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Route 66 in Kansas (all 13 miles of it)

View Kansas on countycollector's travel map.

US Route 66 might be the best known highway in the United States despite having been official decommissioned in 1985. Most folks know the line “Get your kicks on Route 66” from the popular song written in 1964 by Bobby Troup. I even mentioned in a blog post a little over a year ago. As many know, the original route connected Chicago to Los Angeles crossing 8 states along the way including the southeast corner of Kansas. As a side note, Interstate 44 which replaced Route 66 between St. Louis and Oklahoma City bypasses Kansas completely, crossing the Missouri/Oklahoma state line roughly half a mile southeast from the point where Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri meet.

All right, history lesson aside, I had the opportunity to drive all 13 miles of the Kansas portion of Route 66 during a trip at the beginning of December. If you read my previous entry, you know I was just shy of reaching 100 new counties this year with no definite plans put me over the century mark. This trip was designed with just that goal in mind.

Beginning in Kansas City, my goal was to visit the 12 remaining counties in the southeastern corner of Kansas. A weekend would be sufficient. There’s not much to say about the actual county collecting part of the trip. Twelve county seats visited, twelve postcards mailed. Sadly, only 11 arrived. That will mean a future visit to Girard, Kansas. The interesting part of the trip was the drive along the entire stretch of Route 66 in Kansas.

It is no longer possible to drive the entire length of US 66, but the section from Springfield, MO to Tulsa, OK is well-maintained. Today, the Kansas portion is designated as Kansas state highway 66 and US 69 Alternate. Along the way, signage notes the historical, though now decommissioned US 66, making it quite easy to follow.
One noteworthy sight is the Rainbow Bridge. I’m not sure how it got that name, but my guess is due to the shape of the arch. According to the signage posted at the north end, the bridge dates back to 1923 and is the only remaining Marsh arch bridge (named for the designer) anywhere along Route 66.
As with other parts of Route 66, a number of historic buildings have been preserved. It’s not uncommon to see old gas stations turned into tourist visitor centers or souvenir shops. Kansas may have the shortest segment of historic US 66, but they do a good job of preserving the legacy of the highway that has been called the “Main Street of America” and “The Mother Road.”

Over the course of the weekend, I collected 11 new county seats. I can’t count Crawford County since the postcard never arrived. I’ll have to make a return visit when I’m collecting the last counties in Missouri. Fortunately, such a detour won’t take too much time. Here are the before and after maps. For reference, the green county indicates I visited the county seat but do not yet have a postcard documenting that visit. This one I can blame of the USPS.
With this trip, my total for the year jumps to 107. Overall, I’ve documented visits to 2835 county seats in all 50 states. With a total of 3149 county seats in the entire county, that puts me at exactly 90%. I explore a bit more detail on the ongoing progress in my annual Year in Review post. Look for that before the end of the year.

Until then…

Happy Travels

Posted by countycollector 14:06 Archived in USA Tagged kansas route_66 county_collecting

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Quick update. Last postcard arrived just over 3 weeks after I mailed it. I had all but given up on seeing it. Despite the delay, I'm pleased to add it to the collection

by countycollector

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