November 9

Chilly start this morning--34 degrees.  But tomorrow's low temp is expected to be 16!

Many of the 20 motorhomes in this group are not winterized, so there is some concern.  Only low 40s for a high today, so our lunch cruise on a showboat will be interesting.

Update:  The showboat lunch and show was delightful, but the weather outside was frightful.  No snow, though.  Glad we're heading south from here!

Tomorrow is our last day of

shows, then leaving after

breakfast Sunday.

Our Friday night show was 

the Andy Williams Christmas

Spectacular.  It was mainly

Jimmy Osmond, who runs the

Andy Williams Theater, and

three of the Lennon Sisters.  

Nice show.  

November 10

Happy to report the propane

heating system worked well

overnight.  18 degrees!!

Spending the day doing chores in preparation to pull out of Branson in the morning.

November 11

A goodbye breakfast of donuts began the day,  There were 22 motorhomes in this caravan led by Larry and Patsy Wood.  Very compatible group.  Nice new friends, especially Joe and Sharon Morrison of Sioux Falls, who let us bum rides to caravan events. 

Filled with propane before heading out into Branson traffic.  VERY SLOW.  

A few words and photos from last night's Samson show.  It somewhat follows the bible version of Samson with extraordinary sound, sets and staging.    No photos during the show, but we grabbed one of the stage beforehand.  And there were Christmas tree photos from yesterday's stops.  The middle photo is a Christmas tree of poinsettias.

Today's five-hour drive from Branson to West

Memphis included some Arkansas state highways.  Good roads, but hilly and curvy.

We are parked on the banks of the Mississippi across from Memphis.  Our first sight was a huge river barge configuration.  The photo below and right is from the front window of the motorhome.  Rain is in the forecast tonight and tomorrow.  We'll see if it dampens our plans to go to downtown Memphis.  

November 13

Gloomy, cold and very windy from the north as we headed south along the Great River Road.  Road condition was good, but it did not get close enough to the river most of the drive.  We parked at the Ameristar Casino RV Park in Vicksburg, MS.   The casino is right on the river--see our view during lunch.  The trip to the RV Park took us right through downtown Vicksburg.  If the streets look narrow in the photo, its because they ARE.  Not a fun experience for Lyle.  Judy had time for the photo.

November 14

Okay!  We've had enough!  The itinerary that intended to follow the Mississippi has been abandoned--sort of.  After another cold night--this one in Vicksburg--the thought of low 20's in Baton Rouge was not appealing.  So we called and extended our reservation at the French Quarter RV Park in New Orleans by an extra night.  New Orleans isn't warm either, but we stand a better chance here than places north.  We pulled in around 2 p.m. then walked to the Palace Cafe for a delicious lunch.  Great food.  Service wasn;t.  Tomorrow we will go to Cafe du Monde for Judy's beignet fix.  No shortage of great eating places here, so we're still trying to make choices.  

November 15 and 16

Today began sunny and chilly at the base of the French Quarter.  We walked to the Court of 2 Sisters for their live jazz brunch.  The courtyard was closed because of the cold, but the indoor seating, food and service  were wonderful--so was the music.  We saved room for a walk to Cafe du Monde and warm, delicious beignets both days..  On the way we walked into the historic St. Louis Cathedral.  It is always amazing to see the beauty created by man to the glory of God.  We've attached a few.

Poinsettia butterfly outside Dolly Parton's Stampede

We received permission to park the motorhome in front of the home of friends for about 24 hours. Neighbors were gracious about the invasion.

Below:  Judy captured this from coach window along I-255 south of St. Louis.

 Motorhome Experiences of Lyle Dean and Judy Lebsack

November 7.

Another pleasantly cool and sunny day here in Branson.  Another long day with three shows.  Oh Happy Day is a gospel music show.  Very good musicians with Nashville pedigrees.  After lunch, nearly three hours of Irish singer Daniel O'Donnell.  Again, very talented singers, but Lyle managed a nap--and there were others.  Tonight, it is the Pierce Arrow musical variety featuring wonderfully funny comedian James Sibley. And his humor is clean!  

November 8

Another 10 a.m. show!  This was the Hughes Family Christmas.  Again, the theater was packed--we counted 10 50-passenger tour buses.  This is truly a family performance.  There are 46 family members and most of them performed in some way, even an infant as baby Jesus!   It was a polished professional show.   We had the afternoon off to catch up on housekeeping chores and prepare for a freeze warning tonight.  Our night show is the Texas Tenors.  Judy and Lyle have seen them before in Michigan and look forward to another wonderful concert.

Jake and Elwood are alive

and well in Branson with Judy

We planned to travel the entire Great River Road from the headwaters of the Mississippi all the way to where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico.  Sometimes life gets in the way.  We changed our plans in order to attend the funeral of a dear friend in Evanston, IL on November 3rd.  Joan Weber was 85 and an inspiration to many.  Rest in peace, Joan.

November 4 

Judy and Lyle picked up their Great River Road intinerary this morning, traveling from Northbrook, IL to beyond St. Louis.  We will complete our journey to Branson, MO tomorrow.  We know Branson is NOT on the Mississippi River, but the Newmar owners club is hosting six days in Branson--and since we were going to be in the neighborhood, decided to join the Caravan.

The six hour ride, mainly along I-55, was in rain and stiff side winds .  Only when we crossed the Mississippi, did the sun come out and show some spectacular color.

 November 5

This morning's mist west of St. Louis turned into a full-fledged downpour along I-44 near Springfield, MO.  Before then we marveled at several highway billboards.  One had a Cowboy Church sharing a space with a store selling guns and ammo.  Another urged viewers to get sucked in (to a vacuum museum).  Really.  A photo of another billboard is posted to the right without further comment.

We arrived at Ozark Country Campground in Branson in early afternoon, then joined the other Newmar RV Club members at Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede Dinner Show.  Good show, great horsemanship.  Not exactly fine dining, but it was finest dining without utensils we've ever had! 

November 6

The theme of this caravan is Christmas in Branson, so each of the three shows we saw today treated us to music of the next season.   This writing comes at 10:30 p.m. after many hours of sitting--both enjoyable and tiring.  First, at 10 a.m. was the Brett family, then at 2 the Duttons and, finally, at 7 the Haywood family.  All very entertaining and sold out!

Judy and Lyle attached some photos from the day in Branson.  Let us confirm the rumor that Branson is a mecca for old people.  Judy and Lyle were among the youngest!

Type your paragraph here.

I-44 before the heaviest rain

November 18

This note comes from Lake City, Florida--near the junction of I-10 and I-75.  We stayed near Pensacola last night after a day of good driving conditions.  The weather today was great, but we drove through dozens of miles of hurricane damage--trees denuded, uprooted or simply snapped off.  Clean up is only beginning of the forest areas along the Interstate.  It will take months or years.   We'll try to post photos Judy took along the drive.  Tomorrow, we finish our journey to Ft. Myers.  Thanks for "riding along" and thanks to the wonderful people we met on the Newmar Kountry Klub Caravan in Branson.  

Happy Thanksgiving!!