We got around slowly this morning. It is always hard to leave family when you know you won’t see them in person for at least six months or more. Thank you, Larry and Lisa, for everything. Your home is welcoming and comfortable.

It took us a half hour to find our way out of Rolla in the right direction because the signs for Historic Rt. 66 are not on every corner. It doesn’t help when sometimes the old route just stops and you are expected to know you have to take the highway, in this case Rt. 44 west. I know, just drive 44, but that isn’t the point. Then again, the speed limit is often 45mph on Rt. 66 and it isn’t prudent to stay on it if you are on a time schedule. This brings me to my first suggestion for the day. If you sometime do this trip, try not to have any specific time tables on any given day other than getting to the hotel. As we left town, we noticed the gas price was $2.199 for regular.

Between Hooker, MO, and Morgan Heights, MO, there is a section of the original four lane Rt. 66 which doesn’t exist anymore in very many places. (See picture at the top.) A side road off that section is known as Devil’s Elbow. We did find and drive that road. It’s probably one of the most scenic parts of Rt. 66 in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. We hadn’t had breakfast yet and just as we came off the end of the old road, we found the Country Cafe in the town of St. Roberts. There is actually a smoking room with a closed door and a non-smoking area too. The locale is very close to the Army post, Ft. Leonard Wood, so there are many active duty Army, disabled vets, and retired military in the area. While we ate, we listened to one young man talking to his table-mates, he said, “I’m glad I came home with a bad knee instead of a prosthetic leg.” He is a good example of “Freedom isn’t Free.”

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Bob had corn beef hash and I had a veggie omelet. We both liked our grits.

Around the bend from that parking lot is the tourist attraction, Uranus Fudge Factory and general store. There is a dinner-house/bar, some circus side show booths, an ice cream stand, and other oddities to look at while you are there. I found a couple more funny signs, and of course we got some fudge packed in Uranus. We laughed a lot while we visited, and afterwards too. We also saw our second Alaska license plate.

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Not really a town, just a tourist attraction (that does very well.)

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Adult humor (The fudge is very good.)

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More adult humor.

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Another bathroom sign.

After Uranus, we got on Rt. 44 to make some time and drove on to Marshfield, MO, about 45 miles, and went into that town to view the 1200 pound, quarter scale Hubble Telescope. It is there because that is where Dr. Edwin Hubble is from. It didn’t look like much just sitting on its stand. If you don’t know its importance, I’ll suggest using Google to read about it.

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Replica of Hubble Telescope

We got back on the highway and made good time getting to Springfield where we stopped at Merrily We Quilt Along quilt shop. I’ve been in a lot of shops and this one was top rate because of its very good lighting, excellent selection, and friendly, knowledgeable staff. I found the perfect background fabric for the necktie quilt I will be making in the near future.

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Merrily We Quilt Along was open in Springfield, MO

Next we got on Highway 65 south to drop down to Branson, MO., the country music entertainment capital of the US. There are 200 hotels in the area, a 5-mile-long entertainment strip with multiple theaters, restaurants, novelty stores, amusement rides, and other things to do. The area covers four or five different hills and you have to drive to get from one place to another because it is so spread out. There is ample parking, but traffic is slow. I purchased our two different show tickets and made our hotel reservation through Branson Tourism Center. That was a mistake. They have an excellent web-site and I found all the information I wanted on it. I fell for their come-on that they could save me money if I booked through them. I didn’t. So, suggestion number two for the day. Use any site you can to find the information you want about any trip, then book directly with the theater, hotel, or paddle boat you want to enjoy. You will end up with tickets instead of vouchers you have to exchange for tickets and won’t be talked in to sitting through a time-share presentation when you pick up your reservation packet on your way into town. More about that after we leave Branson.

Our hotel, Lodge of the Ozarks is beautiful. The décor makes me think of the cottage I spent my childhood summers in. The young ladies at the desk were friendly but couldn’t believe we had driven all the way from New York state. We guessed they hadn’t traveled much. We arrived at 4:15 pm in 92-degree sunshine.

For supper we went down the street to Starvin’ Marvin’s. Bob had some yummy ribs and I ate salad and cold shrimp off the buffet. Our server, Kelly W. made sure we had anything and everything we needed to make our meal enjoyable.

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Those Cajun know how to do things up right.

Our theater show this evening was “The Haygood’s.” Six family members, five brothers and one sister, all talented musicians and singers performed rock, country, tap dancing, Over the Rainbow (with a harp as the lead instrument) and finished with a patriotic song. The pyro techniques were great, the light show awesome and their harmonies even better. What a talented family. They have been performing together for over 25 years, change their show on a regular basis and also have a Christmas show during November and December. At one point a lot of shiny silver ribbon was dispensed over the first few rows of audience. The lady in front of us was collecting it afterward and told us she uses it on her Christmas presents each year. I have some in my purse, just because. I can give this show a high recommendation as long as you expect a true variety and not all country music.

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Four members of the Haygood’s. Yes, he’s playing banjo while standing in a recliner.