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Friday, July 12, 2013

Branson, Missouri Through the Eyes of My 14-Year-Old Self

I decided to do something fun and a little different today. As I was writing my post about our Lake Geneva trip, it got me reminiscent of some of the little trips and vacations we took every year as a family when I was a kid. I mentioned some of these in this post, and I don't know about you, but I only remember little bits and pieces from these family vacations, so it's cool to look back and look at photos and other mementos from these trips.

Starting in about 7th grade or so, I kept a journal all through junior high and high school. I'm not sure why, but I have just always enjoyed writing and thought it would be fun to look back on when I was older. So the other day, I decided to flip through and find some passages from my old journals that I wrote while I was on vacations with my family.

In this post (and in more to come soon!), I'm going to be sharing some of these passages with you all. I warn you - I was a young teenager. And when you're young, you don't always appreciate traveling and vacations like you do when you're an adult. At least that's how it was for me anyway! Some of the journal entries are hilarious to me looking back.

So without further ado, here are the first passages. (I'm leaving out some irrelevant parts at times, but you get the idea. Warning - the second passage is long and detailed. Who needs to remember, when you have the entire trip written down? I'm talking to you, Mom and Dad, who say I never remember our family vacations.):

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Monday, July 8, 2002 (Branson vacation - I was 14 years old)
"Hello!! I'm in the back seat of the van right now and I'm super bored. It's almost 2:00 pm and we've been on the road almost 6 hours now, I think. When we first started out, we were in Iowa for a little while, now we're in Missouri, and we've been in Missouri forever. Branson is at the very bottom of Missouri, so we're basically going though the whole state. A little while ago, we stopped at this one town in Missouri where Mark Twain was born, and we ate at McDonald's...."

"Right now we're in the capitol, Jefferson City. We just passed the capitol building. We're on a very bumpy road, and it sucks. (There's a whole bunch of old people in cars. They were probably here when the capitol building was built!) - Just kidding!.."

"So far, Missouri is SO boring! (OK, I know I've been here like 4 other times before, but hey!) HOW MANY MORE HOURS?"

Image from here
Thursday, July 11, 2002
"Sorry, I didn't really feel like writing every night. We finally made it to our hotel Monday night. We went to the Grand Palace for dinner. We ate at this diner place where the waitresses sang old songs. We were going to look around in the Grand Village shops, but they were all closed by the time we got done eating. We met these two ladies from Springfield, and they said that the Oakridge Boys were filming at the Grand Palace that night at 8:00 for their Christmas special, and they were giving away free tickets. Me and Haley and Mom didn't want to go, but Dad made us. We went to the ticket booth, and the man said it was sold out. So we went back and started walking to our car, and these two ladies went up to us and asked us if we wanted 4 free tickets. They were waiting for some people, but they didn't show. So we watched these old guys sing. We were in the 12th row. They sang mostly Christmas songs, and they had different Christmas backgrounds behind them, and trees covered with fake snow, and fake snow was falling behind them. Since they were taping, they had to do every song 2 or 3 times, and we had to clap A LOT. Somebody said it might last until 11:30, but I think we left around 10, while it was still going on.

The second day (Tuesday), we went to Silver Dollar City. It opened at 9:30, and we got there right when it opened. I liked the first water ride we went on the best. It was called American Plunge, and it was like a log ride. We got really wet on it! It felt good, though. I wanted to go on it again, but nobody else wanted to so I couldn't. We didn't go to any shows there, but we did go on this Marvel Cave tour. It lasted like an hour. There were over 700 steps, and it went down like 500 ft. At the end of the tour, you took a 3 minute trolley ride to the top. We only saw one bat the whole time we were in the cave. We left Silver Dollar City at around 4:00. When we got back to our hotel, we watched tv and ordered pizza from Pizza Hut. Then me and Haley went swimming at the hotel pool..."

"Yesterday we went to Tanger Outlet mall...then we ate at Denny's. After that, we went back to the Grand Village and looked around at the shops. There was this huge Christmas store that was really cool. There was a garden store that we went to, and a toy store, a Coca Cola store, a teddy bear store, and some jewelry stores. After we looked around a little, we had to head back and go the Jim Stafford Theater. At 2:00, we watched the Jim Stafford show. Jim Stafford was this comedian who sang and danced, and he was pretty funny. His two kids performed, too. There was a boy who was 9, and a girl who was 5. They played a whole bunch of instruments. There was also a 3-D little film-type-thing. It was about 4:00 when we got out. (It was super hot). Then we went back to our hotel, and then decided to look around at this other outlet mall called 90 Outlets....when we got there, it started to get really windy, and it looked like it was about to storm...the mall had really bad stores, and we decided to leave and go eat somewhere. Well, when we got back on 76, it was really crowded, and we couldn't find a restaurant. We pulled up in Golden Corral, and it started pouring rain. Mom looked inside to see it it was busy, but there was a really long line, so we decided to find somewhere else. All we could see was a Taco Bell, so we ate there. Then we headed over to the Remington Theater to see the magic show, but we were a little early so we stopped at this $5/t-shirt store...they didn't have very good stuff, but then we saw rows and rows of porcelain dolls - they were only $5! Mom said she would buy me and Haley each a doll...Finally I decided which one I wanted. Her name is Barrette...she has blonde hair with a Victorian dress...At 8:00 we saw the magic show with Kirby Vanburch. It was really cool. At the end, he made a helicopter appear right on stage, and it was kinda cool."

"Today...at 9:00, we had to go to this timeshare meeting that lasted like 2 hours. Me and Haley waited in the waiting room while this guy talked to Mom and Dad about condos. We took a tour of a model condo, and it was REALLY nice! It had a big whirlpool bathtub, a really nice kitchen, a leather sofa, a master bedroom, and a big TV! It was awesome! It was cooler than our condo in Orlando! There was also a view of the lake, and a huge pool with 2 big slides! I wish we could've got a timeshare condo, but they were like $3,000! At the end of the meeting, we got these Chinese acrobat tickets. We're going to that tonight at 8:00. We went down to Arkansas earlier, and there really wasn't much in the town were we went down to. There was a Wal-Mart and some souvenir shops, and stuff like that. We decided to just get something to eat and go back up to Missouri. All the restaurants we could see were Wendy's and Shoney's, and we decided to eat at Shoney's, this buffet place..."

"I don't know where we're going today. We'll probably look around downtown Branson or play mini golf or something."

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Reading that now actually makes me remember that trip more. And I WOULD think the most exciting thing we did the whole trip was touring a condo. :)

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