Day 5: July 29, 2012
Almost Through Missouri
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The Webster County courthouse isn't exactly on Route 66 but the town it's in is and that's the town, Marshfield, where Edwin Hubble was born. In 1999, the Hubble Family Historical Society put this model of the telescope named after him on the courthouse lawn.

When these cabins at the edges of Springfield, Missouri, were abandoned, they were boarded up to protect the interior. And they do appear to be in pretty good shape as abandoned cabins go. I haven't learned much about them yet but they are very near the site of the huge Holiday Drive-In theater. I expect to find out something eventually.

There are a couple of classic motels in Springfield, Missouri, that I've yet to stay at. The first picture is of the Rest Haven sign which is indeed a duplicate of the Munger Moss sign. The next two are of the Rail Haven, a Best Western motel. The wall art, also in Springfield, made me smile when I first saw it in 2003 and it still does.

As soon as I approached Gary Turner's Gay Parita faux gas station, someone called to me from the shelter behind it. It didn't take me long to figure out that they were holding up a slice of watermelon and to help myself to a slice. A nice treat on a 100 degree day. I'd just missed the Norwegian motorcycle group and while there was some suspicion that not all of them had ever seen a watermelon before, the consensus was that they all enjoyed it. I've seen Gary before at a festival but this was my first visit to the station. It was just getting started at the time of my last full length run in 2003 an I've somehow skipped around it on other visits to the area. That's Gary and wife Lena hanging out on the bench.

Lowell Davis is a Missouri artist who's often whimsical work appears all around Carthage and elsewhere. Here's a photo of one of his pieces taken in 2003. This is his town. I don't mean he lives here, or was born here, or even grew up here. I mean his town because he created it. Red Oak II is essentially Lowell Davis' largest piece of art. Despite the 100 degree heat, I believe I smiled prettyy much constantly as I walked past the buildings and card and individual art works. At times it felt like I was walking through a real town and at others like I was walking through someone's dream. The truth, of course, is the latter.

Inside Carthage, there's a dream of a different sort taking place. Two sisters bought the long closed and seriously endangered Boots Motel in the fall of 2011. On May 8, 2012, they reopened it with four rooms available. The remaining eight rooms will be renovated and availble as time and money allow. The sisters, Debye Harvey and Priscilla Bledsaw, are intent on restoring the look and feel of the '40s to a motel that first opened in 1939. No TVs or phones but there is, as the original owner promised, "a radio in every room". There is also wireless internet available because, as the sisters explain "it's invisible". Not invisible but certainly appreciated, is the modern HVAC. I also appreciated little touches like the radio tuned to a station playing "the music of the greatest generation" when I first entered my room and a pamphlet containing not only the history of the motel but some details of the specific room in which it is placed. And I liked the fact that, while the wood floors were refinished and resealed, they were not sanded to unblemished smoothness. There's a story in every scratch. With only a third of the rooms in operation, the Boots has a long way to go but it's in a pretty good place -- and time -- right now.

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