Route 66 Road Trip: The End of the Tail

It was day three of our Route 66 road trip and it was time to head home. We had done so much, and seen so many cool and iconic attractions! I had been to parts of the country I would have never imagined I would visit when I was living as a tobacco shop pup, chained up all day, kept in a crate at night, and only taken out for quick walks to do my business, never allowed to explore or go on adventures.

And here I was now, just a little more than a year after MaMa rescued me, waking up in a motel room in Missouri! Not only that, but I had just been taken on a road trip down a portion of the most famous road in America. How appropriate that I had been down the Mother Road with my MaMa (and brother and Pops)!

Where am I? Oh yeah, Missouri!
Where am I? Oh yeah, Missouri!

After Pop loaded up the car and we got on the road to head home, I looked at Levi and I could see he was sad that our short vacation was over. It turned out that he liked having a travel buddy to share adventures with, and he, like I, didn’t want our road trip to end!

Levi was sad that our road trip had to end.
Levi was sad that our road trip had to end.

Just as Levi and I were lamenting the end of our adventure and dreading the long and boring drive back on Interstates 44 (Missouri) and 55 (Illinois), we heard MaMa and Pop in the front seat discussing possible places to stop on the way home! They weren’t planning anymore Route 66 stops, but instead were looking for parks or natural areas we could stop at close to the highway. MaMa remembered reading about a lake in Litchfield, Ill.  She didn’t have much information, but experienced explorers (like I was becoming) know that sometimes the less you know about a place, the greater the adventure!

So, homeward we progressed, but knowing we had at least one fun place to stop on the way made the prospect of vacation ending a little less bittersweet.

When we arrived in Litchfield, we drove around a bit aimlessly until we saw a sign for a Lake Lou Yaeger boat launch. That sounded promising and turned out to be a pretty place to hang out and enjoy the lake view for a while.  MaMa and I sat and enjoyed looking at the lake, while Pop took pictures and Levi checked out the grass!

We all relax in different ways!
We all relax in different ways!
Levi Pitboxer loves rolling in the grass any chance he gets!
Levi Pitboxer loves rolling in the grass any chance he gets!
This IS the life!
This IS the life!
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Levi finally got up and took a look around.
I have a great view from up there!
I have a great view from up here!
Pretty place for a family photo.
Pretty place for a family photo.
One last look around before getting back on the road.
One last look around before getting back on the road.

After enjoying the lake and stretching our legs, it was time to hit the road again and get a little bit closer to home before making another stop. MaMa drove this leg of the trip, so Pops was left in charge of finding the next place to stop. Lucky for us, he is excellent at finding places to explore! He found a great place to stop called the Railsplitter State Park (also known as the Edward R. Madigan State Fish & Wildlife Area) along Salt Creek in Lincoln, Ill., just 30 minutes north of Springfield on I-55.

We found a nice trail right along the creek and did some exploring in the woods. Some of our favorite adventures are in the forest, with all of the trees, and other plants to smell and this one had a creek for even more sensory pleasures!

Levi loved checking out the creek!
Levi loved checking out the creek!
There is so much to check out!
There is so much to check out!
I wanted to see what was going on too!
I wanted to see what was going on too!
Enough of that, let's check out the rest of this place.
Enough of that, let’s check out the rest of this place.
Let's see where this trail heads.
Let’s see where this trail heads.

We took our time at this park because it was the last stop before heading home, and none of us wanted our little adventure to end. To think, it had all started just because MaMa watched the movie, Cars by herself one night and decided that Route 66 looked like something that would be fun and interactive for our mixed species family. And she wasn’t wrong, as it definitely offered adventure for both humans and canines alike. Something else our little trip did was convince MaMa that we are all meant to travel together! Knowing how well Levi and I behave on road trips allowed her and Pop to plan other trips that we’ve taken since this epic journey down the Mother Road. I hope you will take those trips with us as well as I relive them in future blogs.

Looking forward to our next trip. Thanks for the memories Route 66!
Looking forward to our next trip. Thanks for the memories Route 66!

Next stop…Arizona here we come!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Route 66 Road Trip: Hanging out in Cuba & the Devil’s Elbow!

By the time we finished up at the Route 66 State Park it was getting pretty late in the afternoon, and we didn’t have time for many more stops. Taking this into consideration, MaMa decided we should head to Cuba! No, not the Cuba that’s 90 miles south of Key West, Fla. in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, but the Cuba that is a destination spot on Route 66! Two of the reasons why it is a popular stop, the Wagon Wheel Motel & Missouri Hick BBQ restaurant, are right next door to each other, which made it a no-brainer when deciding where we should go next.

Route 66 will take you to Cuba!
Route 66 will take you to Cuba!

The Wagon Wheel Motel is the oldest continuously operating motel on all of Route 66. It was built in 1935 by Robert & Margaret Mathis, and consisted of a cafe, filling station (which was operated for a time by the Standard Oil Co.), and cabins.

The Wagon Wheel Motel still looks like it did in the 1930's!
The Wagon Wheel Motel still looks like it did in the 1930’s!

There is also an iconic sign that lights up on Neon at night, to help guide travelers to their destination! We were there during the day, so unfortunately we didn’t get to see the sign all lit up, but it still looked pretty cool!

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Pop and Levi in front of the iconic Wagon Wheel Motel sign.

We toured the grounds of the hotel and enjoyed the ambiance and feeling of being back in a different era! I even found a pumpkin that looked just like me! MaMa and I found a place to sit and relax, and Levi found a foreboding “NO Vacancy” sign the he made look even scarier! He also found the old Standard Oil station, which is no longer open for business as a filling station, but still sports the old sign.

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Just a couple of cute, little, white pumpkins.
A relaxing spot to sit and pretend like it was 1935.
A relaxing spot to sit and pretend like it was 1935.
Don't even TRY to get a room from Levi Pitboxer!
Don’t even TRY to get a room from Levi Pitboxer!
Standard Oil no longer sold here.
Standard Oil no longer sold here.

After having a good look around the hotel, we decided to go next door and check out Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q. It was getting close to dinner time, and we were all a little hungry from our busy day of Route 66 adventures. We hadn’t even considered eating there and figured we would have a quick look around and then eat fast food again that night, but MaMa noticed they had benches on a front porch, and decided to go inside and ask what their policy was for dogs.

We got MaMa all tangled up!
We got MaMa all tangled up!

As luck would have it, they allowed dogs to sit out on their front porch, so MaMa and Pop were able to have a proper meal, instead of one all wrapped up to go! They got the pulled pork sandwiches, which are served with the sauce on the side, so Levi and I also got to try some. Oh boy, it sure was exciting eating at an excellent restaurant and trying some of the local cuisine. I could get used to that! I was very well behaved and sat on a chair next to MaMa waiting patiently for a taste. We got lots of curious looks from fellow diners entering the restaurant. They probably didn’t see too many dogs eating there! But Levi and I give it two paws up!

Tempting me with a delicious morsel!
Tempting me with a delicious morsel!
"Oh YUM that is good!"
“Oh YUM that is good!”

By the time we finished dinner, daylight was waning and we only had time for one more stop. There is an unincorporated town in the Ozarks right on Route 66 that MaMa had read a lot about, and with a name like Devils Elbow, we just had to make it the last stop on our two day tour of the Mother Road. We had to drive about 45 minutes to get there from Cuba, but considering it is in one of the most beautiful parts of Missouri, we didn’t mind going a little out of our way. We arrived with just enough light left in the sky to snap a few pictures that don’t in any way do the area justice! And if you’re wondering how a town could get such an unusual name, it is named after a particularly bad bend in the Big Piney River that was a “Devil of an Elbow” for lumberjacks who used to float logs down the river, which would often get stuck at that point.

Imagine getting mail postmarked with "Devil's Elbow"?
Imagine getting mail postmarked with “Devils Elbow”?
The Ozarks are such a beautiful part of the U.S.
The Ozarks are such a beautiful part of the U.S.
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There was just enough light left to snap a couple pictures of the Big Piney River and rock cliffs in Devils Elbow.

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After another fun but exhausting day on Route 66, we were ready to head to our hotel, the Rustic Motel in Rolla Mo. It wasn’t the most glamorous of accommodations, but we were too tired to care. Being adventurous road trippers is tiring business, and we were all ready for a good night’s sleep. We had the return home ahead of us the next day, and since we never knew just where exactly the road would lead us to, we wanted to be well rested and ready for anything!

Sharing a bed with Levi, the bed hog!
Sharing a bed with Levi, the bed hog!