I think we’re not in Kansas anymore

Trip Start Sep 16, 2011
Trip End Nov 20, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Oklahoma
Saturday, October 1, 2011

We start the day at the Munger Moss Hotel in Lebanon, Missouri. No brekkie at the hotel so we start the day by getting straight into a game of Madagascar.  We checked out around 10am with breakfast on our minds, and after a little bit of confusion, we were back on the Mother Road.

We managed to miss breakfast at McDonalds, so headed to a supermarket for supplies.  Elwood, who must have been starving by this point, ate a cheese sandwich and bucket loads of fruit salad.  Noah and I stuck to our staple of bagels, fruit and cawfee.

First stop was Springfield Missouri which was about an hour's drive.  It was absolutely beautiful and I could have spent the day there, but the weather was beautiful and we wanted Elwood to get a good leg stretch.  So we found the most fantastic park – with caves, a lake, a stream, and rocks for climbing – just amazing.  We went on a 'bear hunt’ – thankfully unsuccessful - and played in the caves.  Elwood just wanted to climb and Noah and I struggled to keep up with him given that we are:  unfit, of a nervous dispositions, and were wearing flip flops.  Elwood had a good bit of fresh air and a fantastic time.

We got in the car for about another 40 minutes for a fantastic drive to Carthage.  We were going there because I thought it was the place they filmed Back to the Future.  However, when I re read the guide book it actually said ‘A perfect little town, looking for all the world like the model for the idyllic though fictional town of Hill Valley from the Back to the Future movies’.  So, I guess it was not the town I thought it was, but bared a resemblance to it.  That will do us anyway!

We stopped at the Carthage Deli and were just going to get a takeaway, but when I went inside you could eat in a Pink Cadillac and it had loads of signs.  So both father and son were catered for so we dined it. Check it out  http://www.carthagedeli.com/

The owner came and chatted to us which Noah and I thought he must get loads of Route 66 people coming though but he seemed so interested and was just a lovely fellow.  He gave Elwood a Woody the Cowboy Pez dispenser too – so that was extra lovely. Elwood hoovered up his Mac and cheese and they put everything non-flesh based they could find into a sandwich for Noah.  I had a fab salad.

I have had a few salads on this trip and the surprise  winning salad ingredient of the holiday is the corn chip.  It is my new favourite thing.  So my salad was lettuce, cheese, black olives, chill beef mince (okay, that is a bit weird and may not have entirely agreed with me), and the loads of corn chips mixed in with the lettuce.  Genius.  Plain lettuce is for losers – make mine a lettuce / corn chip combo thanks.

Back in the car, we drive a little further to the town of Joplin Missouri, which the guide book describes as  ‘not an especially photogenic place’.  Well, tell that to ‘The Signman’ – he loved it.  I did too actually.

And then, rather excitingly,  we were in Kansas.  Just like that.  For some reason – this caused much elation.

At this point, I will share with you some of the ‘banter’ that goes on in our travels, and why it is good that Noah and I found each other (as few others could cope with such nonsense).  Me:  ‘I dare you to make  an offer on a property.’ Noah’s reply’ I am not sure I have enough ID on me as I needed 2 forms of ID just to buy a beer at the bowling alley.’   Later, ‘I dare you to buy a RV ‘ . And Noah’s repartee is just as fascinating. ‘ What do you think is the ideal number of bagels to eat in a day?’ says he.  Poor Elwood, listening to us two.

On Route 66, iIn my head I was thinking, but I did not say out loud, ‘Maybe if we bought one of these closed up shops we could...’  Not really an option, we are both crazy excited about oz, so these abandoned route 66 towns make me feel both saddened and inspired.  You can see what they were – thriving and exciting communities, and then the big interstates were made, and the towns just had no through traffic and seemed to have vanished.  I mean, there are shops abandoned with all their stock in them, and houses abandons, cars, farm machinery everything.   I think Route 66 was a real symbol of prosperity and hope – communities thriving and families moving to brighter futures, and the massive interstates destroyed those communities as quickly as Route 66 had made them.  And here we have been shopping in Wal-Mart – not sure that helps or feels terribly great when you think about it.

Our next stop in Galena, Kansas.  We were in Kansas for just 13.2 miles today – and I must say – we loved every bit of it.  Galena was tiny and full of character.  Everywhere you turned there was something run down and beautiful.  There is a fast food outlet there, which used to be a service station , called Four Women on the Route. Apparently, this used to be called Kan-O-Tex.  And so the story goes, ‘The old tow truck that apparently inspired the character Tow Mater (in Cars) is parked outside, although they have had to change it’s name to avoid the wrath of Disney’s lawyers.’  The truck looks exactly like the truck from the movie and indeed the whole town is reminiscent of the movie.  If the story is right – it is such a shame Disney did not let the town trade on this, as it may have changed the fortunes of a whole town.

Still in Kansas for a little bit longer we drove through Riverton and stopped for photos in the gorgeous Baxter Springs.  And folks, that was it-  Kansas.  We had somewhere to be and that place was Oklahoma.  (Noah kept singing this one word, the only word he knows from the whole musical, over and over again.  Whoever tells Noah that we don’t collect Coke bottles, can they also tell him that it is a big state and if sings ‘Oklaholma’ the  whole time –  things could get tense...).  He also keeps saying ‘Miami, my second home’ – apparently that is a Wil Smith song and Noah smiles his head off every time he says it.  On the other hand, I do not.

So, after a stop at Wal Mart we are in a fab hotel in Miami, Oklahoma.  (The brochures stress the pronunciation ‘Miy-am-uh’.  From chatting to folk in the pool (alas, it’s not guitar shaped) there is a strong American Indian population here, and in all of Oklahoma.

And that is it for today people.  Noah and I are working our way though a massive bags of crisps.  We have a an even bigger list of good intentions that we need  need to make a dent in tonight – we are hoping the crisps will keep us awake /motivated.  Right now, the wine and beer is winning and sleep is beckoning – we’ll see how we get on.  Good night from My-am-uh, Oklaholma.
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Auntie Lzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzy on

Hey, Hi Bree, Noah and Woody ... It sounds like you are all having a great trip .. One of mine & Aunty Jane's favourite shows in the the 60's was Route 66 ... Buzz n Todd were the guys .. George Maharis and ?? heck, I can see his blonde boyish face so clearly ... oh yeah .. Martin Milner ...
And the motoring banter .. oddly enough, you sound soo very Batrick!

michael Leigh on

Good to hear you made it to Kansas. Now when you leave you can say "I dont think we are in Kansas anymore Toto". Loving all the crazy signs. I can see why Noah would get excited about them all!

noah_and_bree on

Thanks for your note Aunty Lizzy. We are having a blast! Think we have a sign for you - will rustle it up and email you. Love bx

Peta on

Have to say, I can't just "say" Oklaholma - have to sing it like out of the movie too! xx

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