Dave & Dot's 25th Anniverary Tour

Week 3 - Branson, MO

Monday, October 15th - Toot goes the Whistle, Clang goes the Bell!

Today is our last full day in Branson. We woke up to blue skies which turned to rain by the late afternoon, but by evening the rain had passed leaving behind very windy conditions.

We started our day by riding a DUCW. It is an amphibious vehicle that holds about 30 people. It has no windows. They let down a heavy clear vinyl curtain to protect you from wind and rain. Everyone has fun aboard a Ride The Ducks sightseeing tour of Branson. It's the best way for families to enjoy Branson because we combine fun and music with history and sights. Adults and seniors will have just as much fun as kids. It's the best way for locals and visitors to see all that Branson has to offer. Ride The Ducks is the Branson attraction to experience when you visit just for the day, a weekend or a week.

The Captain en-tour-tained us with stories of past and present. We learned about Ozark Mountain history, the lakes, its famous personalities and its impact on the state and our nation and included information about Branson's role in film, song and sports too!

We were each given one of the famous Wacky Quackers™ that become a part of the show as you roam the 'heart of the Ozarks'. Free with every ride, the Wacky Quackers™ will grab locals' attention and get the Duck rocking as you roll through the city streets.

After our "DUCW" experience we headed into Old Branson and took a ride on the Branson Scenic Railway.  America’s romance with the vintage passenger train lives on through excursions on the Branson Scenic Railway aboard a collection of unique passenger cars that travel through the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. This one hour 45 minute trip takes passengers through tunnels, over trestles, and through the southwest Missouri or northwest Arkansas wilderness that is still home to much wildlife and to the ruins of long-ago communities now named only on railroad maps.

The historic 1905 depot in downtown Branson, just one block west of Lake Taneycomo (formerly the White River), is the headquarters for the Branson Scenic Railway. The depot houses the administrative offices, the reservation and ticket office, and a gift shop that carries many train items including a wide variety of Thomas the Tank Engine merchandise for the kids.

Traveling on a working commercial railroad line, the train's direction of travel (depending on freight traffic and/or track conditions) is determined by the Missouri and Northern Arkansas Railroad just prior to departure. At that time, the train will go either north or south. (All excursions depart from the old depot.) The northern route goes as far as Galena, Missouri, to the James River Valley; and the southern route extends into Arkansas to the Barren Fork Trestle.

Today we took the southern route. Three to four times daily, depending on the season, Branson Scenic Railway explores territory inaccessible by automobile and offers views that are unattainable by any other means of transportation. A lively narration points out the landmarks such as Crest Tunnel, Cricket Tunnel, Walnut Creek Trestle, Barren Fork Trestle, and Tharp’s Grade; and the extinct communities of Gretna, Melva, and Ruth are described as they were in the early 20th century. Also included in the narration is a description of the wildlife and landscape and an outline of the railroad’s role in shaping the Ozarks. The routes take passengers about 20 miles from Branson before reversing direction and returning on the same tracks.

Although there is plenty to see through the broad windows and the three dome cars with their panoramic views, visiting each car can occupy much of the excursion. Seating is unassigned, and passengers are invited to tour the entire train. The cars have been restored and refurbished to offer the same first-class experience and ambiance to today’s passengers as to those they carried fifty years ago. While on the tour w met a couple from Texas and we had a wonderful time getting to know them while enjoying the sites.

After a short nap, we headed back up to the lake for a Riverboat ride on the Branson Belle, which includes dinner and a show. We had prime rib and baked Alaska and the variety show included a big band sound, singing, dancing and a ventriloquist that really stole the show with his talking dog!