After Dragon*Con, I was still on a sort of a surreal high that I even went (I mean… like a month after… LOL!).
The day I left the Marriott Marquis and downtown Atlanta behind for another year was a sad day. But,believe me, I’m already thinking about Dragon*Con 2017, eagerly awaiting the chance at getting a (nearly impossible) room at the Marriott, and planning out costumes in addition to the Predator for next year.
At any rate, I was not ready to end my trek through the American south juuuuust quite yet. A few other things on my bucket list included seeing Branson, Missouri and visiting the Titanic museum. So, with Dragon*Con (sadly) behind me, I hopped in the car and took the scenic route from Atlanta to Branson. I spent the night in Memphis (no, I did NOT go walking in Memphis, and I totally meant to. Dammit).
On my way out of Memphis, I discovered that Bass Pro Shops owns a pyramid. Who knew, right? And by the way – Bass Pro Shops are apparently as common in TN as Waffle Houses are in Georgia and Dollar Stores and Kentucky Fried Chickens are in Kentucky. Oh, and if you are ever wondering, I do believe that the state roadkill for the entire south is armadillos. I’ll be damned if I saw a living one at all during my stay (and I tried… I really tried), but roadkill armadillos? Every ten feet. Seriously.
And then, the following day, I discovered the most beautiful place in America:
Yep. Who knew. Arkansas is freaking amazing. I’m sure it’s hot as could be in the summer, but the day I drove through it was 80 and clear skies and my eyeballs got treated to mountainous scenery as far as they could see in every direction. Needless to say, I took multiple scenic routes and ended up spending about 4 hours just driving around Arkansas alone. It was beautiful.
Eventually, I made it to my destination!
Photos were not allowed in the museum, but believe me, if you ever go to Branson, it’s worth the $20 admission or whatever it cost to see this. This was AMAZING. There were real artifacts, and letters written by passengers and survivors, and the only photographs of the Titanic to exist all on display, not to mention a full-size replica of the top tier of the grand staircase, and many other full size replicas. The museum was loaded with factual information, interesting documentaries, fascinating expedition photos, and of course memorabilia and a gift shop. I bought a T-shirt and a magnet🙂
Yes, I am soooooo glad I did this. I’ve always loved stories about the Titanic long before “The Movie” came out (you know that isn’t the only Titanic movie to ever have been made, right?). This was just so cool to visit, and I definitely list Branson, MO as a recommended place to see. I’ll go back in a second if I have the opportunity.
Branson really reminded me of a small-scale of Las Vegas (another place I would love to go back to again). It wasn’t quite as “glitzy” with a ton of lights, but it was basically a touristy town set up on a strip and loaded with shows, theaters, restaurants, and all the tourist-stop attractions you could want.
They even had a giant King Kong and Transformer. I mean… cool!
And, they take their stop signs seriously in Branson. Really seriously.
I did a little cruising around at night when the lights on the “Branson strip” came up.
In the morning, I visited the other thing that is an attraction in Branson; Table Rock lake and Dam. I wasn’t there for all the touristy stuff. I just wanted to see the Titanic Museum. The other things that interest me were nature stuff, so I visited various parks around Branson before I headed to Table Rock Dam.
(see the rainbow?) Yes, I know my sensor is filthy. That was called laziness.
Once I was done touring Branson, I turned the windshield NorthEast and headed (dreadfully) back towards Chicago. But! There was ooooone more place along the way I decided to stop and see:
The last time I was in St. Louis, I was not able to go into the Arch. This time, I did. I had an odd desire to put on my Stahma Tarr costume and start walking around. LOL! Going into the arch was really a neat experience. The elevators to get up to the top are like little escape pods. Extremely cramped and you have to hunch over, and yet somehow, they managed to cram 5 seats into them. I can’t imagine 5 people in one! Anyway, it was a super neat experience to end my trip with.
And, by the time I pulled into my apartment parking spot, after 10 days and 8 states, and 5 days in Dragon*Con costuming and fantasy bliss, look how many miles I piled onto my car:
The other thing I collected through my trip (besides T-shirts and magnets):
Sadly, none of them won! But they sure were colorful. And Alabama does not have a lottery, apparently.
Overall, I had an AMAZING experience, and was so happy I had the chance to actually do all of these things that were just wishes for so many years. The only “holy shit!” moment I experienced was a guy in Alabama that ran a stop sign and ran me right off the road. Thank God for wiiiiiiide shoulders and flat corn fields. Apparently, he needed to go visit Branson and understand the concept of stopping at a stop sign. No worse for wear, he came inches from hitting my car, but at least one of us was paying attention.
The only other unhappy experience I had during my experience — was that it HAD TO END. LOL!
I’m totally ready for Dragon*Con 2017. (Well, maybe not really. Although secret costume construction has begun!!!)