Friday, August 22, 2003

what we did on our holidays 3: oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day

Springfield, MO/Joplin/Kansas/Miami, OK/Vinita/Tulsa/many little Oklahoma towns/Davenport/Arcadia/Edmond

The third day began with a quest for a money order to pay off the cops back in Bourbon. Tried a bank first, but the over-enthusiastic teller told me that they wouldn't sell me one unless I had an account there. It was the strangest layout I'd ever seen in a bank - all of the officers had desks in the open in the middle of the floor. I wound up at a check-cashing place where (a) no questions were asked, (b) the fee was much less than the bank would have charged and (c) I didn't have to go searching for stamps to mail the darn thing. Once this was taken care (along with a brief stop at a supermarket and a Big Lots), we left town.

Instead of Meramec Caverns or walnut bowls, all of the billboards along I-44 led travellers to Ozark Village. Again, had to see what the fuss was about.

Ozark Village, the Famous Papgain Center

We didn't go in after taking one glance in the window - so much junk crammed in with no room to move. Besides, we were scared by what a "papgain" might turn out to be.

Our last stop in Missouri was Joplin, where Amy bought a stack of cookbooks, taking a 5-4 lead over me. Next came a brief journey through Kansas, which we would have missed completely had we ventured back onto I-44.

Hello Kansas!

Goodbye Kansas!

You're seeing as much of Kansas as we did. The only town 66 goes through is Galena. Before we knew it, we weren't in Kansas anymore.

Oklahoma proved far less tacky than Missouri. One of the first towns was Commerce, which I expected to be buried in memorabilia for its most famous son, 50s Yankees legend Mickey Mantle. There wasn't much on 66 indicating sites, shops, etc. All I noticed was a baseball field in his honour. Next came Miami, with had a beautifully restored movie theatre...

Waylan's Hamburgers

...and a great old hamburger stand sign.

Outside Miami was one of the one of the few surviving "ribbon road" stretches of the highway. Rather than pave the entire road when it was built in the 1920s, a one-lane strip was paved, with gravel on either side of it to allow vehicles to pass. The stretch near Miami (spometimes called "the sidewalk highway") is in lousy shape, but fascinating to drive, especially to see some of the old turns half-buried in grass.

Sidewalk Highway Portion of Route 66

The white lines mark the edges of the paved portion.

God Answers Knee Mail

The biblical billboards disappeared, but odd church signs continued to crop up, like this one near Tulsa.

After a quick bypass of Tulsa, we drove for a long, pleasant stretch along 66. Our stomachs started to rumbled, so we stopped at a BBQ pit in Davenport.

Dan's Bar-B-Que Pit

Another great meal...this place had a BBQ buffet, loaded with smoked delights. One oddball item I fell in love with - pickled okra. The apple cobbler was also delicious.

Odor Street

Next came Arcadia, home to a legendary round barn. It didn't grab our attention, but this street name did. We'd love to know the story behind this moniker. Little could top that, so we called it a day in Edmond, a suburb of Oklahoma City.

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