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.”