Our (partial) Route 66 trip – Day 1

 Daily, Illinois, Missouri, Route 66 States  Comments Off on Our (partial) Route 66 trip – Day 1
Jun 222011

The mission was to get from Chicago to Scottsdale as fast as possible – with minimal stops. Now – add in the fact we follow Route 66 for 85% of the drive – there are several people and places I have to / want to see, and 1800 miles is tough on just about anyone – ‘as fast as possible’ turned into ‘whenever we get there….’

I started our trip by making a quick stop over to the Sprauge Super Station in Normal IL to say ‘hi’ to Terry Ryburn and check on her progress with the station.

She updated me and we walked around the property for 20 minutes as she was pointing out what still had to be done. She mentioned the Route 66 Association of Illinois were coming out in Aug to do some interior work – if you want to help them / her in Aug – contact them association – I am sure they would love for you to stop out! If you want to help by sending a few dollars to further her progress – click HERE for more information.

After I said my ‘good-byes’ – we headed south. Now – I will almost NEVER travel throughout the southern part of Illinois on the route without stopping in and seeing Rich Henry at Henry’s Rabbit Ranch! Although he was closed and he was running around bar-b-queing he took 15 minutes and spoke to Juliana about the property, Big Red and Montana. She enjoyed the time and thought Rich was nothing but a ‘sweet man’.

So, for the first time of all the times I have been at Rich’s place, I hoped on the Giant Rabbit and took a picture!

We continued our way thru St. Louis and stopped the night in Springfield MO. We wanted to stop short of Joplin so we can tour it in the daytime.

Low and behold – we listening to air raid sirens and the hotel asked everyone to gather in a conference room for the fear of possible approaching tornados.

All was good – for the time and we decided to turn in and in the morning drive the 60 minutes to Joplin to check out the damage.
More on that tomorrow…

Compelling article with ‘Before and After’ pics of Joplin after the Tornado.

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on Compelling article with ‘Before and After’ pics of Joplin after the Tornado.
Jun 022011

I stumbled upon this site from England and it is the best one – by far – to show the ‘Before and After’ pics of the devistation of the tornado that hit Joplin, MO.

Reports have it although close to 1/3 of the town was hit – not too much damage was done to houses and buildings along Route 66 – but at the same time – it still leaves you in disbelief on the amount of fractured lives is still remaining.

Most folks who have never been through or even affected by a tornado cannot imagine the destruction one of these could bring, and the damage it can leave behind.

Click HERE for the article.

Civil War Murals on Route 66 in Cuba, Mo.

 Missouri  Comments Off on Civil War Murals on Route 66 in Cuba, Mo.
May 102011

People usually don’t think of Route 66 in conjunction with the Civil War, but as the U.S. commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Cuba, Missouri, known as the “Route 66 Mural City” can boast a Civil War attraction.

As part of its outdoor mural project, Viva Cuba, a community betterment organization, commissioned 12 outdoor murals along the Route 66 corridor. One of these is actually a series of Civil War scenes of the Battle of Pilot Knob a Missouri battle that began when Confederate General Sterling Price attacked Fort Davidson, under the charge of Union General Thomas Ewing.

When the clever Union soldiers snuck out of the Fort under cover of darkness rather than surrender, the chase was on. After blowing up the fort so that ammunition and supplies that were left behind would not fall into Confederate hands, Union troops fled cross-country.

The Confederates chased the Union soldiers across the Huzzah River near Steelville, to Leasburg, where the Union soldiers planned on escaping by train. However, Confederate troops burned train tracks in the nearby towns of Bourbon and Cuba, thus trapping the soldiers in Leasburg. With Confederate troops bearing down on them, the Union soldiers once more thought that the end was near. Leasburg and Bourbon are also Route 66 towns that have played their roles in the Civil War.

Then Union troops from Rolla arrived to save the day, and the troops were able to get to Rolla and safety. It is said that the grateful troops danced and sang, “Rally round the Flag Boys” when the rescuing troops arrived.

It is the Battle of Pilot Knob and the following events that the Viva Cuba organization hired Oregon artist Don Gray to depict in its series of Civil War murals on Buchanan Street, just off Route 66 in Cuba.

The striking murals are a great attraction for Route 66 travelers to visit during the 2011 Sesquicentennial Anniversary of America’s Civil War. The Crawford County Historical Society Museum in Cuba is located on N. Smith Street off Route 66 to provide more information on the Civil War and Route 66.

So, this summer you can get your history, and your kicks, on Route 66.

Written by Jane Reed, media coordinator for theViva Cuba Mural Project.

Carthage group organizing to preserve Route 66 motel

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on Carthage group organizing to preserve Route 66 motel
Apr 302011

The Boots Motel is for sale, and a Carthage group is looking for a way to preserve the iconic building on Route 66.

A group met recently at the Carthage Chamber of Commerce to discuss whether there is interest in trying to ensure the building remains a Carthage landmark.

“It was pretty much unanimous that they want to see more preservation along Route 66 in Carthage. Since the Boots is for sale, it would be the first target,” said Wendi Douglas, executive director of the Carthage Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The initial meeting on Friday was organized by Lora Phelps, a vice president at UMB Bank.

“A lot of people feel the Boots should be preserved and that it could be utilized as a way to bring more people to Carthage,” she said. “We wanted to get a group together, and now we’re discussing ideas and exploring our options.”

By Susan Redden – Globe Staff Writer The Joplin Globe

20 Things to do in Cuba, Missouri…Route 66 Mural City

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on 20 Things to do in Cuba, Missouri…Route 66 Mural City
Mar 242011

Bette Davis, Harry Truman, and Amelia Earhart visited Cuba Missouri, why don’t you?

Attractions and Activities to enjoy while visiting Cuba, Missouri…

1. 12 Outdoor Murals along the Route 66 corridor through Historic Uptown Cuba tell the story of Cuba’s history from 1857 when it was founded.
Get a mural brochure at the Visitor Center at Exit 208 on I-44 or in area restaurants and businesses.

2. Spend some time at the History Museum/Veterans Memorial/Public Library at Recklein Commons on Smith Street two blocks off Route 66.

3. Visit Antique Malls/Resale Shops

4. Enjoy Specialty Shops such as Three Mile Creek, home of Missouri’s Largest Bed Frame and custom lodge/western furniture.

5. Cruise Historic Route 66 through Cuba.
Visit the Historic Landmark Wagon Wheel Motel & Connie’s Shoppe for photos of the oldest motel on Route 66.
See the 1931 Phillips 66 Station at the intersection of Hwy. 19 and Route 66.

6. Spend some time at the Crawford County Fair in July. George Jones will be performing in 2011.
Located at Hood Park, just off Route 66. Hood Park is also a location for walking and biking.

7. Take a photo at the Guinness World Record Largest Rocking Chair, “A Route 66 Wonder” on the site of Fanning Outpost US 66 General Store and Archery 4-Plex Center with indoor and outdoor ranges, including one 3D range.

8. The Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center located at Exit 208 on I-44 offers coffee, water, clean rest rooms, friendly staff, and a lot of information. Pick up the latest Viva Cuba t-shirt while you are there.
Information on local businesses, events, and activities is available. You can find information on area church services at the Visitor Center.
In October, 2011 there will be a Civil War Reenactment at nearby Leasburg.

9. Eat at one of Cuba’s independently owned restaurants. MO Hick and Frisco’s are only two. See the complete list on the Chamber of Commerce website.

10. Parks, a swimming pool, and bike trails are available.

11. Cuba Fest the 3rd Weekend in October is small town Missouri at its best. Free narrated Trolley Tours of the Murals are available as well as a Sunday Cemetery Tours at Kinder Cemetery.

12. In season the Drive-In Theatre near the Visitor Center on Hwy. 19 offers a glimpse of days past with first run movies.

13. The Cuba Lakes Golf Course offers a two lake course that can be a challenge.

14. An 1873 Train Replica and Painted Traffic Control Boxes in the Viva Cuba Garden provides a relaxing stop while walking the mural route.

15. Floating, camping, outdoor sports at nearby Ozark area rivers are enjoyed by many visitors each year.

16. There are Industrial Enterprise Parks to Grow Your Business if you are thinking of relocating to a convenient Midwest location with a lot to offer.

17. Pick up a brochure at the Visitor Center at the I-44 Overpass for more information on some of Cuba’s historical buildings.

18. See Other public art throughout Cuba. Area business have added their own murals both inside and outside of their businesses.

19. Hayes Shoe Store on Route 66 (Smith and Washington) has two Robert Wadlow Shoes on display. Robert Wadlow was known as the “Giant of Alton.” The store is also the site of the Prosperity Corner Mural.

20. Visit the September Lions Club Car Show in the historic district. Visit the area murals at the same time.

If that isn’t enough, you can visit nearby Steelville for the Meramec Music Theatre shows or see a concert at the historic Wildwood Lodge like you’ve never seen one before. Or you can visit one of the Cuba Livestock Sales to experience a little bit of agriculture in Mid-Missouri.

You can click HERE to go to the Cuba MO Murals website to see pictures and get more information,

Route 66: Preserving an 85-Year History along the Mother Road

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on Route 66: Preserving an 85-Year History along the Mother Road
Feb 172011

In 1926, Springfield became the Route 66’s Birthplace

Route 66 would have turned 85 this year. In 1926, pioneers of the east-west corridor officially named it ‘Route 66’ at a meeting in Springfield, Mo.

It was decommissioned in 1985, but the mother road still brings in tourists from across the globe.

“I wonder myself, what keeps bringing people back and what people find so exciting and intoxicating about this road,” said photography Michael Campanelli.

Campanelli travels the route as often as he can, snapping photos. Along the way, he promotes his work and photo exhibits.

He drove the road for the first time in 2002, and says he still isn’t sure what he loves about the road.

“To me, it’s the freedom just to get out in America and be able to drive around,” said Campanelli.

Whatever the reason, Route 66 lives on.

“You’ll find yourself coming back, and back, and back again,” says Gary Turner, owner of the Gay Parita Sinclair Station.

When the major 4-lane highways went in, Route 66 disappeared in pieces. In southwest Missouri, many of the buildings are disappearing, too. Run-down, deteriorating buildings dot the sides of the decommissioned highway.

As America changes, so does its landscape.

“The historic buildings that we have, that’s the fabric of our community. If they’re gone, the fabric of our community is gone,” said David Eslick, with the Route 66 Association of Missouri.

Not all of the buildings are forgotten. There’s been a recent resurgence of interest in the mother road.

Like Turner’s Sinclair station.

“It’s just my dream,” said Turner.

Turner rebuilt a gas station on his property in 2006, after the original burned down in 1955.

“It’s the greatest thing i ever did in my life,” says Turner. “It’s not a duplicate of the original gas station. It’s just my idea of what a 1930 gas station would look like.”

Now, Turner spends most of his days greeting visitors who stop in at the station. A quick thumb through his guest book shows visitors from across the country and around the globe.

That interest in Route 66 is good news for its official birthplace: Springfield, Mo. In 1926, at a meeting in downtown Springfield, pioneers of the route penned a telegraph, officially dubbing the highway “Route 66.”

In its hey-day, the road linked rural America to two major u-s cities: Los Angeles and Chicago. Now, much of it is still drive-able, just off the main route. In Missouri, most of Route 66 runs along-side Highway 44, criss-crossing it along the way.

“You’ll be driving along on the interstate, and you’ll see a Route 66 sign right there by the side of the road,” says Eslick.

Signs still direct drivers where to go to “get their kicks…”

Route 66 never died. It’s going to get better and better as we go. There’s hundreds of people on Route 66 that’s working on it now,” says Turner.

Copyright © 2011, KSPR-TV

“Route 66” Summerfest in Rolla, Missouri

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on “Route 66” Summerfest in Rolla, Missouri
Feb 152011

June 3rd, 4th, and 5th are the dates for this year’s “Route 66” Summerfest in Rolla, Missouri.

This is the 16th year for this event, which is held on the first weekend in June each year. It was originally started to promote downtown Rolla but it has evolved into an area wide celebration for all ages to promote old Route 66 and the beginning of summer. The weekend begins on Thursday evening where eligible ladies compete at the Rolla Middle School Auditorium for the honor of being crowned “Miss Route 66”. All single girls from Phelps or any of the surrounding counties, currently enrolled in school, and between the ages of 15 and 18 are encouraged to participate. You must have your registration in however no later than May 10th.

Friday morning portions of downtown are closed as food vendors and musicians set up for the evening’s festivities. At 4:00 Friday afternoon hundreds of classic cars and motorcycles arrive at the St. James Visitor Center to show off their cars and prepare to “Cruise Route 66”. At the same time, back in downtown Rolla, the cooks for the annual Association of United States Army (AUSA) picnic will be working hard to prepare the evening meal for AUSA members and anyone else who supports the military. Tickets are $8 which covers all food and drinks.

At 6:00 Friday evening the classic cars gathered in St. James will begin their cruise down old Route 66. They will bring with them all of the queen candidates, one of which will be crowned the 2010 Miss Route 66. Bring your lawn chairs for the 7:00 crowning ceremony and stay for the “drive-in” movie that evening. Also, on Friday is the charity poker run for all you motorcycle enthusiasts and skateboarding events for the kids.

Saturday morning you’ll find coffee and doughnuts in the food court, the craft festival on 9th Street, the classic car show on Pine Street and the motorcycle show on 8th Street. In addition, there are a ton of things to do for the kids. There will be bouncy games, pony rides, barrel train, face painting, commercial games, and as always, the giant sand pile. And don’t forget all of the great food all day.

Again this year we’ll have the traveling interactive display from SCOPE Science Exhibits, which has been a big hit for the curious of all ages. They will also be bringing several Seqways which can be rented for those willing to take a chance on this new mode of transportation.

As always, there are several sporting events throughout the day. Beginning at 8:00am at Oak Meadow Country Club is the TOUR-de-PHELPS BICYCLE RIDE to St. James and back. This is a scenic and relatively easy 12 mile round trip ride for the whole family with plenty of stops and water along the way. Also beginning in the morning is the annual DOUBLES TENNIS TOURNAMENT at Ber Juan Park. For the younger ones, there are BICYCLE AND TRICYCLE RACES in front of Meeks Lumber. Again we’ll have the DOWNHILL DERBY at 8th and Pine and the FIRE TRUCK PULL at in front of Meeks Lumber and MFA. You’ll want to start right away with your kids or grandkids building your cars for this non-motorized race, similar to a soap box derby. Both Friday and Saturday we will have the skateboard park open with many games and prizes and a professional exhibition Saturday at 3:00.

As the day wanders into evening, the festival kicks into high gear again. At 5:00pm the classic cars and motorcycles drive into the festival grounds to be a part of the evening’s activities. At 6:00pm there is the ever popular “burn out contest” where drivers compete to see who can generate the most smoke and crowd appeal. At 8:00pm the Saturday musical entertainment begins with the St. Louis band, Fanfare. This is one of those shows that you definitely don’t want to miss.

This is just a preview of some of the events which make up the annual “Route 66” Summerfest. Even if you go through the entire web page, www.route66summerfest.com, you won’t grasp all that goes on during this weekend. You just have to be there!! For information not on the web page you may call 573-341-2562.

Growing up on Route 66

 Daily  Comments Off on Growing up on Route 66
Feb 142011

Newberger Joe Kavale’s boyhood home was steps away from the famous byway.

When Newberg’s Joe Kavale was growing up in southwest Missouri, he was surrounded by his future. He just didn’t know it.

For starters, there was the highway in front of his parents’ small business.

This wasn’t just any highway. It was Route 66, the “Mother Road,” America’s Main Street, 2,400 miles of concrete stretching through eight states and three time zones, twisting and turning its way from Grant Park in Chicago to the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica, Calif.

And even though it was always a two-way road, Route 66 was never about going east, it was always about going west. The Okies of the Great Depression knew this. So did songwriter Bobby Troup, who penned his immortal ode to travel and the American automobile, “Route 66,” while on a trip from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles in 1946.
As for Joe Kavale (pronounced Kuh-vail), he came west in 1988, moving to Newberg in 2007 after a career as a naval aviator. He now works as assistant project manager for Springbrook Properties.

Joe’s parents, Jerry and Beatrice (“Bea”), owned a gas station. Inside, the couple also carried a small inventory of groceries, the entire enterprise a precursor to the modern convenience store.

Behind the station was a small motor court of six cabins. The property was three acres in size, which also included the family home.

As he got older, Joe would sometimes help his mom clean the cabins after the overnighters had departed, without a clue that one day he would be a part of the team hired to assist the Austin family in designing and building the Allison Inn and Spa.

Finally, there was this small gravel road that sat just to the side of the Kavale property. This precursor is downright spooky.

“I used it to walk to an elementary school that was down where the road came to a dead end,” Joe remembered in an interview done earlier this week in a local restaurant. He then delivered the punch line: “Today, it’s known as the ‘Oregon Road.’”Route 66 has become, as travel historian Michael Wallis likes to describe it, a symbol of America before it became generic. It was a time when the person who served you a piece of pie probably baked it, when motels didn’t take reservations, when doctors made house calls. There were no diet drinks or cell phones. Gas station attendants washed your windshield and fixed flats. Waitresses winked at your kids and yelled at the cook. It was America before color TV.

Joe doesn’t remember any of this. He shrugs off any attempts to make the famous highway more than just a road. What he does remember are parents who worked very hard to make enough income to provide for their two children, he and his older sister Pat.

“Dad worked at the station. When it came time to eat, he and mom would trade places. The price of gas varied from 18 (to) 21 cents a gallon. Four of the cabins were single room units, two of the cabins had two rooms each. The smaller ones were $2 a night, the larger ones $3.50. They were without bathrooms. Separate washrooms close by provided his-and-her showers and toilets.”

“Our groceries never did catch on,” he continued. “Too much competition in the nearby towns. Also, some customers would take advantage of us and leave without paying, especially if it was a group so large my father couldn’t keep track of who had paid for what.”

“One time, the store became so crowded he locked the front door until everyone had paid. He eventually did away with the groceries and got a beer license, which, to be honest, saved the business.”
Of Czechoslovakian descent, Jerry and Bea lived in Chicago before World War II. Pat was born there in 1941, Joe in 1946. Serving in the Navy during the war, Jerry returned home to the Windy City to resume his pre-war job as a policeman. It was then he realized he was in the wrong profession.

“Dad didn’t like working for someone else,” Joe explained. “He dreamed of being his own boss. In 1948, he saw an ad in the newspaper that sent him on a 500-mile trip into the heart of rural Missouri.”
   The location was halfway between the towns of Lebanon and Phillipsburg, about 167 Route 66 miles from St. Louis.
   The terms were unique: a family that owned a gas station and small motor court was willing to trade for a home in the Chicago area. To Jerry Joe, this was his dream come true.

“So we moved,” Joe said. “I was 18 months old. My dad renamed the business, ‘Chicago Court.’ The name stayed until the late 1950s, when it became ‘Jerry’s.

“At that time, Interstate 44 replaced U.S. 66 and we were bypassed. Motorists no longer stopped like they used to. I could have stretched out in the middle of the highway at night, looked up at the stars, and not worried about being hit. An embankment nearby, which blocked the view of our store from I-44, made things worse. It was tough on my parents. In 1960 they closed the motor court.” he concludes. “Dad tried everything to stay afloat, the beer license being part of that. In 1973 it was over. He and mom moved to Waynesville, Mo., where my father took a job working at the airport at Fort Leonard Wood.”

“They gave me one of the cabins to use as a chemistry lab,”

By this time Joe had also moved, to Annapolis, Md., and the Naval Academy, where he graduated with the Class of 1968. He then served 20 years as a helicopter pilot.
He married Jan Heynderickx of Mount Angel in 1984 and retired from the Navy in 1988. In 2008, the couple adopted three small girls.
At bedtime, he sometimes tells his daughters “little boy stories,” the adventures of a young lad who once grew up on the shoulders of America’s most famous highway.

Sweet dreams.

By George Edmonston Jr., Newberg Graphic correspondent

Webb City Route 66 Information Center

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on Webb City Route 66 Information Center
Feb 022011

It was once just another abandoned gas station in Missouri. The roof had caved in, the property needed cleaned. Like many of these sites, it could have sat vacant for many months or years.

Webb City officials saw potential in the building and instead of watching it slowly deteriorate, wanted to get it back to a productive use. But, there were a few hurdles.

The biggest hurdles were hidden from sight: underground water and soil contamination and six underground storage tanks.

Webb City officials contacted the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Tanks Section for advice about how to clean up and redevelop the abandoned gas station. The department helped coordinate the site investigation and the removal of petroleum contamination. Work at the site was funded through the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Fund, provided by an Environmental Protection Agency grant.

During the cleanup approximately 165 gallons of used motor oil, 43 tons of petroleum contaminated soil and more than 4,000 gallons of impacted water were removed from the site. Six underground storage tanks were also removed.

With the site no longer posing an unacceptable health risk, the city was able to move forward with redeveloping the site.

Webb City officials held a grand opening on Nov. 16 at the redeveloped abandoned gas station that is now a Route 66 Information Center. The center will house a memorabilia museum in the former garage bays and the city’s Chamber of Commerce Offices. The site will also be used for functions such as historic car shows and a fall festival.

Abandoned underground storage tanks pose environmental threats and economic development barriers for the redevelopment and reuse of properties. Often, these sites sit vacant for many years, not only being an eyesore for the community but continuing to be a possible environmental threat.

Like with Webb City, the department can help remove these environmental threats and economic barriers at abandoned gas stations or other properties that may have actual or perceived contamination.

More information about underground storage tanks in Missouri and what the department is doing to prevent and clean up leaks from tanks is available on the Tanks Section’s webpage.

Joplin Route 66 Swap Meet 11th Annual

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on Joplin Route 66 Swap Meet 11th Annual
Jan 262011

Joplin MO is very excited about its new and permanent venue for the meet, the Tri State Drive-In Theater has plenty of vendor, and parking area, it is on an 30 acre lot, with a close by area for additional parking if needed. The vendor area is a good flat area and firm ground.

They have had a lot of vendors wanting us to do a fall meet, so with this new place, they can do it, details about it are coming soon.

Meet Starts at 7am Each Day – Free to the Public Free Parking

Automotive Swap Meet from Model T Ford to BIG Block/Hot Rod Parts

800 Vendor Spaces Available – Car Corral – 24-Hour Guards
There will be a full concession stand (No vendor concession sales)

Setup available Thursday the 2nd

All vendors must have 80% auto related merchandise.

200+ Vendors / 8,000 Buyers expected

Date and Time:
Fri Jun 3, 2011 – Sat Jun 4, 2011
7:00 am – 4:00 pm (CDT)

Tri State Drive-In Theater
200 South Tri State Road
Joplin, Missouri 64801
United States

Clich HERE