Surprises – Both Kinds
First surprise: Wordpress has changed a few things, and it posted one of my pictures instead of putting it in this post. No matter, it is a nice picture!
If you are traveling in south-western Missouri, don’t take too many scenic roads. The Ozarks are fantastic, the Fall colours magnificent, but you need nerves of steel. Narrow two-lane roads with continuous bends and hills … no shoulder and precipitous drop offs if you misjudge it by a foot. US Highway 160 was the worst, but eventually we reached Branson: country music capital of the world.
Nice town, and we took in the lake cruise … saw a bald eagle … and in the evening a show that was very well done. The tour guides are all aspiring stand-up comics, but we had heard most of their jokes already. At the show there were professional comics, and likely they are tour guides in the off-season.
We felt sorry for the comedian at the Branson show. His script obviously assumed we were all Americans. But apart from us, there were bus-loads of Canadians, who just did not laugh and applaud at the right times. Apparently there is an election coming up here, but even those who knew the main players were in the dark about the supporting cast, and the issues.
This all by way of a diversion on the way to Springdale, Arkansas, where we took the old-time tour train on a fall foliage trip through the Boston mountains.
Nicely on our way about a half-hour late, we felt a bad lurch, and the train stopped. Not derailed, but we had destroyed a pickup truck that failed to stop at a crossing. Rumour has it that the woman driver was texting, so not looking, and likely listening to loud music, so she did not hear the train’s horn. Later we learned that she had lived, so not a major tragedy (except for the pickup!). Made the front page of the local newspaper, from which I exracted the picture: we were not encouraged to leave the train at the crash site.
Oh yes, the Fall colours … magnificent, though with more oaks than maples, they tend to be a darker red than Ontario.
We ran late all day, but that’s what retirement is about. The restaurant in Van Buren was surprisingly good, and since it was hot, I ordered a Bud. Silly me … you have to be a “member” to drink in those parts. So we joined, and both had a sinful drink.
I asked one of the train buddies if they had ever wiped out TWO cars on one trip. “Nope, only one at a time.” Encouraged we boarded the ancient machinery for the return journey of this memorable trip.
A quick vignette. We were seated near a woman, surname Dunn, with a very loud voice, who told a variety of stories. She said she finished work at around 11.p.m. one night, and was pulled over by the police for having inadequate tail lights. While he went to check the data, she read the newspaper. On his return he said: “Are you done?”.
“Yes,” she answered, “I am Dunn, are you done?”
“No, no,” he said, “I mean, are we done?”
“Well, I’m Dunn, and been Dunn for over 60 years. Are you a Dunn?”
(Then he gave me the ticket!)
This is, of course, is a parody of the Abbot and Costello sketch: “Who’s on First?” She swore it was true, but even if not, it provided a good laugh for the train dome crowd. Lot to be said for trains!
Onward and Westward. Along 412 and then south on 59. Easy. This until we realized there was an Arkansas 59 and an Oklahoma 59, and we were on the wrong one. More corners and hills and we found the right 59.
Oklahoma’s roads did not impress, and we were glad to reach Texas. We never solicit sympathy, since we know it must be getting cool in some places. But of course we have a hot spell, and the truck air-conditioner is STILL NOT FIXED. It is OK until the outside reaches 85F or so, but then quits. Maybe I will try to hook it up to the dead battery in this laptop. Maybe I will FIND a new battery somewhere, but bald eagles are more common than laptop batteries, and I am scared of how much the air conditioner will cost this time.
End of the Fall colours now, and Texas is green after some welcome rain. We talked ourselves into a return visit to the Davis Mountains and Big Bend National Park, where there is no wi-fi or cell phone coverage. Maybe some surprise will occur and we will add it to this blog when we return to the hustle and bustle of the modern world.
And a postscript – another surprise: We made it to Big Bend, and they have fast wi-fi in the laundry room. So I can check on Elaine’s work, and finally (hopefully) post this entry!
John (and criticism from Elaine … who asks: “Are you done yet?”)