Water water everywhere
Last night, as we arrived back at the hotel, my hero received a flood alert on his phone. Rather strange, because this was neither an SMS message nor an email, but appeared to be as a result of some kind of warning system. Mary got it too – but those of us on “the dark side” with an Android phone remained blissfully unaware.
The warning appeared again this morning, after another night of heavy rain and remains a mystery as to its origin or means of transmission. We need to investigate!
We’d decided that, rather than spend the day mooching in Branson, we’d venture out and tick off one of the highlights of the Ozarks today, rather than leave it until tomorrow, as planned. So after breakfast, we hit the road and headed northeast under leaden skies and extraordinarily low clouds.
As the morning wore on, things looked a little brighter. It was certainly warm out there and a little patch of blue sky became larger.
The Ozarks are a beautiful area of the country, with green wooded hills stretching out as far as the eye can see. Here and there is a patch of water, labelled Beaver Creek on the roadside but appearing rather more threatening than the name suggests. We criss crossed it several times and watched the muddy brown water flowing fast beneath the bridges.
But then…a detour was required.
A little further along, we could see why. It appears that the whole area has been experiencing flash floods in the last few days (hence the warning I guess) and here, those floods seem to have been a little longer lasting.
Fortunately, one closed road was the extent to which we were affected, but for others around here, life has been more challenging, it appears.
Crossing the road when you are only a few inches off the ground and able to move very slowly must be extraordinarily hazardous – we saw (and successfully avoided) three such turtles this morning.
Thankfully, there wasn’t much traffic along this road today.
Things got a little busier a bit further along.
We were heading for Rocky Ridge, the home in the Ozarks where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived most of her married life and where she wrote the Little House on the Prairie series of books.
Since she lived here most of her adult life, there’s far more to see here than in Pepin, for instance.
As we parked the car to buy our tickets, we took the opportunity to refresh our knowledge of what’s here and how it all fits into the story.
Our first call was Rock Cottage, the home their daughter Rose Wilder Lane built for her parents, just a little further up the road.
We were meeting a guide up there to show us around the house, where sadly no photographs were allowed inside.
It’s set in the most beautiful surroundings, with a summer meadow full of wild flowers outside the front door, but Laura and Almanzo never settled here and after a few years, moved back to their original home, Rocky Ridge.
Rose built the house from local stone sourced from the fields outside and the craftsman who built it left his tradesman’s mark in the pointing.
Rhonda, our guide, told us that it was traditional for a builder to leave his mark in this way – something new to us and perhaps something we’ll look out for again.
The small cottage had been built with all modern facilities and to the latest standards – it even had electricity.
But returning to Rocky Ridge to continue our tour, I think I can see why Laura preferred this house, which for all its shortcomings, seemed more homely.
A short distance along the road there’s the structure of the new museum, currently under construction and due to open next year. We chatted a while to Rhonda about the renewed interest in the stories and wondered if the new biography Mary and I have been studying has added to the resurgence. It would appear so and the new museum will present a much improved visitor experience than the slightly dusty collection which is in the visitor centre here today.
After a bite to eat, we continued along the road towards Springfield, MO, because a coupon was burning a hole in my pocket and it was valid for just 48 hours. 60% off anything on the notions wall at JoAnns meant I could restock my stabiliser supplies at super low prices!
Then, spotting an Ulta store in the same block, I fished out another coupon from my bag and replenished my favourite Redken supplies at the same time!
(Thank goodness for patient heroes and travelling companions)