Breakfast with the SI's at Treasure Island
Joel has got everyone's attention on Table Rock Lake
Buffalo River overlook
WINs at Collier Homestead at Tyler Bend
Buffalo River..the Happy Kayaker
Turtles all in a row on the Buffalo
Buffalo River Canyon
After a great float on the Buffalo River on Monday a few of us ventured towards Branson, Mo. The weather just hasn't been cooperating and the next campground for the WINs at Buffalo Point near Yellville has been under construction and reservations are full, so Branson it is.We said our goodbyes with the thought of catching up with the rest of the group later in Sedalia for the Scott Joplin festival. Branson is only about 80 miles up the road from Yellville so I can always return to Yellville or the following stop at Van Buren next week or stay at Branson until the Escapee Escapade Rally in Sedalia, Mo on the 22nd. Gosh its nice to be retired and not have a real tight schedule.
Getting back to Tyler Bend. Our 14 mile plus trip down the Buffalo River from Wommer to Tyler Bend was spectacular. The weather wasn't perfect, but it wasn't raining and the sun poked through occasionally teasing us and the turtles which were in abundance on the shores of the river trying to sun themselves. The river had gone down some and wasn't flowing as fast as it was earlier in the week, but the water level was high enough we didn't encounter too many rapids. The rapids we did encounter were fun and my kayak just glided over them. No dumping here. My highest speed was 10.5 mph and average was about 3.5 mph (mostly floating).
The day before our "epic" trip down the river a few of us took a hike up to the Buffalo river overlook and to the old Collier homestead. The trails in this area are very old but will maintained. Due to all of the rain, one would have thought that we were in a rain forest. Everything is so lush and green and wet. Part of the trail followed an old rock wall which appeared to be a property boarder from olden times. We hiked up to the overlook of the Buffalo River and "ooo'd and aah'd". I imagined the Indians and homesteaders exploring and floating down the river in canoes and soaking in the beautiful canyon walls.
We have hooked up with the SI group (Singles International which is a sub group of FMCA)at Treasure Island RV park in Branson. Bob Hill and Bobbie Shifflet are members of the Treasure Island RV park and have sponsored the SI gathering. As guests of the SIs we are able to stay here at a discounted rate. Bob negotiated a great rate of $10.00. We have full hook ups, laundry, club house, movie theater..the whole nine yards an RV "resort" should have. The park is huge with an ambiance suggesting its been established for a a very long time. Its well maintained with lots of trails and other amenities. The park has lots of empty spaces reminding us of the economic crunch and probably why Bob was able to get such a good rate.
The minute we arrived, which was just a few minutes after 12:00, several of the SIs came over and informed us they were going to go to lunch at Lamberts and would we like to join them. The draw to the place is they throw rolls at you and give you all you can eat side dishes. It sounded interesting so we stopped what we were doing, put Sadie away, and jumped in the car. We forgot to ask how far the drive was. It took about 45 minutes, I think we were almost to Springfield before we got to the restaurant. The place is huge and full of grey haired customers. ( an indication of either good food or cheap food). The waiters do throw hot rolls (ymmm) at you ( an excerise in agility for us) and there is an abundance of side dishes to go with your entree. Our party tried to share an order because there is so much food, but our waitress declined our request because we had already accepted several of the rolls thrown to us. Oh, well it was fun and we brought home extra rolls for the next day's dinner.
True to the nature of the SI and WINs there is a myriad of activities to choose from, from a beading class in old Branson to a show a night. Some of us opted for the Chinese Acrobats on Wednesday night. It was a great show which lasted past 10:00, way past some bedtimes. The theater was not even half full reminding me of the tough economic times we are in. There were some families but most of the audience was grey haired. Although the show was great, little did we know the best was yet to come.
About 11:00 the sky lit up with continuous lightening and rolling thunder and big wind. Poor Sadie hates the wind and the lightening and thunder makes things worse for her. She was trying to find a small space to hide in...if she could have figured out how to get in the compartment under the bed she would have been there. After about 1/2 hour the tornado warning sirens went off and the park personal drove around with their sirens to alert folks of the potental tornados. Apparently we were suppose to head for the nearest bathrooms for safety which was down the street, at least that's what we were told. After having checked out the bathroom earlier in the day, I opted to stick it out in the rig for a little while, thinking that if the sirens continued I would then dig out the rain coat and head for the bathrooms. The idea of staying in the warm rig over ruled my thoughts of survival in a of a mass of humanity and dogs in a small bathroom along with getting totally drenched on route. The sirens stopped shortly and so did the wind, rain, thunder, and lightening. It took a long time for Sadie to settle down. She is truely a western dog and fairs much better through earthquakes and snow storms than thunder storms. Yes indeed, the lightening was quite a show. One I won't forget for a while.
Friday brought a partially sunny day and 9 of use ventured out to kayak. We were told that the river was running fast...10mph and that the 9 mile paddle wouldn't take but two hours or so. The river was flowing fast, but not that fast and it took just a little over 2 hours. It was obvious we were close to civilization as there were many speed boats and fishing boats on the river. Quite a contrast compared to what we had encountered on the Buffalo. I will say that the motor boats we did encounter were vary courteous and either slowed down or came to a dead stop when they came upon us so as not to create too much of a wake and tip us over.
I' ll be here at the Treasure Island Park until at least Tuesday. We are having a cook out with the Escapee Solo's on Monday and I'm looking forward to meeting up with some old friends.