Now that we have been on the road for about 17 months, we have learned a few things; one of the most important is that we are flexible and can go where we want, when we want. So, as we sat in the rainstorms a few weeks ago, we made the decision to detour our route and head back up to St. Louis for a Seahawks game. On the way, we made a stop in Branson, Missouri.
We settled the MoHo at Americas Best Campground, yes that was the official name. The terrain in Branson was very hilly, with steep drops and high rising ridges everywhere. This type of landscape makes it difficult for RV parks to level out the area to make it easy to drive into and then park on a somewhat level site. In our research, we found a park right down on the waterfront, but I was too late in trying to get in there, so we had to take our second choice, much further up on a hill, about 3 miles out of town.
Many people have heard of Branson, a mecca for live entertainment. We were both interested in what all the hype was about, so staying here for a few days on the trip back up to St. Louis was a nice break in the drive. For those who have not heard much about Branson or never been there, it was certainly interesting. There are several main roads that traverse across the tops of the ridges, and just about every 300 yards is a live entertainment venue. The places host everything from comedy shows, to variety shows, to music concerts, to impersonators and everything in between. I am not exactly sure, but I would guess there must be some 50-60 places one can go to a show. The shows, many of which are shown twice daily, bring in people from all over the world. We were given some free tickets from a neighbor in our park, and ended up going to the Baldknobbers, the first and longest running show in town. The show started in about 1959, and it is a variety/music show, put on by many of the family members of the original entertainers. Traci and I are not big show people, so we were glad we had free tickets. We can officially say we went to a show in Branson.
During the rest of our stay in Branson we took advantage of the nicer weather. We played golf at a small little par 64 course right in the heart of town, Thousand Hills Golf Resort. A very short course, with 9 par-3’s, but a lot of nice views of the canyons that make up the area. Another day we drove out to the lake and Table Rock State Park. There is a massive dam there, and the lake that is created behind it as seen from the maps is giant. The water was super clear, a surprise because much of the rivers in the area we have seen lately have been brown and murky. We drove around some more and ended up at the Branson Landing. This is a riverfront area with shops and restaurants, much more appealing to us. We stopped in for a late lunch on the deck of one of the eateries, and it was a very relaxing end to our stay here.
Leaving Branson, we headed back to St Louis. For us, this was our first return to a city we have already been to; we stayed here a few days back in late April. We tried to stay at the same park, but it was closed for the season. We ended up at the Cahokia RV Park, on the Illinois side of the river, southeast of downtown. A more rustic type campground, but that was all we needed, as our stay here was strictly business, the Seahawks game vs. the Rams.
We got up early on game day, as the local time for kickoff was scheduled at 12:00 noon. We parked on the east side of the river at the same place we had stayed in our previous visit, knowing we could easily catch the train over to the stadium area. On the train, we talked to some guy who could not have been more negative about the Rams and the dome they played in. He was a real downer, but I can understand how fans get when things are not going well for their team. We got off the train and headed towards the stadium, I had read there was a pre-game outdoor venue right across the street from the dome. In the park there were several Budweiser trailers, a few food vendors, and a concert stage. The music started at 10:00AM and the festivities were well under way. The best thing though was the amazing numbers of Seahawks fans, it seemed like it was 50-50 split of Hawks to Rams fans. We went in to the dome, and it was just as the guy on the train had described, a bit dark and dreary, and the place was empty. We found our seats quickly, and then moved down to about 10 rows off the field, there were so many empty, we had our choice of seats. As the game went on, it did begin to fill in a bit, but I would guess that it was maybe 75% full at the most. Unfortunately the Seahawks special teams did not make the trip, as we got beat by the worst team in our division, any hopes of a return to the Super Bowl look dim at this point. We were glad we were able to make it to a game this year, and hope the team can turn it around. Off to Arkansas, the only state we have yet to visit along our journey!