Roaring River Vacation 2006

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Roaring River Vacation 2006
Sunday, July 2, 2006

We left at 1:30 p.m., about 30 minutes behind schedule, but we quickly made up the time driving through Oklahoma. We made it to McAlester before taking our first break. We needed to pickup a few items that we had forgotten like cereal & hairspray so we stopped at a Wal-mart. Our next stop was just outside of Arkansas at a Wendy’s, so we decided to go ahead and get something to take with us to eat for our supper. We had a bunch of snacks so we were not too hungry. We then filled up the gas tank and were on our way. Usually, we like to take pictures of Amy and Erin next to a state sign on our travels. Arkansas has a great sign along I-40, but at this time a highway patrol had stopped someone and was parked there, so we elected to continue. We went through Fort Smith and then turned north on I-540. This was a fairly new highway and was smooth and wide. The road went through the Ozark mountains and the view was really great. The mountains aren’t like the Great Rockies, but it was more than we are used to seeing. Amy and Erin really enjoyed the view. At one point, we were treated to a good size tunnel traveling through one of the hills. The tunnel was long enough to require lighting and big exhaust fans inside. It was probably about a half mile long. The girls really liked that.

We arrived at Roaring River sometime around 7:15 that evening. We stayed at the Roaring River Resort which is located north of the park about a half mile or so. The rest of the family was there and ready to go eat. Joe and Ann were staying in the hotel part of the resort and we had a cabin with the Leatherman’s. We quickly unloaded our things and looked over our accommodations. It was a really nice log cabin that had a bedroom and two bathrooms downstairs with a loft bedroom. There was a big room at the front that served as the kitchen, dinning room and living room. It was really clean and had everything we needed. We headed to the Roaring River Lodge for dinner. It is a really nice hotel located up the hill from the river and campsites. The dinner tasted great, although by the time we finished it was a little late and the girls were getting tired. We had just enough time to run by the camp store and purchase our fishing licenses for the next day. We had to purchase a license and trout stamp each day that we wanted to fish. The girls only needed the stamp. We then headed back to the cabin and hit the hay.

Monday, July 3

All ten of us got up at 5:45 a.m. to go fishing. We were serious about fishing. At Roaring River, you can’t fish anytime you want.  They have designated fishing times. They have this big air defense siren that sounds promptly at 6:30 a.m. You have to get there early to stake your claim along the river. It looks a little silly when it’s almost 6:30 and there are several hundred people closely lined up along the water’s edge. As soon as the horn goes off, you start casting. We found out that usually the fish hit just about anything that hits the water the first time and then it gets tough. The daily limit for trout was four fish. It doesn’t sound like much, but it proved to be a little more difficult except for some.  Terry proceeded to catch his limit within thirty minutes. He was finished. The rest of us had one, two or three fish on our stringer
and that’s where it stayed for a couple of hours.  Catherine and her mom and the kids went back to the cabin to start breakfast and the rest of us went to the cleaning station to filet the fish. The cleaning station is a little covered area that has a big long sink with several water faucets on each side and some cutting boards. Joe cleaned the fish and Terry, Cindy and I watched. We had bacon and pancakes for breakfast and it was yummy. Joe and I went fishing again. I had only caught one fish that morning so I was needing to catch up. Cindy, Terry
and Catherine rested at the cabin for a while. Ann took all four girls to an educational program about bugs. They then took a short hike
along the river. As I was fishing, they passed above me and I waved. After lunch, we took a tour of the hatchery area that included the huge spring that is the source of the river. Joe and Ann chose to stay behind and rest. The hatchery provides fish only for the Roaring River park. The tour was very informational. We saw some really big fish and we thought it would really be nice to throw our lines in the hatchery pools. We also were able to feed the fish some food that they had available. The fish liked it and seemed to want it really bad. After the tour, we took a short hike called Deer Leap Trail that led up and over the spring and to a lookout point where we were able to see the entire hatchery area. It was fun and really pretty. After the hike we all were hot and needed to cool down. The resort had a pool so we took advantage of that before dinner. That was very refreshing. Erin and Amy have been learning to swim, so Terry told Erin that he would give her a quarter if she could swim across the pool from one side to the other. He didn’t know what he was getting himself into. She swam across and then she swam the length of the pool. That was worth fifty cents. Then the rest of the girls wanted to get into the action.  Terry ended up paying out quite a bit of money. We all had a great time. After swimming, we had spaghetti for dinner and then several of us went fishing again. Around 8:00 p.m., we left to go see a fireworks display that was happening about 15 miles away. We got to the location and it was very crowded.
We didn’t have to walk very far. In fact, we parked, got out our lawn chairs and sat down. Someone there told us the view would be fine. They were right. The show was wonderful and pretty lengthy. Some of the fireworks looked like stars and hearts. Amy didn’t like the sound, so she sat in the van and watched. Erin later joined her. After the show, we went back to the cabin and crashed.

Tuesday, July 4

Happy Independence Day! This was a day of travel and site seeing. Our plan was to go to the Precious Moments Chapel and Store in Carthage, then eat lunch at Outdoor World in Springfield. Terry and Cindy started out the morning early by going fishing with Joe. They caught a few then came to the cabin for a cereal breakfast. We set out for Carthage around 8:30 a.m. We needed to get to the Precious Moments
place by 10:30 because there was an attraction there called “Fountain of Angels” that we wanted to see.  There was only two chances to see it the whole day.  The drive was pretty long and we got there just in time to see the show. It was a big water show with lots of fountains and statues, neat lighting effects and definitely Christian themed. The music was very worshipful and the entire show was pretty awesome.  After the show, we were able to go down to the statue area and take pictures. We then went to the gift shop and Chapel to look at more Precious Moments stuff. All of the girls were able to pick something out at the gift shop. Grandmother (Ann) told them that because they had been reading a lot of books over the summer she would buy them something. They were all very thrilled at that, but had a difficult time deciding what to get. It was then time to go to Springfield. It was already about 1:30 p.m. and we were all pretty hungry, but we wanted to eat at Hemingway’s, the restaurant at Outdoor World because it has a huge aquarium filled with salt water fish so we just snacked a little on the
way. Outdoor World is a giant sports and outdoor store that is really more of a tourist attraction than anything. It has hundreds of animals mounted everywhere and a big water fall with fresh water fish to look at. We went to lunch and was fortunate that they had not closed down the buffet lunch. Because it was a holiday, it was held open a little longer. The food was good, but I don’t think any of us were too impressed
and we were able to look at the aquarium all during lunch. After lunch, we were able to browse the various areas of the store including a catalog outlet section and a “tent sale” going on outside. I guess the deals weren’t all that great because we all left empty handed. We headed back to Roaring River. We stopped at a Wal-Mart in Cassville, a town about 10 miles north of the park. We needed some rock salt for homemade ice cream and charcoal for grilling hotdogs. Just as we were leaving, Ann became ill so we hoofed it back pretty quick so she could recover in her room. When we got to the cabin, Joe, Terry and Cindy went fishing and Catherine and I grilled hot dogs and made ice cream. We ended up eating about 8:00 p.m. and watched a little portion of a July 4th celebration on television that was live from Springfield.

Wednesday, July 5

Our last full day at Roaring River began with, of course, fishing. Cindy, Catherine and I went with Joe and Ann, who was feeling much better. Terry stayed behind with the girls and cooked breakfast. We fished for a while and did quite well in the fishing department. The ladies went back to the cabin and helped Terry with breakfast while Joe and I cleaned fish. We had some really good, spicy eggs and some bacon for
breakfast. After breakfast was cleaned up, the Leatherman family went to fish while the Walton family went hiking. Joe and Ann took a nap. We decided to hike the Eagle’s Nest trail. It is about a 2.5 mile hike. The hike was beautiful and the girls had fun. While fishing, a nice man taught Holly some things about catching fish and what bait to use and other helpful hints. We got back from the hike shortly before lunch and before anyone else. When the rest of the troops arrived, we had quesadillas for lunch. They were really good. It was then time for a real hike. We decided to hike the Fire tower Trail. This trail was a little over 3 miles long. There were access points along the way so we were able to make it a little shorter if we wanted.  Everyone went except Joe and Ann. They went to do some additional fishing. The trail wasn’t too hard, but there were times when Abby needed to be carried a little bit. She was a real trooper though. It was a pretty long hike for her short legs. We found the fire tower and everyone went up to the top except me. I was a little afraid of the height. The purpose of a fire tower is to look over the trees for long distances and see smoke even from far away. This tower, however didn’t even reach to the top of the trees so you couldn’t see very far at all. That being done, we continued on and exited the trial where it met up with the Deer Leap trail, the one we took the day before. We probably ended up hiking about 2.5 miles total. After a good hike, we had ice cream at the park store and then headed back to the cabin and went swimming for a while. While we were swimming, Joe and Ann came and watched us a little. Joe ended up paying out some money to the girls that swam across the pool. Then they went back a fished some more. After swimming, we got dressed and met them down at the river and all fished one last time. On the other side of the river, a raccoon was looking for something to eat. The girls really got a kick out of seeing a real raccoon in his natural habitat. Joe and Ann cooked a big fish dinner for us that night. We tried to eat as much as
possible but had a lot of fish left over. It was really good. Since we ate dinner pretty late that night, we put the girls to bed and the adults played one round of Hand and Foot. The guys pretty easily beat the girls.

Thursday, July 6

It was time to say goodbye to Roaring River and to Joe and Ann. They were headed back home and we were heading to Branson for a little more vacation time. We left the park around 10:30 a.m. and headed toward Branson. There really isn’t a straight way to go, so we went the best way we knew how. We stopped at a roadside park around 12:30 and ate a quick sandwich lunch. We were not too far from our destination. We pulled into the Honeysuckle Inn around 1:30 p.m. They had an indoor pool so we quickly took advantage of that and the hot tub. We didn’t swim too long because we had to get ready to go to the Pavilion Theatre where we would have a real chuck wagon dinner and
be entertained by the Sons of the Pioneers. The show and dinner was a part of the Shepherd of the Hills show and we had to be there at 3:45 p.m. to get seated for dinner. They served us our meal about 4:30 and it was a huge amount of food. It came on metal trays to give it that authentic taste. Then the cowboys sang for about an hour. They are very talented and the harmony is close. I think we all enjoyed it.
After the show, we had about 30 minutes to look around before we went to the Shepherd of the Hills play.  We found a playground with some fun slides and swings and the kids didn’t really want to leave. We finally made it to the outdoor theatre and we knew the night would be perfect for the show. The temperature was in the 70’s and there was hardly any wind. Before the play started, they had some events to tame the boredom. They invited all the kids down to the front for a good old fashioned bull frog race. They didn’t have enough frogs for everyone, so they had to take turns. Erin got a frog the first time, but it got away from her while she was waiting to race. Holly and Abby then got their chance to race. Holly’s frog jumped pretty well,  but Abby’s frog just wanted to sit there. Amy didn’t get a chance to race. She was okay with that. The Shepherd of the Hills play was pretty good. It was hard for me to follow the story at times, but I finally understood it by the end. We got back to our hotel room about 11:00 p.m. and hit the hay.

Friday, July 7

Time to go home. We awoke and went to breakfast about 7:30 a.m. They had a buffet breakfast and it had a lot of yummy items to eat. We packed up and headed out of Branson around 9:00 a.m. We went through the area of Branson that had most of the tourist attractions and they were a sight. It was fun looking at all the different things. We went to Eureka Springs and saw the Christ of the Ozarks statue and
took a few pictures. We drove through downtown but didn’t get out. We then went to the Thorncrown Chapel located just north of town. The chapel is pretty much all glass with wood supports. It’s also located in the trees and when you go inside and sit down, it’s very quiet but you feel like your are sitting outside because of all the glass. We sat for a little while, but not long. We were needing to make it back to Texas so we didn’t have a lot of time. We did, however, have time to stop at Bentonville Arkansas and eat a picnic lunch on the square and visit the Wal-Mart visitors center. They had many personal items of Sam Walton’s including the old truck that he drove everywhere.  There were lots of displays on the history of Wal-Mart from the beginning. After that, we hit the road hard and only stopped a couple of times for restroom breaks. We made it back into Sherman around 7:00 p.m. and went to La Mesa to eat supper. The Leatherman’s then headed home and so did we.
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