Last Day Visiting Friends and Family

Last day here in the Chicago area. The weather has changed and it’s one of those cold and rainy days, shorts and tank tops put away and out with the jeans, sweaters and jackets. We had a very nice time while here. We were able to meet with our friends and family, and most visits were over lunch or dinner. So much for starting that diet, still on the “to do” list. We have enjoyed our many Chicago thin crust pizzas, and also our Vienna Hotdogs. Can’t come to Chicago and not have a pizza or hot dog. When I mention Chicago and pizza, most people think deep dish, nope, grew up on thin crust pizza, made round like all pizzas are, but cut in squares.  A round thin crust pizza cut in squares, to my knowledge, is only found in the Chicago area. Boy, do I miss these pizzas and hot dogs! It’s truly amazing when you drive around the area, there seems to be either a pizza place or hot dog fast food place on every corner you go by.

We were able to go to Lake Geneva earlier this week, and today we went to the Volo Antique Auto Museum, which is in the suburb of Volo. They have really expanded and now have 4 buildings of cars, a military building and once done with the museum, they have another 4 builidings of antiques. You can visit the antique stores without going to the auto museum. You only have to pay for the museum, you can just go shopping if you want to. If you do both this is easily a half day. You can eat lunch on site and on the weekends they have a trolley tour you can take. I would suggest a visit especially if you like looking at vintage cars, a very good collection, and all are for sale, so you might want to bring one home with you.

Really enjoyed visiting with everyone, was great catching up on all the family news and seeing the kids. We stayed with my husband’s oldest daughter and his oldest grandson was very nice to give up his bedroom for the week, thanks Zach.

We’re off tomorrow and our first stop is Jefferson City, MO so just a day of traveling with really no scheduled stops. Will update all on Jeffereson City on Saturday, so until then we’ll be traveling down the road…….

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Branson, MO Sights

Various sights of Branson, MO:

  • Train ride leaves from Historic Old downtown Branson
  • Table Rock Dam
  • Wax Museum
  • Titanic exhibit
  • Dancing Waters at Branson Landing in downtown Branson

Museums in Bentonville, AR

Cyrstal Museum and the Native American Museum, both in Bentonville, AR are excellent and if in the area you should make time to see them. For a small town I was surprised at the quality of these museums and what they offered. Worth seeing both

3 Days to Go…….

I’ts August 28th, and there are 3 days remaining.

3 days remainging to:

set the alarm,

Be on a schedule,

Have to go to bed by 10:30 PM so you can get up at 6:00 AM

No more  frozen meals at my desk for lunch

Dealing with rush hour traffic!.

Home again…….

Didn’t write a post for a few days as we have been busy visiting with family and friends.  Thursday was an extremely long day.  We drove from Branson MO to Grayslake, IL.  MapQuest told us about a 10 hour drive, and because we chose to be adventurous we added an hour to the day.  The drive started out in MO with nice rolling countryside but all interstate driving so no small town adventures, just straight thru driving.  We traveled straight thru Saint Louis and traffic cooperated.  Went right by the Arch and made it to Illinois on track to our time.  Now I am born and lived most of my life in Illinois, but I think it’s about time that Illinois joins the rest of the Country and raise their speed limit to 70 mph.  For some reason they still think 65 mph is reasonable.  After the first 20 miles of looking at corn fields and soybean fields you’re also done with the 65 mph speed.  So as we traveled north we were just going to hit the outskirts of Chicago at Rush hour.   So living here as we did for years, we thought let’s take Rt 47 and bypass the city expressways.  Well the 2 lane farm road is now a busy 2 lane road with lots and lots of stoplights and lots and lots of traffic, so much for the farm road.

Along our route most gas prices were in the $3.59 to $3.79/gallon then we were in IL, and the price is between $4.07 to $4.09/gallon and some higher.  And traffic, OMG, we lived in the far northwest suburbs and traffic has increased greatly since we were here last, yet many roads have not been upgraded, and only a few are under construction to increase the 2 lanes to 4 lanes.  Although that will be helpful, that won’t take away the number of stoplights.  You just get going and you’re already at the next light.  When you live someplace you don’t notice the change, as you deal with it every day, but when you’re away for a few years and come back, it is definitely noticeable.  We are looking to going back to our small town traffic issues.

We have been visiting with family and friends and last night enjoyed a party held by my husband’s previous boss and owner of the last company he worked at here in IL.  Although I didn’t know the people very well, it was still enjoyable and I know my husband really had a good time seeing many of these people as it’s been 9 years since our last attendance to this party.  The hosts have a beautiful home and they throw a great party, very nice and very well done.

Today we will be off to visit Lake Geneva, which is just over the WI border.  We used to boat on this lake but it has been at least 10 years since we were there, so we are looking at visiting and seeing the changes.  Lake Geneva is a cute small town with quaint shops and many restaurants so looking forward to a nice afternoon, and the weather is just wonderful, cool and sunny, what I remember as a nice Fall day in the Midwest.  Have always liked this time of year, and being here reinforces this, regrettably the trees are not turning color yet, just a little too early.

Many friends and family to visit this week, so we will be out and about for the next few days.  Exciting for us, but probably not for you, so will catch up with you when we get back on the road to traveling home.

A Day in Branson, MO

Our day in Branson was relaxing and we were able to enjoy some of the sights. I remember hearing about Branson years ago when they used to talk about how terrible the traffic was and to drive down the main road would take hours. I can tell you we didn’t have to worry about any of that. We talked with some local people and they said that it hasn’t been that crowded in years, and this week (week after Labor Day) is one of the slowest weeks of the year. We also learned starting next week is “bus season”. I can understand why, the summer family vacations are over, and you definitely want cooler weather when visiting here. Again it was hot today and that really limits how much you want to do outside.

There is certainly a lot to do for families as I do believe Branson could actually hold the record for the most Miniature Golf Courses and Go-kart tracks, and what most people come for, the Live Shows. The Shows are very family oriented. We saw 1 show called Pierce Arrow and we really enjoyed it. There were 4 singers who harmonized very nicely, a lady singer and a really great comic. It was the type of comedy that had no swearing in it and was just good old fashion humor.

Nearby is Table Rock Lake and Dam. There is a brand new visitor center that is very nice, has a good 20 minute movie that tells about building the dam. They also offer a dam tour. Right now the tours are at 10AM, 12, 2 and 4PM. We didn’t have time for the tour, but from watching the movie I think it would be very good, disappointed we missed this one.

In historic downtown Branson they have a new development called Branson Landing. It is a dining, shopping and entertainment area. Many restaraunts along Lake Taneycomo (which to me seemed to be a river) and they did a mini version of the Dancing Waters that are in Las Vegas. Every hour they have a programed music show to the water and at nights they add lights. There is a very nice walking area along the lake. Also downtown is Dicks 5 & 10, well worth the trip as it will bring back many memories. I saw many games and just stuff that I remember from when I was a kid, and you just can’t find anymore, was fun to rummage around. It’s open late so when you get done with dinner it’s in walking distance of Branson Landing.

There are boat trips, and fishing, and Live shows, and shopping, shopping and shopping. The Grand Village shops are worth the trip. Many one of the kind shops but the two outstanding ones were Peter Engler Woodcarving and Kringles Christmas Store, must see. Most theaters have Christmas shows which we heard are during the month of November and only until about mid-December, than as one of the locals said, a lot of people get laid off until business starts picking back up after the first of the year. With all the trees in the area the Fall foliage must be absolutely spectacular.

If you come this way, remember the shows are not inexpensive, especially if you want to go to 3 or 4 shows. The average prices are $25.00 – $40.00 per person. There are coupons books everywhere, but typically only $2 – $5 savings per person. They have booths selling Show tickets for $5 per person, but comes with a catch, be prepared to sit thru a Timeshare presentation. There are dinner shows that cost a little more. Branson has been here a very long time and in all the travels across our Country I have done, this is one place I had not been to before. We enjoyed the day, and if nearby again we will probably stop by to see another Show and take in the sights, hopefully when it is cooler.

We’re off on an early day on Thursday as we have a long drive to the Chicago, about a 10 hour drive. So will write about our drive down this road soon………