Branson, Missouri

branson Scenic railway train ride

Branson was a bit like Las Vegas mixed with Disneyland! Lots of Casinos, Vegas type shows with “Tribute” shows for various artists and all kinds of kids entertainment: we opted for more scenic fun, like this 40 mile round trip train ride on antique rail cars. This engine is circa mid 1950s.

The car we rode in was one of those domed observation cars. It was from the late 1940s I think!
This was a city campground right near the train station downtown. We stayed further out.
Going across an old wooden trestles; I assumed they keep it maintained!

Some areas were pretty tight! They only blasted out as much as they needed to get through I guess!
There were two tunnels to go through too.
While in the darkness of the tunnel the interior lights came on including these light up handrails on the stairs. Must be the predecessor of fiber optics?!? (sorry for the blurred picture, I took this with my phone)
The second tunnel.

A view of the Branson harbor area of Lake Taneycomo in downtown Branson near the train station.

table rock lakeshore trail

We found this lovely short trail on the shore of Table Rock Lake, as the name implies.
Lots of pretty flowers and greenery all along it.

Interesting root system on this old tree!
And of course my favorite; dead trees!
This one looked to me like a moma and adolescent Iguana together!
Nice wide trail; we wished we’d brought our bikes!
This is the Branson Belle. They offer lunch/dinner cruises and other special occasion cruises.

fantastic caverns in springfield, missouri

We’d seen billboards for this attraction up in Springfield and had enough of Branson craziness so we went and checked it out. It’s a tour that takes you through the cavern with a Jeep pulling a trailer. Jan and I got to ride in the back seat of the Jeep.
Just outside the entrance to the cavern was this wood fired stem generator they used to use to light the Edison light bulbs inside. They now of course have been replaced with electric LED lights throughout run by normal electric service.
Kind of eerie in there but huge! Not cold, but is always around 60 degrees. It felt good on a hot day!
The caverns are left over from an old underground river that carved it out of the surrounding limestone.

Some very interesting formations! We were told they only grow about 1/4″ every 100 years!

As a comparison, here is one of the Edison bulbs they used back then. Not quite as bright as the LEDs for sure!
Another tour group.
The owner of the property discovered the cavern in 1862 but kept it a secret until 1867 to explore it. He waited until after the Civil War in fears it would be used and possibly destroyed by either side. These are the names of the 12 women from the Springfield Athletic club who answered his add for explorers to investigate the caverns! Mind you they only had candles in a crude tin can lantern to see by; VERY dark and unknown territory! Our guide turned off the lights for a minute or so, so we could see how dark it is. You can’t see ANYTHING!

This is the entry/exit of the caverns.
We never knew Missouri had so many caverns!
One of their earlier tour vehicles. I’m pretty sure those white wall tires are not original!

Another older generator.
They eventually started using Jeeps like this one. It looks to be 1950s?
I’m not sure why there are 4 gearshifts. One for the tranny but 3 for the transfer case?
1929 or so Ford pickup truck with an interesting way of running the generator for the lights in the bed!

I REALLY wanted to push that button!
Another Jeep, a bit newer than the green one I think.
Here is a Jeepster pulling an old teardrop camper.

After our underground tour we walked down a short path to the river behind.

The boardwalk ended where the water exits the caverns during the rainy season. They had this cool sitting area complete with outdoor furniture!


This is the exit point for the water. By the looks of it, it gets pretty intense at times!