Day 4: April 29, 2015
After Showering at Baxter Springs

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Breakfast was at Cafe on the Route. This was once not only a restaurant but a bed and breakfast. It's another place I stayed back in 2010. That operation eventually closed and a new owner reopened it as just a restaurant after extensive remodeling. I would probably have had dinner here if those delicious ribs hadn't been so near to motel and there's no doubt that I would have enjoyed it. I sure enjoyed my omelet.

I now activated the route of the Jefferson Highway through Oklahoma that I had entered into my GPS and confirmed that I wanted to be guided to its beginning. These pictures are from near the end of the shortest path there. From just south of Baxter Springs, it was an approximately five mile straight shot along State Line Road. The road was a mix of asphalt and gravel with no excitement until I was within a half mile of my target. That's where I encountered the grader and eased on by. The grader had created a fairly tall ridge of dirt down the road's center which I initially stayed to the right of. But it seemed to get narrower and the roadside got less and less inviting until I felt it prudent to plow through the ridge onto the freshly graded surface for the last quarter mile or so.

Both pictures face south along the Jefferson Highway heading into Oklahoma. Lead mining once benefited but eventually killed two towns along the Kansas-Oklahoma border. The marker is a tombstone for Treece, Kansas.

Picher, Oklahoma, was larger than Treece. It was essentially a ghost town when I visited it in 2010. It is absolutely one now. The subjects of each of these photos also appear in pictures I took in 2010. That's pretty much a coincidence. They are not composed the same or even from the same angle but five year flashbacks are here, here, and here.

The Jefferson Highway and Historic Route 66 connect south of Picher and share a path through Miami. That's the point where I reach the first new-to-me JH. It starts off well enough. It is mostly straight and flat but it is two-lane and that's promising. It changes, however, to divided four-lane as it approaches I-44 and it stays that way for a long time. The impressive 46 foot tall Standing Brave guards a truck plaza near the intersection. The JH leaves US-69 for OK-16 at Wagoner and two-lane returns for the last fifteen or so miles to Muskogee.

The welcome to Muskogee includes a nice new Jefferson Highway sign and a 1922 bridge that once carried the JH is just beyond. The Highway's path through the city is now marked with the new signs including one on my street.

I easily found the motel and also found a few familiar faces in the lobby. Conference registration was painless and consisted of finding a well stocked goody bag with the right name tag/badge. A trolley shuttled attendees to a conference kick-off at a beautiful 1928 home right on the Jefferson Highway. It was a darned nice beginning to what promises to be a very nice conference.

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