Kartchner Caverns SP Foothills

Kartchner Caverns SP Foothills
Kartchner Caverns SP Foothills

Friday, July 7, 2017

Averting disaster and family time in Branson

It's been a busy time the last couple of months here in the Midwest visiting family and friends and we had one more opportunity to do just that. Our daughter, Sommer and family had a vacation planned over the July 4th week in Branson, MO. Earlier this summer she asked us to join them before we headed out to the east coast. Glenda and I were to meet them in Decatur, IL where our SIL's mother(Barb) lived since she was going along too. We started out on Saturday morning, July 1 and got to Clinton, IL when the Low Oil Pressure warning light came on. That was weird. Thought it might just be a sensor so we continued on. Then as we came to a stop in the next town the warning came on again. Now we're getting worried.

We continued with the warning coming on and off as we traveled. We made it to Decatur and stopped at Barb's house. I popped the hood and checked the oil level. It didn't register on the dip stick. Now I'm seriously concerned. We contacted the local Ford dealer in Decatur and asked if we could bring the truck over for inspection. Fortunately they were only a mile down the road. We took the truck into the service area and they checked the oil level with the same result. The service adviser said let's put some oil in and see what we get. That was done. They had to add 8 quarts(diesel engines like mine hold 13 quarts). They took it for a short drive and then lifted the hood. We noticed right away there was oil in the coolant reservoir. Most of the 8 quarts they put in had leaked into it. Then the service adviser said he wouldn't continue to drive it for fear of the engine blowing up due to lack of oil. Now I'm freaking out.

We were supposed to leaving right then on our trip to Branson. We made a quick call to the local Hertz Rental company and they had some cars available. The dealer had someone take us there so we could rent that car and get on our way.

The dealer kept the truck in there shop to be worked on after the weekend. At this point we had no idea what could be wrong but we felt like they would be able to diagnose and fix the problem. We transferred the luggage from the truck to the car and headed to Barb's house to get on our way.

The dealer promised to call me on Monday with more information.

The drive to Branson went smoothly even after a 3 hour delay getting started. Sommer had reserved a condo in the Still Waters Resort in West Branson. She booked the reservation through Orbitz.

We checked in and of course the resort is selling memberships. They asked if Sommer and Todd would be willing to sit through a presentation to learn more. For their time they would get a $250 credit to be used at the marina for a jet ski or pontoon boat rental. They agreed to attend an we went to our condo.

This condo is an older model that guests who book through other vendors like Orbitz get to stay in. The room was good enough for our needs. It included a kitchenette, dish washer, microwave and washer and dryer. There were two bedrooms and a hide a bed couch. Everyone had a place to sleep along with our bringing an inflatable bed. We checked out the grounds and found they had 3 pools, a game room and the marina. At the marina they had kayaks, aqua bikes, paddle boards and tubes to swim with. All these items were free to use while there at the resort.

The next day after breakfast we all went to the pool to get some sun and keep wet. The temps and humidity were climbing and the water would feel great. At the larger pool, the Oasis pool, they had a fun water slide and a waterfall to swim under. We all had a fun time sitting on the waters edge, swimming and sliding.



Ryleigh testing the water

After swimming most of the day and sunning ourselves we all got showers and ordered some pizza for dinner. One of the cool things about the resort was right next to our building was the market. They had coffee, donuts and breakfast sandwiches for in the mornings, a few grocery type items and pizza.

The pizza was thin crust and pretty delicious. Todd and I both brought a few beers for evening enjoyment which went well with the pizza that night.

The next day was forecast as possible rain but we decided to take a chance and rent a pontoon boat for the afternoon. Well as luck would have it they had a boat available and the weather cleared up with hardly a cloud in the sky. After checking out the boat we loaded up and headed out on the lake.

The resort also had tubes to rent to pull behind the boat for some added fun. We took advantage of that too.

Captain Todd


Gorgeous weather  and view off the bow

Having some experience as a kid on the Mississippi River boating I got to man the helm most of the time so Todd and Sommer could enjoy the sun and water.

Barb and Ryleigh

Brooklyne and Sommer getting some sun

Caden like the shade better

Come on in the waters fine

Todd and Ryleigh

My Mermaid

We cruised up and down the lake and saw all kinds of activity going on around us. Parasailing, amphibious vehicles(The Ducks) and really ducks.




As we cruised the lake we came upon a paddle boat that was used as an evening dinner cruise ship on the lake. 



As we cruised we also got on the tube and slide across the water. We had to hang on tight and occasionally the waves would bounce us all round. A lot of fun. 

After an eventful afternoon we all got cleaned up and went into town for dinner. Glenda found a nice restaurant that got good reviews and had a variety of food for everyone.  We went to Shorty Small's.

BBQ, burgers, salads, fish, chicken, etc. as I said something for everyone.



The weather turned rainy the next day as expected so we made plans to go into town and see show. Again Glenda had found a variety show that we thought everyone would enjoy. They had magic, dancing, singing, comedy, an aerialist and impressionist. Certainly not the level of a Las Vegas show but they did a good job and it was entertaining. Unfortunately they wouldn't let us take photos in the theatre. Here is a link to Hamners Unbelievable Variety Show. Not sure we would see it again but we all had a fun time. 

We also decided to go to the Titanic Museum attraction. Barb had seen a brochure and the thought of learning more about what happened in this tragedy peaked our interest. I don't think the kids appreciated it as much as us adults but no one complained. Again they don't let you take photos inside due to copyright infringement. Here is a link to the Titanic Museum Attraction
 
When you go in they give you a boarding pass with the name of a crew member or passenger. As you continue through the exhibit you find out the fate of your person. I was a crew member, Thomas Kelland, 19 years old. He worked as a cabin boy and in the kitchen. Unfortunately his life was cut short. Taking on the persona of a person on the ship gave it some additional feeling and respect for what happened that night on April 15 1912. 



We ended our day with some ice cream at Andy's Frozen Custard. They have hand dipped custard. Most of us got a Concrete Mixer and a couple just got cones. A great way to end our tour in town for the day. 

We got to celebrate Sommer's birthday on July 4th. She's our firecracker baby. We had a balloon, cupcakes and dinner out that evening. 



The last day in Branson, the weather was good enough to have the kids play at the pool in the morning while Barb and I sat and watched The weather was a mix of clouds and sun. 

Glenda, Sommer and Todd tried out the paddle boards that morning with no one falling in the water. 

After our pool time, we got cleaned up and went to the outlet mall on the edge of town. Everyone had saved some money for the vacation and this was a good place to spend it. There were good deals and I think everyone got something they were looking for. With only 5 days and so much to do we tried to get in as much as possible. 

Instead of watching TV in the evenings we plays some card games and charades. Everyone looked funny trying to act out different activities, people and things. Glenda, Caden, Brooklyne and I played spoons which is a card game where you try to get 4 of the same card like 4 fours or 4 Kings. When you get 4 of something you pick up a spoon in the center. Of course there are only 3 spoons and 4 people so someone loses out if they don't get a spoon. So much laughter and fun. 

Here are some photos of the Charades and Glenda being a little silly when a good country song came on the radio. 





As you can tell we all had a fantastic time each day and evening. 

Of course we had to get some family photos 



The day was cloudy when we left so there wasn't that let down you have when ending a vacation.

There are so many things to see and do in Branson and Glenda and I would enjoy coming back again some time to do some additional things we enjoy. We're so happy we had that opportunity to spend some quality time with the grandkids too.

Back to the truck issue. I had been in contact with the service department at the Ford dealer while we were in Branson. Of course I had to keep calling them to get updates. Well it turns out they were able to diagnose the problem which was a damaged oil cooler. This allowed a leak of oil into the coolant system causing a loss of oil from the crankcase to the reservoir without showing a leak underneath. That's why we were so low on oil but couldn't figure out where it was going with no puddling of oil under the truck. The diesel tech called Ford engineers who assisted in the diagnosis and repair information.

We were able to pick up the truck yesterday after dropping off the family at Barb's house. Fortunately all repairs were covered under our warranty. I turned in the rental car bill to the dealer to be determined if that would be reimbursed too. I'll be very upset if they deny it since this was on a weekend and I wouldn't have been without a vehicle for 5 days even if we weren't going on a vacation. I was also told they may not reimburse since I didn't go through Enterprise and we didn't rent a Ford product. NO ONE TOLD ME I HAD TO DO THAT.  Well we see what happens.

Disaster averted since this could have happened on our way to Maine this summer. It would have been worse to be stuck on the side of the road or even worse have the engine damaged beyond repair.

Things happened for a reason. Now we do some final visiting with Dad tomorrow and begin our adventure east on Sunday. Looking forward to seeing Steve and Debbie in Maine and picking up some new states for our map. I hope you will follow along.

6 comments:

  1. Wow, looks like you had a very exciting time. Branson is a very nice place to go with the family we've been there many times. Enjoy your travels drive safe.

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    1. We used to take our kids to Branson on vacations and enjoyed the shows, the lake and attractions. It was interesting to see how the place had changed over the years. Now on to the NE. Thanks for commenting Ken. We'll miss you two this winter.

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  2. Never have been to Branson, maybe some day. Looks like a wonderful time was had by all. Glad the truck is fixed and ready for your ME adventures. Dave and I have been commenting how much Sommer looks like Glenda. Safe travels.

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    1. Branson is a tourist trap in some ways but lots to see and do. The lakes are great for boating. Reminded us of our pontoon ride in AZ. But water was a lot warmer. Truck is running well so far. Ready to move out this morning. Yes Sommer and Glenda get that a lot. See you on the return from the NE.

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  3. What a fun family trip! That lake must be huge. So glad the truck got fixed and it didn't interrupt the trip much. Looking forward to Maine!

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    1. Table Rock Lake is huge and there are 2 other lakes near by. Our last big hooray before heading out. So lucky the truck problem happened when it did. See you soon. We're on our way.

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