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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ms. Toad's Never-Ending Wild Ride

Today (Saturday the 9th) we drove from Memphis to Branson, our longest leg yet, around 317 miles, or 117 miles longer than Joyce wishes to travel in one day, which she started telling me once a mile every mile past 200. Also, about the last 117 were over a narrow, winding, two lane road through the Boston Mountains of Arkansas. We passed through Toad Suck, Chigger Hollow and Booger Hollow (probably pronounced "Holler") and lived to record the events.

Picturesque but not recommended when you are transporting an extremely frantic and nervous person in the passenger seat. Of course, Joyce could have driven, in which case we might have arrived sometime Sunday, instead of late Saturday afternoon. It rained on and off all day, but there were a few spectacular views. It has just turned spring in the Ozarks, and it's chilly.

Now for Joyce's point of view. She spent Saturday riding with Maria Andretti, shifting her body to prevent the van from going over the cliffs around hairpin turns. Click on this picture to enlarge it and read the sign.

She is happy to take full credit for our arrival, without incident, in Branson. She believes she prevented numerous accidents. At the crest of the mountains, we stopped at a country store and Joyce bought a corn cob back scratcher for Lizzie's collection. Now she has one for the car and one for the room.

Arkansas was the only state so far, that I felt the need to unlock the gun from the glove compartment at rest stops. You really get the feeling that something is not quite right with many of these people. One man got out of a car and promptly told Joyce he wasn't doing too well because he had just taken a laxative and it was working. They look extremely unbalanced, and they drive in a singular manner that is characterized by parking suddenly just about anywhere and walking off, including in front of you while you are trying to exit a parking lot. Many of them are missing teeth and common items of apparel, and frequently, their brains. We were happy not to be spending the night.

However, that meant we would be spending the next several nights in Branson, blue hair capital of the Midwest. The national bird is an eagle killing something (anything!) , and the national pastime is praying and singing Gospel music, even in Chinese restaurants. We are forced to detach and just observe the local phenomena as cultural anthropologists would, because nothing here has anything to do with us.

However, that's enough for today, because it's time to go swimming in the beautiful indoor pool! Lots more on Branson and environs next time.

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