I like Route66 stuff these days as the iconic Mother Road starts to really disappear. Travelling through 8 states from Chicago to LA, Route66 only touches the state of Kansas for 13 miles...by far the shortest route through any of the states. We jumped on the road near Galena, KS and sauntered along the historic pavement through Joplin, MO and back to Interstate 44.
Entering Galena, KS along Main Street...
As you cruise down Main Street (low and slow), you will find a corner Kan-o-Tex gas station on the right.
This gas station was bought by four women intent on restoring the Mother Road to glory in Kansas. If that sounds a little like the Disney-Pixar movie "Cars," well, you would be correct. This town provides a lot of the inspiration for the movie, including Mater the tow truck. The movie creators, while driving Route66, found this station and the tow truck sitting on the corner. They fell in love with the idea and Tow-Mater was born! Also inspiring pieces from the movie were some of the buildings in downtown Galena, the worn out road, and the advertising painted on the sides of the brick buildings.
The corner of Route66 is now called "4 Women on the Route." The future plans are to restore four buildings at the intersection into a Bed and Breakfast, gas station, souvenir shop and diner, and a farmer's market. The recent economy has slowed things down, and the stores have limited hours in the winter season, so I was unable to talk to anyone and see how the idea is working out.
Other characters from the movie that have made appearances here are Red the fire truck, Lightning McQueen the red mustang, and Sarge the WWII era green jeep. Only Mater and Red were there at the time of our visit. However, this is a place I'm sure I will stop through again in a busier season.
I don't know when the gas prices were last at 29 and 31 cents per gallon, but these old pumps show a glimpse of days gone by, too.
If you ever get a chance to travel any part of Route66, I recommend you take the time to do so. A quickly vanishing and deteriorating road, this was a huge slice of Americana between WWII and the completion of the interstate highway system, although Route66 has been around since and before the 1920s. Many of the once thriving businesses are just shells scattered along the roadside reminding us of a simpler time. Almost any stretch, especially through the state of Missouri, is well worth the added time to your drive.
One more piece of trivia for you: Kansas was the first state to pave it's entire portion of Route66 in 1929.