Route 66 – a famous highway running from Chicago to Los Angeles.
This last week we traveled a small part of it. In the snow and ice . . .
While I wondered if Wal-mart sold adult diapers large enough, my husband decided it was imperative to pass every semi-truck carrying flammable liquids. . .
Why did we risk our lives, you ask? My husband had to go to Springfield, Missouri, for a long work weekend. So we decided we should make the best of it. We had so many plans. We were going to visit the zoo. We were going to visit friends of ours, the Verdi’s . . . though they do not live in the zoo, but in Nixa. We were going to get a room with a Jacuzzi for two.
But the snow and ice changed everything. That and the temperatures cold enough to make your lungs bleed. So no zoo, no friends, no museums. Work and hibernation became Plan B. We decided to make the most of it after getting online to check out possible hotels for our 4-day stay. We were nothing if not stoic.
Then we found the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven.
In 1936, Elwyn and Lawrence Lippman built the Rail Haven Hotel on what had been their grandfather’s apple orchard. (I can only imagine a common outhouse and shaved bark at this point.) But progress marched on, and in time, this location bordered Route 66. And in 1951, the Rail Haven was sucked into the Best Western vortex. Then, in 1994, the Rail Haven received its latest remodel.
But it still retained it’s vintage fun.
Yes, that is a 1955 Ford behind Randy as he makes a fake phone call to his mother. I think he is receiving fake good news. The manager inside the hotel watching us would have probably been more impressed with our idiocy if we’d had children, but no, it was for our own amusement. We went in to claim our room key and pay up. Even the Reception area was fun.
So we started unloading.
Yes, that is a cool vintage radio beside the door. And yes, Randy is carrying in a box that says, ‘Duraflame logs’ on the front. And no, it isn’t for committing arson, but used for ferrying food from home. It was either the log box or a trash bag. (We have one piece of luggage between us and it was full of Randy’s clothes.) And since we are by necessity on the GAPS diet, we had to bring all our food. The log box was about one fifth of our provisions. And unlike most hotels, the Route 66 Rail Haven had an in-room fridge large enough to hold everything. Yay! No botulism for us! (And I have no idea why Randy is a blur in this photo. He wasn’t moving all that fast.)
Here is a picture of our home for the next 4 days (before we cluttered it up) :
Notice the huge Jacuzzi in the corner? And the comfortable sofa? And the John Wayne bar? A bar! We made ourselves comfortable, bellied up to it . . .
. . . and covered it in supplements. Because we are over 50 and in denial. Then we went to the International Wine Shop and bought a bottle of single malt Irish Whiskey – because even though we are over 50, but we weren’t dead yet.
No, we aren’t dead yet. That came after Randy’s jobs. When he agreed to clean the Bakery floors, he didn’t know he was going to have to hand gouge the crap from the grout until 2 every morning. Thank goodness for the single malt, Ibuprophen, Jacuzzi and comfortable bed.
Meanwhile – while he worked – I did hard labor on my computer, writing Book #4. While he was on his hands and knees wearing out blade after blade, I was in George’s, the diner next door to the Route 66 Rail Haven, eating prime rib and walking my protagonist, Bella, through Florence, Italy. Oh, well. It all evens out when I do Randy’s mountains of work laundry. The used cleaning rags alone can gag a buzzard. I use a stick to get them into the Kenmore. . .
And speaking of eating, here is a picture of George’s Diner:
Yes, by the time this picture was taken the ice and snow had melted, which is a good thing since every time I would walk to George’s I would fall down. A pratfall beside the highway. And with every electronic device I own in the knapsack on my back, getting back up was dicey at best. But the food at George’s was so good, I would have happily crawled the rest of the way. And yes, that is my purse in Randy’s hand, and our food bag on his shoulder.
Did you know that in Springfield, Missouri, it is against the law to bring outside food into a restaurant? Whatever. . . It was either bringing our dressing, salt, honey, and coconut milk into George’s or a couple of Epi-pens. We were between a rock and a hard place. Besides, it isn’t much of a treat to bring your food with you wherever you go. Especially since I bring my lumpy coconut milk in a mason jar. Randy says it looks like I’m pouring curdled mother’s milk in my coffee. Several servers have gagged.
Here we are, not arrested for bringing cheese in a baggie. (George’s employees were all troupers. Even the guy with the handsome pelt of synthetic hair . . . Made me homesick for Mom.)
Even though it was freezing outside, even though it was a work weekend, Randy and I really enjoyed our stay at The Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven. Even when we forgot to put the Do Not Disturb sign out and someone tried to walk into our room. Even then. We heard the door open and a woman’s strangled scream of, “OH MY GOD!” – Randy was in nothing but black socks and underwear – before we heard it slam shut. We never found out who it was. The hotel maid, not speaking English, would have screamed, “OH MIO DIOS!” But as it was, the only employee we had spoken to was Billy Bise (one of the General Managers), a young man I kept thinking of as ‘Josh’ – don’t ask me why – and Billy would have never screamed like a woman. Maybe it was Brandy, the other General Manager. . . Poor thing. . .
The staff – especially Billy Bise – was welcoming, helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable, and the hotel was great fun. We are coming back in the Spring, and we have already made our reservations at the Route 66 Rail Haven hotel. But next time? The Elvis Room!
Do you have any of your own travel stories you want to share? You could even tell us about your worst hotel stay. It’s all blog comment fodder.
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