30 April 2021

RAPEA - Day 15 - Springfield MO to Vinita OK via Route 66

This morning I was made aware of the omission of two things in last night's blog. See! I told you that article about the lettered roads in MO sprained my brain. No worries. Both were things I spotted as we entered Springfield MO but didn't visit. However, I had watched YouTube videos on both and found them fascinating.

The first is Eden Village. It was the first of its kind in 2018 for what is now a nationwide program. A master planned, gated tiny home community, that provides disabled homeless individuals a safe space off the streets in a community of like individuals. The community center is furnished with a full kitchen, a laundry room, computers, a library of books and DVDs, offices for professional service providers for support, as well as a community garden, woodworking shop, a neighborhood store, outdoor grills, and a storm shelter.

The second is Springfield Underground which contains 3.2 million square feet of leasable space which is free from exposure to the outdoor elements because it is built into a former underground limestone quarry. Buildings range in size from 50,000 - 400,000 square feet with the ambient temperature a constant 62 degrees. There's an on-site refrigeration maintenance crew that manages the temperature of the refrigerated buildings which range from -20F to 55F. With 30ft ceilings you can stack things pretty high. We saw a flurry of tractor trailer trucks going in and out of there. It seems like a really busy place.

We had a helluva storm late last night which dumped buckets of rain. Once it calmed down a bit, it made for excellent sleeping conditions. It was overcast when we got on the road this morning but it steadily cleared as we drove south west. At least I wasn't standing in the rain while taking pictures today.

Just outside of Springfield we stumbled across Gary's Gay Parita. Alas, it wasn't open when we came across it but I know just from seeing all the wonderful things outside that it must be a treasure trove inside.

Then it was on to Galena KS which holds the distinction for the shortest segment of Route 66. We parked outside the Picker's Post which was a small old building with a booth style flea market. Just across the street was an original building that had been re-purposed and painted bright yellow to house a massage parlor. Next door was a sign in the window advertising Bordello Antiques. I'll bet that holds some interesting finds. Antique chaise lounge with questionable pedigree anyone? Hopefully it has been reupholstered.

You know that Rainbow Bridge our beloved pets are always crossing over? Well I found it on a curve in the road right outside of Baxter Springs KS. It's one of the few steel truss bridges on Route 66 that you can still drive across. But I walked across it just so I could see if any of my fur babies were on the other side. Nope. No such luck.

And I finally got an answer to a question that has perplexed me for decades. Everyone has heard of Dairy Queen, right. You may have even worked at one while attending high school. They are all over the country. Have you ever wondered what happened to the Dairy King? Was he killed in some horrific battle? Poisoned by a treacherous knave of his court? Dispatched to the dungeon because he left the seat lid of the royal throne up too many times? Nope. I discovered him today too. Oh how the mighty have fallen. He's been reduced to flipping burgers in a tiny town called Commerce OK.

For a tiny town Commerce OK has a whopper of a claim to fame. (Hehe! See what I did there?) Commerce is where Hall of Fame baseball star Mickey Mantle grew up. His boyhood home is one block from Route 66. It is also where Bonny and Clyde killed a local police Constable in 1934. And it's the nearest town to the now abandoned and "erased" town of Picher, which was evacuated due to an environmental disaster.

Across the street from the Dairy King is this quaint little hole-in-the-wall Conoco Gas Station that's now a gift shop for all things Route 66.

Tomorrow we're headed to Tulsa and I hope to shoot pics of the newly opened Neon Park. Pray for no rain in Tulsa for the next couple nights ya'll.

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