this route? Because it shaved an hour off of the time it would have taken to go back to the Big Rip and start from there.  Lawd, Lawd.  Not only is it now pitch black but it had the audacity to rain.  Not a shower, boys and girls, but a tremendous thunderstorm.  Please.  We can't see a damned thing under normal conditions and, now, it has to rain?  Dark and rainy? Full moon, forked lightening,  isolated surroundings, crosses on the mountainsides...hell, all we needed was a witch on a broom or bats circling above.

Finally made it into Branson, where Tom (now renamed Thomasina) announced that we had reached our destination.  Excuse me??  We've just crossed into the city.  I don't see the hotel anywhere.  Shades of Miss Maggy (now retired for a lack of up-to-date maps). Oh, well, when in doubt, ask for directions.  Ah, the hotel is less than 2 miles away?  These instructions will bring us up on the back of it, you say?  Construction in the area is causing confusion?  Tell me, boys and girls, how Thomasina could miss the mark by 2 miles?  Sheez!

We left Memphis at 2 and it is now close to 9:30 p.m.  The bellhop has an accent.  Turns out he's from Denmark.  Goody, good.  Take your tip so that I can collapse.  But, first, food is in order.  Only one restaurant in the hotel?  We'll take it.  It's still raining and we are not stepping outside.  Dungeness crab cakes on a bed of greens and remoulade sauce?  Sounds wonderful.  Don't get excited...the bed of greens consisted of a few teaspoons of some herb sprinkled across the top of four crab balls.  And, isn't the bed supposed to be under...not on top?  Very good but it could have been one large crab cake or 2 medium crab cakes and I would have felt a lot better.  And no sweet tea?  Heresy!

A good night's sleep will make it better.  More about the trip to come.  Be safe.  Be Blessed.

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