Time to say goodbye to Branson and head back to the Big Rip. Sheez, there were a lot of things that we didn't get to see or do. Didn't get to see any of the live entertainment shows. Nope, that's not completely true. We had to make a run to Walmart (just can't get away) and Branson boasts two. We chose the closest one, a direct shot to and fro the hotel. Tiny, smaller than the Ripley store, but it just so happens that this store has an entrance into the Branson Mall where we did catch a "live" performance. The bright managers of the mall provide opportunities for singers to perform for tips (and exposure). The performer we lucked upon did a fantastic job on Brooks and Dunn's "I Believe." Great show; no admission. Perhaps a stay at Payne Stewart's golf resort, next time???
So, we're off. Taking a different route this time. Headed toward Springfield and St. Lo. Sounds like we'll be traveling on real highways, with two lanes or more, guardrails, and shoulders. That's what I'm praying for anyway 'cause the route we traveled coming in was too harrowing for words. We're in luck. Smooth roads; beautiful scenery. Ah, there's a Mennonite community in the area. Posted signs along the highway say "Please share the road" with a picture of a horse and buggy. Pulled into a Mickey D's about 2 hours later and this is what we saw:
An area for the Mennonites to hitch their horse and buggy. Who knew that they liked McDonald's?
Moving along at a steady clip. These roads have been blasted through the mountains. Stone outcrops are everywhere. Speed limits of 65 mph, 70 mph, until you get to the community with a miniscule population which strictly enforces a 55 mph through their municipal limits. Some of them even provide fair warning by having flashing signs showing your speed. Nice of them. Well, looky here! Thomasina flashes red when you exceed the speed limit, as well. Who knew?
We had to pass through Sikeston, MO, in order to get to TN. What's so important about Sikeston? Boys and girls, people drive for hours to get to Sikeston so that they can eat at Lambert's, "Home of the Throwed Roll." Now, you and I both know that I get huffy at the thought of driving an hour for a meal so there is no way that I'm driving 2 hours to eat a meal. NOT happening. Seems as though I'm the only one among my acquaintances who has not been there. But since we're going through Sikeston...what can it hurt to take a detour and see if the hype is real?
It was better. Lawd, Lawd! I'm still eating off of my doggie bag. Ordered pork chops and they were huge, along with the servings of everything else. The beverages come in half-gallon containers...that's 32 oz., right? Servers are continually doling out fried potatoes, fried okra, macaroni and tomatoes, etc., in addition to the meal which you've ordered. How are they eating all of this food? But the real draw is...the "throwed roll." That's right, boys and girls. There is a server whose sole job is to lob steaming hot, right out of the oven, rolls in your direction. "Throwed roll," get it? Your job is to catch it. And are they ever good.
The sun went down while we were feasting. Driving in the dark, again. Ah, but the difference is: 1) we're only 2 hours away from the Big Rip 2) we're on a major highway and, 3) we traveled this road before when returning from St. Louis. Yep, pedal to the metal. Through Caruthersville, home of the "Boat," a casino, and across the Mighty Mississippi. Dyersburg, here we come. The Big Rip is just down the road.
Mighty, mighty tired when we finally pulled into Serendipity's driveway. Enjoyed the trip but glad to be home. One thing is for sure: Any more driving trips to the Ozarks will be only be done during the daylight. No more night excursions on those mountain roads for the kid.
Be safe. Be Blessed.