Joplin MO to Tucumcari NM

Adruidway takes a break from its (ir)regularly scheduled blog to offer you images from the initial westbound leg of our trip. The historic Route 66, variously known as the “Mother Road” and the “Will Rogers Highway,” endures in fragments across the country.  It first opened in 1926 as one of the first roads in the U.S. Highway System.  We drove a particularly picturesque 12-mile section from Joplin MO into Kansas. Here’s an elaborate south-facing mural at an intersection in Joplin where we (eventually) picked up Rt. 66.  Alert viewers will note we’re not in the left-turn lane — we missed the signs and overshot the turn itself because the mural drew our attention.


A second mural on the side of a True Value hardware store celebrates the old cross-country highway, which flourished in the first half of the last century.


Walk closer and peer over the low wall and you see the sporty red model below, which looks ready to roar off.  But it’s actually just half a car, permanently attached to the wall.


Another fragment of Rt. 66 surfaces in Shamrock TX, where this old Conoco gas station has been beautifully restored.


The station now enjoys a second life housing the Shamrock TX Chamber of Commerce.


But its main claim to fame? A digital version of the station features in the popular 2006 Pixar film Cars, where the town was renamed “Radiator Springs.”  And the red tow-truck in the background is the original for the character Mater.


Take a look at the “price at the pump,” of the 1960s era, forever frozen in time: 27 cents per gallon.


The last fragment of Rt. 66 we drove pops up in Tucumcari NM (one of my all-time favorite place-names). Dell’s restaurant still offers you “kicks on Rt. 66,” echoing the 1946 song written by Bobby Troup and first recorded the same year by Nat King Cole.


So many other things to photograph. Here’s the Kiva motel, reassuring passersby it’s “A-OK.” We loved how many surviving structures celebrate the exuberance of the old route with vivid colors.


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