We ARE in Kansas, Toto!
With new dancing shoes on the girl (new tires on the motorhome) we continued to ply the winding asphalt ribbon known as “66”. Having just put Missouri under our belts, it’s now time to taste a bit of Kansas. Route 66 takes in just eleven miles of the southeast corner of Kansas, but we were surprised at what a history rich eleven miles it was. Baxter Springs was our first encounter with a notable piece of Route 66 nostalgia, being the Rainbow Bridge. Not only is the Rainbow Bridge the last of the 3 cement arch bridges on Route 66, but more importantly at this moment is the fact that the Rainbow Bridge had no height clearance information or signage. When you’re driving a motorhome with clearance requirements of 12 feet 6 inches, you become a bit hypersensitive to this kind of thing especially when your wife has shown you a number of YouTube videos with motorhomes and fifth wheel trailers peeling off their tops due to inadequate bridge clearance. So we’ve come up with a procedure! I pull up and line up and then get out and walk out front of the motorhome while my wife drives it over the bridge and I watch the overhead clearance. There is another upside to this procedure, with me way out in front keeping an eye on the height, if the bridge isn’t strong enough to support the motorhome and the whole thing collapses, I should be ok. Just kidding!
We cleared the bridge, no problem and continued on our way. What a beautiful countryside drive. Our next stop was Galena as we pulled up to a stop sign and left hand turn in Route 66, to see this:
If you look, you can see the back of our motorhome to the left on the photo. Needless to say, this drew us back to the Pixar Movie, CARS. Remember the Tow Truck named TowMater? As the story goes, these trucks were the inspiration. Think
back, CARS the movie had a theme running in the background about the disappearance of Route 66. Yep! We stopped into this restored gas station turned Route 66 Tourist Information Center and met this weathered looking pleasant older man asking us where we were headed and asking us if we saw the old tow trucks? He went on to tell us that back in the day, the tow business was operated by a man nicknamed Tater. He told us that everyone just referred to his business as Tow Tater’s and that was the inspiration for TowMater in the movie. He asked if we’d be interested in meeting that fella and then held out his hand to shake mine. I guess that’s getting it from the horses mouth.
We’ve been surprised on more than one occasion with both the oddities we’ve seen on Route 66 and the unusual ability of some things to survive, like the Astronaut and Muffler Men I shared back in the post titled “Peeling The Onion”. Galena also had a number of these “surprises”.
Just as a sidebar, in our short trip through Kansas, I noticed that one of our new tires was out of balance. I think it’s the left front but the roads have been typical Route 66, so I’m not sure. We will have to start looking for another Goodyear Truck Center as we proceed on our pilgrimage. Now it’s time to turn our thoughts and the motorhome towards Oklahoma. We’re excited to be meeting up with some friends in Oklahoma City. If for some reason the motorhome won’t start, I’ll call TowTater!