Day 7: June 19, 2010
Awards Day
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The day started with a 7:00 AM Yahoo egroup breakfast at the Downstream casino. I didn't hear an official head count but it looked like a pretty good turnout to me. And, as far as I know, no one got lost on the way to the food.

After most people had eaten, Mike Ward started handing out prizes and surprises. Laurel Kane must have really been a good girl last year 'cause she got two maps from Mike. Sharon Ward was kept busy pulling winning tickets and refolding shirts. Dang, she's good at that folding thing. It's a good things maps don't spoil since Mike's been holding some maps for Pat & Jennifer Bremer for several years. I think just about everyone got a prize. I won a nice Schlotzsky's 66 T-shirt which Sharon refolded perfectly in about half a second. Linda Drake came close to missing out on her prize but friends were watching out for her and let her know her number was called. Even later arrivals picked up some prizes and got fed, too.

When I first saw Mike this morning he greeted me with "You're just the person I've been looking for." Swa Frantzen, who has taken an egroup breakfast photo for the last several years, did not make it over from Belgium for this year's event and I was just the first guy Mike saw with a camera. Fortunately there were enough real photographers around to keep me from goofing up too badly (Thanks, Shellee!) and the "official" (so says Mike) 2010 egroup photo is here. There were others taking pictures of the assembled group so I don't doubt there are better ones around.

Even though, as I heard someone say, "car people aren't necessarily road people", I had been thinking that today's car show would help increase traffic in the Route 66 vendors area. Maybe it did but, because of the distance separating the two, I have my doubts. I always enjoy car shows and I enjoyed strolling through this one. I know many other roadies did too. I don't know if the reverse occurred.

The Route 66 event was called the Tri-State Adventure of its location near where Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma all come together. The exact point where this occurs is at the end of a gravel road very near the Downstream Casino. Today, the three state conjunction was on the route of a large group of bicyclists. At the time I was there, there were many coming and going on the gravel road and a constantly changing group at the monuments. Yes, monuments. There are two; one built by the National Youth Administration in 1938 and the other added in 2004. At least 2004 was when it was remonumented. (Remonumented is my new word of the day though I doubt I get to use it much.) The two markers are several feet apart and which, if either, is correct, I can't say. It seem reasonable to think technology produced more accurate measurements in 2004 than 1938. But, in one sense, it really doesn't matter. It would be really tough to get to the pointed top of the 1938 monument. If you want to be in three states simultaneously, the flat 2004 marker is definitely the way to go.

I used a little of the afternoon to revisit a couple of Route 66 icons. I'd driven by Eisler Brothers in Riverton at least three times in the last couple of days but today I took time to grab a cream soda and a picture. It took me two passes to get the right road from the new roundabout but I finally managed to reach the March Bridge between Riverton and Baxter Springs.

I had a conversation with a couple from Texas while at the bridge. The husband had once lived in Cincinnati for a few years and volunteered his opinion the entering Cincinnati on I-75 from the south provides one of the best views of a city available. I share that opinion and have often voiced it to others. It's always nice to hear good stuff about your home.

This was the big surprise and maybe the big highlight of the day. Back in 1954, Floyd Yancy drove a 1946 Ford Club Coupe along Route 66. He found an identical car a few years ago and hauled it home on a flatbed. That car is now restored and Floyd is once again driving Route 66 in a 1946 Ford Club Coupe. He started in St Louis and will end at the coast. He's selling copies of his autobiography along the way and I'm looking forward to reading mine. Meeting Floyd in the middle of his adventure was pure luck and pure pleasure.

I was at the Baxter Springs Heritage Center & Museum simply because I'd seen a sign pointing to it. Finding Floyd Yancy there was a complete coincidence. I knew nothing about the museum but quickly realized that it is one of the most incredible small town museums I've seen. There are two floors and both seem filled with nicely structured displays. There's a Route 66 display, several Native American related exhibits, and quite a few displays that connect the history of the Baxter Springs area with the history of the world. There are displays filled with -- but not cluttered with -- items once found in and around the home and at the workplace. For many in the area, getting to the workplace meant being dropped into a hole in the ground inside that metal cylinder in the last picture. A photo at its base shows it in use. This is a class operation. I'm really glad I saw that sign.

The day and the Tri-State Adventure ended with the banquet and awards presentations. I won't attempt a complete report, there's an outstanding one here, but will mention a half-dozen of the biggies. Jim Conkle presented most of the awards so appears in many of the photos. There's no mistaking the only roadie in a tux.

Following his State of the Road address, Michael Wallis, along with wife Suzanne, presented the Wallis 66 Award to Tulsa journalist Mike Easterling. The Route 66 Ambassador of the Year went to Dean Walker and Gary Turner (Gay Parita gas station) was named Mother Road Person of the Year.

A Lifetime Achievement Award went to Marty & Geri Bilecki of Illinois and Melvena Heisch of the Oklahoma State Preservation Office received this year's Cyrus Avery Award. The evening's top prize, the Will Rogers Award, went to a surprised Jerry McClanahan. McJerry is a long time writer and artist and his selection was a popular one. The award is certainly well deserved. Congrats Jerry!

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