Throughout the summer, we’ll be sharing weekly installments of a Route 66 travel journal written by association member Joe Razumich. It’s his entertaining account of a recent road trip from his home down Route 66 to Rolla, Missouri for the 75th anniversary of the iconic Munger Moss Motel. On his adventure, Joe passes through Illinois so you’re sure to recognize many of the places he mentions. So, without further ado, here’s Joe!
Sit back and enjoy a Journey Joe travel adventure. Is Journey Joe a real person? Well, not really. But he’s as real as any nickname, any stage personality, any thought or collection of travel experiences that any roadie might have. The real “Joe” is Joe Razumich, a lover of cars and the open road ever since his childhood, growing up around the corner from a hot rod shop, a busy Broadway, and a railroad track. But really all Real Joe does is drive. And put gas in the tank. And put Mr. Suitcase, Mr. Duffle Bag, Ms. Cooler, Mr. Road Atlas, etc., collectively known as the “Inanimate Objects,” in the trunk or behind the passenger seat. Or, to put it another way, Joe loves to drive. Journey Joe loves to write about it – and take you, Dear Reader, along for the ride.
Oh, and the car has a name too. The one we’ll be riding along with on this particular trip, is Angel the Corvette. She’s blue like the sky and she believes she can fly.
Friday, June 18, 2021. Day 4. Part 1
Forecast was 100 degrees today, so I devised a clever plan, which I discussed with Lulu over dinner last night: Lulu and I would wake up before sunrise and take the Angel out for a pre-dawn drive. Top down, eastbound on old Route 66, watching the sun rise until it tops the tree line. Then turn around and head back to the Wagon Wheel to finish packing, check out and move westward. Any time after 8:00 am today, the top is going to be up. It’s summertime here, no two ways about it.
My apologies here, to Lulu: After car wash, I parked the car on the other end of the parking lot, to keep it out of the dust. But Lulu was already tucked away in her room so I didn’t tell her. When she woke up and looked out the window of her room, she didn’t see the car and thought that maybe now I was “Mr. Handcuff”, gone forever and how would she get herself home. A knock on my door at 4:30 am cleared up this scary but ultimately amusing misunderstanding.
The pre-dawn ride was surreal. Think of how many times – not counting your commute to work – that you are actually out on the road viewing a sunrise. I can think of maybe five times right now, that I’ve done this on road trips. Five in an entire lifetime. But those five memories are so vivid in my mind that they could have happened just this morning. It’s like that because the morning light is so special, so … different. And today’s pre-dawn drive was just as special as those recent-feeling yesterdays. At seventy-two degrees, the wind on our faces was like an affectionate hug. The sunrise started out as a faint blue glow. Then an orange horizon as Mother Road peaked and valleyed and turned and straightened. And finally, a bright yellow orange glow peeking at us through the break in the trees created by the interstate swath. I imagined half of those people on the interstate, not knowing what they were missing. And the other half, the half who saw our drop top Angel cruising along at sub-light speed, wishing they were us. “Life is good.” says Journey Joe.
On westward we went, a little after 8:00 in the morning, feeling like a half day had already gone by. It was already A/C time. We narrowly beat the crowd at the IHOP restaurant on the west side of Rolla. Great timing. In no particular hurry, we arrived at Uranus. They’ve got the “campy tourist trap” routine down to a science, and they’re good at it. It’s not annoying, it’s an enjoyable dose of snark.
By early afternoon, we were to the outskirts of Lebanon, Missouri. This weekend’s destination. The innkeepers at the Munger Moss Motel were nice enough to let Lulu check in early, and also the innkeepers at my Manor House B&B let me check in early. Time for some unwinding and relaxation before this afternoon’s cruise-in to the downtown.
The Manor House Bed and Breakfast that I chose for my stay here in Lebanon is a total home run. I’ve got the carriage house suite. Full kitchen and a stocked refrigerator. The innkeepers are part owners of the East Elm restaurant a couple blocks away and that’s where I get my breakfast. I’ll sleep well.
Follow along with Journey Joe’s travels! Click to read the following entries in this series as they’re published.