Day 2: June 14, 2010
To Afton
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In order to save time, I used a lot of expressway today but did get in a few miles on Route 66. My first exit was just before Bourbon, Missouri. I wonder how many time that thing's been photographed.

Next came Cuba where Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q and the Wagon Wheel Motel had yet to open for the day. I was disappointed that I didn't get to meet the new owners of the Wagon Wheel but it was ny own fault. I had hit the road early and that would pay off at the end of the day but it meant that many businesses were still sleeping when I reached them. It was about a quarter past 8:00 CT when I reached Cuba. It was not, however, too early to be touching up some of the town's many murals and Suzie & Kelly of Touch of Color LLC were doing just that.

The "World's Largest Rocking Chair" Has been getting a lot of attention for the Route 66 Outpost in Fanning. It's a very cool place inside and out with some interesting lawn equipment.

When you reach Hooker Cut, once the deepest in America, you know you're near Devil's Elbow. I had rejoined I-44 after Fanning but exited again near Jerome. Driving up Teardrop Road, which was once US-66, is a reminder of times gone by. The Elbow Inn was another still sleeping business and another disappointment but I'll be back. I headed over the Big Piney River then stopped at the pull-off near the top of the hill for a view of the railroad bridge below.

The last time I was inside this building was at the start of Wrink's Food Market's fifty-fifth year. It was the only time I ever met Glen Wrinkle but I still have the Wrink's Market pen he gave me.

The Britt's own the place now and it's a restaurant with booths up front and a small bar in the back. Don "RoadDog" Hatch was here a few days ago and reported quite favorably on the place. I wanted to try the food and went with one of the lunch specials, a grilled pork tenderloin sandwich. Very good and reasonably priced. And it's a darned friendly operation, too. It's in Lebanon, MO, just a stone's throw from the Munger-Moss Motel.

This well done museum is inside the Lebanon library. There are several very nice exhibits on the area and on Route 66.

I had planned to stay with I-44 to my motel near Afton, OK, but there was still time left in the day. I pulled off of the expressway and headed through Joplin toward Galena. I-44 followed this RV into Kansas where we both stopped at the home of 4 Women on the Route. Although I've met the four women at Route 66 festivals, this was my first visit to their resurrected gas station. Inside, Melba was showing a small family some of her toys as she told them about the route, the town, the area, and anything else they asked about. When she saw Dean "Crazy Legs" Walker unexpectedly pull up to the station, Melba told the kids, "You're in or a treat."

The John Lasseter verified inspiration for Tow Mater in the movie Cars is parked outside and Dean is credited with teaching Tow Mater to drive backwards. Dean's feet can be turned completely backwards though someone has to kick them into that odd position. The driver of that RV was called upon to do that today and the kids did indeed get a treat.

It was raining when I left 4 Women on the Route so I just headed straight south and returned to the expressway. I exited at Miami with a good idea of where dinner would be and the rain more or less stopped at the same time. Elsewhere in Oklahoma, the rain was creating problems.

I didn't know exactly where it was but I knew I wanted to visit the Vintage Iron Motorcycle Museum. When I spotted it on my way to dinner, I pulled over. Vintage has a big Steve McQueen collection that includes the actor's personal Husquanvarna 400. The unrestored 1917 Harley Davidson is just one of the many historically significant bikes in the museum and the '67 Bonnie is one of the things I lusted after in my youth. But the museum's star, as far as I'm concerned, is the 1919 Indian boardtrack racer. She's a beauty.

Now, on to dinner. Ku-Ku Burger was once a sizable chain in the area but only one remains. Gene Waylan worked for the chain for several years and has owned this store since 1973. Though there are several up-size options -- Giant Burger, Double Giant Burger -- I exercised caution and ordered the regular. Delicious and I'm thinking about a Giant Burger on my next visit. That's Gene, at his normal work station, in the last picture. He does most of the cooking. He reminds me of Bill Pitts at the Lemon Drop in Anderson, Indiana. These men take great pride in their businesses and make every effort to deliver a good product. We don't see that nearly enough.

My home for the night is the Route 66 Motel of Afton. I knew of the place through Laurel Kane (of Afton Station) and I add my thumbs up to hers. Comfortable, clean, convenient, and a good price. Laurel says they have a Marilyn room and an Elvis room but I didn't get either of those. My room is rather flowery and fruity and has a rocking chair. I like it.

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