I had a breakfast sandwich - eggs, bacon, and cheese on homemade sunflower bread and Kim had...the usual. We had a grand time people watching - since it was Saturday morning we had everything from farmers to bikers to dads with Little Leaguers and moms with babies. And of course, we elicited plenty of "those twins are not from around here" stares. After eating, we selected a few cookies (to go with the homemade candy we still had from Lago's) for the road. Yum!
Did I mention that we were back on Route 66? Even though this was our third time on this particular stretch of road, there were several things that we had not seen, so off we went. Kim really wanted me to go back to the Whirl-a-Whip, but we pushed onward. First stop was the Mother Jones Memorial in the Union Miners Cemetery near Mt. Olive. Miners killed in the 1898 mining riots are buried here, and Mother Jones, a friend of Labor, was 100 years old when she died.
In Mt. Olive we were able to see the Soulsby Shell station in daylight this time. It is the oldest gas station that was originally located on Route 66 and it was in operation from 1926 to 1993. You can see it at www.il66assoc.org/idx_SoulsbyStation.htm if you like, and of course, it was a Roadside Attraction.
Just down the road in Staunton was Henry's Rabbit Ranch and Route 66 Emporium, and I was thrilled to see not one but TWO original Campbell's Express semi-trailers with the original Snortin' 66 Norton - "Humpin' to Please" Camel. The Campbell Express Trucking Company operated from 1926 - 1986 - there are lots of places I would not have wanted to meet one of these trucks if I were driving on Route 66 back in the day! Check out www.henrysroute66.com and just know that we've been looking for these truck for the whole trip! Henry also really had rabbits - some were VW Rabbits and some were real live bunnies, headed by the Queen Bun, Montana. We had a fun time sharing stories with Henry.
By now it was close to noon and we were still only a few miles from where we started. Our next target was the World's Largest Catsup Bottle in Collinsville, IL. Once we navigated ourselves past the downtown area and found our way back, we could see the huge thing. It's got its own website and fan club - www.catsupbottle.com - fan club???
At this point we were ready to make tracks for Paducah, until we saw a road sign that said Belleville, 9 miles. One of my best friends, former lifeguard pal, and pharmacy school roommate, Barbara, lives in Belleville - how could I not at least call to see if she was home? As luck would have it, she had just come in and was getting ready to leave shortly, so we agreed to have a drive-by hug and be on our way. An hour or so later, we were! It was great to visit with Barb and see her husband, Craig, too. Now we really had to get moving!
Not much more to tell here - we sacrificed scenery for speed and got on the interstate and arrived in Paducah without any more giants or quirky roadside attractions. We went by our old childhood home which was no longer "ours" for the first time in almost 50 years, and then we went to Mom's new house. We took her to dinner (that would be lunch/dinner for us) at the Parlor in Lone Oak, KY (Kim and I split a pizza - first one in days!) and it was here that our trip officially ended. A moment of silence, please.
Kim spent the night at mom's and returned to Memphis the next day. I traveled on to Henderson, TN, to visit with Rex's mom and cousin Jan. I spent the night there and got up early (really!) Sunday morning for my 600+ mile trip back to Durham. Eleven and a half hours later, I was home safely.
And so there you have it - the 2007 Sassy Sisters' Roadside Giant Tour had reached it's conclusion. Thanks for riding along with us and stay tuned for more factoids and fun. We're thinking Appalachian Trail (by car, not by foot!) next year, but as you well know, plans can change!
If you've got any great road trip ideas or if you are inspired to get off the beaten path because of what you've read here, please let us know! If you have any connections - books, TV, magazine, or anybody else who might think we have a future driving around eating and stopping for anything remotely resembling fun and writing about it - by all means send them the link to our blog. A new career could be just around the corner!
Jan (there's no place like home and I can't wait to be back on the road again!)