Travels with Bentley

Travels with Bentley
Bentley - our Heartland Bighorn

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Wednesday, April 27 - Saturday, April 30, 2016 - Branson KOA, Branson, MO - Heartland District Rally

Wednesday, April 27 to Saturday, April 30, 2016 – Branson KOA, Branson, MO

Wednesday, April 27

We walked this last morning at Treasure Lake Resort before packing things up and moving 4 miles.  We moved to the Branson KOA for the Heartland Owners Club South Central Regional Rally that runs from April 28-May 1.  For those of you that might not know our RV is a Heartland Big Horn.  This is the largest Heartland Rally we have attended.  We are fortunate it is in our backyard versus having to travel a great distance.  We left Treasure Lake Resort at 10:48 and by the time we arrived, checked in, and unhooked the truck it was 11:20.  There might have been some visiting in there too! 

By the time we got all of our setup work done, leveling the RV, putting out the slides, hooking up electric and water, and getting everything inside set up it was just a little before noon, and then it was time for lunch.

After lunch we put out our patio mat, set out our chairs and soon our friends David and Donna Williams walked by.  We visited with them for awhile, then Donna and I started walking up the rows of Heartland RVer’s to visit.  One of the first couples we visited with was Bernie and Judi VerHey.  We met them at a previous Oklahoma Rally, where I was telling them we planned to take our grandsons to South Dakota.  I told them we had not booked a reservation anywhere yet and Bernie suggested the Broken Arrow Campground near Custer.  We decided to stay there and just loved the owner and the campground.  I was glad for the chance to thank them for their recommendation.  We learned Bernie is having surgery on Monday and he will be in our prayers for a favorable outcome.  It’s always nice to get together with friends that we have not seen for several months.  The last Heartland rally we attended was last October in Bullard, Texas.  We’ve met several new folks here as this group includes folks from New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, Canada and Arkansas.  There may be other states represented as I still have not met everyone here.

Not long after arriving we found out a lot of the couples were going to caravan to Lambert’s for dinner in Ozark, MO this evening.  We love Lambert’s so we gladly joined in.  David and Donna rode with us.  We set with them and another couple Becky and Tim.  The company was great, and the food was good, as usual, along with the rolls and pass around's.  I was a good girl and saved half my chicken fried steak for lunch tomorrow.

Map at Lambert's where people can mark the location where they live.

On the way back we had to make a stop at Wal-mart.  We are having appetizers tomorrow at 2:00 at the meet and greet.  I am making corn dip.  It’s so easy and everyone seems to love it.  Thanks to either Misti or Cindy for giving me this recipe.  Lots of people ask how to make it after they have tried it.

Thursday, April 28

We walked the KOA park this morning!  WOW – what a workout.  It is built on quite a hill, so we walked up and down each row in the park and let me tell you even though we only walked a little over a mile, we felt like we had walked 3.  My fitbit said we walked over 16 (flights of stairs?).  Not sure if that is 5 or 6 steps or more but it was uphill half the time we were walking.  There are at least 3 roads uphill and 3 downhill.

After breakfast, Dean went up to the rally hall to have coffee and visit.  I stayed here to make my appetizer, and do some general clean-up, which included cleaning out one of my storage areas in the bedroom.  I don’t know how it became so disheveled, but I could not stand it another day.  Haha. 

David stopped this morning to let us know there was a guy two spots over from us that is taking orders for tickets to the Hamner Barber Variety Show if we were interested.  He was able to get some discounted tickets ($10 each) so we walked over to see if we could still get some.  The tickets were over $25 regular price he said.  He was still taking orders so he was able to add us to his list.  In addition to the tickets he also had stained glass windows for sale that could replace the window in RV doors.  They were beautiful and we would love to have one someday but it’s not a high priority on our list right now.  They ranged from $120-$145.   Our want list for Bentley is somewhat lengthy and this item would be considered as a want - not a need/want.  I guess none of the things we really want for the RV are a true need - but some we consider a need/want based on what they allow us to do in our RV travels.  

The meet and greet was great, the food was good and of course the company was wonderful.  We set with David and Donna, and two other very nice couples – Craig & Tena Burton and Sue & Derald Keetch.   (I'll have pictures of everyone later in this post)  The rally organizers were able to come up with quite a few gifts that will be given away at the Saturday evening catered meal and entertainment, however since they also received a number of tickets to shows or events they wanted to give those away today in case anyone wished to take advantage of using them while they are here this week.  We won tickets to the Veteran's Museum.  The value of each ticket was $34.95 so to receive two tickets was quite a prize to us - besides we both value our military and the veteran's who have given so much to provide us with the freedom we enjoy here in the USA.  Before we left, David asked if we wanted to have dinner at Mel’s Hard Luck Café before the variety show tonight.  It is another favorite place of ours here in Branson, so of course we agreed with the idea.  We had a great time and really enjoyed our waiter Travis Dodson.  I have several pictures to share below.

Mel's Hard Luck Diner is decorated like a 50's soda shop.

Mel's Hard Luck Diner is decorated like a 50's soda shop.

Our friends, Donna and David Williams.

Our singing waiter, Travis Dodson, and David.

Travis' bio.

Afterwards we headed over to the Hamner Barber Variety Show.  There was a lot of variety – singing, dancing, magic, lots of colorful birds used in the magic and acrobatic acts.  It was worth $10 but I might have been disappointed had we paid the full price.   To me it seemed a low budget act that could have been great with a little more technology, but it was a good way to spend a couple of hours being entertained.

It was after 10 when we returned to the KOA so we’ll see you tomorrow.

Friday, April 29

We woke up to rain this morning and it rained off and on all day long.  Unfortunately, the KOA was having employee training and using the rally hall so we had nowhere to congregate to visit.  That was pretty disappointing.  Not much fun to walk any distance in pouring rain.  Needless to say we spent a good part of the day inside.  I finally had my leftover chicken fried steak and fried apples from Lambert’s for lunch today.  It was still pretty darn good.  I made a peach crisp for the potluck dinner tonight at 6.

We did take some time out this afternoon to visit the Veteran’s Museum – using our tickets we won last night.

Pictures on the outside of the museum.
I am so glad we won these tickets.  This was a wonderful tribute to our military and what they gave to ensure our freedom.  It was very moving.  There are memorabilia of wars from World War I to date, with each area providing a listing of all military who died in the line of duty.  It was very moving for me to find my great uncle Raymond Duncan on the wall for World War II.  In addition, I knew the families of a young man from Oswego and one from Chetopa that were killed in the Vietnam War and found both of their names listed in the Vietnam War area as well.  I truly appreciate our military.  Without these brave young men and women who were willing to put their lives on the line, we would not be able to have the freedoms we have today.  I appreciate all of my family members who have served our country.  I left the museum feeling pretty emotional about what I had seen and read. 

Several pictures I took.  (I feel certain I took other pictures but my new phone I sometimes think I've got the picture and then later I find I must not have pressed the button hard enough.)
After we returned to Bentley we had a little time to rest before we headed to the rally hall shortly before 6.  I took a few pictures here of the inside of the rally hall.  It is VERY nice. 

Unfortunately this sign was up so you can't see the full effect of the cabin front behind it.  If you enlarge the picture you can see the old car on the right side.  To the left is a large storage area.

Here you can see how deep the room is.  I'm sure it could hold a couple of hundred people or more.  Our group included close to 100 people.

I’ll try to get out and take some pictures of the park before we leave to include as well.  We are very impressed with this park.  The prices are higher than we prefer to pay but they have excellent amenities.  Most important it is clean…clean…clean!  I am impressed by the attention to detail.  Mowing, blowing leaves off the parking sites and the road, painting being done, etc.  The staff was extremely friendly and helpful when we arrived.  Unless we are at a rally we would not stay here because of our membership at Treasure Lake, but it is a place to remember for a potential rally in the future.

This is our site.  It is very wide and it was in a perfect location - right across from the rally hall.

Here is the rally hall - taken from our campsite.

The sites were laid out nicely with nice level pads even though the entire park is on a fairly steep hill.

More campsites below our site.
After we finished our dinner, Donna mentioned going to another show tonight and wondered if we would be interested.  There were a number of brochures in a rack located there in the rally hall, so we walked over to see if any looked interesting.  She mentioned Pierce Arrow.  We have seen this show before but we enjoyed it very much.  I suggested it might be something they would enjoy.  We decided to give it a shot.  The show started at 8 and it was about 7, so we picked up our potluck dishes and headed back to our RV’s to get ready.

We picked Donna and David up about 15 minutes later.   As soon as you walked into their theater you could tell a difference in the attention to detail and technology as compared to the Hamner Barber theater.  One of the members of Pierce Arrow is a guy Dean and I first saw at Silver Dollar City about 20 years ago.  His first name is Scot and he was with a band called Chosen Few at that time.  He sang bass with that group, but here I believe he is singing the baritone part.  They have another guy who now sings bass and for several years he held the record of the lowest bass singer in the world and was listed in the Guiness World Records.  Their comedian was extremely funny.  He had the entire audience in stitches all evening.  I thought the comedian they had before this was amazing and wondered how they could ever find anyone as good as him.  While they are different in their approaches, this guy was every bit as good.  We had a wonderful time.  Again we returned after 10 and we were soon settled in for the night.

Pierce Arrow singers standing in front of backdrop.  The guy with the cowboy hat is their bass singer, the tenor to his right is from Independence, KS.  The guy on the end's name is Scott.  He was originally in the Christian group Chosen Few.

Saturday, April 30

This morning Heartland is providing breakfast for us at the rally hall at 8:30.  It was very good with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, juice and coffee. 

Someone was talking about the wind last night and how the RV’s were really rocking.  We slept right through it and never had an inkling the wind even blew.  I wonder if it is because we are at the bottom of a hill where we might not get the wind quite as much as those at the top. 

I decided to come back here and work on the blog rather than attend a Mary Kay facial seminar. 

Later, Donna rode with me over to the Branson Meadows Mall so I could return a blouse I bought there the other day when Joyce and I went.  I decided it just wasn’t me.  We might look around a few other places while we are out.  Tonight Heartland is providing a catered meal and then entertainment by John Sager. 

After I returned my blouse, we also visited Kitchen Connection just down from Vanity Fair.  Donna wanted to look for a couple of things there.  I always enjoy looking at kitchen items so had no problem making that stop.  Somehow dishes came up in our conversation and I mentioned they had a Corelle store in the mall as well, so we decided to stop in there.  While we found no dishes we both bought a nice collapsible basket that will be very versatile for RV living.  It will be great for carrying dishes and tableware to potlucks, storing items, crafts, toting books or catalogs, etc. 

Heartland catered a very nice meal for us at the rally hall for our last night here.  We had meatloaf and chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes/gravy, corn, green beans, salad, rolls and dessert.  It was all pretty good.  Afterwards, John Sager provided entertainment.  He was truly an entertainer.  We had a great time with lots and lots of laughs.  Tonight we had another couple at our table – Al and Linda Swanson.  John picked on Linda during one song, where he sang to her and had her hair every which way on her head.  She was a good sport – better than I might have been (not that I have much hair anymore).  I took many pictures that I will share.

L to R:  Donna & David Williams, Sue & Derald Keetch

L to R:  Tena & Craig Burton, Dean, Linda & Al Swanson

Our entertainment for the evening John Sager singing to Tena.

John Sager and our good friend Orville Wright sitting.

John Sager singing to Sally, with her husband Roy looking on.

John was having lots of fun with our tablemate Linda.

Not sure I would have been such a good sport had he messed with my hair like this, but we all sure enjoyed it.

A few dancers in the background, friends Ed & Susie Potter are on the right.

Some of the ladies were dancing at the back of the room.

Sager sang a number of great songs made hits by some really super performers.  He was very funny and had a beautiful voice.  He will begin working at Mel’s Hard Luck Diner in July – so if you are in Branson check him out.  I also see he will be performing at Treasure Lake this summer (while we are gone), and he also travels to the Valley during the winter season.  Thanks so much to Heartland and all of the people who worked so hard to make this such a great rally.  We sure enjoyed ourselves.

Tomorrow morning we will pull out and head to Carthage, MO for our Escapees Spring District Rally.   

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