16 - Route 66 - Leaving Missouri, through Kansas, into Oklahoma
I arrived at Twin Bridges , S.P. this evening...about twenty miles from the borders of Kansas and Missouri.
It rained on and off, mostly on, all day. It was an interesting drive though....I'm really enjoying the Route 66 drive. It makes me think I was born too late sometimes though, I mean imagine the adventure of driving from Chicago to L.A. when it was the ONLY way to go. Staying at motels and eating and roadhouses along the way.
Early this morning, just West of Springfield I saw a lot of commotion in some fields on the north side of 66. Lot's of cars and tents and stuff. I saw a sign that said "Festival Camping" with an arrow pointing down a side road, so I pulled in. A guy was taking money and directing cars. I asked him what was going on and he said it was the Springfield Country Music Festival was going on this weekend. I looked around quickly and decided I would pass. I did take a picture of one group's campsite before I left....It's the first one here, with the big tent and yellow truck....notice the stars and bars hanging from the extra long antenna.
I continued on down Route 66. Passing fields full of cows, funny how the rain never bothers them. 66 paralleled I-44 pretty closely so I could see the billboards and stuff. I had seen a lot of billboards advertising different acts playing in Branson, MO. I've heard things about Branson and I wondered if I shouldn't truck on down there to see it for myself...I would have to make a decision soon as I was approaching Oklahoma. I came to a billboard......"Shoji - Invites you to visit Branson" it read. Well Shoji looked like a nice enough guy....but I took another look at his white sequins jacket and decided I could live a few more years without visiting Branson..sorry Shoji.
I crossed several old bridges on 66 as I passed through Halltown, Phelps, and Avilla. I stopped at Owen's Service Station for a fill up....it said "Full Serve", but I waited and waited and no one ever came out.....actually the place has been boarded up for years.
at "Bryant's Family Restaurant" in Carthage, MO for lunch. The
sign on the door said open from 6am to 2pm...it was about 1:30 so I just
made it. I walked in and sat down at one of about 5 stools at the counter.
A cute girl...probably 25 was behind the counter.
up a little one page local newspaper kind of thing from a stack on the
counter next to me...the "Mornin' Mail" it was called and I
read up on the happenings in Carthage.
York and Osa Welton, of Carthage, were indicted for burglary and larceny,
the offense being taking brass mountings from a mining plant near Webb
City a month or two ago. They have retained D.M. Roper as their attorney."
My food came
The woman who owns the restaurant came in while I was eating with twin boys about 9 years old or so. She started talking to some of the customers. She mentioned to one of them that she had four other kids...."Yep, 23, 20, 17, 12 and these two." she said pointing to the twins sharing a plate of fries, "You want some kids?" she joked. A busy woman I guess.
My waitress came by, "Is everything okay hon'?" God I love that.
I finished up and got my check. I paid.
As I was
getting up and heading for the door the waitress thanked me....
I was out of Missouri before long and crossed into Kansas. Route 66 passes through Southeastern Kansas for about 15 or so miles. Through the small towns of Galena, Riverton, and Baxter Springs. Before I knew it I was in Oklahoma...."Native America" they call it, although almost all of the indian tribes in Oklahoma today are those tribes that were forced to move from the East and Southeast where they originally lived.
The last three pictures below are of remnants of buildings and automobiles who's glory days are long gone....those pictures were taken in and around Quapaw, OK. The one up on blocks was "4-sale" if you're interested.
at Twin Bridges, S.P. in the drizzling rain, just South of Quapaw. I pulled
into the ranger station and talked to the woman behind the counter. She
explained how it worked, I was to pick a site and set up camp, a ranger
would be out to collect my money. Good enough.
out of the ranger station and walked over to a group of these bikers guys
and their wives and girlfriends. They were huddled under a pavilion, out
of the rain. I talked to a few of them for a while. They all had jean
jackets on with huge patches on the back that read "Brothers of the
Third Wheel". Catchy name anyway. They were nice enough guys, although,
as the lady said, they did look pretty rough. I told them what I was doing,
they looked at the van and said they'd like to have the engine to build
I went and set up camp. I parked at a sight right near the Niosho River that runs along the park boundary, I could see it from the back window of the van, about 30 feet away, down a sheer rock cliff. It was racing due to all of the recent rainfall.
I began to cook dinner and a car with two rangers pulled up. I got out and greeted them, we took care of business.
huh?" the one said, "Yer a ways from home."
had stopped by now. After dinner I had the back door open and I was getting
my bed sheet out of the rear cabinet...pitch black outside, night time...and...
"WOOOO HOOOO! YEAH!!!! HA, HA, HA!!!"
It was just
amazing. The loudest thunder, the brightest, biggest lightning bolts ever
and rain, tons of it. I decided I had to shoot some video of this, or
at least get the audio. So I got the camera and rigged it up on the stand
I made for it, ran outside and opened up the back door so I could get
a clean shot and good sound. It was so cool.
I stayed out there for more than an hour. It was wild. There is something I just love about being right in the middle of a Summer storm like that...so close to the rain, but perfectly dry. It was great fun.
As I went to bed I wondered if all this rain could make the river rise enough to wash the van and me away. I didn't think it could, but I did wake up a few times during the night and walk out to see what the river looked like....just in case.
Owen's "Full Serve"