Tag Archives: Missouri

Wednesday 19th June

What a night. No sleep for us. The campsite was lovely but no shelter, we’ve been lucky enough to be able to camp under pavilions if the weather looks iffy but not tonight. We were just relaxing in our tent about 10pm. When it suddenly went really windy. The tent was bending and contorting this way and that. We had to hold the sides as it was concaving in on us. We could hear crashing and banging all around us as furniture was thrown haphazardly in every direction. Worried that the tent would break, or that something heavy would land on us we packed up our things and waited for a opportunity to get the tent down. It wouldn’t be safe to stay. The rain came and it rained and rained. The site flash flooded it was so hard. We had about 5 minutes to grab the tent down and run for cover.

We sat in the office all night the storm passed at 6am. We left at 6:30am to get some miles in between storms. The blue dot in the photo is where we were.

Goodbye to Missouri today. The last part of Route 66 took us for breakfast in small town Web city that made its money from zinc. Nice old town and breakfast in the diner was delicious.

Next we headed to Joplin the last town on Route 66 in Missouri. On the way a gentleman called Sid beckoned us into his house. He had just made a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies and wanted to show us his origami. He made origami bits and pieces to sell them at markets and on line. He was keen to show us his Route 66 creations and gave me a flower and Mike a lucky camel. Thank you.

On the state line there is a salon Hogs and hot rods. In Kansas prohibition didn’t end until 1948. Because of that, the state line bar was the first and last place to wet your whistle.

Into Kansas over a viaduct which lead us into Galena. The first thing that grabbed our attention was a rather creepy house which gave us both the chills. Galenas murder bordello. Constructed in 1890 as a brothel for the mining company workers. Nancy stefflebeck and her sons killed clients of the bordello, taking all their money and dumped their bodies in nearby mine shafts. It’s believed that they killed over 30 victims. Although they were only convicted of 1 murder a miner called Frank Galbraith.

You can now take tours of the house and it is reported to be haunted and by the look of the outside I can believe it.

On a brighter note we called into Nelsons old Riverton store, 1925 still looks the same and still operating as it did back then with lots of original features.

We also crossed rainbow curve bridge the last remaining marsh arch bridge on Route 66.

Last stop we’re staying in Baxter Springs, motel tonight we need sleep.

A lovely pharmacy and ice cream shop near the motel. Monarch pharmacy and soda fountain shop. If you’re in the area give their milkshakes a try.

Tuesday 18th June

Early start on the road at 6:30am. Visibility was almost zero. A thick heavy fog engulfed the landscape. Lights on, high viz on. We’re going through a stretch of Route that is often referred to as the ghost stretch it has a high level of abandoned towns left since 66 was rerouted to interstate 44. It’s going to be Erie if the mist stays to long.

Not sure what this is about. A bit spooky in the mist.

In a small town Paris springs we find a replica gas station. Gay parita Sinclair station. The original was opened on this site 1930 by gay and Fred Mason it was named after Fred’s wife tragically gay died 1953 and then in 1955 the whole lot was burnt to the ground. New owner Gary has rebuilt and collected lots of memorabilia. There was a giant Route 66 logo painted on the road outside of the garage. The biggest we’ve seen so far.

So we should of done 50 miles today but we found that the straight road to be too fast and didn’t feel safe. we diverted to lovely country roads through stunning scenery a much nicer ride into Carthage. A lovely RV site with a warm welcome 75 miles done. The lady at the desk gave us cold drinks to refresh and the key to the office door to have somewhere comfortable to sit after hours. It also has the nicest cleanest showers and toilet facilities. Made the long day worth it.

The campsite is next door to Route 66 drive in Theatre one of the last remaining drive ins on Route 66. Unfortunately for us no film showing tonight.

Monday 17th June

After yesterday’s inconvenience of having to cycle a further 15 miles, it left us with a choice of mileage today. Do we stick to plan and go to the KOA the over side of Springfield now only 10 miles away, or do we go to the following campsite that we highlighted for tomorrow 60 miles. There is nothing in between.

We wake up early with every intention to go to the second site it’s cheaper and if nice maybe stay 2 nights to have a rest day. Bugger torrential rain it’s hammering it down. The weather forecast says it will clear over at 10 am. Change of plan 10 miles it is we don’t need to check out until 1. I turn over and go back to sleep. 10:58 am we checked out and cycled 3 miles to a diner for brunch.

So we’re still in Springfield not where Homer Simpson lives. Simpsons creator Matt Groening was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. He commented that the fictional Springfield is based on Springfield, Oregon, located south of Portland. Like the Simpson family, the Groenings lived on Evergreen Terrace.

Springfield that is the Birthplace of Route 66. … It was on April 30, 1926 at the Colonial Hotel via telegram that Springfield businessman John T. Woodruff and Oklahoma businessman Cy Avery first proposed U.S. 66 as the name of the new Chicago-to-Los Angeles highway.

It took us about 30 minutes after our long brunch to cycle to the campsite. We spent the rest of the day relaxing. Catching up on washing and routine bike maintenance. We even relaxed in the pool as like the forecast predicted it turned out nice.

After all that cycling and swimming we had built up a appetite so had a pizza delivered to our site. It must of been a holy pizza if the box was anything to go by.

Very nice it was to. So tomorrow we will do the 50 miles let’s hope the weather will be kind.

Sunday 16th June

A comfortable night spent in the motel with the occasional loud thunder clap disturbing our sleep reinforcing the decision to be inside.

Next to the motel is the rocking chair restaurant offering a breakfast buffet. We don’t have far to cycle to the next campsite so decided on a lie in and late breakfast in the restaurant. As to be expected in a buffet we both over eat that should keep us going for the 20 miles to the campsite.

On the road for 11am silly really it’s now in the heat of the day. We used up the last of our sun cream yesterday so first priority is to buy some more. We’ve got through 2 bottles of factor 50 already, but still have really dodgy tan lines. The 1st shop was in Marshfield.

Whilst we were at the shop we met a cycle tourist from Poland he was cycling Route 66 in 6 weeks and using mainly warm showers. Today was his first day back on the bike after a car had hit him a week ago he was covered in grazes and bruises but nothing broken.

Time to say our good byes we buy a subway to eat at the campsite later as it’s a RV park and has no shops nearby. 9 miles to go and the hills are getting less steep

We made it to the RV park just gone 3. We had checked on their web site and it said that they except tents. It’s a big site, lots of open green spaces, picnic benches and has a swimming pool with new toilet/ shower block perfect. Problem we go to the office and ask for 1 night 2 adults in a small tent only to be told that they didn’t except tents. We said to the girl that we had checked on the website so she checked to and agreed but the owners had decided not to except tents anymore. Darn the next campsite along is a kOA 25 miles away. It was going to be our destination tomorrow! It’s going to take us over 3 hours to get there with these hills. We would of got up early if we knew it was going to be a 50 miler.

Ok we’re going to have to find a cheep motel again. The plaza inn Springfield 15 miles away that will do.

The road took us past a camping shop In Strafford. I still haven’t found a replacement pillow so we go in no luck. I’m going to be pillow less for ever. Why can’t I find a inflatable pillow!

The lad I asked was interested in our trip and came out side to look at our bikes. He finished work in 30 minutes and offered us a lift in his truck to the motel bless him. We declined and luckily the last 10 miles seemed to be flat or even slightly down hill. Arrived at the motel 5:30. Not to bad.

Saturday 15th June

Rudely awakened at 5am by a massive thunder clap. Looking out of our tent into a black sky we decided to pack everything away and put the tent down before the rain came. A mad scramble but we did it and took shelter in the toilet block until the storm passed.

Finally at 8am the rain stopped and we got going. Breakfast today was in a truck stop in hazelgreen. We got speaking to a lovely elderly gentleman. He told us about his life, Olympic athlete, Hollywood star and a published poet. Such an interesting man and when we went to pay our bill we were told that he’d already paid. We didn’t have the chance to thank him because he’d left with out telling us. Bless him.

Another hot hilly day, but the climbs aren’t as bad as they were just lots of them.

We passed the Munger moss motel in Lebanon built in 1946 it had the 1st swimming pool in town. It’s still trading now with themed rooms but the pool is long gone.

This weekend Lebanon has a Route 66 show on with a car show,live bands and stalls. We sat and watched the cars go by for a bit. When the bandit and Buford T Justice pulled up next to us.

We did 50 miles in the heat up and down the hills but the nearest campsite is still just over 10 miles away. We’ve had enough so booked into the only motel around budget inn Conway. The clues in the name but more storms are forecast for tonight. We should stay dry.

Friday 14th June

Leaving Rolla passing it’s Stonehenge monument, which basically is a concrete replica kinda reminds me of Milton Keynes! We headed to a town on our map that was marked as having restaurants for our breakfast 10 miles away called newburg. We should of had breakfast in Rolla as we got to newburg and the whole town was deserted and anything that resembled a diner/restaurant was boarded up.Nothing to do but push on.

Our route took us through beautiful pine forest and hooker cut which is a 90 foot deep cut through rock cut back in 1940 at the time of construction was considered to be a miracle. It remained to be the deepest road cut in America for many years.

Breakfast turned into lunch 25 miles after leaving Rolla. We found a smoke house bar just before devils Elbow bridge. A small bar with a unique feel basically full of local pissheads a bit intimidating to walk in. Dark smokey and loud with woman’s underwear hanging from the ceiling. But we were hungry so bravely ordered food, cash only and sat and soaked up the atmosphere!

Straight out of the bar and across the river using the 1923 devils Elbow truss bridge a excellent example of a concrete open spandrel arch bridge.

Leaving great historic sites and beautiful scenery we rejoin the side of the interstate and the Uranus fudge & Entertainment complex. Yep mikes in childish heaven we spent sometime here and yes we brought some fudge

We met a fellow cycle tourist he was going the opposite direction because apparently were going the wrong way! He was from Montreal doing a USA tour and headed home. We wished him safe travels and moved on to our home for the night.

Home tonight is the lamplight lane RV resort. Just passed Waynesville, deep in the ozarks which is a big hunting, fishing and trapping location and apparently moonshine country.

Thursday 13th June

The day started with a uninspired McDonald’s, we needed to use the internet to sort out bits and pieces at home. We also decided to book another motel for tonight as the next campsite on our map was over 50 miles away, to much in these hills.

We passed a treading post outlet in a place called fanning it claimed to have the worlds largest rocking chair.42 feet tall and 20 feet wide.

And it sells over 100 different popcorn flavours countless different fudge flavours. It also carries lots of Route 66 gifts. An enjoyable break in the day.

Were now passing vineyards and passing st James winery opened in 1970, and is now Missouri’s largest. It’s won many awards. It temptingly offers free tastings but neither one of us are big wine drinkers, we wouldn’t be able to tell if its good.

We are staying in Rolla tonight only 24 miles done today. Just outside of Rolla, we stopped for a water break. A guy called us over to where he was working and gave us both a cold bottle of water each. He would love to travel himself but as yet has never left America. I thanked him for the drinks and told him that he was still young enough to go and he should do it. So far we are having a very positive experience and are overwhelmed by people’s generosity towards us. Amazing.

Opposite our motel is a steak and shake family restaurant. We’ve not seen one before, it looked popular judging by the car park so we gave it a try.

“Steak ‘n Shake, a classic American brand, was founded in 1934 in Normal, Illinois by Gus Belt who pioneered the concept of premium burgers and milk shakes. For over 85 years, the company’s name has been symbolic of its heritage. The word “steak” stood for steakburger. The term “shake” stood for hand-dipped milkshakes. Gus was determined to serve his customers the finest burgers and shakes in the business. Today, Steak ‘n Shake remains the “better burger” leader, serving premium 100% beef steakburgers, hand-dipped milkshakes, and thin crispy fries. Steakburgers are made without preservatives or artificial ingredients, topped with fresh produce, and always hand-crafted to order.”

As you can imagine the menu was limited for vegetarians but that’s normal for over here. I had a cheese toastie and thin crispy fries but the selling point for me was the selection of milk shakes.heaven. I chose the Reece’s chocolate peanut butter made with ice cream a cool 900 calories not that I’m counting. Delicious!

Wednesday 12th June

After visiting the caverns, we relaxed at the campsite river it probably was the best location site so far. No electricity, empty just us and nature. Very peaceful.

We reluctantly got up early to climb the mega hill straight out of the campsite and headed for our breakfast at a Denny’s in nearby Sullivan.

A short ride today. We want to keep the distance down all the time it’s hilly. At one point we were so close to the interstate with no crash barriers between us it was a bit unnerving, but most of the time we were following a empty road past more deserted buildings. Or run down looking attractions from years ago.

All along the route every town we go to all have water towers that are a welcome site, you can see them from a far it gives us a good idea of how much further we have to go. Even if we are not going to stay in the town.

So I got to wondering if they were still in use. Apparently they are  In many towns, the local water works couldn’t function without them.  It gets its water from a local reservoir/lake. The town has a pump house at the reservoir which takes in the water and pushes it through the system.  It gets filtered for sediment, and treated to kill bacteria, resulting in a safe supply of drinking water for the town.  But the pumps have a limited capacity, and as with most towns, they were chosen to accommodate the community’s average water demands.  There are times when that demand exceeds the capacity of the pumps to push water through the system.

Almost every morning, any given small town experiences a period of “peak water demand” that exceeds the pumps’ ability to meet.  People are taking showers, brushing their teeth, flushing their toilets…you know your morning routine.  During those times, the water towers kick in and supplement the pumps’ ability to provide water, and they do so using the gravitational pressure of their stored water.  At night, when demand shuts off, they refill themselves.  Thus, the water inside them is constantly being recirculated. Thank you Wikipedia!

Our stop tonight is going to be a motel in Cuba.We can’t find a campsite near enough and the weather has changed it’s now rain storms.

Cuba is full of colourful murals giving it the nickname Route 66 mural city.

We are staying in the wagon Wheel motel built 1935 when the nation was barely out of the depression as a cafe and service station. After ww2 it was purchased by John Mathis who converted it into a motel. John designed the famous Wagon Wheel Neon Sign at his kitchen table changing the name to Wagon Wheel Motel. It is now the oldest continuously operated motel on Route 66. Billy Connolly and Henry Cole both have stayed here and featured it in their travel shows.

Tuesday 11th June

After yesterday discovering how hilly Missouri is we decided not to try to do to many miles in a day. We wanted to visit Meramec Caverns these were only 38 miles from our campsite and there was a campsite at the caverns. Easy decision we would head there.

Feeling more refreshed and well fed, breakfast at st Clair in a family diner back on omelettes. We tackled the hills. Now that we’re out of the city they seem easier and it’s a nice change from the dead flat cornfields of Illinois.

On Route we pass through many closedown businesses and motels all casualties of the interstate by passing towns. I’m sure we will be seeing entire ghost towns soon.

The wild life has changed also we’re now seeing Armadillo unfortunately not a live one yet. And a tortoise casually walked in front of us.

After a few climbs and awesome long downhills (who needs a roller coaster) we arrived at the caverns. Apparently it was used by Jessie James as a hide out. We did the cave tour and like everything touristy it was expensive but I have to say that they are very impressive and I’m glad that we did it.

The campsite is right there next to the caverns so after the tour tent up, shower and back to the caverns for food in their restaurant no more cycling for me today.

Monday 10th June

Well to use one of my husbands sayings what a ball ache of a day. As usual a early start was in order, but we decided to have breakfast 1st as it should be cheaper out of the city. The only place open nearby was a fast food place not even sure what it was called. It was revolting I had what can only be described as a scone made with the entire contents of a salt shaker,filled with plastic pretending to be cheese and something that was supposed to be eggs. Even the cola tasted like cleaning chemicals, we struggled to eat what we could not nice.

Today we were going to cross the Mississippi River and enter our next state Missouri. One of the highlights of the trip being the bridge of chains. It’s a pedestrian and cycle only bridge. One of the longest in the world 1 mile long. It wasn’t to be. The weather has been so bad here that it’s closed due to flooding. Maybe it will open next week the young soldiers guarding the closed bollards helpfully told us.

Ok then the next bridge that we’re allowed to cycle on is 11 miles down the busy road at lest it’s in the right direction. After a couple of miles we managed to get on to a cycle route. We followed that until it suddenly disappeared under water, more floods.

Finally we got across the Mississippi into St. Louis the story was the same that side. Cycle paths along the river are all under water and roads closed due to flooding.

The landscape has changed now as well. Not only are we in a large busy city, it’s hilly. We stopped at the gateway arch but couldn’t go up it today as they are worried about the state of the foundations,because of all the flooding. They are waiting to do an inspection when the floods subsides.

We push out of the city, passed the town hall this was supposed to be a place of historic interest but by this time I couldn’t be bothered to find out more, just needed to get out of the city! several roadies in their racing skin suits wizzed by me as I was huffing up hills and commented on it being a beautiful day well by this point all I could think was stuff your beautiful day up your beautiful Lycra clad arse! It’s to hot for hills how dare they be having fun!

Sorry St. Louis to be fare it looks a nice place to look around, clean and full of interesting buildings but we have had enough. Traffic, hills, heat and stop go at constant traffic lights. Much prefer country roads.

We met a fellow cycle tourer Bill. He was going the opposite direction nearly finished he’s trip. He did Route 66 but for the last week or so he’s been pushing on doing 100 miles a day as he has missed his wife and wants to get home. My husband doesn’t know how lucky he is to have me doing this with him!

A few mega hills later we check into our campsite in a town called 6 flags. That’s definitely me done for the day they’ve got a pool and it’s hot out side but I somehow can’t be bothered. 60 long hot ball ache miles in total.