We’re not in Kansas Anymore

by Natalie

My apologies for the missed day of blogging, we were wiped by the end of the day yesterday. Let me see if I can remember that far back now….


We finally got out of Springfield Missouri!! YEHAW!! We covered a lot of ground yesterday finishing up Missouri, the 13 (fabulous) miles of Route 66 that goes through Kansas and right through to Kellyville Oklahoma.


We were privileged to meet the real Tow-Mater yesterday! (and yes…I realize that he is a cartoon, but he is based off a real truck and I got to pretend to drive him!) In Galena, Kansas there is this fabulous little place called 4 Women on the Route. They are the proud owners of Mr. Tow-Mater and have him on display for all to see. The owner Melba “the mouth” talked our ear off for an hour about the history of her store and about Kansas’s contribution to Route 66 and to the movie Cars. For anyone who knows me you won’t believe that she talks 5 times faster than I do! What a skill :)


We happened to be in Kansas as they did the ribbon cutting on the famous Rainbow Bridge to celebrate getting their historical Route 66 signs put up. The party was hopping but we just drove by and waved so we could catch up on missed time from our stay in Springfield.


We are loving the locals everywhere we go. Before we got to Tulsa we followed an older version of Route 66 and found this fabulous bridge from the 1920′s. Another couple pulled over with us and we had a great little visit in the middle of the country road. Everyone seems drawn to travelling bikers and we are meeting the most interesting cross section of people. Although with the strong southern drawl Kurt usually needs to interpret for me ;)


The most memorable part of yesterday was the heat…oh the heat! We were drenched in sweat all day and found respite where we could, cafe’s, an iron motorcycle museum (where Evil Knievel’s clothes, tour van and bikes were housed!) and any shade under the barren trees we could find. We also finally made it to a campground!! Apparently in this part of the country “camping” means parking on a gravel driveway in the middle of a cement pad. That is what we found at our pre-determined campground….I don’t think so! So we re-jigged a little and found Heyburn State Park just North of Kellyville Oklahoma. We set up the trailer and skipped dinner because we were too tired to go back into town and buy food…..Also to kill the heat we sat in a muddy lake for a half hour all the while convinced it was polluted but without the energy to care. We then showered off the muck and crawled into our comfy trailer bed and slept like a dream!


Today was all about the riding. We did almost 500kms (one of our longest hauls yet!) to keep making up ground lost. Unfortunately we started the day with a 50km detour….yes 50kms out of our way because one bridge was closed. So when we got off our bikes for lunch and high fived because we had done 130kms without stopping we were deeply saddened to see we had only made it under 80kms along our actual trek (see today’s map for our little detour).


For those of you planning on doing Route 66 you will notice that Oklahoma has terrible signing for the old route. Lucky for my brilliant husband who had pre-routed us on the GPS for all of the old Route. We rode on original 1930′s cement roads for most of the day today that were unmarked and otherwise impossible to find. It actually feels like they are trying to keep you from finding it by posting “local traffic only” signs and always re-routing us to the highway. But in the book we read about how to find the old Route they said that if it was the cement road with the seams (that feels like a bridge, ba bum, ba bum, ba bum over each seam of the road) then you have found the right route!


Our stint with camping was short lived (so far) because the only “campground” we found here (Elk City, Oklahoma) was a cement slab next to the highway packed full of RV’s with no one in them! It was like a mini ghost town…and it freaked me out. So we are back in a hotel tonight with our fingers crossed that we get on the road early in the morning and make it most of the way through the tip of Texas tomorrow!


Sorry for the long, somewhat disjointed and not so clever post, I’m already all tucked up in bed and am ready to close my weary eyes. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.


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