Route 66 – Cuba to Springfield

Day 11: Friday, May 10, 2013
Start: Cuba, MO
End: Springfield, MO
Miles Driven Today: 139
Total Miles: 2,036

Historic Route 66 - Cuba MO

Historic Route 66 in Cuba, MO

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.

The Slinger

The Slinger at Shelly’s Route 66 Cafe in Cuba, MO

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!

World's Largest Rocker

World’s Largest Rocker – Route 66 Outpost

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!

Mule Trading Post - Route 66

Mule Trading Post on Route 66

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!

Devil's Elbow Bridge

Devil’s Elbow Bridge

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.

The Open Road

Historic Route 66 appeals to those who love the open road…and more

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.


Bridge on the way to Springfield

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! 🙂

I-44 Speedway

I-44 Speedway in Lebanon, MO

Lucy's Cadillac

Lucy’s Cadillac at Redmond’s “World’s Largest Gift Shop”

Of course, not all the driving was pleasant. We hit some serious Missouri Gridlock.

Missouri Gridlock

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!

Jasmine helps me blog

Jasmine helps me blog

Racing Around

Day 4
Visited: Perry and Cumberland Counties, Newville, Wormleysburg
Miles Driven: None (passengers)

We decided to spend another day with Bob and Sharon rather than meandering half-way to Cincinnati. We’ll have a long day of driving tomorrow, but we didn’t want to cut our visit short. And boy, am I glad that we decided to stay.



Bob is a former race car driver and car builder. He built this Cobra by himself, and I was fortunate enough to be taken for a ride around the back roads of Duncannon.



WOW does not capture how much fun it was to ride in this custom sportster. We drove through tree-lined roads in the warm sunshine and listened to the roar of the engine. The four-part strap made me feel like a passenger in a race car. All along the way, people stopped to look at this magnificent piece of machinery. It was a fine, fine morning!

Waggoners Gap

What a view!

What a view!

After my joy ride, we all decided to take another drive. We drove up to Waggoners Gap with a view of both Perry and Cumberland counties. When we stopped to look a the sadly obstructed view (chain link fence is my nemesis), a couple stopped to let us know that there was a trail up to a vista that would give us a view of both sides of the mountain. We hiked up the very short trail and found a well-groomed area with a picnic area and a stone amphitheater above the unobstructed view of Cumberland county.

We enjoyed the view and the sunshine (a perfect day!) and then headed down into the valley. Sharon had brought her newly-purchased Quilt Store directory, and we found the Honey Bee Quilt Shop in Newville. This was the third quilt shop in two days…what a treat! Sharon and I had a ball, and the boys were entertained by the husband of the owner. The shop was in the basement of the owner’s home. Needless to say, Sharon was tickled pink!

Another day, another great drive…followed by a waterfront dinner at the Rock Bass Grill. We leave tomorrow morning, but we still have another night around the dining room table. By far, this has been my favorite part of the visit–catching up with good friends.

Amish Country

Day 3
Visited: Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse, PA
Miles Driven: None (passengers)

In the heart of Amish Country

In the heart of Amish Country

Today was absolutely beautiful. Bob and Sharon took us to Amish Country–specifically to Bird-in-Hand and to Intercourse (which caused a lot of sniggering over my FourSquare check in).

We started out on our food and shopping odyssey at Smile Spinners in Marysville to work up a hearty appetite. The boys opted to stay in the truck. Smart men! 🙂

We had lunch at the Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant and ate our way across the Smorgasbord spread. Ham balls, broasted chicken, chicken pot pie (really, chicken & dumplings) and Shoo Fly pie were the staples. After we waddled out of the place, we went on to Intercourse to shop at The Old Country Store and the accompanying Quilt Museum. Lots of great quilts, fabrics and handmade Amish crafts. We also visited Kitchen Kettle Village and sampled the handmade jams, jellies and pickles made there (not easy to do on a full stomach).

Buggy TimeWe then drove around the area, seeing the Amish and Mennonite farmers tilling their fields, traveling with their families in horse-drawn buggies…everything you would expect in this idyllic part of America. The sun was shining, the conversation and the company were wonderful, and we just had great day immersed in a different culture and a piece of our country’s history.

Amish CountryWe are going to stay here until Friday morning instead of leaving tomorrow. We’ll have to make some good time to our next stop, but it will be well worth the extra time we can spend with Bob and Sharon.

Corning Museum and Central PA

Day Two
Start: Corning, NY
End: Duncannon, PA
Miles Driven: 157


Bob – He doesn’t bite (very often)

What a lovely smile!

Doesn’t Sharon have a lovely smile!

We’re sitting here in Duncannon, PA, sipping cold, frosty beverages and greatly enjoying the hospitality and company of our friends, Bob and Sharon. We met Bob and Sharon a number of years ago during our (then) annual trek to Maui, and got to know them from years of great evening conversations around the stone table, soft breezes fanning the friendship. And here we are in their home, picking up on those conversations again.

We had another great day. We started out at the Corning Museum of Glass. If you thought that Corning was just about Corningware, you are sadly mistaken. From Thomas Edison’s light bulb to the most wonderful art glass, Corning’s history is fascinating, and their collection of glass is beyond imagination. From millefiori canes depicting Egyptian kings to contemporary sculpture, the HUGE collection is magnificent and somewhat overwhelming! We watched the Hot Glass demo (the first vase broke!), the lampwork demo and the Breaking Glass show (HINT: Volunteer to break the glass and get a free figurine–I got a penguin) and went through the galleries. After a few hours, we were glassy-eyed (yeah, a bad pun) and started on our trek down to Duncannon.

Swirly bowl

Swirly bowl

Chihuly Sculpture in the CMOG lobby

Chihuly Sculpture in the CMOG lobby

The drive to Duncannon was pleasant. Route 15 is a four-lane semi-highway (and sometimes local two-lane road) through pretty country. When you think of PA, you think of the urban areas…but the rolling hills and the drive along Susquehanna River made for another pleasant journey. Of course, there were sights that made us both laugh and scratch our heads–the Nipple Convalescent home, the propensity for Adult Bookstores…hmmmm. We did have a great lunch at Fry Bros. Turkey Ranch Restaurant (truck stop decor, the best Turkey Vegetable Soup I’ve had anywhere) in Trout Run, PA, and an even more fabulous dinner thanks to Sharon.

We’re now sitting around the dining room, once again sharing good conversation and laughs. Tomorrow, we are going to visit Amish country and go to a restaurant that serves ham balls. When in Rome…

Another great day in Paradise, USA.

– Margaret

P.S. Any grammatical or spelling errors are directly attributable to the Vodka Cranberry beverages coursing through my bloodstream as I type.

Our Adventure Begins

On The Road

We’re Movin!

Well, we’re on the road! At 9:30 this morning, we finished packing the car and headed for the open road! Our first stop will be Corning, NY. We’ll get to the motel sometime this evening (depending on how much we want to stop, if we see anything fun along the way) and then spend a couple of hours at the Corning Museum of Glass tomorrow morning. If it’s as fascinating as we hope, we’ll probably stop by on the way back. They have hands-on classes (I always wanted to try lampwork) that would be fun!

We’ll leave Corning after lunch and head to PA to visit our friends Bob and Sharon near Harrisburg. We want to visit Amish country and see the sights…and have some time to visit with good friends.

I can’t believe the trip is finally here! Stay tuned for some fun and adventure!

(Posted via my iPad in the car…isn’t technology wonderful?)

– Margaret

Tell Us Where to Go!

US road map

Not much on the agenda…and we like it that way!

Okay, so that title is a LITTLE funny, isn’t it? 🙂

We have lots of books that showcase ‘places to see before we die’ (ahem), spectacular drives, fun stuff on Route 66, etc. But I think the best kinds of places are those that have been experienced first-hand by people you know.

Was that trading post on the way to the Grand Canyon extra special? Do you love a restaurant in Santa Fe–so much so that you HAVE to go there every time you visit? Is Carhenge all it’s cracked up to be? Let us know YOUR ‘must sees.’ Perhaps we’ll stumble over to it just to get a kitschy picture next to it (posted on this blog with a shout out to you).

Tell us what (and where) you love to visit. We love unusual, beautiful, uncrowded and just plain fun.

And just for you Bob Becker, I have removed the comment restrictions. No more pledging of your firstborn child to leave a comment here!