28 April 2021

RAPEA - Day 14 - Sullivan MO to Springfield MO via Route 66


I am a notorious shutterbug. I take pics of EVERYTHING! So if you're bored sometime and can't sleep I have just the ticket for you. VACATION PHOTOS! I guarantee you will sleep like a baby. All the photos I've taken thus far can be seen by clicking the VACATION PHOTOS link and everyday when I update the blog the photos I took that day will be added to the link. So click and share the link freely to do your part to help the world get a better night's sleep.

What a rainy day it was today! It was sprinkling as we packed the car but the tempo ebbed and flowed throughout the day. The sun finally came out a few hours after our arrival in Springfield. But I never let it dampen my snap happy mood as I hopped in and out of the car at various stops in my raincoat and waterproof shoes.

If you ever decide to travel Route 66 I highly advise you to bring along a friend. No, not because it's a scary world out there. Stop listening to that crap they're shoveling on the news! No, you need to be very selective about the friend you bring along.  They have to either be highly skilled map or app readers. What remains of Route 66 is extremely fragmented so it's constantly merging and unmerging with county roads, state roads and Interstates. Sometimes there are Route 66 signs posted and sometimes there aren't. And if you're going through a large city like Louisville you have to keep both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road while doing 70MPH on the interstate as it branches to and fro. I downloaded several Route 66 apps prior to the trip and although most have been good at telling you where the points of interest are, none of them have a good navigation interface that doesn't freeze when you lose signal. I've lost a signal several times on this trip but Google Maps keeps plugging along...so long as you don't shut off the app and try to restart it. Then you're flying blind until you reach a signal again. Learned that lesson the hard way. But even on Google Maps there's no way to say I want to travel from point A to point B on a certain road and not deviate from it. When you click on 'Avoid Highways' it still wants to give you the fastest route via the back roads and trust me Route 66 won't take you anywhere fast. It's a road to savor the bucolic sights surrounding you.

And while we're on the subject of roads, let me tell you about the majority of the roads you will travel in MO while trying to maintain the Route 66 trail. They're like nothing I've ever seen before. They're called Supplemental Roads and until 1952 they were each governed and maintained by their own individual county. But in 1952, in an attempt to improve the transport of farm products the State opted to take over the responsibility of maintaining nearly 20,000 miles of farm-to-market roads and gave them all letter rather than number designators. The whole explanation is here but when I tried to comprehend it I sprained my brain so now I have to limp through the rest of tonight's blog with a sprained brain.

Our first stop was Cuba MO, a quaint little town with some really nice murals.

Then it was on to Rolla MO where we made a pit stop for gas and I spotted this really cool skoolie with a mermaid on the side and a toad in the rear.

In Waynesville, formerly known as Hooker, is this little 1-2 mile stretch of ORIGINAL Route 66 that you can actually drive on called Hookers Cut where they widened the road to an actual 4 lane with a little patch of grass growing down the middle. It was one of the first 4 lane highways in the country but I think Engineering wasn't their strong suit. There's an actual curb running down each side of the road and they didn't tilt the road at all for water runoff. So when you're traveling in a deluge as we were today the entire road becomes a sluice. As we passed a canoe with a For Rent sign on the side of the road just prior to a downhill run my initial surprise at the quirky sight soon gave way to a sense of foreboding as a Flash Flood Warning for the area appeared on my phone. It's all just part of the thrills and chills that await on Route 66. NOTE: I know the Landmark Hunter called this area Devil's Elbow but this guy makes much better sense explaining the name.

And that brings us to the most hilarious part of the day. For the better part of 10 miles we kept reading these funny billboard signs about a shop in Uranus called Uranus Fudge Factory so we just had to stop even though it was pouring down rain. And boy were we glad we did! We were laughing for a better part of an hour as we attempted to take in all that was contained in that building. It sells so much more than fudge and candy. This is definitely a place to stop on your travels.


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