I suppose I could just leave these pictures up and call it good, but I would start losing some credibility. The fact would remain in tact, I DID in fact “ride across Kansas” from the Oklahoma border and crossed into Missouri, where we remain tonight. It was a very short sojourn across the Sunflower State, a little less than 15 miles of the fabled road, and the most pleasant day of riding for weeks!
A most graceful and long-lived icon of the entire Mother Road, known from end to end of the highway as “The Rainbow Bridge”, located just north of Baxter Springs, KS. And, unlike many of the Route 66 bridge ancestors, this one is still used on a limited basis. A perfectly beautiful day to ride my trusty bike across it and over the Spring River, about midway between Oklahoma and Missouri.
Even after years of disuse, this Conoco Station in nearly deserted Commerce, OK retains an aura of respectability, and perhaps, hopefulness, that someday things will go back to “the way they used to be”. I’m sad and disappointed that a photo I took of the competing Phillips 66 Station just kitty-cornered across the 66 Highway from this one did not show up on my camera at the end of the day. That “Station”, has survived, but now its only product/service is the creation of “The Only Route 66 Hiway Marker Shaped Cookies” available on the Route!
This morning’s highlight required us to return to this small city that has fully embraced its Route 66 dependence and love affair, Miami, OK. And PLEASE!! Pronounce the name Oklahoma “correctly”, as Mi Am MAH!
The Crowning Jewel of Miami, The Coleman Theater, built in 1929 by a most generous lead and zinc magnate, Charles Coleman. A man whose income was measured in millions of dollars PER MONTH in the first decade of the 20th century, could afford the best of everything. This theater has NEVER closed in its nearly 90 years of existence. It has, not surprisingly, had periods of neglect and disrepair, but today is NOT one of those times. Considering that the first board of directors of “The Coleman” included Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, you could assume correctly that the place has “good bones”. The eleven hundred plus seats in this magnificent place are frequently ALL filled by eager viewers from the entire nation.
The original “Mighty Wurlitzer” organ again graces the wings of the stage. It had “disappeared” for several decades, before being sleuthed out by a dedicated and determined member of the group of volunteers. It took several years of “negotiating” to coax this irreplaceable piece back into the hands of the those whose wanted it to complete the theater. It would make for a good novel to follow this entire subject to its present conclusion.
Where Izzy visualizes SHE would be relative to this Theater situation.
Where Colin visualizes HE would be relative to this theater. The tour guide even allowed Colin to flip a few switches. This “soundboard” reminded us all of the scene from The Wizard of Oz where the “Mighty Oz” was exposed as the shyster he was. One bit of minutia was the discovery of the original painted backdrop, now valued at a million dollars for insurance purposes.
There will at some point be a “Special Edition” to cover our visit to Claremore, the Museum dedicated to the life and times of Will Rogers.
It was a glorious day out here on the Mother Road. So glad to have you all along.