As online chatter started among Route 66 roadies about the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival in Springfield, Missouri, we thought it might be fun to attend, especially since we weren’t able to attend the festival in Kingman last year and not able to attend LA next year.
When we thought of attending, we debated on a car trip vs. RV, but after purchasing a new (to us) truck to haul the Shasta Oasis, we didn’t want to leave that costly combo sitting at home collecting dust. If it’s going to collect dust, it had better be road dust! The Rail Haven was booked, and being on Nutrisystem, taking the trailer and eating mainly our own food would be easier and keep me on track.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
We left Thursday afternoon after work, and our plan was to get to the St. Louis area. We did a lot of research on RV overnight parking (Walmart, Flying J, Cracker Barrel, etc.). Parking options in the area were slim, as most municipalities had ordinances against it, and we didn’t want to risk staying in unsafe areas. Rivers recommended against the Alorton Flying J as very unsafe. Highland, Illinois was recommended as a much better area, but it was pretty warm that day, so we decided to stay at the Red Barn Rendezvous RV Park in Edwardsville, Illinois. It had good ratings as an inexpensive place to stay ($35), especially for overnights. We called to make sure they could accommodate us, especially since we’d be arriving a little after dark. They said that would be no problem. We arrived and they were ready to greet us from their home at the camp entrance (the Red Barn) and were very friendly! We had a pull through site, never unhitched, just needed a slight level, and hookup to electric.
Friday, August 14, 2015
We had a quick breakfast at the campground and got ready to hit the road.
As I was getting things ready, I was thinking about the pros and cons of car travel vs. RV travel. We have not done much RV travel (mainly just weekend camp) but there is a lot of appeal to RV travel. I know that in the future when we either full-time or at least, part time extended travel, it will be fun, but with our limited weeklong vacations, I was hesitant because we only have so much time, hauling the trailer is slower, and you can’t stop as much and certainly not on a whim to grab a shot of a cool neon sign, roadside relics or other offbeat treasures. Especially now, with a truck and trailer combo that’s pushing 48 feet total! So that is a downside; but stopping at places along the way is not totally impossible. Most whims are difficult and like all good roadies, we do like to travel the odd alignments. However, with some planning, we can stop at many attractions and locations. We also can concentrate more on certain locations than we normally do, by stopping earlier and setting up the RV at a place, then exploring the area for the remainder of the day (or longer if we want).
So we set sail for the day and made our way around the south side of St. Louis. We picked up Route 66 in Pacific and took as much of the route as we felt comfortable with. Where we knew the road would be too narrow or curvy for the trailer, we took the Evil I but that wasn’t too much. Made a few stops too! Fanning 66 Outpost for some Route 66 Soda, a Route 66 coloring book for our grandson – and bonus, a stand outside selling local honey from Fanning Apiary. Bought a bottle and some flavored honey sticks. Redmon’s Candy Factory is always a must stop for us too. Bulk candy and fresh fudge!
Tri-County Truck Stop, Villa Ridge, Missouri
Phillips 66 – Cuba, Missouri
Fanning 66 Outpost
Crossing the Devil’s Elbow Bridge
All Photos from the Journey to the Festival
August 13 & 14, 2015: Birthplace Of Route 66 Festival – Getting There
We arrived in Springfield, and made our way to the Springfield Route 66 KOA. It’s not on an alignment of Route 66 – it’s actually a couple of scant miles south of 266 (Route 66) on the west side of Springfield. They very much support Route 66, too. When we checked in, they told us about the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival and handed us a festival postcard – we said we were in town for the event. They have a lot of great Route 66 merchandise including souvenirs, shirts, maps (including Jim Ross and Jerry McClanahan’s “Here It Is” map series) and books (including Jerry’s excellent EZ 66 Guide for Travelers). The campground is fairly smaller than a few of the other KOAs we’ve been to (St. Louis, MO, Dayton, OH and Louisville, KY) but nice and quiet…except for the trains. It was close to train tracks, which for some people might be an issue. It’s not a far off sound in the distance, it’s pretty close and loud. I didn’t find it a problem, personally – others’ results may vary. I enjoyed it there and would stay again!
Arriving at the Springfield Route 66 KOA
As we were setting up, Pat met a fellow Route 66 roadie, Chery, who was staying at the KOA in one of the cabins. Most of the other roadies were staying in hotels and motels, particularly, the Route 66 Rail Haven, so it was nice to see a fellow roadie already!
We were a little tired from the long drive, and we didn’t think we’d make it to the parade, so we stayed at the campground and relaxed. We also were to meet up with fellow Route 66 roadies and Corsair enthusiasts, Teresa and John. Pat had talked to Teresa on the Route 66 Pictures Facebook Group when she posted photos of some of their Corvairs. Pat offered them a few Corvair wheels, that they were happy to take off of his hands! We chatted for a while about 66, Corvairs and trailers and said good night. I decided to play around with the cable TV setup and managed to differentiate between the satellite / cable / antenna hookups. We didn’t really plan on watching it, but it was there and I had nothing else to do before bed.
August 2015: Springfield Route 66 KOA
Saturday, August 15, 2015
Today’s the big day of the festival for us – we would have to leave early tomorrow and not attend any of the festival. Getting ready in a bigger trailer is pretty nice. There’s still a little orchestration required but far less than with the Scotty and everything does have a place – even though I’m still getting used to where those places are! We made our way over to the festival area and started with the car show and local vendors – we made our way to The Glass Place, which was where many of our roadie friends – authors, artists, photographers, and collectors – would be. We met up with plenty of longtime friends, as well as many new that we know through Facebook – Jim & Shellee, Jane, Bob, Fred, Chery, Mike & Sharon, Joe, Jerry, Tonya, Bob, Rhys & Samantha, Ron, Joe, Don, Jason & Woody with the Road Crew and met new folks we know online – KC, Nick, Amy, Dora, Geoffrey and even more – Mike & Dean, Steve! It was great seeing and talking to everyone! I helped Jim & Shellee at their booth for a bit while they had lunch and even sold a couple Tourist Trap Tees! I was wearing mine of the Spooklight, so I already had on the uniform. 🙂 We saw a few more booths at the exhibit but needed to head out to see The Road Crew show and would come back later.
Photos from The Road Crew Show
August 15, 2015: Birthplace Of Route 66 Festival – The Road Crew
Here’s a couple of videos from the show too! Check out our YouTube Channel for more!
The festival was very well done. In its fifth year, they had a car show, the authors / artists / collectors exhibit, concerts, local vendors, a motorcycle show, and kids area with a ton of bounce houses (I can only imagine if we brought our grandson, we’d have to impose a strict limit!). We went back to the Glass Place to see everyone we didn’t see earlier. We headed back to the KOA and debated about dinner – I thought it would be good to have a meal out, and we managed to figure out where everyone was gathering thanks to Facebook posts. We discovered everyone was at Colton’s, so we headed over there and were seated pretty quickly. We enjoyed some “onion tanglers” and steak. Remembering that I had a refrigerator on this trip, I opted to do the right thing for my sensitive stomach and save some for later. Good choice. We then headed over to the Rail Haven, where many (most?) of the roadies were staying and the Road Crew was going to perform an acoustic set. Awesome, especially since we couldn’t stay for their Sunday show. When we first arrived, it was just a notch past the “golden hour” but I still had enough ambient light for some photos of the recently installed replica of the old Rail Haven Motel sign. How awesome to have an owner who honors the past and the uniqueness of the original sign. Holiday Inn, are you listening?
I headed over to the pavilion just in time to find Pat and we set up our chairs as The Road Crew got ready for their show. Here is a video of them performing “That Ol’ 66”. Check out my YouTube channel for two others!
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Not too much to say about today, really…we start the journey home early. Break down camp, pack up the trailer and haul it east to Indy all day! No festival attendance for us – yesterday was the big day. We took 66 most of the way out, but would have to take the Evil-I home. However, we did stop at the Route 66 Rest Area and Visitor’s Center – which is a great stop to get not only some info on Missouri but Route 66 too. The rest area is very much themed to Route 66. Here are a few examples, see the gallery below for more!
I also enjoyed a new app called iExit. It’s mainly for interstate travel, but could also serve 66 travelers as it quickly brings up services “nearby” based on geolocation from your smartphone. It does very well when traveling on the sometimes necessary Evil-I, by showing you what services are available at upcoming exits and the distance to them. It’s so handy to see at a glance that the next rest area is 58.7 miles, so if you have to “go” sooner, a stop at a restaurant or gas station may be required, and which ones are coming up. Here’s a link to iExit, available for iOS and Android.
The other thing that made the time pass easy is we knew our RV friends, Dane and Elaine, would be traveling home from a trip to Michigan – so after texting them to see what route they were taking, they replied I-70. So we played a game for an hour and a half where we estimated when our paths might cross and if we could see each other and snap a pic! We did so well as we got to the 113 and 108 mile markers, leaving us only minutes apart. Then, my fear happened when a semi passed us…and slowly, which would block our view. He creeped along, barely passing us. It would have been too risky for us to slow down, as we already cruise at a steady 60 MPH when towing, so we held steady and hoped he’d just move on up and pass us already. Once he did, I gathered myself back up, turned my head to look past Pat and out the driver’s window for a split second as I saw a small silver car that looked like a Toyota RAV4 in the passing line westbound. I thought it might be them…and it turns out it was. Too bad I missed getting a photo, but they got one of us!
We set off on our next adventure in a month, a road trip again with the trailer. Plans are sketchy right now, unsure whether we’re going to Michigan or on Route 66. But either way, we’ll be sure to have fun and make more road trip memories!
Pat & Jennifer