Thursday, July 31, 2008

Day 25 Summer Vacation 2008

Today is Day 25 Thursday July 31 2008.

If Arizona was our favourite part of Route 66, well, I would say that what we are going to do and see today on this part of Route 66 is our second favourite part of Route 66.

We got up early and left Vinita Oklahoma.

July 31

First stop is the Afton Station in Afton Oklahoma. We wanted to have our pictures taken with Tripper the Penguin, but unfortunately the Station was closed. We did not get to meet Laurel the proprietor, but this will give us an excuse to come back another time another year. I did take some good photos of Afton Station.

6 Rte 66 Afton OK

After leaving Afton Station, it wasn’t too long and we were driving on the famous 9 foot wide section of Route 66. Sometimes referred to as the sidewalk road. It is only 9 feet wide, but we got to drive right down the center because we did not encounter any oncoming traffic. The shoulders are wide enough to pull over and allow oncoming traffic to pass.

36 Rte 66 9 Foot Wide btwn Narcissa & Miami OK

18 Rte 66 9 Foot Wide btwn Afton & Narcissa OK

The next stop was the town of Miami Oklahoma. I spotted this really neat old traffic light that had been retrofitted with new led lights.

43 Rte 66 Miami OK

After leaving Miami, we drove through Quapaw OK and then crossed the border into Kansas where we found this neat old bridge. The Rainbow Bridge in Baxter Springs Kansas.

67 Rte 66 Marsh Arch Bridge Baxter Springs KS

74 Rte 66 Marsh Arch Bridge Baxter Springs KS

We stopped a lot today to take photos. In the town of Baxter Springs we visited at the restored Phillips Station which is also a small Route 66 museum. I got a kick out of the proprietors license plate on her car.

62 Rte 66 Baxter Springs KS

There is only about 14 miles of Route 66 in the State of Kansas, but there is sure a lot to do and stop and see. We stopped and bought drinks at Eisler Brothers in Riverton Kansas. Then we drove into Galena Kansas were we stopped for lunch at a new business that had recently opened up on Route 66. 4 Women on the Route and the home of the famous tow truck “Tow Tater” which was the inspiration for the cartoon character “ Tow Mater” in the Disney Pixar movie Cars. Here is a picture of Karen and I standing next to the now famous tow truck.

113 Rte 66 4 Women on the Route Galena KS

And a picture of the renovated old gas station.

99 Rte 66 4 Women on the Route Galena KS

Leaving Galena Kansas, we entered into Joplin Missouri. Drove through the small towns of Webb, Catterville, Carthage, Phelps, Avilla, Heatonville and Spencer. We were in and out of the car taking photos of old motels, now in ruins, old gas stations, now in ruins and some that had been restored and preserved like the Boots Motel in Carthage.

134 Rte 66 Boots Motel Carthage MO

It is always the unexpected encounters that happen along Route 66 that turn out to be most memorable though and that came true when we were driving through Gay Parita Missouri. I saw this nicely renovated gas station and pulled over to take some photos. We were quite surprised to hear a voice calling to us and asking us to come on in. I didn’t realize that this station was occupied, a lot of the old gas stations are just spruced up but there is never anyone around. This gas station wasn’t even mentioned in any of our Route 66 books or videos that we had studied before leaving Ontario on this trip.

We pulled away from the shoulder of the road and turned into the newly renovated Sinclair Gas Station, where we were warmly greeted by Gary Turner.

159 Rte 66 Gary's Sinclair Station at Gay Parita MO

You can’t help but like Gary the minute you first meet him, his hospitality is becoming well known around the world and certainly on Route 66. He loves the old road and is eager to tell you his stories. We spent a very pleasurable hour visiting with Gary and enjoyed a couple of sodas while we chatted and learnt more about the road ahead of us. Karen and Gary posed for a picture.

172 Rte 66 Gary's Sinclair Station at Gay Parita MO

Then Gary took a picture of Karen and I holding his Route 66 flag.

165 Rte 66 Gary's Sinclair Station at Gay Parita MO

We are both looking forward to our next road trip on Route 66 so that we can stop in and say hi to Gary again. This is a MUST STOP if you are in Missouri driving on Route 66.

We stayed overnight in Springfield Missouri.

To see all of our photos from today, you can click on the link to my FLICKR site.

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