Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Missouri - Osceola -Part Two


September 1, 2016 - like most everyone else we couldn't believe it was September 1st! This is the day we moved to Osceola, a little town in the middle of nowhere. We were actually closer to El Dorado Springs but as is usually the case the mailing address is someplace else.

Arrowhead Point RV Park is where we had planned to stay for a week, due to some issues with the RV we ended up being her for 17-days. Couldn't have picked a better place to stay so long. It is beautiful, very well maintained, with a small pond, cabins you can rent and nice long RV sites. Bill greeted us with a big smile and some great stories. Anne was so sweet, she even stopped by on our last morning to say good-bye. Our site was plenty long enough for the RV, tow-dolly and parking the car. They are about average width but angled so that you are not sitting on top of your neighbors hookups. WiFi was pretty good. Site is gravel but very level with a strip of grass and a picnic table. We were in a shady spot, as we don't use our TV, but there are open spaces for satellite users.
Plenty of room to walk the dog and big fields behind the campground to let her run off lead. They have places through out the camp and around the lake to just sit and relax. Nancy's morning walks resulted in lots of pictures, some flowers, turtles, spiderwebs and more. Laundry room was very clean and they have a club house that you can use. 
One morning there was some beautiful fog, but mostly just sunny skies while we were there. 
The front porch of the clubhouse has a number of hummingbird feeders that had lots of activity. Dozens of birds at a time.

Independence, MO is home to the Harry S. Truman Museum and Library.
It is a rather nondescript building set in a pretty park like setting. The lay out is very similar to the others we have visited, where you follow along the history of person as you pass from room to room. This one was a little different as the main floor is his political life and his childhood and family information is on the lower level. Neither one of us knew much about him, so it was a nice learning experience.

His presidency was full of turmoil, thrust into the job after President Roosevelt died, and in the midst of war couldn't have been easy.
One room was a wall of newspapers from the time. The front page of the papers were presented for you to read.

After the war, the challenges had just started here at home. As things settled down, the middle class really started to grow and "luxuries" like refrigerators and TV's were becoming more common place.
President Truman was a strong supporter of the little guy.

He was also a supporter of Civil Rights, which divided his party and almost cost him the reelection.

The famous newspaper headline of his defeat is about the only thing we knew of him prior to our visit.

Both Harry and Bess Truman are buried here in the court yard. There is construction work being done so we couldn't go out to the sites, but they are laid to rest between the two trees in the center of the picture. 

The eternal flame was given to the Museum by the American Legion Post #21 and dedicated to the memory of the President who was also a Legionnaire.

Troy, KS was a little farther than we normally travel for a day trip, but the Kansas Peter "Wolf" Toth Indian carving is there. He sits on the lawn of the Doniphan County Court House. It is the 29th carving on the Trail of The Whispering Giants. He was carved in 1978 from a Burr Oak and stands 30-feet tall.

Our travels to and from Troy took us through a variety of familiar sounding towns. It is amazing how many towns go by the same name, we went through a number of Michigan towns Garden City, Adrian, Lansing, and Dearborn. Then there was Nevada, Prescott and one that you don't see very often, Peculiar!
We also drove through Levanworth, KS which is home to the Leavenworth Prison, we didn't stop to visit. It is a huge sprawling complex and not at all what we would have thought it looked like.

Atchison, KS is the birthplace of Amelia Earhart. She was born on July 24, 1897 in the home of  Alfred and Amelia Otis, her maternal grandparents.
Her mother Amy, did not believe in bringing her children up to be "nice little girls". So Amelia and her younger sister had quite the adventurous childhood exploring the outdoors. She was always interested in the sciences and woman's achievements but not aviation. She kept a scrapbook of newspaper articles and information about woman who were working in fields that were considered at the time to be strictly a mans field. She attempted college a few times but had to quit due to financial and family issues. 
In 1918 she attended an airshow and was enthralled by the planes, she later commented "I did not understand it at the time, but I believe that little red airplane said something to me as it swished by." On December 28, 1920 while attending an airshow with her father, pilot Frank Hawks took her up in his plane. "By the time I had got two or three hundred feet off the ground, I knew I had to fly", she said later. After the 10-minute flight she became determined to learn to fly. She saved every penny and with a little help from her mother she raised the $1,000 to take lessons from Anita "Neta" Snook, a pioneer female aviator. 
Roadside Oddity - Wooden cut out plane 
She wanted to fit in with the other pilots and chose a leather jacket, knowing that the other aviators would be judging her, she slept in it for three nights to give the jacket a "worn" look. To complete her image transformation, she also cropped her hair short in the style of other female flyers.  On May 15, 1923, Earhart became the 16th woman to be issued a pilot's licens

On our first trip to Springfield we made a couple of detours, first was Humansville, we got such a chuckle out of the name we had to go and explore! 
The only "human" we
saw in Humansville

The next detour was through Boliver, Nancy's sister Jeanne lived in Boliver, OH which is a small town south of Canton/Akron. We assumed this Boliver would be about the same, but we were wrong, it is quite a large town. They have a beautiful court house in their town square that is bigger than the whole town of Boliver, OH.

As you know we are always on the lookout for Roadside Oddities. Some of these were found while traveling Route 66, others are from different adventures. 

In Springfield we found a Giant Fork and a Submarine coming out of the ground.

While we were waiting on a part for our generator to be fixed we treated ourselves to some Hurt's Donuts - now that takes you back to your childhood doesn't it! It reminded us of Voodoo Donuts in Portland, OR.
The Muffler Car was fun.
It is actually road worthy.

Not far from our campground was the Osceola Cheese Shop, yep it was awesome!

A great find was Jack and Virginia's Restaurant. When Nancy was growing up her second "parents" where Jack and Virginia Hanadel. Both are gone now and greatly missed. 

In Carthage we found a Crop-duster Tractor Plane and in Carterville we came across an ice cream store that is also a Superman Museum, we were so bummed that it was closed. 

In Webb City at the King Jack Park there is a Kneeling Miner and Giant Praying Hands.
Nancy caught the sunlight just perfect behind the flag. 

Our favorite was the 8-foot Airedale statue in Joplin. Of course Mielikki was scared of it so Les had to sit with her for the picture. 

The largest oddity we found was 
Red Oak II.

It is located just outside of Carthage, MO, and is the creation of Lowell Davis an artist who many have called the Norman Rockwell of Rural Art. He was raised in Red Oak, MO and moved to Dallas, TX for work. 

He missed the simpler life of the country and was saddened by the decline of small towns in America. When he moved back to Missouri he found his hometown of Red Oak had turned into a Ghost Town. In 1987 he started buying the old businesses and homes and moved them 23-miles to his Fox Fire Farm.
 At the time the area was just farm land but to Lowell it was a blank canvas, "I don't believe that an artist should be restricted to use only paint or clay. It can be anything including junk, wood, even an old building. To me, Red Oak II is a combination of a painting and a sculpture, and it is just made from things that someone else threw away." 
The church holds a Sunday morning service and on Saturday nights there is a blue grass jam session that takes place. 
As you pull into Carthage, this pickup truck, an advertisement for Fox Fire Farms greets you. The caption under the truck says "It ain't no wonder his wives left him" 

A real bonus to staying longer here was that we got to see our good friend Janet, from Asheville. 
She was biking the Katy Trail and was about an hour from us. It was so nice to see her and share some good beer with her. 
We explored a little of Sedalia and were treated to a homecoming parade - in the rain. 

The Katy Depot Welcome Center is one of the stops on the trail, they have a nice gift shop and some cool metal sculptures on site.

 One day Nancy will learn how to weld and make something as cool as this pole of tools. 

Next up is El Dorado, KS where we will spend a day with Dwight Eisenhower and explore Wichita.  

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Driving the highways and byways
Just a reminder that when you are driving and there are RV's or trucks towing a trailer they need to be treated like a semi-truck. We can't stop quickly, or change lanes as easily as a car. If you're entering a highway and an RV is in the right lane - speed up like you would for a truck. If you are switching lanes, leave room in between you and the RV. It is amazing how many people treat an RV or trailer like it's another car. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Missouri - Osceola part one - Route 66

Route 66 

All of the information for our campground and the other sights we saw will be in part two of this blog, when and if we ever leave Osceola, MO! In the meantime enjoy a little bit more of Route 66.

One days adventure was picking up Route 66 in Springfield, MO where we left off from the last stop. We took it all the way to the border in Joplin, MO. 

The old highway goes right through downtown Springfield. We discovered that this is the "birthplace" of the Route 66.  It all happened in the Woodruff  Building. Which is now called the Sky Eleven. It was built in 1911 by John Woodruff and the 10 stories were a big deal at that time. In 1925 Congress enacted a law for national highway construction. Woodruff teamed up with the chairman of the Oklahoma Department of Highway and together they mapped out the diagonal course of Route 66.  On April 30, 1926, Woodruff sent a telegram proposing that the road from Chicago to Los Angles be named Route 66, and so it was, and that is how Springfield became the birthplace of the route

Before we made it to the Sky Eleven building we stopped at the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge. It was built in 1902 so people could safely cross the railroad tracks, and they could watch the trains. It is believed to be the first bridge of its kind to be built in the area. It is 562-feet long and the 3-steel cantilever trusses cross thirteen train tracks. It is currently being restored so we couldn't walk on it. Pretty sure our son-in-law, Steve would love it. 

In the park at the stairway to the bridge are two metal peace poles, each has a number of sculpted panels on them. Nancy found some new inspiration for her doodles.  

In 1962 Steak 'n Shake opened its doors on E. Saint Louis Street. It is one of just a few of the original Steak 'n Shake buildings left in the country.

The Gillioz Theatre is right next to the Sky Eleven building. It was built in 1926 and has a lavish Spanish decor. It was a popular stopping point for travelers. It sat vacant for a number of years until is was refurbished and reopened in 2006, it hosts concerts, comedy shows and can be rented out for private events, like weddings

There is a pretty square in the center of town, with a large fountain, plants, trees and benches. Surrounding the Park Center Square are shops and restaurants and the Fox Theater. We wondered if it is as nice as the one in Detroit, plus it's our daughters last name. 

 Bud's Tire and Wheel opened in 1958, it was the first custom wheel shop in the area and possibly the U.S. They still offer custom wheels along with other custom car work.

Next to Bud's is a replica of the car used by Bonnie and Clyde

They traveled through this area. The mural that is painted on the car windows make it look like the couple are running from the law. 

Rock Fountain Court was opened in the early '40's and the nine freestanding cabins have the signature Ozark sandstone finish. Today the cabins are rented out as homes. We have a found a number of these older cabin motels have been converted into permanent residences.

The Birthplace of Route 66 Roadside Park, is a work in progress. The property was home to Red's Giant Hamburg, possibly the first drive-through restaurant in America. 
Red thought is would be more convenient for customers to be able to just order through the kitchen window than to wait on car-hops. Red made a giant sign but didn't measure correctly and had to cut off the "er" at the bottom of the sign to avoid electrical lines. The restaurant closed in 1984 and years later the idea of the park was born, the sign is the only relic at this time.

Heading west out of Springfield on Route 66 we came to Plano, MO first. There is nothing left but the ruins of a store that was built in 1902, it was a general store and also the town hall, church and hotel. Plano has officially been named a ghost town. 

Our next stop was the best one of the day. Halltown is home to Whitehall Mercantile. It is an old building filled to the rafters with antiques of every sort. We had to walk the aisles a number of times and we still couldn't take it all in. 

The best part was our conversation with Dr. Jerry White, the owner. He is 87-years old and he entertained us with great stories of the area and his life. He even played the harmonica for us. The store was his wife's project until she passed away and now he runs it. He was a preacher and then a school administrator. He has the best chuckle we have ever heard, a mix of humor and a little bit devious. Once he found out Nancy loves old rusty things and metal pieces he was like a kid in a candy store showing her all his treasures. Unfortunately, the store will be closing at the end of the year, as the building will be sold. Jerry has no idea how he will get rid of everything, but figures the Lord has it all worked out for him. 

In Paris Springs we had another great conversation with George at the Gary's Gay Parita Sinclair Gas Station.
This is a recreation of a gas station owned by Fred and Gay Mason in the 1930's. The cobblestone garage, built in 1926 is an original building, the rest of the buildings burned down in 1955.
Gary Turner wanted to bring it back to life and built this homage to Route 66 and roadside travel. Gary passed away in 2015 but his daughter Barbara and her husband George keep the memories alive.
Inside the garage is a refurbished truck and a mechanic that may have worked just a little to long.

 The grounds are lined with old cars and trucks. 

When Route 66 came through downtown Carthage it was a booming town. Their courthouse is an example of the good fortunes this town once had. 

The town is still very active, but not like it once was. They do have one of the few remaining Route 66 drive-ins that is still in operation.

The Boots Motel is a prime example of motels that once lined the route. Each unit has a small car port, some motels had actual garages. It appears that these are now extended rentals as each carport was decorated differently. 

Webb City is another town that has lots of historic buildings, and a fairly thriving downtown. There is not really much about Route 66 except for a mural on the side of Bruner Pharmancy

As you head out of Webb City on your way to Joplin, Route 66 takes a number of turns. Eight to be exact, which leads you to main street in downtown Joplin. 

Joplin has a rich history of being on the opposite side of the law. Many gangsters found their way here back in the day, and Bonnie and Clyde were no exception. They rented an apartment here to lay low for awhile. When authorities caught up with them, they fled in such a hurry that they left a camera behind. After developing the pictures the police finally had photos of the couple, the first time anyone knew what they really looked like. 
The apartment is private property but there is a historical sign in front of it. The main house and the apartment are for sale if you have a desire to move to Joplin, MO. 

More Route 66 to come on our upcoming stops and more information about the area in Part Two of Osceola coming soon. 

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Our tip will be included in part two. So for now we suggest you go out and make it a great day.