We got up bright and early this morning and headed down to the Maple Cafe in Springfield for breakfast.  Then we got back on the road.  Our first stop once we got on the road was a little gas station called Gay Parita that was rebuilt by a man named Gary Turner. We spent the better part of an hour listening to Gary tell us the story behind the old station and all the sights we should see along Route 66.  He was one rad dude.
Good old Gary sent us on our way through Spencer and into Red Oaks II, MO. Unfortunately, it was raining so we didn’t really get to explore the little town. But it looked cool.
In Joplin, MO we got a little off track to stop in at The Candy House. I am such a sucker for places like this with their yummy homemade chocolate and their overwhelming amount of choices of said chocolate.  I’ll be right back… I need to go get that chocolate out of the car.  That was it for good old Missouri.
The next big thing we wanted to stop at was 4 Women on the Route in Galena, KS. (Thanks for the tip Emily!)  They have an old tow truck out front that was actually the inspiration for Tow Mater from the Cars movie, although his name is Tow Tater. It was still raining when we got there, but we stopped in and grabbed some lunch.  By the time we finished eating, we were able to take a couple of pictures with Mater as the rain had slowed down.  And make sure you get a Tow Mater smoothie, it was the best smoothie EVER! Then we headed for the Oklahoma line.
On our way through Commerce, we drove through the Dairy King to pick up some Route 66 shaped cookies.  They are in the cooler and will be eaten tomorrow :).  The lady working there told us to make sure and stop in theColeman Theatre in Miami, OK.  They were just closing up shop, but let us sneak in for a quick tour. The kids had a blast running up and rolling (yes, rolling) down the aisles between the seats.
We wanted to drive on the famous ‘sidewalk highway’ between Miami and Afton, but we never found the turnoff. I guess that’s a good thing.  Knowing our luck, we would have gotten stuck somewhere!
On our way into Tulsa, we made a quick side trip to check out the Totem Pole Park in Foyil, OK. And our last stop of the evening was The Blue Whale Swimming Park. It’s an 80 foot whale that doubles as a slide right into the swimming hole.  It looks like it would have been tons of fun back in the day!
And that’s it for day 4. Tomorrow we are hoping to make it to somewhere in Oklahoma, at least a ways past Oklahoma City.
Things I learned today:
1.  If there was a scale of 1-10 where 1 meant you didn’t have to go potty and 10 meant you already peed your pants, I would say that the kids announce that they need to go potty when they are at a 9.  And not a minute sooner. “I have to go potty!  NOW!”
2.  The top 3 phrases I’ve heard so far on this trip are: “Cow!”, “I have to go potty”, and “I want to go to the park.”. Oh, and “I’m hungry” is a close 4th.
3.  Lia loves to talk on the phone.  She happily talked on the phone today for at least half an hour.  She mostly said “Moo!” and very emphatically.
4.  I’m cheap. Okay, so this is not exactly a new revelation, but if you don’t know me REALLY well, this is probably news to you.  We stay in cheap motels, because I can’t stand the thought of parting with SO much money when we sleep and then leave immediately in the morning.  Someone please leave me a comment and let me know I’m not the only one 🙂
5. Miami, OK is pronounced My-am-uh
6.  Route 66 runs 13.2 miles in the state of Kansas.
7.  The fruit and walnut snack thing from McDonald’s is surprisingly tasty. I opted for that this evening in lieu of nuggets or cheeseburger and I’m SO glad I did.
Maple Cafe, Springfield, MO 4 stars – The food was good and the atmosphere was great.  We were in good company too (Papa, Ee, Uncle Bill, & Aunt DeeDee joined us). Our waitress was really nice and they didn’t mind the kids sharing a meal.
Gay Parita Gas Station, Paris Springs Junction, MO 5 stars – This is great little place to stop!  There are lots of cool vintage things to take pictures of.  And make sure you stop in and say hi to the owner, Gary Turner.  He’s a real character and sweet as can be.  He gave us some Route 66 root beer, for root beer floats he said, and sold us a great guidebook.  He even autographed it for us and gave us a money back guarantee.  He took some time to tell us about the history of his station and some must-see places along the rest of our trip.
The Candy House, Joplin, MO 5 stars – Everything you could ask for in a homemade candy shop.  The people were super nice, the candy was delicious, and they had tons of things to choose from.  They also didn’t mind all my mixing and matching of various chocolates and gummies.  And, they had a bathroom.  Definitely worth a trip if you like chocolate.
4 Women on the Route, Galena, KS 5 stars – This place did not disappoint!  They have an old tow truck out front that was the inspiration for Tow Mater from the cars movie.  And in their little shop, they had some fun Route 66 memorabilia as well as Cars stuff.  They also had a little snack shop.  We stopped in for lunch and a ‘Tow Mater’ smoothie.  Everything was great and I especially enjoyed the Coke in a glass bottle.  If you stop in, make sure you talk to Melba.  She was super nice and even gave the kids a little toy.  And she made sure to give us a few more must-sees along the way.
Coleman Theater, Miami, OK 5 stars – This was a really cool old opera house.  I wish we had more time to look around, but they let us sneak in right as they were about to close up shop.  Its definitely worth a stop.
Totem Pole Park, Foyil, OK 4 stars – This is only about 4 miles off Route 66.  It was cool, but not quite what we expected.  The park is actually in someone’s back yard. So it felt a little weird being out there.  The totem poles were interesting though and one was, as Ava would say, ‘super huge!’
Catoosa Whale, Catoosa, OK 4 stars – The whale is huge!  It’s about 80 feet long.  Back in the day, it used to be a slide into the swimming hole.  I wouldn’t dare swim in that pond now though!  The kids really liked going to see the whale, but I was a little nervous the whole time that they were going to fall in the pond.
Super 8, Tulsa, OK 2 stars – It’s clean and fairly spacious.  And Josh is happy because he can watch the basketball games. But that is it.  They said they have WiFi, but of course when were trying to blog last night, the internet wouldn’t work.  And the toilet never stopped running until I shut the water off.  The drain in the toilet wasn’t tight, so when I was giving the kids a bath, all the water leaked out.  And the water in the tub just drip, drip, dripped all night long.  I definitely don’t think this room was worth the money we paid for it and I will be complaining to the manager on Monday morning when he is back in the office.

Lia enjoyed her powdered donut.

Writing postcards to send home

This was an old car at Gay Parita.

Ava said she was cold

Gary had me pose like Bonnie Parker

Gary Turner himself

Red Oaks II

The Richardson’s Candy House

Galena, KS

4 Women on the Route

Tow Mater!

Eisler Brothers Riverton General Store

Rainbow Bridge, Baxter Springs, KS

Dairy King, Commerce, OK

Coleman Theater, Miami, OK

Side of the road, somewhere, OKTotem Pole Park, Foyil, OK

Catoosa Blue Whale, Catoosa, OK


  • LOVE all the pictures! You have the sweetest family!! I enjoy watching your adventures on your vacation…and I remember you are cheap from last year’s vacation!!! I remember a great discussion somewhere about your cheap hotels!! Sorry, I’m a 3+star kinda girl! lol 🙂 But I can get 2* prices if I use Priceline…does that count?!?!

  • Like you, I am an advocate of cheap hotels… to an extent. As long as it’s safe and clean, you’re in good shape. To that end, as sad as I am to say it, I would urge you to stay away from the Glancy Motor Hotel in Clinton, Oklahoma. We had a bad night there, full of bad dreams, only to do a search the next morning and learn that a terrible crime had happened in the very room in which we had slept!
    For my money, though, I only sleep and then leave. If I can do that for under sixty dollars a night, I’m thrilled… as long as they have wireless Internet, I’m in!
    But — on the definite “to-do” list, also in Oklahoma, is the McLain Rogers Park. Right on 66, it’s got a great art deco sign, and it’s been playing host to families traveling 66 for a long time. The kids should have some fun there.
    If you’re breakfasting in Tulsa, head to Ollie’s Station Restaurant – there’s a model train running along the ceiling (oh, and the food’s pretty good, too!) 😉
    The kids will probably also want to stop at Pops, west of Arcadia. It’s a newer place, with a giant 66-foot-tall neon soda bottle in front, you can’t miss it. They sell over 400 kinds of soda and some pretty good food, I’ve heard (never eaten there myself).
    And and and… 😉

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