Road Trip: Route 66 through Pulaski County, Missouri

Road Trip: Route 66 through Pulaski County, Missouri

Sandstone bluffs…Devil’s Elbow…W.H. Croaker. We’ve driven almost all of the Mother Road over the years. I can’t believe we missed exploring Route 66 through Pulaski County, Missouri, especially since we drive through Missouri often. When we finally made it to Pulaski County this summer, we followed the auto tour that the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau laid out in a brochure. The route is filled with natural beauty, remnants of Route 66 treasures, and one quirky road side attraction. Read more

Antique Military Vehicle Convoy on Route 66

Antique Military Vehicle Convoy on Route 66

We aren’t usually lucky. A day late and a dollar short. Murphy’s Law. However, you want to phrase it, that’s us. But not this time. We happened to be in Pulaski County, Missouri, on the day the Military Vehicle Preservation Association convoyed through on Route 66. Better yet, the convoy stopped for the evening at Fort Leonard Wood, located in Pulaski County. Fort Leonard Wood opened the event to the public, and our itinerary was flexible. So off we went to Fort Leonard Wood to see the 42 vehicles that made up this antique military vehicle convoy. Read more

Arizona Route 66 Museum: Wagon Trail to Mother Road

Arizona Route 66 Museum: Wagon Trail to Mother Road

Long before Route 66 was commissioned in the 1920s, settlers used the Beale Wagon Road to move west. Route 66 traced the same route used by the Beale Wagon Road through Arizona. The Arizona Route 66 Museum, located in a former Kingman power plant, recalls the history of the route from horse-and-buggy days to the Route 66 heyday in the 1950s and ‘60s. Read more

Kicks on Route 66

Kicks on Route 66

Editor’s Note: Following are links to Route 66 articles that first appeared on our U.S. Long Cuts blog. We are merging U.S. Long Cuts with Midwest Wanderer, adding a “Beyond the Midwest” menu.

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Cozy Dog: Home of the Route 66 Corn Dog

Cozy Dog: Home of the Route 66 Corn Dog

You’d be hard pressed to find a fair in the United States that doesn’t sell corn dogs. State fairs, county fairs, and local carnivals always include at least one vendor selling the hotdogs enrobed in cornmeal batter, deep fried to golden perfection and served on a stick.  But did you know that corn dogs weren’t always served on a stick? Nor were they fried. Rather, they were baked and took quite a while to prepare. Ed Waldmire, Jr., who may have invented the corn dog, first served them at the Cozy Dog Drive-In over sixty years ago. Today, tourists continue to stop at Cozy Dog in Springfield, Illinois, for a taste of nostalgic Americana as they travel Route 66 .
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Funks Grove: Pure Maple Sirup on Route 66

Funks Grove: Pure Maple Sirup on Route 66

Drop by drop sticky sweet sap falls into the metal bucket hanging on the spout inserted into the maple tree. On a good day a bucket fills in 10 to 12 hours. It takes 30 to 50 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of maple sirup, something the Funk family has been doing since the 1820s. They began selling it commercially in 1891, 35 years before Route 66 was commissioned. Located near the midpoint of Illinois’ portion of Route 66, you can visit the Funks Grove farm and pick up some sirup for yourself if your timing is right. Read more

Beyond the Midwest: National Route 66 Museum, Elk City, Oklahoma

Beyond the Midwest: National Route 66 Museum, Elk City, Oklahoma

We expected to see the National Route 66 Museum. What we got were four museums in one:

  • National Route 66 Museum
  • National Transportation Museum
  • Old Town Museum
  • Farm & Ranch Museum

The National Transportation Museum keeps to the nostalgic Route 66 theme. Here you’ll find vintage cars cut in half. Slide behind the wheel or in the back seat and watch classic movie trailers at a Route 66 Drive-In theater.

Behind the wheel of a vintage carRte 66 drive-in 2Don’t miss a Midwest Wanderer post.  For a FREE subscription, enter your e-mail address in the Subscribe2 box to the left and click Subscribe.

A vintage trailer, motorcycles and an airplane are displayed, as is a 1917 fire engine complete next to a fireman’s pole. I was tempted to slide down the pole until Skip reminded me that I’m still getting over an ankle injury.

vintage rv trailerTrans museum - motorcycleAirplaneFire engineI’m not sure how the Popeye collection fits in with transportation, but it’s fun.

Popeye collectionPopeyeThe National Route 66 Museum was the highlight for us, as we followed the road from Chicago to California.

Chicago Theater signRoute 66Route 66 - 3Route 66 - 4Route 66 - 5Route 66 - 2The Old Town Museum is made up of several buildings, some facades and other full buildings that have been moved to the site.

Opera houseMove room to room in a Victorian home to see dioramas and displays of early-day western Oklahoma, Native American culture, military and rodeo history.

Dining roomBedroomrodeo museumI thought the old perm machine looked more like the woman was being electrocuted.

perm machineI’ve been to farm museums before, but the Farm and Ranch Museum includes displays I’ve never seen before, like a colorful tractor seat collection and a barbed wire collection.

tractor seatsbarbed wirewindmillWe spent over an hour in the complex but could have spent at least double that time to see everything. What a bargain at only $5 per person ($4 for seniors, AAA members and children 6-16; free for children 5 and under).

The National Route 66 Museum Complex is located at 2717 W Highway 66 in Elk City, Oklahoma. Check the web site for hours.

Photos by Skip Reed and Connie Reed

Thank you for reading Midwest Wanderer. Don’t miss a post. Enter your e-mail address below and click Subscribe to be notified whenever I publish another post. Subscription is FREE. After subscribing, be sure to click the link when you get the e-mail asking you to confirm.   – Connie

Other articles that may interest you:

A Nostalgic Stay at the Route 66 Rail Haven Motel in Springfield, Missouri

Pontiac Oakland Museum, Pontiac Illinois: Auto Nostalgia along Route 66

Oklahoma’s Charlie’s Chicken and Barbeque Offers Rotisserie Chicken as Alternative to Fried

Isle a la Cache Museum: Discover the Fur Trade on the Island of the Hiding Place

Isle a la Cache Museum: Discover the Fur Trade on the Island of the Hiding Place

Isle a la Cache-3919“Island of the hiding place” is the literal translation of Isle a la Cache, a tiny island in the DesPlaines River in Chicago’s suburban Romeoville. The fur trade was a huge industry in the 1600s and 1700s, and Illinois’ abundant interconnected web of waterways made the area a focal point for trade. Isle a la Cache was a middle ground for trading. It was here that voyageurs often camped, stored goods and traded with the native Potawatomi. A rendezvous took place annually at Isle a la Cache, a big event in which traders met with Native Americans for trading.

The museum begins with the voyageurs, whose trips would often last about eight months. They plied the waterways from Canada down into Illinois in canoes. They carried all the provisions they’d need for the entire trip, plus items for trade. Their loads could weigh a few thousand pounds. They’d often bury some of their provisions in caches and come back for them to be used on the return trip.

Isle a la Cache-3921Voyageurs brought with them steel tools, firearms and other items Native Americans didn’t have the means to produce themselves. They traded for some food but mostly for fur, specifically beaver pelts. The beaver population was abundant in the 1600s to 1700s, and their water repellant fur was ideal for hats. The Potawatami could predict when the beavers would be in their lodges, so they were easy to trap. The voyageurs sent the pelts to Europe where milliners transformed them into hats. By the early 1800s the beaver population had declined to near extinction.

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The museum segues to the life of the Potawatami. A Potawatami wigwam is on display, as well as tools, clothing and other day-to-day items.

Isle a la Cache-3928Often French traders would marry Potawatami women, giving them easier access to trade items. Their children were referred to as Metis. Although Metis had insight to both cultures, neither culture fully accepted them.

The museum exhibits ends with a recreated French hat shop with samples of hats and muffs that may have been made of beaver fur. You can learn more about the area’s past in the museum’s library.

Isle a la Cache-3931Isle a la Cache-3932The Isle a la Cache Museum is located at 501 E Romeo Road (135th Street) in Romeoville, just east of Route 53 (the Historic Route 66). The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. Check the web site for hours.

While you’re there, drive an eight of a mile farther east to the Centennial Trail. On the north side of 135th Street, check out the old swing bridge, built in 1899. The bridge spanned the I&M Canal until 1996 when a stationary bridge replaced the swing bridge, and the swing bridge was relocated to the trail.

Isle a la Cache-3937Isle a la Cache-3944Thank you for reading Midwest Wanderer. Don’t miss a post. Enter your e-mail address below and click Subscribe to be notified whenever I publish another post. Subscription is FREE. After subscribing, be sure to click the link when you get the e-mail asking you to confirm.   – Connie


 

Other articles you may enjoy:

White Fence Farm, Romeoville IL: Popular Chicken Restaurant on Route 66

Hiking Starved Rock State Park in the Winter

Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket: A Route 66 Icon

Pontiac Oakland Museum, Pontiac Illinois: Auto Nostalgia along Route 66

Pontiac Oakland Museum, Pontiac Illinois: Auto Nostalgia along Route 66

What do you do with a collection of 20 restored Pontiacs and Oaklands and more memorabilia than you have room to store?  Open a museum, of course.  And what better place to open the Pontiac Museum than Pontiac, Illinois, a popular stop along the historic Route 66?  That’s exactly what Tim Dye did when he and his wife Penny pulled up roots from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and moved their collection to Illinois.

It was less than a year from the time that Tim Dye first visited Pontiac and mentioned an interest in opening a museum to the day that the museum opened in 2011.  Since then, more than 33,000 people, from all over the world, have visited the Pontiac Oakland Museum.

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Besides Dye’s personal collection, ten cars and other memorabilia have been donated to the museum. Cars are on loan to the museum, too, which means ever changing displays.

You’ll see the first model of Pontiac ever made, which was actually a buggy dating back to the 1890s, original right down to the upholstery.  The buggy is pulled by fully restored Old Jim, who stood at the Maple Brothers Harness & Horse Goods Store in nearby Fairbury from 1890 until 1950.

Buggy

See old cars like the 1929 Oakland Roadster…

1929_Oakland_Roadster

…or the 1934 coupe.

34_coupe

Some of the cars are set up in scenes, like the 1948 Pontiac convertible in a service garage, where 1,450 oil cans are also displayed, about half of Dye’s collection.  Even the garage door is authentic; it’s the door from a former Pontiac dealership.

garage

You’ll see shiny big cars…

Bonneville

…flashy racing cars…

Pennzoil_Grand_Prix…and a 1931 Oakland Sport Coupe, the last year that model was made.

31_Oakland_sport_coupe

There is even a library with volumes upon volumes of manuals, magazines, maps and drawings.

libraryAdmission is free at the Pontiac Oakland Museum, located at 20 N Mill Street in Pontiac, Illinois.

Thank you for reading Midwest Wanderer. Don’t miss a post. Enter your e-mail address below and click Subscribe to be notified whenever I publish another post. Subscription is FREE. After subscribing, be sure to click the link when you get the e-mail asking you to confirm.   – Connie