Day 2 on the Mother Road…

IMG_5887Thursday, September 14, 2017

Lunch and gas in Springfield, Missouri. (Not a very pleasant sounding combination, if taken in the wrong context!) Nevertheless, we took care of both “necessaries” and worked our way through the city that held quite a bit of early Route 66 history.

And soon we were once again out on the old highway and traveling through lovely bucolic surroundings.

This delightful stretch of road offered old barns and remnants of various businesses of yesteryear. The “Modern Cabins” neon sign caught our attention at Greystone Heights, where we pulled into the lot and said hello to the nice lady who told us to take as many photos as we’d care to.

A few miles from here, we came upon Gay Parita Sinclair Station at Paris Springs. This stop was another of the many like it where we met the folks in charge and were appreciative of their generosity and overall kindness. Carolyn enjoyed cold watermelon, while I refreshed with cold ice water. The photos here show what a wonderful piece of Route 66 it is. A must visit for travelers!

Our first detour came a little later as a bridge was completely out, routing us several miles south. Nothing to do but follow the orange detour signs and enjoy the ride.

We worked our way back north and rejoined Route 66 just outside of Carthage at a Flying W Store and gas station. We stopped here to snap photos of the unique piece of art on the corner of the lot: the “Crap Duster,” a flying manure spreader! We learned that this unique artwork had been done by artist Lowell Davis, a local guy known for creating wonderful things!

The entire area seemed to be full of terrific Route 66 “stuff.” Old motel signs, remains of motels themselves, gas stations, etc. And we couldn’t wait to see what was ahead in the town of Carthage.

And sure enough, we were soon face to face with a classic Route 66 motel, Boots Court, famous for its neon and architecture. We could see that it was open for business and even gave a thought to get a room there for the night, but we still had plans to make it to Joplin before stopping.

We rolled on, and were in Joplin by the time we’d designated our daily stopping time: 4:30. By this time, we were both a bit road “weary” and ready to stop and unwind and update our writing. Carolyn was sending daily “update” e-mails to a large group of friends from home, and I was scribbling in my little orange notebook. (Which rests beside me as I put these blog posts together.)

After some reconnoitering to get our bearings in another new city, we found a nice place to spend the night. The Econolodge offered just what we needed. Clean room, swimming pool, complimentary breakfast, and good location to where we’d pick up Route 66 in the morning. After a wonderful steak dinner at the nearby Longhorn Steakhouse, we returned to our motel. Carolyn wrote her update; I swam.

Realizing that we were really and finally doing this trip, I felt a sense of adventure as to what lay ahead, while at the same time thinking back to the wonderful places, people, and things we’d come across these first two days. What a wonderful trip it is—and will be!

The Grandsons & Lincoln: Our Field Trip…

The grandsons meet the Lincolns

I write this today full of wonderful memories from just twenty-four hours ago, when the wife and I took our two grandsons, Jackson and Matthew, on a “field trip” to Springfield to visit the Lincoln Presidential Museum. I had never been there previously, but Carolyn was a year or so ago, so she was familiar with the logistics of our destination. Right up front, I can honestly say that I loved the whole day, even the three-hour drive each way, and would go back again sometime.

We had thought it a good idea to take the boys there during their spring break, and it worked out very well as they stayed overnight with us, and we were able to get up early and get on the road in fine fashion. A quick “detour” to Dunkin’ Donuts for early morning fortification and nourishment, and then it was on to I-88 to I-39 (southbound) and then to I-55 to Springfield. All went well with only one other stop at a rest area near Funk’s Grove (a very well maintained rest area at that) full of Route 66 memorabilia and artifacts on display.

The weather was warm with all the trappings of late spring the farther south we travelled. The two boys enjoyed passing the time with their game “machines,” and the arguments were held to a minimum throughout the course of the drive. Since I was driving, I really didn’t know what the back seat was like, only aware of the sounds from that area, but all seemed in good shape just the same.

When we arrived shortly after 11 a.m., we had no trouble locating the museum or the parking nearby. Parking turned out to be quite simple and only a short walk over to the entrance to the museum. Before we entered, it was fun kidding with the two grandsons and helping them understand exactly what this part of American history was all about.

Jack, a kindergartner, displayed an amazing interest in many things—particularly the Civil War portion of Lincoln’s life. There were some fabulous movies and presentations that blended modern technology with factual stuff (e.g.-“Ghosts in the Library”) that we all found to be excellent. Matt, just four-years-old, took in things and was very attentive and well-behaved. He had the misfortune of having a large cup of Coke spill on him, thanks to a sudden wind gust while we ate outside the Subway restaurant, but he took it well and didn’t mind the wet and sticky condition too much. It could only happen to him!

As it always seems to happen, the time went way too quickly—signs that the day was a happy success. On our way out of Springfield, we found the Oak Ridge Cemetery, where Lincoln’s tomb is located. At this point, Matt was sound asleep in the back, so I stayed in the car and let the wife and Jack go rub Abe’s statue nose for good luck and to see the tomb itself. I think he and Grandma had a fun time doing that. Soon, we were headed north for our journey back to northern Illinois. It was one of those occasions where one still felt very good about it twenty-four hours later, proof that our little trip must have been good!…CortlandWriter