Bad Garmin!

Branson, MO —  I made it!  For a while I wasn’t sure I would.

I had a great time visiting family in the Columbia area.  I really should visit more often!  It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to roll around on the floor with young children.  They even let me play with their toys.

While I was there we also went down to the Lake of the Ozarks which has over 1100 miles of shoreline.  If you’re ever there I can recommend Baxters Lakeside Grill.   It has a very nice decor, and great views from its perch on the hillside.  The food was good, and the prices were much less than what I would have expected given it’s Anthony’s-like appearance.

Baxter's Lakeside Grill
Baxter’s Lakeside Grill
Lake of the Ozarks
Lake of the Ozarks

You might be interested in gas prices.  As I’m burning about 12 mpg,   I certainly am!  Don’t you wish I could bring some back for you?

This is the lowest price I've seen so far
This is the lowest price I’ve seen so far. Too bad my tank was full

So why did I title this post “Bad Garmin!”?   As some of you know I’ve been trying to avoid interstate driving.  It started off well enough.  Here’s a nice little roadside park that I stopped at.

Roadside Park
Roadside Park

Later, on my way to Branson, the Garmin decided I needed to try a little off-roading.  I’ll spare you the details, but I ended up driving about 10 miles on single lane dirt roads until I finally reached a washed-out bridge.  I managed to get the truck turned around and only found my way back to civilization with the help of a nice old farmer, who, with his slow southern drawl, started to tell me all about how the bridge washed out, and how people still keep trying to take that 30 mile shortcut.  He eventually told me how to get to Branson.

While I was on this dirt road I had to: cross streams; slow to a crawl because of low branches; edge my way around a huge (rolled) bail of hay that had been dropped in the middle of the road between the time I first went through and my return; and stop for three deer.  I complain about the Garmin, but it did make for an adventure.  I’m just glad that no one took a  shot at me, or that they missed because of the huge cloud of dust that I was throwing up.

Bad Garmin
Bad Garmin

Miles Today: 277
Total Miles: 2786
Avg Miles/Day: 232 (including non-travel days)

Next Stop, a small town in East Texas

What makes Nebraska Special

Columbus, NE — As I’ve mentioned before, in preparation for this trip I’d asked several people what I should see in Nebraska.  Other than the comment about 2″ steaks, I mostly got blank stares.   The landscape near the South Dakota border was actually quite nice, but was not, admittedly, something one would travel some distance to see.

With 2-inch steaks as my only lead, I decided to have a steak dinner in Columbus.   I finally found the central district, which seemed kind of quiet, but two nice old ladies pointed me to the Husker House.  It was perfect.   The ‘Jack Daniels Sirloin’ wasn’t quite two inches thick, but it was very good, and I kind of like the fact that they don’t appear to have remodeled since 1960.   It was in the Husker House that I discovered what makes Nebraska Special.

Not long after I ordered, a man and his wife sat down with their daughter and son-in-law.  They were there to celebrate a special event.  Almost immediately after being seated they started pulling me into the conversation.   Upon telling them my story about searching for things to see in Nebraska, they too tried to come up with something without much success.   The dinner conversation touched on many other topics as well making for a thoroughly enjoyable meal .  Good food, and great company.

It was getting late.  I finished my meal and was anxious to get going and find some place to stay for the night.   When I went to pay the bill the waitress told me that the gentleman next to me had already paid for my dinner.   It was then that he told me that they may not have much to see in Nebraska, but the people here are really nice.   I told him I couldn’t agree more!   That’s when I understood.  Everyone I’d met, from the two old ladies downtown, to the waitress, to the people at the table next to me had been very friendly.  What makes Nebraska great is the people!

Miles Today: 381
Total Miles: 2099
Avg Miles/Day: 233

The Nebraska sunrise picture at the top of this post was taken near Columbus. I needed to get an early start if I was going to make it to my sister’s house before dark. The sunrise was my reward.

Next stop:  Columbia, Missouri