Route 66: Day Three


Since starting out on this Route 66 journey, I’ve learned a few things about road trips. One, you’re busy driving all over the place and looking at so many things, that you tend to forget what you did the day before. Having photographs to help you recall the details is a great idea. Two, every single hotel/motel has single-ply toilet paper. I blame the economy on this one. Fortunately, I brought some ultra cushy quad-ply paper from home. Just in case.

After leaving Wagon Wheel Motel, we traveled just down the road to…The World’s Largest Rocking Chair. Sitting on the side of the road, this attraction is rather hard to miss. It’s huge. I heard one kid say that once a year they actually let you sit up on the thing and dangle your feet off the edge of the seat and get your photo taken. I suppose they use some sort of lifting platform to get you up there. Would I go up there? No way.

We got a bit of a late start to this day, so our breakfast became lunch. Brunch, I think it’s called. We stopped at Diana’s Diner. A nice little place, had a cool 50’s look to it. It was located in St. James, MO, which seemed like a pretty small town to me. This little diner was just sitting there along “main street,” which had a bit of a run down appearance as some of the stores looked empty and in a bit of disrepair. The food was good, but can’t hold a candle to Charlie Parker’s.

The main goal for this trip was to see as much of Old Route 66 as we could, so that’s what we did today. We drove along some nice, winding Route 66 roadway that at times ran parallel to the new highway. Sometimes, Route 66 would take you out into the middle of nowhere. Like Devils Elbow. This was pretty much just a winding road with a cool old bridge. Traffic was light so I parked the Mustang in the middle of the road and…took some photos of it. Apparently there is also a biker bar there called “The Elbow Inn,” which we missed. Bummer.

I love old gas stations. They make me think back to when times were simpler. Cars were cooler. Route 66 seems to have an abundance of these as we would soon come to find. A very cool old gas station is Gary’s Gay Parita, a restored Sinclair gas station just west of Springfield, MO. We talked with Gary at length about the history of Route 66 and about his gas station. Very nice fellow with great suggestions on where to go on Route 66. Brian got stuck talking to him, so I snuck back outside into the 95+ degree heat to change lenses and take some more photos. ;)

Gary's Gay Parita

Gary's Gay Parita

Route 66 takes a bit of a jog into Kansas, so we followed willingly. Mile after mile of farms and hills. And farms. Lots of hay bales. Or actually, “rolls” of hay. And blue sky with poofy white clouds. What else are you going to do? Pull over and take photos of the hay. And the blue sky with poofy white clouds. That’s what you do. So we did. We then found The Rainbow Bridge, a single-span concrete bridge which happens to be the sole surviving bridge of this type on the entire length of the former highway. And yes, we parked the Mustang on it and took photos. :)

We soldiered on into Oklahoma that night, trying to get settled in at a reasonable hour. For some reason, most restaurants west of Michigan tend to close around 9pm. This left us going to the “Buffalo Run Casino” for dinner. A simple little casino with 5 million slot machines and maybe 10 blackjack tables. We were quickly seated at “The Coleman House” restaurant in the back. Brian and I both ordered the special. A small slab of ribs, one piece of fried chicken, deep-fried potato salad, a small ear of corn and a side of baked beans. Wow. For only $9.99. Since we only had breakfast that day, and it was now 9:30 pm, well, it seemed like a reasonable meal. That, plus a Dr. Pepper® with 3 refills.

The hotel we found was just down the road. A nice, modern establishment, and totally against what “the plan” was for this trip. Diners. Mom n’ Pop Motels. That was the plan. Well, sometimes you have to deviate from that plan so you can get more sleep. Since the accommodations were less than exciting or note-worthy, I won’t tease you with a link to their website.

As you may have figured out (or not), I’m updating this blog the day after events unfold. I just don’t have time to get everything done the same day it happens. That said, tonight’s (tomorrow’s) motel has much more character than last night’s hotel. And with that, I will sign off and get some Zzzz’s.

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Thom BriggsComment