- February 1, 2020: This was our first full day of exploring for 2020.
We were on the road earlier in the morning and headed south to Baxter Springs,
Kansas, where our first top was Decade of Wheels, a car museum which had
a grand opening in 2018, but didn't start being open until 2019. It occupies
multiple store fronts in a block on Historic Route 66 which is now under
museum displays about 35 vehicles at a time and rotates the collection
roughly quarterly. The displays are attractive and the vehicle descriptions
are interesting,. The collection doesn't seem to have a theme or be arranged
in a way to tell a story. To my uneducated eyes the layout is haphazard
and over a 10th of the displayed vehicles are replicas fictional
vehicles, including the Batmobile, Flintstones car, Back to the Future
DeLorian, and Scooby Doo Mystery Machine.
visited a number of other locations in Baxter Springs for photos, then
had an early lunch at the latest incarnation of Cafe on the Route, Rita's
Cafe on the Route, in the same building as Decades of Wheels. I was disappointed
to see that the wonderful Cafe on the Route Mural on the outside has been
menu at Rita's Cafe on the Route has a lot of details about the breakfast
items, but says little about the rest. Most of the listings just say things
like 12 oz Ribeye $19.99 or Meatloaf $8.99, no info to make the food sound
more interesting. Or tell you that the French fries are fresh cut (they
are). The good news is that the prices are bargains.
had the County Ham Steak with mashed potatoes and green beans ($12.49)
and Chicken fried steak with fries and cucumbers & onions ($8.99).
There were three slices of good, grill ham. The green beans had bacon and
onion. The masked potatoes and gravy were pretty standard.
fries could have been cooked a bit longer but were good. The chicken fried
steak could have been cooked a little less and was tough. It was hard to
cut even with a steak knife.
service was very good.
were going to try the house made desserts at Rita's Roost on the other
end of the block, but it doesn't open until 2PM.
drove the short Kansas length of Historic Route 66, taking pictures and
looking for changes since our last visit about a year ago. Our first stop
was at the little over a year old, Sweet Creek Diner & Bakery in Galena.
We sampled the excellent peanut butter fudge and bought chocolate chip
and Heath cookies. The cookies were also very good and we want to try a
meal there soon.
only other stop for more than a picture or two, was at Eisler
Bros. Old Riverton Store in Riverton, Kansas. The General Store serves
sandwiches and has a side room selling Historic Route 66 souvenir. We made
a couple of purchases and had a nice chat with the owner, Scott Nelson.
The store opened in 1925 and got its current name when Joe and Isabell
Eisler purchased the business in 1973. Scott is their nephew and purchased
the store in 2011.
drove north, with a pass through Cherokee, Kansas to check on the Idle-A-While,
then on to Girard to tour the Girard History Museum before it closed for
the day at 2PM. The museum is in the 1888 St. John's Episcopal Church,
which was transformed into a museum in 1975. The museum reopened last year,
after being closed for 20 years. Two local history groups combined to spend
over $100,000 to repair the building and make it available again.
very knowledgeable docent told us the history of the museum and the community
as we wandered through. The museum has a lot about the history of the Haldeman-Julius
Publishing Company, "Little Blue Books," and "Appeal to Reason.
to Reason was a Socialist newspaper which was published in Girard from
1895 until 1922. Its peak circulation was nearly 700,000. Little Blue Books
were small, inexpensive reprints of classic literature. Several hundred
million of them were printed in Girard from 1919 through 1978. Both of
these were published by the Haldeman-Julius Publishing Company.
few miles north of Girard, we visited Crawford State Park, Where there
is a memorial statue, quarter mile memorial trail and a museum dedicated
to the men of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The museum is is in a building
which once held up the water tower and is kept unlocked so it can be visited
leaving the park, we also photographed the Farlington Fish Hatchery.
additional photo stops in Arma, Franklin and Fort
Scott National Cemetery, we had supper at the new Luther's BBQ in Fort
Scott, which opened in December. The large restaurant is in the century
old Stout Building, which once held The Buffalo Grill,
had smoked baloney, sausage, ribs, burnt ends, smoked beans, hand cut fries,
onion straws. Prices are reasonable and everything was uniformly good.
This restaurant should have a good future.