Day 11: Friday, May 10, 2013
Start: Cuba, MO
End: Springfield, MO
Miles Driven Today: 139
Total Miles: 2,036
Today was our first full day on Historic Route 66. We had violent thunderstorms late last night, but the weather gods smiled upon us, and we had a mild day of travel and no rain.
We started the day with a light breakfast at Shelly’s Route 66 Cafe. Right. Light? No. Tom had the Slinger–a full order of biscuits and gravy, topped with hash brown potatoes, a grilled hamburger patty, chili and a fried egg. All this for a whopping $6.95. I had some oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar and a half order of biscuits and gravy. The gravy was by far the best I’ve had in years. Our bill (including two cups of coffee) came out to be a whopping $13. That was the plus. The minus is that there are no anti-smoking laws here in Missouri. Some of the places we visited today reeked of cigarette smoke.
We packed up and started our journey on Route 66. About four miles outside of Cuba, we encountered the Route 66 Outpost in Fanning, home of the World’s Largest Rocker. Of course, we had to stop!
Trading posts were the theme of the day. Right outside of Rolla, we stopped at the Mule Trading Post, home of the Big Hillbilly sign. Carl and Zelma Smith, owners of the Mule, were as gracious and sweet as can be. We chatted about how they bought the place, how they salvaged and refurbished the sign, and how they are spending their “retirement.” They were the sweetest people, and their guest book is about 3″ thick!
Out between Clementine and St. Robert, we traversed through Hooker Cut and Devil’s Elbow. Hooker Cut was once the deepest road cut in Missouri. Devil’s Elbow was a pretty drive through hilly country. We traveled across the Devil’s Elbow Bridge over the Big Piney River. We would have stopped at the Elbow Inn Bar & BBQ, but we were a little full from breakfast!
We loved the open spaces between the towns. Route 66 often parallels I-44, but it also goes inland, through open terrain, farmland and homesteads. It’s a great ride.
We haven’t found many places that we want to explore, but we have still been enjoying the sights and vistas. Rusty bridges, two-lane roads, cows, horses and other livestock…it’s a relaxing way to see the country.
But we also go through towns of all sizes. From the ones that barely make a blip on a map to the larger towns like Lebanon, there’s always something that makes us wonder how people spend their lives. When we were driving through Waynesville, we noticed scores of people lining the road. Many were holding American flags. Flags were also planted on the road. We thought there was going to be some sort of parade. As we made our way, we kept seeing people lining the street. We finally stopped to ask what was happening.
The people were out, waiting for the funeral procession of a local fallen soldier. They were honoring his service. But this wasn’t a small thing. It wasn’t just friends and family. As we drove on, the line of people spread for miles into the next town. It was simple honor for someone who gave his life for his country. It really touched me.
As we went on, we saw a small racetrack and some fun, kitschy places like Redmond’s World’s Largest Gift Shop. Of course, we had to stop. Inside the gift shop, they had “Lucy’s Cadillac” from I Love Lucy. I guess all those Route 66 Souvenirs made someone rich! 🙂
Of course, not all the driving was pleasant. We hit some serious Missouri Gridlock.
We’re now chillaxin’ at the Drury Inn with the pups. We met some fellow road warriors from the UK at the hotel and spent some of the evening chatting with them about their Lost in America plans. It’s nice to meet like-minded travelers on the road!
Tomorrow, we plan on leaving Missouri, skirting the corner of Kansas and making it to Oklahoma. The tentative plan is to make it to Tulsa…but we’ll see what happens!