National Corvette Museum
The Corvette below was the personal car of Zora Arkus-Duntov, the “Godfather” of Corvettes, from vision, design and development. While he obviously drove any number of ‘Vettes, this is the only one he ever purchased.
I’m sure the only reason I’m so fond of Corvettes is that we share the same birthday. On my 50th birthday (a few years ago) my good buddy Gary let me drive both his 50th anniversary Corvette convertible, and his 50 year old ‘vette! What a treat!! Thank you Gary! (His looks exactly like the title shot above). That same year we were driving through Bowling Green, Kentucky, where the Corvettes are made, and spent some time in the National Corvette Museum. Since it was the 50 year celebration, there were literally acres of Corvettes parked everywhere; on grass fields as well as paved parking lots surrounding the factory and museum. It’s a really fantastic museum, with more Corvettes, Corvette history and memorabilia than a person can take in. But I tried!
Below is an interesting tidbit about the original Corvette emblem…
This ’53 has been cut away to show you its innards. I won’t show you mine…
Another ’53 as a mosaic, with thousands of tiny shots. I love these.
This one looks a lot like my Uncle Hollis’ Corvette. He stored it at my house one year and I had to keep it exercised occasionally.
Just before Valentine’s day in 2014, at 5:39 in the morning, the ground shook under the largest domed display room in the museum. Then the floor literally dropped out… a huge sinkhole caved in the area supporting 8 cars! Some of the Corvettes fell about 40 feet, as rocks and earth fell all around them. Some were buried so deeply that they were only found by digging exploratory holes in the rubble. The entire sinkhole fit within the perimeter of the display room, with most of the cars around the edges remaining where they were. The cars were eventually hoisted out of the newly formed cavern, and several were restored. Three were so badly mangled that restoration would be impossible, so they are now displayed as they were brought up. Pretty grim! The event made world-wide news, and prompted a lot of jokes too…
The least damaged car was still drivable:
Some folks laugh a bit at Branson, MO… saying that’s where entertainers go out to pasture or whatever. But I’ll admit we find a lot to like here. On a previous trip we saw a group called SIX. All brothers (guess how many!) who have been singing together forever. They are fantastic! So we got front row seats to see them again! They not only sing well, harmonize incredibly, but also make all the band sounds with their mouths. Percussion, horns, crazy sound effects – all done in an awesome fast paced show that… well, I guess you can tell I really liked it! Just before the intermission, one of the SIX, spiky haired Kevin, said he was going to give a CD to someone very special… looked around the front row, and gave it to Cherryl! He then asked our names, and where we were from. We told him we were nomads, and lived in our motorhome. Then during the break we had a nice couple ask us about motorhome living- so we got to meet some new friends! A great concert!
Silver Dollar City
My favorite attraction in Branson is Silver Dollar City, a very cool amusement park themed in the 1880’s. There are world-class roller coasters, other rides for all ages, and lots of old-time shops. Blacksmiths, carpenters, leather workers and more work at their trades and answer questions about how things were done back then. It is very hard to ignore fun things like funnel cakes, pecan rolls and sourdough bread. You might even find some great ice cream… What is most appealing about the place it its wholesome atmosphere… there seems to be just a warm friendly vibe; patriotic and Christian, but definitely not pushy. Very nice.
One machine from the 1880’s surprised me- a device to make dovetail joints…
There are lots of animals in the park too. Here is a Western Mediterranean donkey, said to be probably like the one Mary rode to Bethlehem. This one made this blog because she shares my sister Lori’s birthday. But thankfully that is about all they have in common…
The start of Silver Dollar City is actually Marvel Cave. Indians found it by mistake in the early 1500’s when one of them fell in the opening and was never seen again. When they saw “steam” rising from a cave opening, they decided it was an evil place. They notched the trees all around to warn other Indians to stay away. This accounts for the fact that almost no Indian artifacts were found in the cave, unlike most caves in the area. Starting in the late 1800’s there were tours offered, if you didn’t mind climbing down a long rope, a 70 foot ladder, and then wearing special leather overalls with reinforced rear ends as you scooted down a huge debris field. This would get you to the bottom of the Cathedral Room, which is the largest cavern room in the country. From there you could explore by candlelight, and when done use a pickaxe to hike back to the ladder and rope.
By the mid 1900’s stairs had been installed, and a better exit built, and tourism soared. To entertain people as they waited in line, shows were put on. Then more exhibits, and more shows, and it expanded over the decades into what is now Silver Dollar City. So really, SDC is the waiting room for cave tours!
The cave is visited by heading down 500 or so stairs, into the Cathedral room. This room is about 20 stories high; a room so vast that the Statue of Liberty could stand upright (If she could get down the stairs). Then, through the Serpentine passage, and down to a long waterfall into an underground lake. From there you climb a little bit, and get on a train to take you out the back of the cave and back up top.
Except. When a lady in the tour ahead of you has a medical problem at the very bottom, your tour has to wait partway through, watch the emergency people go past you, and eventually have your tour cut short and reverse direction. So no train to the top… lots of climbing up stairs! We never did hear about the lady at the bottom. Hope she’s not still there!