Day 6 of traveling on the Route 66 we passed into Kansas, after leaving Missouri along this very disused part of 66, which seemed like we were totally off the track, and a sign saying “truck route ahead”… and a huge lorry bearing down us like that out of “Duel”… and a bridge that looked like it had seen better days, the only sign I had that we were going in the right direction was a very old “Route 66” painted on the old road, blink and you’d miss it!
At the end of the road was our first Kansas 66 sign in a place called Hell’s Half Acre, with a disused ghost house at the end of the road. Here’s Gary on the Fat Boy just outside the ghost house.
Heading down the Street you could imagine the days of Saloon gun fighting and the outlaws riding in on horse back, with the folks running inside to hide. This was the first part of the journey where the town looked like a street in the old western movies.
Kansas Route 66 section only extends for 12.8 miles. These days, Route 66 in Kansas is a State Highway that carries the same number, and this highway passes through three towns that all offer insight into the history of Kansas. These towns include Baxter Springs, Riverton, and Galena. Baxter Springs attraction is an 1870 building that once housed a bank that Jesse James and Cole Younger robbed in 1876. These days, the historic site houses a café and a small bed and breakfast inn.
Marsh Arch Bridge
November the 6th and its the day after the Caverns and were heading off to Springfield. We had a lovely nights stay in the Baymont Inn near Sullivan, had a great pool and jacuzzi to warm up as the nights are getting cold. Today though its raining and after traveling just a couple of hours I was socked to the bone. We headed on through a place called Bourbon where stopped to photograph Gary bike reaching its 666 miles. I could barely use my fingers taking this photo.A few miles on and my street bob reached its 666 miles
An hour onwards we lunched at the waffle Pittstop for a well earned warm up, then onwards again, this time the skys were dry as we headed into Springfield…
Meramec Cavern was next on our road side attractions for the route 66, famous for the Hideout of the famous Jesse James.
Thankfully another dry day for us to set off from The Arch, heading west on the 66. After a long day of riding we made it to The Meramec Caverns behold what a sight to be seen! I have to say this has been my most memorable experience so far. The caverns were used as a hide out, for the train robber Jessie James, and earlier as a shelter for the Indians. These caverns stretch for 26 miles underground, holding complex mineral formations, some of which took millions of years to grow, and they are so beautiful. The guided tours are excellent and give you all the information you need to know. I also found this interesting blog on the real life story of Jesse James who could have been J. James Dalton (Jesse James)
More on Meramec Caverns and the Jesse James Museum.
Its the first time I have seen caves like this and I was totally stunned, its so beautiful inside. They have this Cathedral room with an amazing light show pictured below. There were 200,000 bats that lived down in these caves originally, along with snakes, scorpions, spiders, salamanders, blind cave fish etc….
When I took this, we were towards the end of our tour and the mineral formations were getting larger and more colourful thanks to their lighting effects, truly beautiful. This room was called the garden. I forgot to mention that it is 60 degrees inside the caves all year round. Its in these caves too that they have the worlds largest onyx mountain… cool…
Gary The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. The bridge was completed in 1929, after which it shortened travel time between St. Louis, Missouri and Edwardsville, Illinois. The bridge is 5,353 feet long and is one of the longest continuous steel truss bridges in the country. One of the most distinctive features of the Chain of Rocks Bridge is the 22-degree bend in the middle.
The Chain of Rocks Bridge became a part of Route 66 in 1936 and was used until 1968 when the alternative toll-free bridge was opened. The Chain of Rocks Bridge was due for demolition, but it was considered too expensive thanks to the poor value of scrap metal in the mid-seventies. Some of you may reconise the bridge from the John Carpenter Sci-Fi Film, “Escape From New York”.
Me in Illinois
Gary on the Missouri Side
A ride through Lincoln the home of Abraham Lincoln.November 1st 2006 a great journey has begun. A stop for lunch at the “Dixie Truckers Home” Cafe, serving up buffet food with hearty meatloaf. 😉Crossroads straight on or right what way shall we go?