This weekend, we ventured to the Joplin, Missouri area to visit my husband's family. My husband and his brother had some family business to take care of on Saturday, so the girls and I had some hours to kill on our own. One of the things we did was take Route 66 from Joplin to little Galena, KS, home of the original rusted-out mining boom truck that inspired the character "Tow Mater" from the Pixar movie Cars. (That's the original truck on the right. The one on the left is painted, and says "Radiator Springs" on the side.)
As you can see, Galena is pretty proud of its status as a Route 66 town. "The Mother Road" only cuts through a tiny strip of Kansas between Missouri and Oklahoma. Ever since Mr. B, his best friend, and I road-tripped to and from Phoenix back in 2004, I've dreamed of making a trek across Route 66, sticking to as much of the original road as possible. The girls haven't seen much yet. Besides this little stretch, their only other experience on Route 66 was seeing the Round Barn and Pops in Arcadia, OK.
Galena is full of crumbling buildings with a lot of character. Personally, I love visiting towns like this. It's proud of its heritage, both as a Route 66 stop and as the first mining town in southeast Kansas.
Had to get a picture of this old Burlington Northern for my railroad conductor husband!
And here we have Mater! He was originally on display at an old Kan-O-Tex service station called 4 Women on the Route. Recently renamed Cars on the Route, it serves as a diner and souvenir shop.
This stunning blue automobile was all over the town that day. We even followed it a bit on the old Route 66 as we headed back to Joplin. Isn't it perfect behind the old Kan-O-Tex gas pump?
I'll leave you with the trailer for Mater and the Ghostlight. Fitting as it also ties in the local lore of the "spooklight."