>5:30 am comes way too soon when you just get to sleep at 4. My eyelids felt like sandpaper and my head felt fragile.
Continental breakfast in the hotel at 6:00 am and on the bus by 6:45 am – ready for the long journey back home. I tried to sleep on the bus but didn’t get much luck until the afternoon when they put in a cheesy movie that made me fall asleep within the first 10 minutes. I woke up stiff and sore about 2.5 hours later with no idea where we were at. It didn’t matter though because we were still in the bus, that knowledge would have done me no good.
We stopped once again for dinner – I was so tired that I wasn’t even very hungry so I just got an ice cream sundae for dinner. We were still about 3 hours away from home at this point so I cat napped the rest of the way home.
Ahh, finally, my own car!
One hour later – ahhhhhh, my own bed!
>Same buffet at the same restaurant but this time we had to get up earlier because of a morning trip to “Old Branson” for shopping. Ugh, I only got a few hours of sleep thanks to the pacer upstairs.
We went to Old Branson and looked around at the “gotcha shops” for a little over an hour then it was back on the bus to go back to the hotel and lunch. I bought myself a pair of shoelaces at Dick’s Five and Dime. Big spender.
After lunch we went to the first show of the day – Daniel O’Donnell. The look on my mom’s face when he came out on stage was worth the whole trip. It was obvious she was enjoying herself immensely at this concert – it gave me warm fuzzies. I was able to nap a little during this concert so felt great by the time we got back on the bus to go to dinner at yet another buffet. I don’t think I’ll be eating at a buffet for quite a while now.
We had a long wait at the restaurant between shows and I ended up drinking a few cups of coffee and a very large iced tea which I found later was a huge mistake. The second show of the day was Shake Rattle and Roll at the Branson Variety Theater. I don’t know if it was the coffee or the show, but I managed to stay awake for this one. The music was loud, the dancers were all over the place – I wondered how many cans of Red Bull they had before the performance. The show was ok but I thought it lacked direction – there were no segways between the songs, no interaction with the audience, I don’t think they played an entire song before they went into another one, and they randomly threw a few Christmas songs into the mix. Bizarre to say the least. I think Mom fell asleep during this one.
The last song of the night – finally, they asked for audience participation. They wanted us to get up and dance – we did, all the way up the aisle and out the door. Thank God it’s over!
Back at the hotel, the pacer was in full force – I wonder if the hotel was haunted? I can’t imagine a human being being capable of pacing like that all night. Between the pacing, the coffee and tea I didn’t get to sleep until after 4 am.
>After a long night’s struggle to fall asleep while listening to the person in the room upstairs do laps in their room, I did manage to get a few winks.It wasn’t long before the mystery pacer started up again in the wee hours of the morning. We had breakfast at Granny’s Resaurant, right across the street from the hotel (the one I mentioned yesterday as being alcohol free.) The breakfast buffet was interesting; evidently, down here, they put chocolate gravy over their baking powder biscuits. Normally the thought of anything chocolate makes me happy but this… well, I tried it and … its not for me.Ick!
After breakfast we decided to go shopping at the huge craft store right next door. This store had so much stuff in it, it reminded me of Horsefalls in Lansing, IA. If you’ve ever been there, you would know what I’m talking about, if not, well, just picture everything from cat collars, luggage, quilts, wooden swords, rubber boots, tools, to doilies, books, t-shirts, and hillbilly bubblebath (a bag of beans that you’re supposed to cook and eat one hour before your bath). There was a author in this store selling his books and my mom couldn’t resist (my love of reading had a strong foundation from both my parents). I am ashamed to say that I can’t remember what the author’s name was but he looked like John Wayne and one of the main characters in his books is Ginny. Mom bought the first three in his series and told us she would love to have them all but she didn’t want to pay for all of them right now. We shopped some more and when Mom got out of site we three girls went back to the man and bought the other books in the series for her as a Christmas present. As far as I know, she doesn’t have a clue we did this so don’t tell her!
After shopping we went back to the hotel and played 500 until we had to get back on the bus to go to the Shoji Tabuchi show, which was actually just across the street from the hotel. Once in the theater we had to go check out the bathroom. Seriously, everyone told us to go look at the bathroom. It was rated the best ladies bathroom in America and both ladies and gentlemen’s bathrooms were featured on The Most Extreme show – bathroom edition. I didn’t see the men’s room (no ladies allowed) but I hear it had a billiard table and leather chairs to sit in. The ladies bathroom was all decked out for Christmas and there were fresh orchids on each sink. The stalls had real doors with doorknobs! And there was a fireplace in there too.
The show was entertaining. They had elves, santas, a panda bear, a racoon, some penguins… they played some Christmas songs, some cajun music, some big band music and western swing. I got hit by a wad of paper confetti at one point.
After the show we boarded the bus again and went to eat at a Chinese buffet, which was very good. Then on to the Welk theater to see the Lennon Sisters and Tony Orlando. The highlight of that show is when they were rapping to Yellow Ribbon. Yeah, anyway, that show was entertaining too, very patriotic and Christmassy at the same time.
I hope the nervous elephant upstairs will stop pacing tonight long enough for me to fall asleep.
>We’re here now.
The hotel we’re staying at is far from a five star, I’d say two star. The bathroom is tiny the closet rod is bent, and we can hear our upstairs neighbors walking around in their room. It is clean though, I will give it that much. The toilet lid was wrapped in paper together with the seat. The paper said something about sanitary and my safety. I’m not sure what it really said because I was in too much of a hurry to open the lid so I could use the toilet. I was fearing for the safety and sanitation of my pants.
The restaurant across the street is advertising the fact that it’s an alcohol-free establishment. The beverage list in the restaurant we went to (down the street a few blocks) was under the title prohibition picks or something like that. Is this a dry county or what?
It’s not even 10:00 pm and we’re winding down for the night. Not by my choice, but when in Rome…
At least I’ll get some good reading time in.
>We’re not there yet. We just left. Clear Lake, IA where we stopped at Denny’s for breakfast. The food was good but the service was slow and our waitress kept trying to blame other people for not getting our food or our checks at the end of our meal. We still left a small tip but then noticed that hardly anyone else did leave tips. I suppose gratuity was included on our bill – had we even seen our bill we would have known that.
OH, now we know- they just told us that Dennys had two new wait staff… no wonder.
Kansas City, here we come.
>We’re not there yet.
I’m sitting in the Walmart parking lot at 4:15 am waiting for the rest of my traveling companions to get here. I already did my shopping (toothpaste, gum and a bag of granola for breakfast).
People are boarding the bus now -assigned seats and country music (I forgot to bring my headphones-this is gonna be a looooong trip.). Everyone but my party seems to have name tags. I guess they forgot about us. At least our names were on the list. Ooh, wait, here is my my name tag. So far I am by far the youngest person here.
A personal message to Todd. I did give you a hug and kiss before I left this morning but I don’t think you noticed – you were completly out. I already miss you.
People are still boarding the bus. I see some of my traveling companions now. Hi Mom and Brenda. We’re still waiting for Rhonda. We figure she’s still trying to get all of her luggage crammed in her car.
I am no longer the youngest person on the bus!