Monday, June 4, 2007

"Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!"

Day 3: 355 Miles
Total: 1,521 Miles

No Toto, I'm not in Kansas anymore...I'm in Oklahoma. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Back to Missouri...

I got up early again this morning because I had some work to do before hitting the road. By the time I left it was almost 9:00am. I was pleased to leave my motel behind and promised myself that I won't do that again! There are enough decent motels around that I'm sure I can find a good place to stay almost every night without resorting to the franchises. At least on this part of my trip.

It was Sunday morning in Missouri, and nothing was open, save a McDonald's. So breakfast consisted of a large coffee and an Egg McMuffin. I promised myself that I would do better at lunch time, and I did manage to get a decent BLT at a local restaurant in Lebanon, Missouri.

In the meantime I started driving toward Kansas. This part of Missouri turned out to be more interesting than what I saw yesterday. The topography was pretty hilly, which meant lots of curves and interesting scenery. Another big plus was that the road didn't always parallel the Interstate. I went through a lot more small towns today. Some, like Cuba below, were very attractive. Others were in horrible shape, with nearly vacant downtown areas.

Overall, I think Cuba, Missouri was the prettiest town I drove through today. They have murals painted on many building throughout town. The pictures below are two of many examples.

The picture here was taken today, though it was more typical of the type of Missouri road I saw yesterday. It was very common to have train tracks on one side and the Interstate on the other. I caught this image as the train was going by.

The Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon, Missouri is a very well-known stop on Route 66. Although not fancy, it's well-kept and its owners are major supporters of Route 66 improvement efforts. I would have liked to stay there last night, but it was about 100 miles beyond were I ended up.

Today was mostly a slow, meandering day through lots of towns. My absolute favorite stop, though, was at a bridge in the middle of nowhere. This bridge is located on what is now Farm Road 2062 between Paris Springs and Spencer - two specks on the map in southwest Missouri. The road was once part of Route 66, but goes virtually untraveled today. I spent a half hour there setting up my tripod, taking pictures, and just listening to the sounds of wildlife. I never saw a car. I could have stayed there the rest of the day and been completely content. But I had places to go and people to see...

One of the places I went through was Carthage, the site of this very cool drive-in. Not far past there is Carterville, one of the places with a mostly deserted downtown that I mentioned earlier.

By late afternoon I managed to get through Springfield and Joplin, Missouri, finally crossing into Galena, Kansas. Kansas is the first state so far that I have never been to before, so I was looking forward to it. Unfortunately, Route 66 spends all of 13 miles in the state, so I had to look fast. One of the real jewels of the entire trip happens in that 13 mile stretch though. The picture below shows the Rainbow Bridge between Riverton and Baxter Springs, Kansas. This is the last remaining "Marsh Arch" bridge on Route 66. There were three originally. This one was constructed in 1923. Very cool.

After my Kansas sojourn I moved into Oklahoma; another state I have never been to before. The tone of Route 66 has changed quite a bit since crossing the state line. It seems to follow the path of Oklahoma 66 (or vice versa). Hence, it is a busy, high speed, mostly four lane highway. I have traveled about 100 miles into the state and haven't seen much yet, which is why I didn't post any pictures. I'm sure there will be plenty to see tomorrow, so I should be able to give you a flavor of what I find. Tonight I am staying in the Claremore Motor Inn, which coincidentally happens to be in the city of Claremore. Go figure. It's a much nicer place than I stayed in last night, so I look forward to a good night's sleep. Beginning right now.



elderaunt said...

I'm having a bit of trouble trying to get this comment posted. I love your trip journal and pictures. Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

How GREAT it Must be to take a trip like this. I', at leat enjoying it through Clogspot on the computer!
Love these pictures... especially the old bridges... Now I'm wondering how well I'd do at painting a couple of them! :)
Surly you are being blessed on this trip!!
have you talked to many peole along the way??
Guess I MUST be the Middle AUNT :)

dP said...


Honda Doug here...great stories. Keep em coming.

Dave said...

Alas, a picture of you...yet there is such a thing as least now I feel more comfortable that you are not trying to put a "Man Lands on Moon" scam...and I think you really are out there in the wild blue yonder...bring back a few Route 66 asphalt chips!