Archive for April, 2009

Elvis Country

Monday, April 27th, 2009


Not being huge Elvis fans we still felt that it would be fun to visit the Graceland Mansion.  As a teenager I listened to his music, watched his movies and even attended his concert in 1976 at the Cow Palace in San Francisco which I remember quite well.

The mansion Elvis bought in Memphis Tennessee, Graceland is not really very large by todays standards.  The property is fairly big and right in the middle of town today.  There are small neighborhood houses right next door. 

We toured the house and found the decor not so lavish, I guess he spent most of the money on costumes, cars, & planes!

The front room of the mansion with the music room

The front room of the mansion with the music room

Media room

Media room

The grounds were not spectacular either.  I actually felt that it was quite comfortable and would have been easy for a non celebrity to live there.

Backyard and horse pasture

Backyard and horse pasture

Elvis also owned 2 airplanes which now are part of the museum here in Graceland.  These planes were sold after his death and found again in 1984!  Pretty amazing that someone bought them and kept them the same.



TCB lightening bolt

TCB with a lightening bolt stands for “Taking care of business in a flash”  This was Elvis’ motto and something that I never knew before coming here to Graceland.

Pink Cadillac

We finished our day in Memphis with a Pink Cadillac ride to dinner at a local Rib’s place called Marlowe’s.  This was so cool, they come and pick you up at the RV park and take you to the restaurant and then pick you up and return you after dinner.  The Rib dinner came complete with all the fixin’s including, beans, coleslaw, fried corn, fries, and roll!  The fried corn was awesome.  I also ordered some fried dill pickles because since we have been in the midwest I keep hearing about it.  Interesting!  Not sure I need to order it again but it was worth the $6 just to see!

For all my square dance friends I kept hearing “Pink Cadillac, swing your partner, while riding in the back of the Pink Cadillac”!!

P.S.  I almost forgot.  See the man getting into the Limo with us?  He is Pauls newest friend!  This couple, Tom & Brenda pulled into the RV park about 30 minutes before our scheduled arrival of the limo and Paul introduces himself and invites them to dinner with us!  This is something I have feared since getting on the road but it turned out ok!  They were quite friendly and it was fun getting to hear about their adventures during dinner.  They own a home in Kona, HI and live there 6-7 months a year and then return to the states and tour are touring in their RV for a few months.  They are on their way to Branson after Memphis!  It’s a small world after all.

The BIG crash!

Sunday, April 26th, 2009


Carl Edwards makes the end exciting!

Carl Edwards makes the end exciting!

View from our roof

View from our roof

Paul chose Talladega for the excitement of the race and we got it.   We didn’t actually see the big one but we knew something big was going to happen.  We chose the infield because you can see the track from your camping site and there is lots of places to sit and watch the race.  We chose the most popular place where you could see a good portion of the track.   From our vantage point we could see the lead change and then watch the leader board and watch the lead change again before they crossed the start line and then change again when they got to the back side again.

nascar-raceIf you look closely you can see the Nascar Sprint Cup cars racing around the track.  This was taken 1 lap before the first crash that took a favorite out, Jeff Gordon.  He later returned to finish the race with a car that was missing most of its rear end!


Paul and I are not your normal Nascar fan;  Most fans sit on this lawn with only an ice chest full of BudLight and maybe a chair, never an umbrella and usually no shirt. 

The track is over 2 miles around so no way can you see the whole track from anywhere.  There were 3 big accidents that took drivers out of the race, the first happening with only 6 laps of the over 180 laps of the race.  This seems like such a waste to me but I guess it is part of the sport.  The second accident started right infront of where we were sitting and if we would have ran to the fence like many of the fans we would have been able to see the wreckage.  Pretty exciting to watch the fans -some were actually cheering when the accidents occurred once they knew no one was injured. 

#14 Tony Stewart during qualifying

#14 Tony Stewart during qualifying
 Anyway the race was exciting and I even enjoyed it almost as much as the partying on Talladega Blvd!


 Talladega fans come prepared to party.  Once you enter the infield on Thursday you cannot remove your vehicle until Monday and the only way out is a little train shuttle that takes you out the tunnel, then you have to go probably 5 miles to find a store so everyone comes in with some food and plenty of beer – BudLight in particular.  If you look at my hand holding a glass of margarita I am demonstrating the pose that most every fan has from Thursday night until Monday morning!  I am sure there will be injuries just from having their arms bent like that for 4 days!

Notice the bent elbows and the coolers!

The other thing that is mandatory is that you carry or pull an ice chest so that you are never without the beer in your hand!!!


Some of the fans feel a need to overdress!


And some do some really crazy things!  This guy below drinks charcoal fluid and then blows his breath and lights his lighter!  If you look close you can see the smoke but it was a huge flame – like Pete’s dragon from the movies! 


 Paul spent a lot of his time on  Talladega Blvd.  trying to get pictures of the girls showing their boobs for beads!!!  We aren’t showing those, you will have to go and get your own!

Talladega or BUST!

Friday, April 24th, 2009

tall1It is about 550 miles from Branson to Talladega so we left Wed. afternoon spending the night on the road and we arrived at the speedway about 5 pm on Thursday to wait in line until about 8:30 before our group was allowed in.  Once we are inside the track there is no one to direct you so you are wandering among RV’s, tents, cars just looking for signs for your site.  This is pretty exciting, a bunch of beer drinking was going on in line and a bunch of people were already inside the track from Wednesday night – drinking lots of beer so asking for directions was not only hard but pretty entertaining!  Amazing how many people come every year and have “their spot”.  We found our spot, parked and began to get acquainted with the neighbors and the local customs – Budweiser Light is the prefered beer in this part of the country, in fact their are not many people wandering around without one in their hands!

A funny thing happened on the way to Talladega- Wednesday evening Paul pulled into the Walmart parking lot to get some groceries and parked next to another RV that was spending the night.  Chatting we found out they had lived in Los Gatos before moving back to Tennessee a couple of years back.  They had friends along that currently live in Los Gatos and the 4 of them were traveling to Branson and staying in the campground we just left.  Then we stopped on Thursday about 50 miles from Talladega and while we were pumping the 75 gallons into the tank another guy pulled into the pump next to us in an RV and asked where we were headed.  It turns out he was going to the same place we were and camping in the same section.  This place is huge and our section probably holds 2 to 3 hundred RV’s – He is parked 2 spots down!    This country is pretty small!!!

Talladega is a pretty big Party and I will tell more and share some pictures when we all sober up!

Low Country Boil or…..

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Paul saw this on TV before we came to Branson and so with all these country people he asked and we got, about 12 different versions of the same thing as far as I can tell!  We all got together and bought the ingredients; sausage, chicken, fish, shrimp, potatoes, onions, carrots, corn-on-the-cob and eggs.  They started cooking it in a turkey fryer about 3 pm and we ate at 5:30 so not really a long time.  It was pretty good and Paul was really happy cause it is kind of like stew!

The most fun was listening to everyone tell how they make it and thinking theirs was the true country boil!

Car Auction

Sunday, April 19th, 2009



Not only does Branson have musical entertainment they have live auctions.  They have been bringing cars in all week for this thing and it is all the talk!  Paul went, I didn’t so you will have to ask him about the auction.  He did tell me they had cars for as little as $4K but no one was bidding!



Party, Party, Party

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

We hosted our first cocktail party at our house last night and it was a success just like our parties back home in San Jose.  They were forcasting rain but it waited until 10 pm which is quiet hour here in our complex so that worked out perfectly!  Our outdoor entertaining area is a bit smaller, and the bar doesn’t have any seating but the pool is much larger!  Having friends over is one of the things I really miss about Home so now I am good to stay on the road a bit longer!!!


Thursday, April 16th, 2009

I am happy to say that for once we got to do something other than our taxes today, infact we didn’t even have to work on them this week.  We spent the day in a much happier place, spending money and supporting the local economy.  We went back to Silver Dollar City because the weather has finally warmed up.  Like Branson, Silver Dollar City has lots of shows and the big attraction this month was the Zhejiang Acrobats of China.  This was a great show and I was most impressed with the opening act which were balleria’s that spin a yoyo type of device on silk strings while doing ballet and then juggling these devices while juggling theirselves and doing acrobatics!  Very hard to explain and impossible to film.  The big act was the balancing monks – it was so intense our heads hurt for them when it was over.

Annie came all the way just to see us!

Annie came all the way just to see us!

When we arrived home to the RV park, Annie and her mom from Kansas were here to visit.  Annie was visiting her mom and since it is only 4 hours away, came down for the night.  We haven’t had much practice having visitors but we tried to show them the sites and sounds of Branson!  We took them to our favorite show, SIX.  The second time for me was even more impressive than the first – these 6 brothers (out of 10 brothers) put on an incredible show with no backup music!  One of the brothers, the drummer they make fun of him commenting he “SPIT’S for a living”.  They use their voices to create all the music etc. 

Annie and her mom spent the night in our sparse accomodations without complaint so I guess we are good for more visitors!  Come visit us we have room.

Thursday morning we took our guests (actually they took us!) to the local breakfast spot and then we gave them a quick tour before they had to get back on the road for Burlington, Kansas.

 Checking the purple weeds!

Annie is very familiar with the local foliage from growing up in the Midwest.  She tells me these are weeds but they look beautiful in everyones lawns during the spring to me.


Spring is finally here – the sun has been out most of the week and we have only had rain one night and that didn’t even get the ground wet!  FINALLY, I guess this means we can stay a bit longer – I was starting to wonder.

Happy Easter

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

easterHope everyone had a very Chocolate holiday!!!  I did!  We were really good and spent the morning in Church.  The catholic church here in Branson is quite large with seating for 1300 x 4 masses per week,  but only has a parish of 450 families.  Visitors make up most of their numbers.  Easter was no exception here, even with seating for 1300 there was more than 50 people still not able to find a seat.

In the afternoon the group of workampers had a potluck Easter dinner complete with easter eggs and Ham!  Very good of course. 

Happy Easter

Visit to the vet

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Paul has this big trip planned to go to the Nascar race at Talladega in 2 weeks and yesterday he realizes that we cannot take Duke with us.  This poses a problem as we can’t leave him home and have someone care for him cause we are taking the house!  and besides we don’t know that many people here yet- and the ones we know also live in their RV and generally with a minimum of one dog, usually more so we are scrambling to figure out what we do with Duke.   Do we leave him in Branson, MO or do we bring him along and put him in some sort of Kennel in Alabama?  We started checking Kennels and realized he also needs his vaccinations updated for kennel cough and heartworm!  (They only expired this month so I am not a negligent parent!).  Anyway, we don’t know what we are going to do but today was a visit to a very nice veternarian and $148 later Duke is all set for another year.

It was a BIG day

It was a BIG day

Paul & I really liked the vet; Duke was not so impressed and spent the afternoon sleeping on the couch.

Space Shuttle

Space Shuttle

On our way home from the vet Paul decides we need to see some more of the Ozark Mountains.  It is a rainy day so a good day to site see from the car!  This was the most interesting thing we saw today and it was parked in a Methodist Church parking lot.  We figure it doesn’t move and is probably somehow related to ????  Check out the thruster tubes – they are made with?

50 gallon garbage cans & wash tubs

50 gallon garbage cans & wash tubs

Spent the rest of the day inside writing to you all that are actually reading this stuff.

Exploring the area

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009


Spring Puppy

Spring Puppy

I received this cute picture today in an email from my friend and just thought it explains how I feel about spring!

Today was such a beautiful day we decided to play hooky and get some exercise and fresh air!  There are many short trails around the Branson area and so we found one that is about 2 miles long down the side of a mountain so about 1/2 of it is uphill!!!!  There is so much blooming and so much that has not even started so we are going to have to try the same trail in a couple of weeks when the hills are covered in trees with foliage.  There were lots of butterfly’s of all different colors, black & yellow, red, white & yellow, white & black and some really large bumble bees (at least that is what they sound/look like!)


This was the only one I could get my camera focused on!   Most of them were dancing in the air.

Paul teaches his boy how to hunt!

Paul teaches his boy how to hunt!