We spent the night at a Petro's in Joplin, MO. It was 28 F that night! I don't recommend sleeping in your car when it's that cold. Perhaps if we'd been wearing parkas..... It was a surprisingly nice place. I haven't travelled in nearly 30 years, so I wasn't familiar with these modern truck stops. Even the bathrooms were nice, with marble tiles and murals on the walls. They were pictures of various notable historic events or places in Missouri. One of them regarded the first successful parachute jump. "Successful"?? Ewwwwww! Another one was about the Wagon Wheel Motel, which was the inspiration for the 'Wheel Well Motel' in the Pixar movie 'Cars'.

The next morning we went across the street to, you guessed it, use the McDonald's WiFi to check our maps and email. When we got back in the car I was looking over our road atlas (aka 'the big coaster', because that's all it's actually good for) and the lady in the next car asked if we were lost. (I bit my tongue to keep from saying, "Have you tried Hari Krishna?", a line from The Muppet Movie), and told her what route we were planning to do. She and her boyfriend/husband (?) went on to give us advice on what route to take, we had a nice visit, and they just kept on visiting.... we would probably still be there if they had their way! This was something we noticed as we got inland though. People were friendly and went out of their way to be helpful. What a concept!

As we continued our journey through Missouri I was beginning to get concerned about the quality of the notable or educational sites. (I mean, if a 'successful' parachute jump is one of the most notable things you can come up with, you're getting pretty desperate!) My fears were confirmed when we drove past a sign for a vacuum cleaner museum. A few minutes later was a sign for the world's largest rocking chair. I could barely contain my excitement.

But then we just happened to be driving past Cuba, where the Wagon Wheel Motel is, so we stopped to see the motel. I'm glad we did, it was so quaint!

Wagon Wheel Motel Panorama
Click to open the panorama in a new window

Wagon Wheel Motel Office
Wagon Wheel Motel Sign
Wagon Wheel Motel Office
Wagon Wheel Motel
Wagon Wheel Motel Sigh
Wagon Wheel Motel Office
Wagon Wheel Motel Cabins
Missouri Hick BBQ
Right next door is, I kid you not, the Missouri Hick BBQ

Click on each picture for the full size to appear in a new window

Next was St Louis, gateway to the west! Wow, what a beautiful city. At least, what we could see as we zipped past. We couldn't find any parking, anywhere, so we had to keep going. But all those old brick buildings were amazing, as was the arch. We'd like to go back someday and explore.

We spent the night in Effingham, Illinois. From the moment I saw the first sign for the town I couldn't stop giggling. It sounds like a euphamism! "Those effingham police pulled me over for no reason.... "