Day 1 in Kansas, Sunday, September 9, 2018




A big 15 miles in Kansas.




This little corner of Kansas was lead and zinc mining. Galena, Kansas has residents but not much else these days. 20180909_1037422912517517950670521.jpg






20180909_1245181466691279291927331.jpgContinued through Riverton then, taking the oldest alignment available, crossed the Rainbow Curve Bridge over Brush Creek, constructed 1923. This is the only remaining Marsh Arch Bridge on Route 66. James Barney Marsh was a noted engineer and architect, holder of the patent for this style of bridge of which hundreds were built during the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s,

20180909_1332188060004498544428493.jpgA string of 25 Corvettes passed by us headed east as we turned into Commerce to admire the restored Conoco station, Allens Fillin’ Station, ‘We Fix Flyin’ Saucers’!




Through Baxter Springs and we’re off to find the ‘Sidewalk Highway’ after entering Oklahoma.


Day 1, September 07, Troy, IL to Rolla, MO

We came across a fellow on a motorcycle at the Chain of Rocks Bridge this morning. Asked where he was from and, through very little English and our very little Spanish, ascertained he was from Spain. We found him again at the Meramec Caverns. Not unusual at major points of interest.

We meandered along to Missouri Hick BBQ where we stopped for some good food and friendly folks.

Checked into BW Rolla for the night and during my evening walk who do I run into but guy from Spain. Spent more time trying to converse and learned that after a very wet ride today, he was facing another wet ride tomorrow and had to make a flight out of Tulsa. After a couple hundred miles he was staying 6 rooms down the corridor from us.

Day 2, September 08, Rolla, MO to Carthage, MO

20180908_1020252399390539568453730.jpgThe most interesting segment. Probably of the entire trip. Out of Rolla we took a 3 mile dead end to what was once the town of Arlington. Now a collection of several residences in the remaining buildings.




On to Devil’s Elbow Bridge and the Elbow Inn and BBQ Pit. 20180908_1047581817550097820696813.jpg 20180908_105129690762478821246202.jpg

The owners (birthday girl behind the bar) tell me that the place is really hoppin’ in the evenings, both locals and tourist traffic from the motels up along a later alignment of 66. Keep in mind that we are traveling only the oldest parts of 66 that we can find. Sometimes just a dirt road. I committed to the owners that I would return in another season with a lighter load than our current big truck with big trailer. I could definitely spend some time in this bar!

20180908_1106345399623612148145757.jpgUranus Fudge Factory. What else is there to say but ‘the best fudge comes from Uranus’. Hey! It’s their slogan…I didn’t make that up. I declined to sample the product.20180908_1107024050729378532805385.jpg

20180908_1438449181460276222385385.jpgNext we found a long abandoned mortuary and casket factory. All that remains here are the outside walls. A forest has reclaimed the interior of the building and reaches through where the roof once was.



Then in to Halltown where we just had to visit Charlie at the Whitehall Mercantile. Charlie plays piano at his church and tells me that every Friday and Saturday nights there is local music at no less than 5 spots each night.

20180908_151749882073465121252451.jpgHere Charlie is pulling down a locally crafted fiddle from 1934. A state away I started kicking myself for not acquiring that piece of Americana. The kicking continues.




Stopped in to admire Gary’s Sinclair station. 20180908_1533485672373876027093190.jpgWe had heard that Gary was quite the character and along the lines of ‘never met a stranger’. He was known to greet everyone like he just saw you this morning.




Unforturnately, Gary and soon after, his wife Lena, died in 2015. Gary’s daughter, and son-in-law George, now care for the place and seem to be continuing the tradition without missing a beat!









Found the historic Boots Court Motel in Carthage.20180909_0948577614912915878748489.jpg Built in 1939 it was slated for demolition by Walgreens a few years back. That’s when Debbie-D, sister Priscilla, and childhood friend Debbie, stepped in. They purchased the motel and have been restoring it a room at a time. Located at the intersection of highways 66 and 71 in Carthage, they set their room rates at $66 and $71.

20180908_2020154561023860578750307.jpgWe were lucky enough to stay in the Clark Gable room complete with the newspaper articles about the actor’s visits and where he stayed. Right here! After a good rest listening to the radio play such memories as ‘Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree’ and other 40’s and 50’s classics all night, it must be time to head in to Kansas?


Our days have been packed full of meandering travel, sharing stories with all kinds of people we run into…so my time for actually posting things has been very limited. I’m trying to catch up over the next few days. Oklahoma doesn’t seem to be as full of old, almost hidden, alignments to explore. (wmp 9/9/2018, Catoosa,OK)

Day 1, Tuesday September 04, Madison to Joliet.

It winds from Chicago to …..




Found it! Jackson and Lakeshore, Chicago. The official start of Route 66 westbound. The ‘right’ way. On to Joliet!

Could not help but break out in song…

She caught the Katy,

And left me a mule to ride.

Day 2, Wednesday September 05, Joliet to Pontiac

Notice the boys on the roof! Retraced our entry into Joliet and stopped for a dipped soft serve cone. This is where soft serve ice cream was first served and the very first Dairy Queen. This is no longer one of the DQs but is the forerunner of the currently 1000 restaurant chain. Across the street, Dicks on 66 keep an eye on traffic coming into town. This was Al Capone’s road in Illinois and he was instrumental in seeing it to be the first paved section of the new ‘highway’. Made for faster runs for his souped up Caddy carrying moonshine around Illinois.

This 2 cell jail (1906) in Gardner never held anyone famous like Capone. It was mainly used to lock up vagrants and drifters at night so the townsfolk could sleep without fear.

Barney was never in Illinois as far as I know but I liked the poster.

I locked up this couple from Australia so I could take their picture. This was the second couple from Australia I met within 5 minutes at the same spot.

Restored Standard station and gift shop in Odell. Lady minding the store had traveled all over but has always lived right here where she was born. Time to find a room. Only 56 miles today from Joliet to Pontiac!

Day 3, Thursday September 06, Pontiac to Troy

Livingston, Illinois and a trip down Memory Lane, part of the 1926-30 alignment just off the current Route 66.

Day 4, Friday, September 7, Troy, IL to Rolla, Missouri






So many ways to cross the Mississippi. Chain of Rocks not being one of them. Finally found our way over the river and proceeded to head north for 20 miles. No particular reason other than I thought I knew what might lie ahead, Robin kept trying to find the towns on the map, not realizing that we were no longer on that map. Oh well, found our way back to 66 out of St. Louis and welcomed Missouri!

Starting Another Adventure…66 The Real Way!

20180904_0939166474106360768441021.jpgTime to leave Wisconsin for a while, let Ailea get into her routine. Note the photo shows the first sun we’ve seen in 11 days.

We have planned for sometime to leave the day after Labor Day. Idea is to not compete with all the end of summer family travel. A small complication has developed by the name of Gordon. And it looks like it may start to impact Missouri and Oklahoma about the same time we’re heading through that area. Considered spending a couple more days here in Madison but looks like we will head out Tuesday, as planned, and maybe double up our stays at stops in Illinois to provide some delay. A little luck and we may cross after Gordon has spent all his energy and before the next tropical storm, currently heading toward the Caribbean, sends another wave ashore.

It sure rains alot…

It has rained with thunderstorms almost every day we’ve been here. Flash flood advisories have continued and lightning strikes are frequent. It is a very interesting campus though, sitting right on the lake and stretching for several miles.

20180827_1243398841809778849826581.jpgDown to Lake Monona right at central campus.20180827_1244233585857620823358770.jpg 20180829_0910402144888229886750305.jpgScience Hall 20180829_0911183155692163798421743.jpg

Welcome to Madison

Well, we did not get back on the road by 6PM Wednesday, turned out to be 10AM Thursday. Stuck in Laramie for two days put us way behind schedule. A solid 11 hours driving from Laramie to Des Moines gets us back on track to get in to Madison by 3PM Friday, Robin’s Birthday. img_20180830_184344573157469455674577272.jpg

Celebrate by unloading the trailer, checking into our hotel on the far side of town, then back to unload the truck and have a wonderful Birthday Dinner prepared by Ailea’s new roommate, Alexa!

Weekend spent shopping for whatever Ailea needs to get unpacked and setup before work starts Monday morning. Cats seem to happy already. No more harnesses!

Welcome to Madison, WI

After two days in Laramie, getting my rear end repaired, we finally got back on the road. I was told to fear Sherman Summit just ahead. Seems the GM dealer often gets motorhomes with burnt transmission after trying to go up the 1600 feet from Laramie to the summit while in cruise control. So I kept waiting for this tough grade to show up.

Got me to thinking about the trip through the Rockies on 80. This portion of the Rockies is very tame, a gradual increase in elevation over several hundred miles culminating in 8600 foot Sherman Summit, the highest point along Interstate 80. Much different from the 7000 foo20180827_1859514236661857578035130.jpgt elevation change over less than a hundred miles that is the Sierra.

Getting down to Cheyenne got us on to the plains and an opportunity to make up for lost time. A solid 11 hours driving on Thursday put us back on track for getting into Madison by 3PM on Robin’s Birthday.


Should have started the pool…

20180821_1607491357410347224821057.jpgWhen I was leaving the GMC dealer in Roseville, after the last repair, I asked the crew there if anyone wanted to start a pool on when I’d meet my first mechanic on this trip. After all, the truck has 242,000 miles on it and we’re traveling pretty heavy. The answer, if anyone would have taken it, is Tuesday, August 21, in Laramie, Wyoming. Had some rear end noise start up about an hour out of Rock Springs. Was able to call ahead to Laramie GM about 120 miles in front of us. Got in to be checked out around 1pm. Needing some bearings replaced in the differential and axle. They’re working very hard at it today and hope to be back on the road around 6pm today (Wed, Aug 22).

Really appreciate the willingness of everyone we’ve met to drop whatever they can to help out people on the road and get us back traveling as soon as possible!

Wells to Rock Springs

img_20180820_09571747628448954202529846454..jpgThe 365 miles from Wells, Nevada, through Utah, and in to Rock Springs, Wyoming was without incident, without excitement, without … well, anything noteworthy. Except some beautiful scenery along the salt flats of Bonneville, the Great Salt Lake, up the Wasatch Mountains. I did have a nice chat with a couple from Manitoba on two week holiday on their Harley. Shared a few travel stories there.


The Wasatch climb was a good test for what comes tomorrow … the rest of the Rockies as we take on our toughest day. 380 miles and between 7 and 8 hours on the road as we head into Sidney, Nebraska.

Ailea’s Note: Sean and Nick were (overall) great loose in the car again, though they were definitely more talkative until the last 2 hours or so. Also, Sean tried to pull a fast one and get in the driver’s seat whilst I took a picture of the Utah sign. We’ll see how they handle the longer drive tomorrow…