Date: 1/27/2003 10:00:05 PM Pacific Standard Time
On saturday I walked 23 miles from Spokane, MO to Branson West and then on into Branson. A week or so ago I had contacted Grand Country Inn at the 76 Music Hall, and they said I could stay for 3 nights for free and also attend their "Down Home Country" music show. The walk was pretty long for me, and very, VERY hilly. Luckily someone had hauled my cart that day. It was around 4pm before I finally got into town, and I knew I still had 3 miles to go just to get across town to the motel. I was tired and achey, but I knew before long I'd be soaking in the tub. I was sure glad to finally see the Grand Country Inn.
On sunday I went to the Methodist Church just down the road, and really enjoyed meeting the group in the sunday school class. As kindof an ice-breaker, at the beginning of the class everyone was to say what other drivers did that really annoyed them, and I got the biggest bang out of listening to all these locals moan and groan about all the tourists and how they drive -- rubbernecking, stopping and then trying to decide which way to turn, or if they want to go there or over there, making abrupt turns, not using their blinkers, blocking intersections -- it was great listening to them go on and on. Then they looked at me and said "you realize we never, Ever, EVER drive down 'the strip.' We ALWAYS take the back roads." It was great.
One of the women in the class, a chiropractor, was hosting a Super Bowl Party that evening at her house, and the whole gang was invited, including me. So Eric came by the motel around 4:30 and we headed out to Perilyn's house. There the group presented me with a phone card, and the chiropractor gave me $40 and demanded that I buy a pair of shoes, or she wouldn't let me leave Branson. She didn't think I was changing them often enough (I'm on my 14th pair!)
On monday I was a tourist, and I had fun. I started off eating breakfast at Denny's for free, then I went to the Wax Museum, Ripley's Believe It Or Not, and then saw a film about Lewis & Clark at the Imax Theater, all for free. After that I bought me a new pair of lightweight jogging shoes, and headed back to the motel. I had a message there from the Methodist preacher, so I called him back. He had contacted a church in Omaha, Arkansas -- a little tiny town just over the state line, and was giving me that information. Plus one of the women in the sunday school class had offered to haul my cart, so all the plans were ironed out.
Another neat thing that happened at the Super Bowl Party, was a guest from Benton, Arkansas who oversees several motel chains. She was really interested in my walk and said she could easily line up several motels along my route through Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi -- and did so by lining a couple nights up for me in Harrison, AR -- just 2 nights away!
Another neat thing that happened was that I got a call from someone at the Epilepsy Foundation office in Wash DC, saying she's planning on flying out to Little Rock and joining me for a few days while I'm in Pine Bluff. She wants to do a story in the magazine about me, and also walk one day with me, so that'll be neat.
I finished off my stay in Branson by going to the show at the 76 Music Hall. The music was great, and the performers did a terrific job.
I hope I'll be coming back this way again some day, and it'll be fun to look up some of the people that I've met this weekend. What a great group and what a fun, wholesome town.
Take care and have a great day! KB
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