Day 7 Route 66 - Carthage to Tulsa 168.8 miles

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June 12th 2012
Published: June 14th 2012
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This morning the plan was to start driving west before the middle of the day. The last two days it has been after one o'clock before we have really been underway!! So, we thought that we would have a quick drive into the Historic Square downtown take a couple of quick photos, drive past Boots Motel for a photo and then spend half an hour having one last look for Red Oak II.

That was the plan! We made a good start and took a couple of quick photos in the Historic Square and then we drove around the corner to the classic art-deco Boots Motel. We took a couple of quick photos there too and we were ready to head off when Ron came out and asked if we would like a look around. Ron is the President of the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce that has been formed to represent people who are running businesses along the Mother Road.

It turned out that the Boots Motel is off the endangered list and is gradually being restored. Not much has been done yet to the exterior, but some rooms have already been done up and it is possible to stay at the Boots Motel. If only we had known - although we would have had to manage without the internet ... and television!! Ron showed us a restored double room and a single room and pointed out the room that Clark Gable stayed in and then took us into the office to meet Deb. They were both so friendly and wanted to tell us all the things to see in and around Carthage. We felt so bad when we told them that we could only stay one night in Carthage before moving on.

They were good sports though and gave us a detailed map to help us to find Red Oak II and told us that we had to stop for a chocolate malt at the Bradbury Bishop Deli and Route 66 Diner in Webb City.

With a detailed map we headed EAST to find Red Oak II. With the morning getting away from us we were heading in the wrong direction!! Fortunately it was easy to find Red Oak II with a detailed map so it only took us a few minutes to drive there and we were able to take a few quick photos of the period buildings before finally pointing the Mustang's nose west.

It was only about 10 miles down the road to Webb City, but we had to stop for a chocolate malt didn't we?? Actually, it was so close to lunch time we decided to share a malted milk and have something to eat too and then have a really concerted effort at making some westwards progress.

Soon after lunch we were in Joplin where we opted to take the early 66 option that wended its way through town. Although there were a lot of turns to navigate it was much more interesting than taking the rangeline option which follows the last by-pass alignment that took Route 66 around rather than through Joplin.

Not far from Joplin we entered Kansas to cut across its bottom corner on the 13.2 miles of Route 66 that are in Kansas. We passed the State Line Bar, literally drove straight past it without really registering that we were crossing into Kansas, so we had to double back for the photo op!!

Before we knew it we were flying over the concrete-post viaduct with its 90 degree turn towards downtown Galena. Definite photo op here at the '4 Women on the Route' in the restored Kan-O-Tex gas station. The old tow truck parked out the front was the inspiration for Tow Mater in the movie 'Cars'. We stopped in and just about had our ears talked off by Melba. Boy, it's no wonder that her nickname is The Mouth, she sure can talk fast! It was all interesting stuff though about the time that they spent with the Pixar people providing background that helped develop characters and storyline for the movie.

Melba also told us about the tornado that ripped through Joplin last year. If we had taken the rangeline option more to the east of Joplin we probably would have been able to see evidence of the swathe of destruction that the tornado caused on that side of town. Over 100 lives were lost so it was a really devastating event for the communities in this area.

From Galena we continued on through Riverton and then across the Marsh Rainbow Arch Bridge over Brush Creek before heading into Baxter Springs ... which concluded the Kansas section of Route 66.

So, with three states behind us we headed onwards into Oklahoma at its north east corner. We drove through Quapaw (pronounced O-Gah-Pah) and Commerce before stopping for ice-creams at Waylan's Ku Ku Burger as we entered Miami (pronounced Me-Ah-Me). We also made a quick downtown in Miama to photograph the 1929 Spanish mission-styled Coleman Theatre.

After topping up on calories in Miami we headed onto the first section of 'nine foot road' between Miami and Narcissa. This is a narrow strip of road, with concrete base and curbs and asphalt road surface that dates to 1922, but served as US 66 from 1926 until 1937. There was a second stretch of nine foot road near Afton before we negotiated Dead Man's Corner (not as bad as it sounds!) and crossed I-44 into Vinita.

On through White Oak and over the 1926 iron bridge over Pryor Creek into Chelsea before driving through Bushyhead, Foyil, Sequoyah, Claremore and Verdigris. Just after Verdigris we went over the bridge that crosses the McClellan-Kerr Navigation System, a 445-mile waterway that links Tulsa to the Gulf of Mexico. Just up the road, there used to be a photogenic pair of bridges across Bird Creek, but the westbound bridge has been replaced with a very boring concrete bridge. The old bridge has been re-sited on a nearby slope for the sake of history I guess, but it does look odd over on the hill rather than beside its 'twin'.

This brought us to Catoosa for the photo op of the trip so far - the Blue Whale!! I'll let the photo speak for itself.

Finally, we arrived in Tulsa where we drove right though the city on 11th Street (Route 66) only to discover when we programmed Edna to take us to our hotel, that the Ramada Inn is located back at the eastern end of Tulsa!! No nearby options for eating. We had to do a round trip of 10 miles for some pretty average Italian food!!

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15th June 2012

sights and characters
You are certainly finding plenty of interesting views and characters along your journey. Keep up the great work with the blog and photos, taking us along on your pilgrimage. One of our favourite shows "American Pickers" features some great characters who collect all manner of historical items, much like the type of people you seem to be meeting along the way. They all have a story to tell! Janet

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