Category

Missouri

Missouri

July 13, 2019

Closed Post Offices – Day 8

Closed Post Offices seems to be a theme along Route 66. This time, it even has Charly miffed. There is no consistency to finding a Post Office open as we travel.

Closed Post Offices seems to be a theme along Route 66. This time, it even has Charly miffed. There is no consistency to finding a Post Office open as we travel.

Closed Post Offices seems to be a theme along Route 66. This time, it even has Charly miffed. There is no consistency to finding a Post Office open as we travel.

I convinced Charly to purchase some postcards. The conversation went like this…

“Hey, Charly, check out this postcard,” I said, “You should get some and send them to your friends.”

“Why?” looking at me with a confused face, Charly went on, “I can just text them or post them on Instagram.”

This time, it was my turn to roll my eyes. I reminisced about the days when you’d run to the mailbox to see if you got anything. A postcard, letter, package, it was like winning the lottery back then.

“Here’s a reason why,” I began with, “tomorrow all of your pictures on Instagram could be gone in the blink of an eye. It could start with a glitch on your phone, or a major outage at Instagram. You have zero control. At least with a postcard, it is something tangible.”

“My phone is tangible,” she said smugly.

“Your phone is tangible, what what is stored on it is intangible and could be gone in a flash,” I explained.

“How so?” she asked defiantly.

“Everything on electronic media is stored via electrons. While an electron is a small subatomic particle, it is one of the most unstable particles on the planet. An electron enters a wire only to force the an electron to hop off at the other end. Nature wants balance, and in order for electrons to be of any use, we have to create an imbalance,” as I dove in to my physics lecture.

Charly sat there with raised eyebrows as if to ask, ‘Are you finished yet?’ I could tell using intellect wouldn’t get me far, so I changed direction.

“It’s a tangible gift. Something your friend can hold, touch, pin on the wall, tape to the fridge, and pass down to her children,” I said.

Now her expression was as if she was thinking, ‘Okay, that makes sense.’

“Where’s the nearest Post Office?” Charly asked.

“There has to be one in this small town, we’ll just drive around and look for an American Flag,” I said.

The First Closed Post Offices

The first closed Post Offices (and I say that in the plural, because we found many) appeared to be open. The flag was flying and it was 2:30 in the afternoon. For all intents and purposes, it should have been open.

“Here, Charly. There’s a Post Office,” I said pointing to a red brick corner building.

Charly got out of the car, walked to the door diagonally across the street from where I stood taking pictures. She went to the door, turned around, and walked back to me.

Closed Post Offices #1
Closed Post Offices #1

Before I could ask why she didn’t go inside, she looked at me and said, “It’s closed!”

How could it be closed, I thought. Today isn’t a holiday. It’s a work day. It’s only 2:30 p.m.

“Closed?” I asked while thinking she didn’t even try the door.

“Yes, closed. The sign says the hours on weekdays is 10 a.m. to noon, and then 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.” she stated very matter-of-factly.

“That’s ridiculous!” I proclaimed like a disgruntled customer.

There wasn’t much we could do except to move on.

Other Closed Post Offices

Every stop we made at a post office yield the same results. They don’t all have the same hours. But it seemed that we were always about 15-30 minutes late. If we got there at 4 p.m., they closed at 3:30 p.m. If we got there at 4:45 p.m., they closed at 4:30 p.m.

And they wonder why people complain.

Fixing Her Hair

As I drove, Charly was fixing her hair. I noticed she hasn’t changed clothes yet today. She’s still wearing the same outfit, but obviously, today’s fuss is about her hair.

“I’m tired of the wind blowing this piece of hair in to my eyes,” she said holding a strand out.

I was too busy driving and paying attention to the road to look. We were in a rather rural area and Historic Route 66 had a few bends in the road.

Suddenly I saw a nicely restored drive-in.

66 Drive-In
66 Drive-In

“Can we go to the drive-in and see a movie?” Charly asked with excitement.

“They don’t start the movies until after dark,” I pointed out.

“Okay. I don’t mind waiting,” she said sitting back in her seat.

Looking at my watch and the position of the sun I found it necessary to say something.

“Charly, we’re going to have to wait about 3 and a half hours before sunset, and then another hour before the movie starts,” I explained.

“Oh,” she said with a lot of disappointment in her voice.

“I will tell you what,” I said to ease the disappointment, “since we really aren’t prepared right now, let’s go eat something, grab a few snacks, and return when it is dark.”

“But I want to eat at the drive-in,” she whined like a little child.

Seeing this could be a major disappointment and point of regret later on, I said, “Okay. But, let’s go get some provisions.”

We headed back to the car and started driving to find a store.

Back of the Screen and Ticket Booth
Back of the Screen and Ticket Booth

Drive-In Provisions

When going to the drive-in there are certain provisions one must bring. First, a blanket and pillow. Second, beverages. Yes, you can buy something at the snack bar, but at those costs, you’ll die of thirst or go broke, so you need an ice chest with some drinks. Third, your favorite snack. Again, the snack bar will break you and you need something to snack on during a movie.

We entered the convenience store and I instructed Charly to get one of her favorite candy, some other snack, and a couple of bottles of her favorite beverage. I looked around for a cheap ice chest.

Movie Time

I can’t recall the last time I went to the drive-in, and for Charly, this was a first. We slowly drove up to the ticket booth.

“Is it by the car or per person?” I asked the lady.

“Per person. Two adults?” she asked.

“Is there a senior discount?” I asked.

Bending down to get a better view inside the car, she looked at Charly, and then she looked at me. Being totally unaware, I hadn’t noticed Charly was playing with a curl of my hear behind my ear. Perhaps this earned the glare I received from the lady.

“Senior?” she asks, “Are you over 60?”

“Yes,” I answered.

Looking again past me and at Charly, it was about then I noticed what Charly was doing.

“Stop that!” I said pushing Charly’s hand away, “This lady is going to get the wrong idea.”

If looks could kill, this lady would have slayed me. I gave her the money, and we entered the lot.

“You had this cute curl of hair,” Charly said with a sheepish grin.

“Yeah, thanks to you this lady must think I’m some pervy old man,” I snapped.

“Oh, that’s what you think?” she asked, and then added, “I’ll stand up for anyone who thinks your pervy. I tell them, ‘He’s not pervy, in fact, he’s very prudish.'”

“So, I’m not the one extreme, but the other,” I said continuing, “That’s comforting to know.”

I pulled up to a spot and edged the car forward and backward until the viewing angle was just right. I then reached to the back seat and positioned the ice chest to form a wall between me and miss-hair-fetish.

“Eat your snacks,” I said.

“I thought you were going to get dinner at the snack bar,” she asked.

I drew a deep breath, “That’s right, I did. Come on, let’s get dinner. BUT, no more playing with my hair or anything else that might make people think we’re here for some hanky panky.”

Looking at me with a very confused look, Charly asked, “Hanky panky?”

I can tell I’ve got a lot of explaining about drive-in movies.

July 12, 2019

Corvair Heaven – Day 8

Corvair Heaven is how I’d describe this day. One of the most misunderstood cars ever made, and one of the greatest cars ever made. It was an example of how a mercenary man with the stroke of a pen could bring down an engineering marvel and erroneously get people believing it was a dangerous car. For that, Ralph Nader lost all credibility with me (and thousands of other Corvair owners.)

We’ll return to Corvair Heaven later…

Frozen Custard

Frozen custard, erroneously called ice cream, is good, but it isn’t ice cream. It seems to be quite popular in the heartland and along this stretch of Route 66.

We had barely finished breakfast when I saw this cool looking place. It’s a frozen custard place, and while it didn’t look open at this hour of the day, it WAS open. So, we stopped for a taste.

You Didn't! Corvair Heaven
You Didn’t!

Charly took hers and went to sit on the hood of the car to eat it. I waited for mine, grabbed my camera and joined her. However, I couldn’t resist grabbing a picture.

“You didn’t!” Charly said as getting a dab of frozen custard on her nose.

“I did, and I’ll buy another one if I’m still hungry after this one,” I said.

“No, you didn’t take a picture of me just now,” she growled.

“Why? You don’t think this is flattering?” I said after pushing the play button and showing her the LCD screen.

“UHG!”, she exclaimed, “That better not end up on the blog or Renderosity.”

Well, done deal with that.

Empty Cottages

Leaving town I discovered where they store all those road pylons.

Road Pylons
Road Pylons

If you look closely, I swear it looks like my friend Paul Bardotz is hiding in there. Or, maybe it is just my imagination thinking he’s not happy I’m driving Route 66 with Charly this time.

Then, we came across these abandoned cottages.

Abandoned Cottages
Abandoned Cottages

They look like they would have been nice places to stay in their prime. Now, they are all boarded up. However, the good news is there were construction permit notices. Maybe in a a couple of years people will be able to lodge here again.

A Route 66 revival would be nice.

Plano Means Flat

The word plano means flat. We came across a place that was named Plano, Missouri.

“Not much left of the place,” I said.

“What do you think was here?” Charly asked.

Punching it in on my phone, I came up with this, “The tree-invested limestone building has even been alleged to have served as a casket factory and mortuary. Apparently all that is not true though, and the fact is, according to the Springfield News Leader, it was built in 1902 by the Jackson family, with the occasional help of neighbors, with two rooms becoming a general store where families would sell produce, eggs and baked goods. “

Inside the Building
Inside the Building

Towards Corvair Heaven

I didn’t know we were heading towards Corvair Heaven, but we stopped at an old service station called Gay Parita. We poked around and I found what Gary Busey has been doing these days…

Gary Busey's Dopleganger
Gary Busey’s Doppelganger

Charly, remembering that first night in Illinois, saw the old police car there.

“Brent! Help! I’m being arrested,” she jokingly yelled.

Charly Pretending she's being arrested
Charly Pretending she’s being arrested

“Sorry officers,” I yelled back, “she’s been following me for days now. Please, lock her up and throw away the key.”

Charly stood up, putting both hands on her hips gave me a stern stare and said, “Really? That’s what you’d do for a damsel in distress?”

“If you’re being arrested, I’m sure they have good cause,” I said as I headed back to her car with keys in my hand.

She ran as fast is she could in heels on a gravel road to catch up.

Finally! Corvair Heaven!

I had just pulled on to Historic Route 66 when I noticed a blue Corvair Monza Station Wagon.

“I’m sorry, I’ve got to stop at this house,” I said as if it were urgent.

Charly glared at me as if to say, ‘Why didn’t you use the bathroom back there.’

Reading her mind, I said, “Sorry, I hate outhouses.”

I stopped the car, got out and started drooling over this perfectly restored 1961 Corvair Monza Station Wagon.

“I had one of these,” I said proudly.

Charly looked at me as if I had said I used to wear a dress.

“Seriously? You owned one of these?” Charly said condescendingly.

“Yes,” I did, “Is there a problem with that?”

“Brent! It’s a mom car,” she said.

Brent!  It's a mom car.
Brent! It’s a mom car.

About then a woman around my age walked out of the house and asked, “Can I help you?”

“I’m sorry, my name is Brent and this is my friend Charly, and we’re driving Route 66 from Chicago to L.A.” saying as I lead up to, “I used to own a 1961 Corvair Monza Wagon, and I saw yours in the driveway and had to stop.”

He told us the story behind her car and then asked, “Would you like to see the rest of them?”

“Would I? You have MORE?” I asked.

“Yes, we collect and restore Corvairs,” she said.

Looking at Charly, I mouthed the words, “I’ve died and gone to heaven.”

As we entered the back part of the property, I saw my first car – a Corvair Greenbriar “bus”. (They didn’t call it a van. It was a “bus”, like the “VW bus”.)

Corvair Greenbriar Bus
Corvair Greenbriar Bus

“Charly,” I said, “this was my first car. A 1961 Greenbriar bus. Mine got 25 miles per gallon and sat 9 people.”

“Now, that is cool,” Charly said.

“Yeah, but mine was cooler. It had curtains and was a real hippy van,” I explained.

My 1961 Greenbriar Bus
My 1961 Greenbriar Bus

Chuckling, Charly said, “You? A Hippy?”

“Get over it,” I said, “I did.”

July 10, 2019

Dowd’s Catfish – Day 7

Dowd’s Catfish is where we stopped to eat. I was craving some catfish and I figured with a name like that, they better have catfish. So, inside we went.

I looked around for a sign that said, “The catfish you ate today slept in the river last night”, and while I didn’t find one, there was plenty around to let you know this was a fresh-catch restaurant.

Visitors to Dowd's Catfish
Visitors to Dowd’s

Charly and I were seated and we started looking at the menu. Both of us were quite hungry. I went for the blackened catfish, but Charly went for the mundane. (Obviously, she’s not a catfish fan.)

Dowd’s Catfish Tasty

Tasty is the best to describe blackened Dowd’s catfish. Charly leaned over and began the conversation. It felt like I was being interviewed, but I went along.

She started with, “What made you decide to drive all of Route 66?”

“I love nostalgia. I love the trip down memory lane. Route 66 reminds me of an era I’m old enough to remember, but not so old that I’ve forgot,” I answered.

Then came the real questions and objective for asking, “Why me? Why did you want me to come along?”

“I’m glad you asked.” I continued, “I knew you’d be adventurous, fun to be around, fun to photograph, and I enjoy being around you.”

“Really?” she asked with doubt in her tone.

“Really,” I answered.

“No, I mean, you really enjoy being around me?” she said exposing a lack of confidence.

“Of course,” I said as if anyone could doubt that, “you’re a fun person to be around.”

“I miss the days of being ‘Dad’. And, while you sometimes think I act like I’m your ‘Dad’, I don’t think of you as my daughter, but as a younger friend.” I began to explain, “it’s more of a discovery thing.”

“Huh?” she looked confused.

“I enjoy watching you discover this stuff for the first time,” I said. “Had I brought an old friend we both would have been like, ‘Been there. Done that.’ But with you, it’s like… YOU REALLY USED ONE OF THESE? Or, YOU REALLY REMEMBER WHEN…”

“Oh, I think I understand,” she said.

I realized then that history is sometimes lost on youth, and even more so with today’s technology. While one would think it is just the opposite, instant information has robbed them of true hands-on discovery.

Teaching Moment

“It’s like this, Charly,” I explained, “when I go to Israel, I don’t just look at stuff. I read everything I can get my hands on before the trip, and take stuff to read while I’m on the trip. Then, while I’m there, I try to close my eyes and imagine what it was like 2000 years ago when Christ walked those roads.”

Continuing, I said, “Route 66 is even more personal. While there are sections of road I haven’t been on before this trip, there are little things here and there that remind me of similar items and locations during my childhood. My imagination is less involved and my memories and the emotions tied to those memories are involved. I find it fun sharing those things with you.”

Charly sat quietly for a while and just stared at my face.

Interviewed by Charly
Interviewed by Charly

If it were a movie, this would be the part where two lips would meet, but that would be totally inappropriate in this case. I felt a little awkward and uneasy wishing she would say something.

Finally, she broke her silence and said, “Thank you for inviting me. I’m learning a lot and having fun.”

I still felt a little uneasy given how she was still looking at me, and not knowing what to say to quell my uneasiness, she spoke up again.

“You know, I kid you about your acting like my dad, but you’re like the dad I never had. Thank you for never taking advantage of me and respecting me,” she said with tear filled eyes.

Taken Back

I was taken back. The rest of the trip is going to be different. Not so much different for me (because I know where my boundaries are drawn), but for Charly.

Red Corvair After Dowd’s Catfish

Shortly after eating we saw a red Corvair. I just had to stop.

“Charly, my first car was a Corvair van called the Greenbriar. A few years later I traded it for a red Corvair Monza, like this one, only mine was a station wagon,” I said.

“So, this is what you were talking about at the restaurant — about memories,” she said having an epiphany.

“Exactly!” I smiled.

Red Corvair Monza
Red Corvair Monza

“They were great cars and I’ll never forgive Ralph Nader,” I said.

“Who?” Charly asked.

“Ralph Nader. He erroneously wrote in a book that they were unsafe cars. He was later proven wrong, but it was too late. General Motors stopped making them and created the Camaro.”

“Camaro’s are cool cars,” she said mater-of-factly.

“Yes, and do you see the resemblance?” I asked.

“Yeah, I can see that,” she said and then asked, “What made the Corvair so great?”

“Rear engine, built for speed and gas economy, and built to compete against cars like the Porsche,” I explained.

“Were they fast?” as if I didn’t see that question coming.

“For their weight to horsepower ratio, yes,” I smugly answered.

I finished drooling over the car and off we went.

Munger Moss

The Munger Moss Motel is quite iconic. It’s one of the better maintained iconic sights on Historic Route 66. We just stopped briefly to grab a picture of the mileage sign.

Munger Moss Motel
Munger Moss Motel

Biggest Gift Shop

This place claims to be the World’s Largest Gift Shop. Well, I don’t know about that, but they did have quite a collection of Cotton Candy. (I only thought it had one flavor – sugar.)

Cotton Candy
Cotton Candy

“Hey, you can’t eat that! You haven’t paid for it,” I said before I realized I’m sounding like a ‘dad’.

Charly giggles, “I’ll pay for it, I just want some NOW.”

Onward and westward as this day winds to an end.

Hmmm… One final note for the day — Charly wore the same outfit all day. That’s a first. That should keep the laundry bill down this week.

July 8, 2019

Motoring Thru Missouri – Day 7

Motoring thru Missouri is pretty fun. It’s a beautiful state. There are rolling hills and lots of green trees.

I had read about a bridge that makes a turn mid-span and was the site of many wrecks. They call it the Devil’s Elbow for that reason. As we the GPS started telling us we were getting closer we began to encounter a lot of bikers on Harley Davidson motorcycles. It’s a beautiful day for riding.

Suddenly we saw many of them parked on the side of the road. As we came around the corner, there was the bridge… and a bunch of BIKERS. It turns out at this end of the bridge there was a biker-bar.

The bar was completely submerged a few years ago (2017) when the river rose during a storm. (Note, they also got some bad storms this year, 2019.) I guess even though the bar is closed and being rebuilt, the bikers still make a pilgrimage to it.

“Charly,” I said, “you took dance lessons. Show me your parents didn’t waste their money and go dance at the entrance to that bridge.”

“Okay!” Charly enthusiastically said.

“If I shout, ‘MOVE’, that means you need to get to the side of the road,” I instructed.

Charly just rolled her eyes, as usual.

“Hey, you never know how fast someone might be motoring thru Missouri!” I laughed.

Dancing at Devil's Elbow while Motoring thru Missouri.
Dancing at Devil’s Elbow

Flood Damage

Not far away was a park where a barn had some sever flood damage. It’s hard to imagine how high the water was. In a few places are markers people have placed to show the water height. You can also see how high up the water was from the bark on the trees (they trap the silt).

“Gosh, Charly, don’t you ever wear shoes?” I yell out.

Flood Damaged Barn with NO SHOES
Flood Damaged Barn with NO SHOES

“You’ve seen me wearing shoes,” she grumbles thinking I can’t hear her.

I just snapped the picture anyway. We’ll see how many times she’s barefoot in my photos.

Motoring Thru Missouri – the Plains

Well, not all of MIssouri is rolling hills. Part of Missouri is in the Great Plains. It’s rather flat. When you look at the map of the U.S.A. you can think of a big circle that takes in parts of Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri… and a few other states where it is FLAT.

So it was with some of our driving today.

“Hey, that big sign looks like it used to be quite the place,” I said while pointing the Witmor Farms sign.

Witmor Farms
Witmor Farms

It was an uneventful stop. I grabbed a photo of Charly as she ran by me.

Then there’s a building looked like it could use some TLC. Inside, like a ghost town, looked like it had been suddenly abandoned. I really couldn’t tell if it is open seasonally, or if they just left everything.

Buckhorn Grocery Store
Buckhorn Grocery Store

It was about then when I spotted a walking stick bug on the wall.

“Charly, ever see a twig stuck to a wall like this?” I asked her.

“No. That’s cool,” she said getting in closer for a look.

I reached out and touched my finger to it’s butt, and it went in to an attack position. Charly let out a scream as she wasn’t expecting it to move.

“It’s okay. It’s a harmless insect,” I said.

“Keep it away from me. Does it bite?” she screamed.

“No, it doesn’t bite. Did you miss the part about harmless?” I said.

What’s With This Place?

“What’s with this place?” Charly asks.

“What do you mean?” unsure of what she’s talking about.

“It seems like everything is abandoned,” she said discouragingly.

“A lot of people don’t travel Route 66,” I explained, “and those, like us, who do expect to see some abandoned places. That said, I plan to spend something whenever we go inside a business. They need the business, and that’s what will keep Route 66 alive.”

What's with this place?
What’s with this place?

We stopped at Gascozark Cafe (another place not in business). I’m thinking Charly wishes more places were open so she could look at trinkets and not wait for me to wander around taking pictures.

I'm Hungry
I’m Hungry

I could tell she was getting bored with the abandoned places, and before I could ask she said, “I’m hungry. Let’s find a place to eat.”

We hit the road, and our first stop wasn’t exactly our idea of a meal, but I just had to try a chocolate dipped Twinkie.

Chocolate Dipped Twinkie
Chocolate Dipped Twinkie

July 6, 2019

Uranus Fudge Day 7

Uranus Fudge Day 7 begins. A few short stops looking at interesting things, and then on towards that place the billboards were advertising – Uranus Fudge Factory.

We found it, pulled in to the parking lot and I began to think, “What in the world???”

Standing in the parking lot I did a 360-degree turn as I surveyed the surroundings. I saw something about a strip club and a billboard about the evils of strip clubs. What am I missing here?

Axe Hole at Uranus Fudge Day 7

The first stop was an open barn-like structure that appeared to be under construction. It is called the Axe Hole.

Before I could say anything, Charly says, “That’s just gross. Just gross.”

“Yeah, I’m seeing we might be in for some puns based on the name Uranus,” I said.

The owner greets us, and welcomes us to Uranus. He’s the self-proclaimed Mayor of Uranus. (Uranus isn’t actually a city, but what he’s named this complex that’s like a hodge-podge strip mall… including a strip club. Okay, now I’m going with the puns.)

He explained how he wants to make this something for everyone.

WAIT… Bring your kids to a place where in the center of it all is a strip club?

Yeah. If it weren’t for that one issue I’d say it could be a fun family place… if you don’t mind your children telling anal jokes for the rest of your trip.

Oh, my.

Mexican Villa at Uranus Fudge Day 7

It’s a small theme park. There’s a little courtyard that makes you feel like you’re in a Northern Mexico Villa.

Charly's Perfect Dress - Uranus Fudge Day 7
Charly’s Perfect Dress

I turned and looked at Charly’s outfit, and imagined a Mexican dancer with her off-the-shoulder peasant dress. Plus, the colors harmonized with the pink stucco and red brick patio.

“Wow,” my brain was distracted by her lack of shoes, “where the heck are your shoes?”

“In the car,” she says as if that’s the norm.

“Okay, well… ” thinking of a fatherly, protective, thing to say, but realizing I was distracted, I continued, “go stand over there with your back towards me and flip your hair and twist and look out in to the courtyard.”

Nodding knowing the routine as I assumed the photographer role and she became my muse.

Click – Click-click

“Okay, I got it,” I said as I pressed play so she could come look.

“Ahhh… that’s pretty,” she sighed.

“Good thing you died your hair red last night else this wouldn’t have worked,” I pointed out.

Leaving Uranus Fudge

After buying some fudge, and being told, as we completed our purchase, “Thank you for picking Uranus,” we hit the road.

Winding through the Ozarks was beautiful. Perfect time of year too. Sunflowers were in bloom all over.

I finally found a place to stop. Charly hopped out and went running over to a sunflower, and I grabbed my trusty camera.

So Pretty
So Pretty

The road was narrow so I put on a safety vest. Charly’s outfit sparkled in the sunlight and I figured she’d stand out more than my gray shirt and pants. Aside from that, there’s no way I could get her to put on a dayglo orange vest over that dress.

“Hey, buddy, can you tell me where…” a guy in a construction truck started to ask.

“I’m not from around here. I’m just a crazy tourist stopping to take pictures,” I quickly responded.

“Oh, I thought,” pointing to my vest, “you were a highway worker.”

I guess he didn’t see Charly.

Charly on Route 66 in MIssouri
Charly on Route 66 in MIssouri

“Charly, go grab my Route 66 sign from the back deck,” I asked.

She returned and sat it on the post of the bridge and then rested on the post. Of course I was going to grab a photo.

About the 66 Sign

The 66 sign you will see has been on every bit of Route 66 I can find. When I stop I take it out, lay it face down on the ground, and kick it around. As a result, molecules of it scrape off on rocks, whey it picks up dust and dirt from Route 66.

It’s part of Route 66 now, and Route 66 is part of it. Someday I’ll auction it off, but for now, it’s aging.

July 6, 2019

I Wanna Kiss You – Day 6

I wanna kiss you - Yeah, that's what Charly said when she saw our hotel for tonight. I guess I really traumatized her when we stopped at the Gardenway Motel and she believed that WAS our hotel.

I wanna kiss you - Yeah, that's what Charly said when she saw our hotel for tonight. I guess I really traumatized her when we stopped at the Gardenway Motel and she believed that WAS our hotel.

I Wanna Kiss You!

Yeah, that’s what Charly said when she saw our hotel for tonight. I guess I really traumatized her when we stopped at the Gardenway Motel and she believed that WAS our hotel.

Before we got to the hotel (yes, we’re staying in a hotel, not a motel, tonight) I saw this sign…

I wanna kiss you in Uranus... that doesn't sound right.
Uranus Fudge Factory

Who in the world names a fudge company Uranus?

This has my curiosity. But, you know what they say curiosity did to the cat!!!

Late in the Day

Traveling Route 66 late in the day, after Labor Day, seems a little lonely. Lots of places are closed. It is hard to tell if they are closed for the season, or simply closed for the day.

Keep that in mind when traveling Route 66. Some of these small towns roll up the sidewalk around dinner time. Heck, we’ve had a hard time finding post offices that are open. Some close as early as 2 p.m.!!!

Closed
Closed

“Brent, I know it says it is closed, but do you think we’ll get in trouble if we go inside?” Charly asks.

“My rule is if it is posted that we should keep out, we should keep out,” I answered.

Rolling her eyes again, Charly knew I was right, but it didn’t stop her mouth, “You can be such a fuddy-dud.”

“I’ll just blame you and say I was just driving by and this crazy girl said it was okay,” I said.

“See, let’s go,” she said tugging on my arm.

“Noooo, I’m not crossing the chain,” I said.

Charly’s hands went to her hips and she spun about on one heel and walked towards an area where there was no fence and chain.

Off to the side was an open grassy area with an old billboard. Below sat an early model Mustang – perhaps a 1964 or thereabouts.

Laughing, I said, “Like anyone would like to steal that old Ford.”

“That’s a Ford?” Charly asked.

“It’s a Mustang. I owned a 1967. Complete piece of junk. Pot metal parts that were manufactured to fall apart and it handled horribly,” I explained.

“I didn’t know you owned a Ford?” Charly said with complete surprise.

“Yeah, we’re all entitled to make mistakes. Unfortunately, I made that mistake again when I bought a Ford Taurus,” I said looking down and kicking the dirt.

“YOU! YOU owned a Taurus,” Charly started to laugh uncontrollably.

“Hey, I learned my lesson,” I said trying to cover my embarrassment. “Let’s move on. It’s going to be dark soon and I don’t want to be finding our hotel in the dark.”

As we got back in the car I noticed Charly had changed out of her Daisy Dukes and tank top and back in to her goth outfit.

“Getting chilly?”, I asked.

“Shut up,” she snapped.

I Wanna Kiss You

We pulled in to the hotel which was in an odd location in Rolla, Missouri. It was near a big traffic circle, and old Route 66 was split in two lanes either side of I-40.

We entered the lobby and Charly, turned, and with outstretched arms exclaimed, “I Wanna Kiss You!”

I Wanna Kiss You!
I Wanna Kiss You!

“Whoa,” I said backing up.

I don’t mind a friendly hello or good-bye embrace, but this was a bit forward.

Charly started laughing, and said, “This is so much nicer than that place you stopped at this morning.”

“I thought you knew I was joking?” I asked.

“Well, sort of,” she said looking off to the side to cover her blushing face.

“I guess after that experience at the Motel 6 in Normal, you figured we might end up in another dive?” I inquired.

“Well, yes. That place was gross with a capital G,” she answered.

“From now on, only nice places,” I said hoping I wouldn’t have to eat these words later on.

In My Room

In my room I noticed it was a little warm and muggy, but the hall was cool, so I propped my door open. I also cranked the thermostat down hoping the air conditioning would remove some of the humidity.

I grabbed my tabled and began to prepare a blog post.

Back Turned to the Door
Back Turned to the Door

I had my back turned to the door when suddenly I heard Charly’s voice.

“Want to go swimming?” Charly asked.

Want to Go Swimming
Want to Go Swimming

“I knew I should have kept my door shut. Don’t you believe in knocking?” I said in a firm tone, but my expression must not have been stern enough.

“Oh, come on. Like you’re going to be doing anything that would require me to knock,” Charly says.

“What if I had slipped those Hick Chicks back there a not telling them to meet me here?” I said trying to keep a straight face.

“Yeah, right. YOU? Never. You get freaked out when I walk in to your room when the door is OPEN,” she said knowing she had me there.

Distracting her I said, “Hey, you dyed your hair!”

“You actually noticed?” she said with surprise in her voice.

“Of course, you go from blonde with dark roots,” drawing a glare from her when I said ‘dark roots’, “to a redhead. Actually, your complexion goes better with red hair.”

“I am a redhead,” she stated confidently, “you’ve seen my hair red before.”

“Yeah, but you’re always changing it. Who knows what color it will be next week. Now, go ahead and go swimming,” I said. “I want to catch up on some blogging. And, DON’T FORGET YOUR KEY.”

“I won’t. I stuck it right here,” she said as she began to reach for it.

“No, that’s okay. I don’t need to know where you keep your key,” I said turning my back to go back to what I was doing, “Oh, and please shut my door on your way out.”

July 4, 2019

Day 6 – Bicycling

Bicycling would be fun along Route 66. We came to this little plaza where they used old bicycles to decorate. It’s a cool idea for re-purposing old bicycles. Each one painted a different color.

The village is Cuba, Missouri. That’s right, Cuba. (There’s a Cuba, New York, too. It’s where they invented Cuba Cheese. Seriously.)

“Oh, how fun,” Charly exclaimed as she ran to jump on one of the bicycles.

Bicycling on Route 66
Bicycling on Route 66

“Whoa! I don’t think they mean for you to climb on those,” I yelled, but too late.

I figured if the police come along, I don’t know this girl.

Across the street was a quaint little cottage. Unfortunately, it was closed and we couldn’t go in and check things out. In fact, the entire little village seemed to have rolled up the sidewalks. (We ran in to that a lot. I’m not sure if it was because the season had ended, or if it was just too late in the day.)

Across the street from the bicycles - bicycling!
The Fourway Restaurant

One Armed Bandits

This was Charly’s first run-in with a one-armed bandit. We stopped at this Wax Museum. It was rundown on the outside, but it had a nice gift shop. I stocked up on postcards.

Bicycling - Jesse James Wax Museum
Jesse James Wax Museum

“Look at this cowboy thingy,” Charly said looking quizzically.

“That’s a one-armed bandit,” I said.

“Huh? What does it do? Does it shoot you?” she asked.

“No, it takes your money and you willingly give it up without any duress,” I explained further, “it’s called a slot-machine.”

“Oh, like those things in the casinos?” she asked.

“Exactly,” I punctuated.

One-Armed Bandit
One-Armed Bandit

“Fake,” she said as she picked up a slug from the machine’s hand.

Bicycling On

Well, I wish we were bicycling. The weather is perfect. But, back to the car and we’re on down the road looking for a place to eat.

Now, when I think of BBQ, I think of Texas, Carolina, and Chicago. I don’t often think of Missouri. But, we came across this place where they called the waitresses “Hick Chicks”. Afterall, we were on the Ozarks.

Bicycling - Hick Chicks
Hick Chicks

“Ladies, this is Charly, you’re next Hick Chick,” I said before they could seat us.

Everyone laughed… except Charly.

A Missouri Hick
A Missouri Hick

After a nice lunch we were on our way again.

Boulevard Bicycling

Wow, I have bicycling on my mind today. Much of Route 66 in the central states is rather flat. It would be fun to bicycle.

It was warming up so Charly changed… again.

“Hey, what happened to the goth outfit?” I said rolling my eyes.

“It’s too hot,” she said striking a pose while lifting her hair.

Making a Boulevard Stop
Making a Boulevard Stop

“Yeah, those guys over at the bar are staring,” I said hoping to make the point, “well… they’d probably stare anyway.”

“Maybe I’ll ask one of them to drive my car the rest of the way,” she said in a tone letting me know my comments about our revealing outfits weren’t welcome.

Here in St. James, Missouri, Old Route 66 turns in to a nice boulevard with a sidewalk down the center.

Evidently this place has a population of 91. It appears that at one time the economy of Route 66 treated them better.

Stag Bar
Stag Bar
What’s Left of a Derby Service Station

With it growing late… and it’s almost dinner time now… we’re on to the next town.

July 3, 2019

Day 6 – Rocking It

Rocking It on Day 6 (read on and you'll see). After my little joke about tonight's motel, and grabbing a few photos, we moved on. Consequently, I probably won't be able to pull any more pranks today.

Rocking It on Day 6 (read on and you'll see). After my little joke about tonight's motel, and grabbing a few photos, we moved on. Consequently, I probably won't be able to pull any more pranks today.

Rocking It on Day 6 (read on and you’ll see). After my little joke about tonight’s motel, and grabbing a few photos, we moved on. Consequently, I probably won’t be able to pull any more pranks today.

Driving Route 66 you see a lot of similar stuff. As a result of the Interstate Freeway System you see a lot of nearly ghosts towns, and a lot of depressed areas. It’s too bad. I like small towns.

Soon I see an old service station (no pumps, however), but what’s parked there has my interest. It’s a midnight blue Pontiac!!! It’s the same color as my Grand Prix, only this one is an early model Pontiac.

Charly had already changed outfits. She donned a goth-looking purple and black outfit. Her shoes were almost electric.

“Hey, Charly, I want you to go pose by that beauty,” I said with excitement.

“What’s that? An old model-T?” she asked.

“No, first, it’s NOT a FORD, and second Model-Ts had stamped fenders,” I said hoping to educate her, “While it does kind of look like a Model-A.”

“Huh? Model-As are newer than Model-Ts?” looking confused, Charly asks.

“Yes. Model-Ts came first,” I said just to watch her look more confused. “Go stand over there.”

Rocking it on Day 6 with this old Pontiac
1930 Pontiac

“Oh, look! It’s for sale!” I screamed.

Charly nearly jumped out of her purple platform shoes, “Dude, you scared me,” catching her breath, she adds, “Are you going to buy it?”

This would match my Grand Prix - now that would be rocking it.
This would match my Grand Prix

In My Dreams

After seeing that 1930 Pontiac I’m rocking it in my dreams. Wow, if I had $10,500 and a way to get that home I’d buy it. Imagine opening the garage door and seeing that on one side and my Grand Prix on the other side.

Brent and His 2007 Grand Prix on Route 66, April, 2008
Brent and His 2007 Grand Prix on Route 66, April, 2008

WAKE-UP BRENT!

Really Rocking It

“I’ve read about this. It’s the worlds largest rocking chair!” I said as I saw the red monstrosity as large as a big two-story house.

“I’m going to go use the boy’s room,” I said, “I’ll be right back.”

As I returned from the restroom I saw the car, but no sign of Charly. I wasn’t too alarmed. I didn’t hear any other vehicles pull up or anyone walking or talking.

“CHARLY!” I yelled.

Nothing.

“HEY, CHARLY! WHERE ARE YOU!” I cried out again.

Hearing giggling, I looked up and Charly said, “I’m up here.”

Really Rocking It in the Rocking Chair
Really Rocking It in the Rocking Chair

“How… How in the world,” I paused looking around trying to figure this out, “did you get up there?”

“Ha-ha… I’ll never tell,” Charly said with a devilish grin.

“And, in a skirt at that,” I commented.

“Hey, I’m wearing shorts under my skirt,” Charly’s tone was of disgust.

“That’s good, because at this angle,” I started to say.

Interrupting, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re always worried I’ll show too much.”

“Tomorrow’s headlines: PILE UP ON HISTORIC ROUTE 66,” I said laughing.

Charly just rolled her eyes.

June 29, 2019

Day 6 in St. Louis

Day 6 in St. Louis is off to a great start. I hit the hotel complementary breakfast. (I like complimentary breakfasts. Sometimes I go to hotels just for the complimentary breakfast.) Who knows what Charly is doing. I'm guessing her makeup.

Day 6 in St. Louis is off to a great start. I hit the hotel complementary breakfast. (I like complimentary breakfasts. Sometimes I go to hotels just for the complimentary breakfast.) Who knows what Charly is doing. I'm guessing her makeup.

Day 6 plan is for me is to go to church and then we’ll hit the road. Yes, even when traveling, I go to church. I goofed up and made reservations for a hotel in another city. For the rest of the trip my plan is to spend Saturday and Sunday night’s in the same place. You know what they say, “Seven days without God makes one weak.” A day of rest is good.

Day 6 in St. Louis is off to a great start. I hit the hotel complementary breakfast. (I like complimentary breakfasts. Sometimes I go to hotels just for the complimentary breakfast.) Who knows what Charly is doing. I’m guessing her makeup.

Day 6 in St. Louis and Where’s Charly?

Okay, I’m off to a local church, and I haven’t seen Charly all morning. I left a note under her door:

Gone to church. Back in time for lunch. Please be ready. — Brent

Back on the Road

I returned from church and saw Charly was all packed and ready to hit the road.

“I see you got my note,” I said.

She replied, “I was wondering where you went.”

“Let’s load the car,” I said as I grabbed the handles of my two roller bags.

We no sooner put stuff in the car and Charly says, “I forgot something, I’ll be right back.”

30-minutes later I decided I’d play a little prank. A few days ago a guy let us take some bricks. I’ll stuff them in her suitcase.

“Right back,” I said, “I was about to see if there was someone else who wanted to join me.”

“You wouldn’t leave me,” she said with a voice of confidence.

“Oh, get over yourself,” I retorted, “the rest of us have.”

That earned one dirty look.

Not Our Day 6 Motel

It was time for another road trip tick. I knew there was an abandoned motel coming up.

“Wow,” I said, “I didn’t realize we’d get to our next motel so quickly.”

I was driving, and I pulled in the the abandoned Gardenway Motel. The first giveaway should have been there were NO cars in front of the rooms.

Charly hopped out of the car before it came to a complete stop, and yelled, “Nooooooo!”

I was laughing so hard I couldn’t speak for a while. Finally getting it together I asked, “Why?”

“You can’t be serious! This place looks like a dump from the outside, I can’t imagine what the rooms look like inside,” she said without even thinking that I was pulling her leg.

Charly is obviously displeased with this motel for Day 6 in St. Louis
Nooooo!

“Wait, wait, wait,” I said both trying to calm Charly down and to keep from cracking up, “wait until you see inside the rooms.”

I widened my eyes as if to say, ‘They’re amazing.’

Charly cast a gaze my way as if to say, ‘You better not be pulling my leg.’

“Let’s go look,” I said while taking her by the hand.

She grabbed my hand like a scared child. As we drew closer, her grip got tighter and tighter. I began to be a little scared myself. Visions of drug-crazed squatters coming at us with broken beer bottles ran through my imagination.

There was no visual or audible indication that anyone else was around. As I turned and looked at this pale frightened girl, I thought it was time to let her in on the joke.

Letting Charly In on the Day 6 Prank

“You must realize, I’d never stay in a dump like this. Remember our motel in Normal? That was about as bad as I’m willing to put up with,” I explained.

As a result, her hand curled in to a fist as I thought, ‘This could hurt, so move!”

Dodging her jab towards my right bicep I grabbed her before she lost her balance and fell on the the filthy walkway under our feet. Because she was about to fall over, I steadied her with both hands and placed my hands on her shoulders.

“It was a joke, Charly,” I said realizing perhaps it was a little cruel.

Smiling, Charly says, “I knew you were. I wanted you to think I trusted you.”

“What? You don’t?” I asked.

“Heck no,” she laughed.

“What the heck are you doing on this trip? Riding a few thousand miles with an old man?” I said feeling a little under appreciated.

“Oh, no. I trust you in that way,” she said realizing she’s safe with me. “You’d never lay a hand on me. You’re the only guy I’ve ever met who hasn’t made me feel creepy in that way.”

“Thank you for telling me that,” I said comforted. “Let’s peak inside and see how bad this place really is.”

“Do we have to?” she said squeamishly.

“You’re perfectly welcome to go back and wait in the car,” I stated, “I just want to peak around and take a few pictures.”

“Nah, it’s okay, but if zombies come after us I’m throwing you at them so I can make my escape,” she said realizing she could outrun me.

We both slowly approached a broken window. Charly peeked inside and exclaimed, “GROSS!”

It seems like squatters had been there.

Day 6 Motel -- Just Kidding
Day 6 Motel — Just Kidding

June 20, 2019

Saint Louis – Day 5

Day 5 – Good morning Saint Louis. Let’s find somewhere to eat breakfast and then go see the St. Louis Arch.

I plugged in Saint Louis Arch and it wasn’t found. So, I had to do an Internet search and found at the GPS probably has it listed by it’s official name – Gateway Arch.

That did it. Off we go.

“Brent, check that out. It looks like an old movie theatre,” Charly says while pointing out the window.

“It sure does. Let’s stop and check it out,” I said.

We pulled in to the parking lot to discover inside it’s been converted in to offices. One of the things the Internet has destroyed is good, ol’ fashioned, movie houses. Just as the Interstate highway system turned many Route 66 towns in to shells of what they used to be, the Internet has had impact on theatres and retail shopping.

As we walked by the MOD Pizza shop in the corner of the building, the manager was opening and asked if we’d like to have a pizza.

Hey, I’m all for pizza for breakfast.

Saint Louis Train Station

Getting to the arch is going to take a little time. We didn’t get far before I saw an old train station. (It’s actually in Kirkwood, Mo.)

My grandpa was a Union Pacific Railroad man. He taught me respect for the tracks and trains. He’d say, “I don’t ever want to pick up your head off the tracks.” I was never afraid, I just knew trains and train tracks are nothing to be trifled with. You don’t pose people on the tracks and you get it in to your head that you cannot always hear a train. (It has to do with the doppler effect.)

“Brent, take a picture of me on the tracks,” Charly requests.

“Nope. Those are live tracks,” I said while looking around for some signage.

“Here, read this Charly,” I said pointing to a sign that warns trespassers, “aside from trespassing, it is also extremely dangerous. Didn’t you hear about those three kids who were killed last summer as one of them was taking pictures of the other two standing on the tracks?”

“Didn’t they see it coming and HEAR it coming?” she said in disbelief.

“Nope. It was a blind corner. The train was doing about 70 miles per hour, and at that speed, you won’t hear the train until it is too late,” I explained.

“Really?” she said while looking at me as if to say, ‘Nah, that can’t be.’

“See the yellow line. Stay on this side of the line please,” I pleaded with Charly.

“Okay,” she said with the disbelief that goes along with the feeling of invincibility that accompanies youth.

“Here, stand here and look down the track like you’re looking for the train,” I instructed, “Too bad we don’t have a suitcase.”

Charly Waiting for a Train
Charly Waiting for a Train

The Gateway Arch

I’ve always wanted to see the Arch in St. Louis. I knew little about the arch before the trip. All I knew about it was from my college math days learning that it is built in the shape that a chain makes ( a catenary curve) when suspended at two ends — only inverted. As a result of this shape, the arch is very structurally sturdy.

Here’s what I learned:
The Arch was built as a monument to the westward expansion.
It is a National Park.
Inside are trams that take tourist to the top where they can look out windows at the scenes below. (Because of its hight, I always thought there were offices inside.)
It took over 30 years from conception to completion!!!
It is 630 feet wide and 630 feet tall.

Charly At the base of the Gateway Arch in Saint Louis
At the base of the Gateway Arch

“Charly, come stand here and act like a fashion model,” I called for her. “There… move a little to your left,” I said motioning for her to move in that direction.

“Perfect,” I said as clicked the shutter.

Framed by the Gateway Arch
Framed by the Gateway Arch

I looked at our tickets, and then my watch, “Hey, let’s go inside. We need to catch our tram ride to the top.”

Trotting towards the entrance with Charly following behind, we entered the building via a downward sloping ramp that took us to the basement.

We had to wait for our group to be called, so we looked around. Finally they called our number and marshalled is in to a line. It was like a popular line at Disneyland. Just when you think you’re almost there, it takes another turn and doubles back on itself.

They boarded us on a tram with a half dozen people and off we went to the top.

“Charly,” I started to ask as she looked at me knowing I was going to ask her to pose.

She walked over to one of the windows, “How’s this?”, she asked.

Looking out of the Arch on the River Side Saint Louis
Looking out of the Arch on the River Side

Chain of Rocks Bridge Saint Louis

Our next stop was this bridge all the books said is a “must see”. I had never heard of the Chain of Rocks Bridge, so we were off to see what all the fuss is about.

The GPS took us to the Missouri side of the bridge and I did not see ANYWHERE that I would want to park the car. Charly was thumbing through all my Route 66 books.

“Brent,” she said firmly, “this book says, ‘Do not leave your car unattended on the Missouri side. It is not safe.'”

“Not to worry, I don’t plan to park here,” I said, then added, “I can’t even see a place to park legally. Check the map, will you?”

Charly pulled out a AAA map and began to fiddle with the folds. I could tell this Millennial Child has never dealt with a road map before. So, I turned on the flashers and pulled to the shoulder of the road.

“Let me see that,” I said while tugging it from her hands. “Okay, I see where we need to go.”

Soon we found ourselves on the Kansas side of bridge. A large gravel parking lot looked clean and safe. It also had many other cars parked there, but no people in sight.

“Let’s go check it out,” I said hopping out of the car.

Chain of Rock Bridge Old Historic Route 66
Chain of Rock Bridge Old Historic Route 66 Saint Louis

Sadness on the Bridge

Julie and Robin Kerry - Saint Louis Chain of Rocks Bridge
Julie and Robin Kerry

We soon came across this plaque. The death dates made me wonder, “Was this a suicide pact? How did these two girls die? What happened?”

Well, you can read the sad story here.

Someone also put together this slideshow…