Awesome Arizona Adventure: Return to Route 66

Waking up in Albuquerque, we were super excited to get on the road and explore the beautiful state of New Mexico. We had to get an early start, since our motel reservations for the night were in Joplin, MO, eleven hours from Albuquerque. The earlier we hit the road, the more time we’d have to explore. We quickly ate breakfast, checked out of our super sweet La Quinta motel room, and got a move on.

GiGi Maltese fits perfectly in MaMa’s arms, perfect for a road trip!

About an hour into our drive, we came upon Cline’s Corners iconic trading post, restaurant and filling station. This Route 66 attraction was moved more than once by its original owner, Roy Cline, but found its permanent home along Route 66 (now Interstate 40) in 1937. It is home to New Mexico’s largest gift shop, so MaMa and Pops each took a turn looking around the store for souvenirs. There were no dogs allowed inside, but we did get a good look around the outside and even met some friendly tourists who asked to pet us, and said how much they missed their own dogs at home. We are so lucky that MaMa and Pops take us with on all of their adventures!

GiGi on the Scene at Clines Corners, New Mexico.

After leaving Clines Corners, we drove another 100 miles or so before making another stop in Tucumcari. We got off Interstate 40 and hopped onto old Route 66. The main strip through town has a lot of Route 66 memorabilia and vintage motels that make you feel like you took a step back in time to when Route 66 was a bustling road with tons of tourists. Nowadays, its not nearly as crowded, but we found many reasons to make it a worthwhile stop.

Our first stop on old Route 66 was at the relatively new Route 66 sign (dedicated in 1997) outside of the Tucumcari Convention Center. It looked like a great place for a photo op.

First, Levi had his picture taken looking all happy and sort of sappy!

Levi Pitboxer at the Tucumcari Convention Center Route 66 monument.

Then I said, “Enough of this nonsense! Let me in there for a pic!” Of course, we couldn’t agree on which way to look, only agreeing that neither of us should look directly at the camera.

GiGi Maltese and Levi Pitboxer at the Tucumcari Route 66 monument.

At last it was my turn to shine all on my own! Clearly that made me extremely happy, and I readily agreed to smile for the camera.

GiGi Maltese and the Route 66 monument in Tucumcari.

Further down the Mother Road we stopped at the Motel Safari, an iconic Route 66 motel, providing accommodations in Tucumcari since 1959. The camel sitting atop the motel’s sign is a nod to the camels which were brought to America from Tunisia, Malta, Greece, Turkey and Egypt in the 1850’s. Since they could survive for days without water, could carry heavy loads, and would nosh on forage that mules wouldn’t touch, camels were chosen by the US Army to traverse an area of land from New Mexico to California. This Camel Corps. enabled the creation of a 1,000 mile wagon road, which would later become part of Route 66, the Santa Fe Railway and Interstate 40.

GiGi Maltese at the Motel Safari in Tucumcari, New Mexico.

Just a short stroll down the road we stopped at the Blue Swallow Motel so Levi could get a closer look at a beautiful vintage Hudson Hornet parked out in front. I don’t know much about cars, but I do know that Levi thought he would look pretty good sitting in the front seat. He had to settle for standing in front of it though.

Levi Pitboxer loves the vintage Hudson Hornet in front of the Blue Swallow Motel.

Fun fact, there was a character in the movie Cars (which took place in a town on old Route 66) named Doc Hudson, represented by a Hudson Hornet car. How crazy that we ended up seeing one of those very same cars on our return to Route 66!

Speaking of cars, the Blue Swallow Motel, which was built in 1939, was designed so each sleeping room has a garage unit, some of which are still in use today. Have you ever stayed in a motel with your own private garage?! How cool! It’s no wonder that such a unique and iconic motel was added to National Register of Historic Places in 1993. There is a ton of history in this vintage motel, and I wish they allowed dogs so I could stay there one day!

No dogs allowed at the Blue Swallow Motel but maybe a tiny maltese dog could sneak in!

Pretty soon it was time to go, but first MaMa had to make a stop at the Route 66 Welcome Center and Gift Shop to buy some turquoise. She could hardly believe she hadn’t bought any yet, seeing as we were out West, and that’s the best place to buy it, I guess! While she was in there making her purchase, she mentioned to the owner of the store that she was traveling with her two dogs. It turned out the owner was a dog lover, and she allowed us to come inside and have a look around. Unfortunately we were all so excited by the invitation, that we didn’t take any pictures inside, but did get one outside before we left. Oh, and MaMa did buy a pretty flower pendant with turquoise in the center, and wouldn’t you know the name of the owner who sold it to her was Flora! Funny how things work out like that.

Levi Pitboxer and GiGi Maltese at the Route 66 Welcome Center and Gift Shop in Tucumcari.

And just like that, MaMa and Pops said it was time to get back in the car and boogie on down the road to the next town. It sure had been fun seeing another stretch of Route 66. There are many stories and adventures to be had on that historic road. I’m sure we will be back again one day!

Route 66 in Tucumcari is scenic and historic!

Stay tuned for our next stop in Amarillo, Texas!

 

Awesome Arizona Adventure: Gateway to the West

Before we knew it, we already had five hours of driving under our belt and were crossing the state line into Missouri! One of the first things you see when entering the city of St. Louis from Illinois is the Gateway Arch, which is the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, and sits on the site of St. Louis’ founding on the banks of the Mississippi River. I’d seen it from the car on our Route 66 Road Trip, but since that adventure was dedicated to all things retro Route 66, we didn’t stop at that time to take any photos or to admire the structure. This time, it seemed appropriate to stop, since the Arch is the Gateway to the West. Just like many men, women and dogs before us, we were headed West for our own adventure! It didn’t hurt that we all felt the need to stop and stretch our legs too.

During our trip, the area around the Arch was under construction, so we couldn’t park right by it. After a bit of driving around, we found a Hyatt hotel with a big, grassy park right across the street, and were lucky enough to find parking nearby! Since we’d gotten such an early start, we were some of the only visitors at the park, and were able to enjoy beautiful views of the Arch just as the sun was coming up. Even from a distance, the 630 foot monument is rather impressive! It is the world’s tallest arch, the Western hemisphere’s tallest man-made monument, the tallest stainless steel monument in the world, and is as wide across (630 feet) as it is tall! Visitors can go to the top of the monument in a tram and enjoy the view from an observation deck. I don’t think those visitors include dogs though, so it was just as well that we were admiring it from a short distance away.

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While sitting in the early morning sun, framed by an iconic Arch that symbolizes westward travel and expansion, I couldn’t help but stop and think for a second about how fortunate I was to be on this awesome adventure. Just a little over two years earlier, I had been living in a tobacco shop, without a toy to call my own. My only adventures were 10 minute walks along the same boring street, day after day. Back then, I couldn’t even begin to imagine taking a trip like this with a worldly and sauve Pitboxer brother and our MaMa and Pops. I didn’t even know places like this existed! My world was continuing to open up on each of our adventures. I felt so fortunate, I literally couldn’t help but jump for joy!

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Since we were on a tight schedule, we couldn’t spend too much time at the Arch before it was time to hit the road again, but not before MaMa and Pop made a pitstop at the Hyatt. Why is it that they get to go inside everywhere and I have to wait outside all the time?!

"Must I always be waiting on the humans?!"
“Must I always be waiting on the humans?!”

Finally we were all ready to hop back in the car and continue our Westward trip. With many hours of driving ahead of us, we had to make haste. We made it another hour or so before our bellies started growling and Pops decided we should take a break for breakfast. We found a Jack In the Box with outdoor seating and enjoyed our breakfast al fresco!

Even explorers get hungry!
Even explorers get hungry!

While there, MaMa talked to a woman who had done some traveling with her dogs and told MaMa not to worry if I didn’t eat some of my meals while we were on the road. She must have known that my MaMa would worry if I didn’t eat, but I didn’t let her down this time. Eating outside in early March was a real treat that we all enjoyed!

Soon we were done with our meals and it was time to get back on the highway. MaMa decided it was her turn to drive and Pops took a nap in the back while Levi and I rode shotgun.

"Keep heading West, MaMa!"
“Keep heading West, MaMa!”

After a couple more hours on the road, we made one last Missouri stop in Joplin. While exploring, we realized that we’d inadvertently stopped at a Route 66 Roadside attraction, the Schiffendecker Park & Golf Course and the Joplin History & Mineral Museum.

We just can't escape Route 66!
We just can’t escape Route 66!

MaMa went inside the museum to use the bathroom, and while she was in there, she spoke to the curator of the museum who told her that Levi and I could come inside. The only problem with that? Three cats live inside the museum, and Levi is not a big fan of cats! She thanked him for the offer, but told him it would be best if we waited outside. Foiled again! By cats!!

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Outside the museum we did get to see some interesting things, like this giant mineral monster that MaMa tried to feed me to! Luckily there was a fence in the way because that guy looked scary (and hungry)!

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Because we had miles to go before we could sleep, it was time to get back in the car and make the long drive across Oklahoma. The sooner we could get through the Sooner State, the better! We had seven more hours of driving time ahead of us, and it had already been a really long day…but the West was calling, so we had to prevail.

Route 66 Road Trip: A Handy Dandy Explorer’s Index

Previews and links to every stop on our Route 66 Road Trip.

Planning a Route 66 Dog-Friendly Road Trip

 

Route 66 Adventure: A Giant Sighting and Zombies Galore

Route 66 Adventure: Pas De Deux

Route 66 Adventure: Stars & Cars

Route 66 Adventure: Funky Funks Grove

Route 66 Adventure: Atlanta Antics (and giant hot dogs!)

Route 66 Adventure: Sugar Creek Covered Bridge

Route 66 Adventure: Even Explorers Need to Sleep!

Route 66 Adventure: Pink Elephants & Other Oddities

Route 66 Adventure: Minor Detour

Route 66 Adventure: It’s Just Water Under the Bridge

Route 66 Adventure: Route 66 State Park

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

Route 66 Adventure: The End of the Tail

 

 

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!

 

 

Route 66 Road Trip: Route 66 State Park

We’d seen a lot of strange things on our Route 66 road trip, including a 30 foot tall astronaut, a six foot long hot dog, and a giant pink elephant, but none of those road side attractions are nearly as interesting as the story behind Route 66 State Park.

If you don’t know the history behind it, and just happen to be stopping by for a trail hike while traveling along the Mother Road, there isn’t much there to visually indicate the tragedy that eventually lead to the creation of Missouri’s newest state park. But MaMa did a bunch of research before we left for our trip, and we knew before arriving that the park happens to be located on the former site of Times Beach, an unlucky town just 17 miles west of St. Louis, originally founded as a summer resort destination in 1925 on the banks of the Meramec River.

Because of the Great Depression, Times Beach didn’t survive as a resort town, but did eventually become a lower-middle class city, and home to approximately 2,000 residents. In 1972 the town, who’s only paved street was Route 66, hired Russell Bliss, a waste hauler, to oil down the dirt roads, in an effort to control a dust problem. What they didn’t know is he was using oil that was contaminated with Dioxin, a highly toxic by-product, found in waste that Bliss was hauling for the Northeastern Pharmaceutical and Chemical Company, the producer of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War!

When local horses began dying in stables where the same oil had been sprayed by Bliss, an investigation was begun by the EPA, and eventually the Federal Government bought out the entire town in 1983, and all residents were evacuated in 1985. In 1996-1997, the government removed nearly 300,000 tons of contaminated soil and debris from the site, and everything was incinerated. After that, the 419-acre site was turned over to the State of Missouri, who turned the former town into the Route 66 State Park, which opened in 1999.

I told you it was in interesting story!

Our visit to the park was peaceful and not nearly as intriguing as the story behind the creation of this state park. I was pretty worn out from all of the previous activities from this day and the day before, that I made MaMa carry me for a large chunk of our walk! (This happens a lot, and now you know why they bought a carrier for me!)

looking back G
The view is nice from up here!
Carry G
I think I’ll take a nap now!
GiGi MaMa Close up
You can see Pop and Levi in MaMa’s glasses!

While walking we found ourselves under the Route 66 Bridge, which was built in 1932 and crosses the Meramec River. Because of wear and deterioration, the bridge has been closed down for a number of years to all traffic, including pedestrian. There is a group trying to restore it, but if they don’t raise enough money by the end of this year, it will be demolished in 2017. I’m sure glad we got to see it, and hope the group is successful. Here is a link to their go fund me page, if you are interested in making a donation to save this landmark.

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Levi gazing up at the Route 66 State Park Bridge.
G and L Bridge
Route 66 State Park Bridge

All in all, we had a great time at the park and were grateful for a nice time to enjoy nature, and are extremely happy that something so beautiful was made out of something so tragic!

Route 66 Road Trip: It’s Just Water Under the Bridge

Once everything was back on track, and Levi had his medicine, we were able to officially start day two of our Route 66 Adventure! The first item on our agenda was the Chain of Rocks Bridge, which is just over one mile long and spans the Mississippi River between Madison, IL (Chouteau Island) and an area just north of St. Louis, MO.

It is a Truss-style bridge, built in 1929 and was used as a bypass for Route 66 travelers who wished to avoid downtown St. Louis. A new bridge was built just to the north in 1966 to accommodate the newly constructed I-270 , and the original Chain of Rocks Bridge (named for the large shoal, or rocky rapids that made that area difficult to navigate) eventually closed to vehicular traffic in 1970. It sat completely unused for almost 30 years, but in 1998 was leased to a local trail’s group, and renovated for pedestrian and cycling use only.

While researching our trip, MaMa read about the possibility of break-ins and unsavory types in the area (especially on the Missouri side), but fortunately we didn’t run into anything like that. I still wanted to mention it though, in case you are using my blog as a travel guide!

Even though we used Google maps to navigate us, we still managed to get a little lost on our way to the bridge, but finally after much discussion between MaMa and Pops, we found our way to the short bridge we needed to take in order to get to the entrance of the Chain of Rocks bridge on Chouteau Island.

Bridge to Chouteau
We are on our way!

Once we finally got to the bridge, I was excited to walk across it, and check out the Mississippi River! It would have been my first time seeing it, but Levi had other plans.

MaMa and I are ready to walk the bridge!
MaMa and I are ready to walk the bridge!
Come on, let's do this!
Come on, let’s do this!

It turns out he is deathly afraid of crossing bridges, and this mile long footbridge was just too much for him to handle. Pops got him about 50 feet onto the bridge, when Levi started cowering and hugging the railing. He’s our big, brave Pitboxer, and here he was acting like a scared baby bird!

Levi checks out the start of the bridge.
Levi checks out the start of the bridge.
"You're kidding me, right?"
“You’re kidding me, right?”
"Get me off this thing!"
“Get me off this thing!”
MaMa making fun of Levi. Not nice, MaMa!
MaMa making fun of Levi. Not nice, MaMa!

Since MaMa and I didn’t want to make the trip across the bridge without them, mostly because of the unsavory types we’d heard about, we ended up just sniffing around the entrance a little bit and attempted to take a family photo before two dogs showed up (which is what Levi and I were looking at). We ended up piling back into the car and taking off shortly after that.

Family Photo before some dogs showed up.
Family Photo before some dogs showed up.

On our way back out of town we saw a Route 66 open air flea market that allowed dogs, so our consolation prize was to take a walk around there and get admired by the locals, before heading on to Missouri. We sure do love stopping anywhere that is dog friendly! Flea markets have a lot of odd and interesting things to check out, but luckily I didn’t see any actual fleas!

Route 66 Flea Market, an unplanned stop!
Route 66 Flea Market, an unplanned stop!
So many odd & interesting things to see!
So many odd & interesting things to see!

Day Two certainly wasn’t starting off the way we thought it would, but we were making the most of it, and staying flexible. I was starting to become an experienced road tripper, and learning that the best way to have fun and a good time was to just go with the flow!

 

 

Route 66 Road Trip: Minor Detour

After checking out the oddities outside the Pink Elephant Antique Mall and exploring the adjoining neighborhood, it was time to head back to our motel, eat some breakfast and hit the road. We had another full day of Route 66 adventures planned and wanted to hit the road early. There was so much to see and 148 miles to cover that day! We were going to be driving all the way to Missouri! That was a brand new state for me to visit (only my third state ever), and MaMa had never been there either. She had grown up living so close to the Show Me State, but had never visited it. How exciting that we were going to be able to explore this new territory for the first time, together.

Pop was preparing our breakfast, and MaMa was packing up, getting ready to leave, while Levi Pitboxer and I sat and watched the proceedings. We were all surprised when we heard Pop exclaim, “Oh shit, I forgot Levi’s medicine at home!!”

(Levi was taking a course of antibiotics for an infection and it was very important that he not miss a day of it, otherwise it might end up not working at all, or it could even get worse!)

Levi and I looked at each other, because we rarely heard Pop swear at all! He doesn’t have a potty mouth like MaMa…

“Are you sure? Did you look everywhere?” asked MaMa

“Yes, I looked with all of the dog stuff and with my stuff, in all my bags. It’s not here! We might have to go home because he can’t go a day and a half without taking it.”

We all just sat there for a minute feeling despair at the prospect of having to cut our adventure short.

MaMa and Pop started talking about possible solutions, and at one point Pop even considered driving all the way home and back, but that would have been three hours each way, and wouldn’t have been fun for him at all!  Plus, by the time he got back, we wouldn’t have been able to do much of anything on our Day Two itinerary.

I looked up at MaMa and I could tell she was devastated. She had spent weeks planning this road trip and felt utterly disappointed at the prospect of cutting it short by nearly two days. And then, it was as if a light-bulb went off in her head.

“When I used to work at the Vet, I would sometimes get calls from people asking us to call in their dog’s prescription at a different veterinarian’s office when they moved or were on vacation, and the Docs did it all the time! It’s almost 8:00 now, why don’t I call and see if they will do that?!”

“Hmmmm, you think they’ll do that?” asked Pop, while MaMa nodded. “Well, first let’s see if we can find a vet nearby that they can call it in to.”

They both got on their phones and started looking up veterinarian’s offices in the area, and after 3 failed attempts, MaMa found one that was open and most importantly, willing to fill Levi’s prescription for us as long as our vet called it in!! And the best thing was, it was only about 20 minutes out of our way. How lucky was that? It looked as if our road trip wasn’t going to be cut short after all.

The final step was for MaMa to call our vet and find out if they would call in the prescription for us. As soon as they opened, she called and left a message with the receptionist, who said she would talk to the doctor and get back to us. I sat there with my paws crossed, hoping they would call us back soon. I guess there was always the chance that they’d be too busy, and that we’d have to wait, or that our vet wouldn’t agree to call it in. Finally, after the longest half hour of my life, we heard back from them! They agreed to call in Levi’s prescription!!

We were all so happy and relieved. It was a minor detour and the whole incident set us back an hour or so, but in the long run, it wasn’t that big of a deal. MaMa felt good for keeping a level head and coming up with a solution quickly. Lucky for us all she had experience working at a Veterinarian’s office and knew exactly what we needed to do! Our Route 66 adventure was going to continue as planned!!

Route 66 Road Trip: Pink Elephants & Other Oddities

I woke up on day two of our Route 66 road trip and for a second I forgot where I was! I’d never slept (or woken up) in a motel before and I had to look, and then sniff around before I remembered.

“Oh yeah”, I woofed to myself, “I’m not at home. I’m on a road trip! Woof Woof!!”

My little bark woke up Levi, who proceeded to jump off the bed and shake his head. The sound of his ears whipping around woke up MaMa and Pops, and before you knew it, we were up and ready to hit the ground running before 7:00 AM!

MaMa had chosen this particular motel, not only because it is located about half-way on Route 66 from our road trip’s ending point, but also because it has an Antique Mall with all sorts of interesting and some crazy things to look at. We decided to walk over there and see what there was to gawk at.

The Pink Elephant Antique Mall (which is named after the giant pink, yes pink, elephant that stands out front) is home to many oddities, as well as being located in an old high school and housing two stories worth of different antique dealers. We didn’t get to take a look inside, but the outdoors, where we prefer to hang out, had plenty for us to explore.

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We saw another Muffler Man, who reportedly spent his early years in Kentucky, but now makes his home in Livingston. He can be seen from the road, wearing a bright orange Harley Davidson shirt, beckoning travelers to stop and say Hello. Levi did just that!

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We also saw Alvin & the Chipmunks hanging out in front of the mall. They made some kind of crack about me not being tall enough to hang out with them. Those rodents really have some nerve!  I quickly moved along.

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MaMa and I checked out a 1968 Futuro House, which was designed by a Finnish architect, but somehow made its way to this mall to hang out with all of the other oddities. I think it has found an appropriate home, since it sits next to a building that looks like an ice cream cone!

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Of course Levi had to check out the namesake for this wild and wacky establishment, while MaMa and I wandered over to the ice cream building, and caught a glimpse of a 20 foot tall man in swim trunks! All of these curious attractions have their own unique history and there are many stories about their origins to be told on another day, perhaps by another dog.

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Once we’d had our fill of all the strange and silly statues and structures, we took a quick walk around this small Central Illinois town before hitting the road for more Route 66 Adventures! But first, one last smell of that giant’s foot!! BOL!

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Route 66 Road Trip: Even Explorers Need to Sleep!

We’d been on the road all day and explored a half dozen historic Route 66 attractions, so we were more than ready to take a load off and unwind. We briefly considered stopping at one last place on MaMa’s map, but it was getting late, the sun was starting to set, Pops missed the turn off (because MaMa wasn’t helping him look), and we ended up going to a wine store instead so MaMa could stock up on libations for the night! As it was, we had another hour or so to drive (with traffic) before making it to the Country Inn motel in Livingston, Ill. where MaMa had made our reservation.

We were super lucky to find this motel, as it not only allowed two dogs for a minimal charge, but they allowed dogs of any size or breed. I’m pretty easy to travel with, seeing as I’m only about 10 pounds and as far as we know, there are no restrictions on Maltese dogs in any towns or counties in America. Levi, on the other hand, is part Pitbull, and as it turns out, there are some towns you can’t even drive through, let alone stay in, if you have a Pitbull breed with you. I think that is sad and unfair, since I know what a good dog he is, and I’ve met so many other Pitbulls that are a lot nicer than I could ever be!

Walking into our motel room was an experience I will never forget! I’d never stayed anywhere like it before. Up until then, the only places I’d slept were my first owner’s house, the tobacco store that I was forced to live in for four months when my first owners didn’t want me anymore, and of course MaMa and Pop’s homes. I didn’t even know there were such things as motels, with everything you need all in one room! We had two beds, a desk and chairs, a nightstand, lamps, a phone and TV too. Also, we had a big window that looked out onto the parking lot and which provided excellent viewing for me and Levi anytime someone walked by or slammed a door! Luckily, we didn’t bark too much because we didn’t want to cause any problems or get kicked out of the room.

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Living large with Levi in Livingston!

One really convenient thing about the Country Inn motel is the attached café which is open until 9:30 for dinner, which meant MaMa and Pop didn’t need to stop for fast food, and we could all eat together in the room. When you’ve been traveling all day, it sure is nice to have a meal that is as close to home cooked as you can get when you’re on the road, and to be able to eat it with your dog begging by your side…just like home! And since MaMa already had her bottle of wine, she was good to go!

There were so many things to sniff and suss out. MaMa was worried that I would get into something, so she followed me around the room for a while. When she was finally satisfied that I wouldn’t get into anything, she sat down and let me have my space. That woman can really cramp my style sometimes!

After sniffing the entire perimeter of the room, under both beds, and all around the bathroom, I was able to finally sit and relax. MaMa said we needed to go to bed early because we had another fun-filled day planned on Route 66. We didn’t know exactly what we were going to do or see, but chances were it would be another memorable day on the Mother Road!