Lantern Festival- Missouri Botanical Garden St.Louis July 31, 2015

Vicky wanted to go see the lantern festival this weekend. I didn't mind but I was completely wrong about what I thought it was going to be. I had thought it was just going to be the standard Lanterns hanging in the trees all over the Garden, instead it was these giant elaborate lantern displays. Some moved, some had smoke (steam) and all of them told a story as you walked around the Garden.

We ate our favorite Irish Pub (O'Connell's). Friday is always great Fish and Chip night
 We then walked the 4 blocks to the Garden through the Shaw neighborhood

The entrance to the Garden was all lite up

Our friend John Merkle, who came with us to dinner and the garden

They had just turned the lights in the lanterns on at 8 pm when we arrived so we wondered around waiting for it to get really dark so the lanterns would really glow.

When the night started the lanterns really started to dominate the landscape.

Just enjoy the rest!

 All these lanterns were made from recycled material. these Pagodas were 50' tall made completely from paper plates  (below)

The "Blue Moon" finally made an appearance over the Garden

a couple in the moonlight.....

On the way out the phoenix was guarding the front entrance was breathing fire

TGO Challenge Videos

You can find the two TGO Challenge 2015 Videos in the 
May 2015 folder on your right

or click on the links below

Video 1
Video 2

RV Weekend-- 4th July Branson Missouri 2015

Last minute plans of what to do for 4th of July. I know after all else fails let's go to what is probably the busiest place in the entire state on a major holiday- Branson Missouri. Haha. Well we did get a reservation at Branson View Campground, so keeping our streak of every weekend in the RV so far this summer going, we headed off in that direction on Friday around noon.

Another streak has been that every weekend it rains. This weekend was no exception it rained cats and dogs on us just before Springfield, having to come to a full stop on the highway a couple of times.
 The Branson View RV park was a small park on the very top of the hill up from the city of Branson. We picked this location because it was also close to Silver Dollar City.
 We got all set up in our spot. We really couldn't be picky about where we got in because we were so last minute but the owners here were really nice and moved us to a site that was reserved but they knew they party would not be in this weekend.
We had actually thought about seeing a show or two, but the ones we wanted to see ( Celtic Tenors, Celtic Women, Chinese Acrobats, Six, Neil Diamond Tribute, etc,) all only showed during the week and not on the weekends- strange but there you go.
So, once we got settled we headed over to Silver Dollar City. We have a yearly pass thanks to Vicky's need for "redneck" entertainment, but it is actually a fun amusement park. I can't ride any of the roller coasters, but I do like the water rides and other attractions.

Once we got into the park we hit a couple of the rides and then went on the train. The train just takes you on a 13 mile loop of the park through the woods and around the other rides.     

 Part of the train ride is to be held up by the local "good ole boys" moonshiners in the woods. Only this time it was really a hold up as the breaks on the train did break and we had to wait for about 20 minutes while they sent out some engineers to fix them and let them cool off.
After our harrowing train ride, what was required was funnel cake and a good game of checkers.
Funnel cake solves all of life's problems

Our day at Silver Dollar City was also a success in finding some accessories for the RV to customize it with our personality. Below is the new black bear that now holds the toilet paper for us. 
Back at the campsite it turned out to be a lovely sunset and evening. The Park was not nearly as crowed as we had thought and the temperature had remained pleasant. 

We woke up on the 4th of July to sunshine and a nice day. We got our best patriotic decorations for the RV. 

We were joined this morning by a really unusual bug that hung around our campsite most of the morning. He didn't seem afraid and was very mobile- he could even fly. The picture doesn't give a good scale but he was the size of about a half dollar! 
Vicky wanted to head down to the Branson Landing. This is the old downtown shopping district on Lake Taneycomo. 

The crowds even for July 4th at noon time were not really that large. 
 The river front had dancing fountains and played music. They had a concert down here with fireworks- last night

The transportation around Branson is unique. The trolley's run in town (above) and you can take a Duck  ride (click on the link to see the Duck's in action) 
In the evening we joined the majority of the campsite for a concert overlooking the bluff  and then some campground karaoke

Actually we missed the actual concert part and just arrived for the Karaoke.
I would say that half the RV are full time in this campground, so I think a lot of residents know each other on a regular basis.

Shoot me now :-)

After the karaoke we sat along the edge of the bluff in one of the pavilions and watched the fireworks go off all over town. From the bluff we could see dozens of displays all at once. It was a beautiful cool evening. 

Sunday morning we woke up to really dense fog on the bluff. 
 We hung around the campground till the fog lifted and it was a nice day, so we went to sight see to some of the places that we thought would have been too crowded yesterday.
The spill way of the dam (above) 

The giant hydro-electric dam separates Table Rock Lake above the Dam to Lake Taneycomo below the Dam

Lake Taneycomo from eye level (above) 
The Visitors Center (below) 

Table Rock side of the Dam.

There about 10 miles of trails in Table Rock State Park. Also a big RV park which we will try to stay in next time.

This was a great weekend to get away and the crowds were not a big problem. We would like to do some more wilderness camping with the RV. It is not that we don't like to have neighbors, and actually RV people are really nice but to get off the grid with our RV we really need a generator that can put out 30 amps to run the air conditioner in the summer!

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