"I've Been Everywhere, Man" Living the song on two wheels.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by swedstal, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

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    Monday, June 17th, 2019

    Joplin, Missouri

    Map of places in this post:

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    Tulsa day!

    My hosts in Joplin, Adam, Natalie, Addilyn and Amelia loaded up with me to take a two day tour through northeast Oklahoma. (They didn’t all ride on Annie. This isn’t Nicaragua.) “Oklahoma” is also mentioned in the song, so the plan was to cross off two places in as many days.

    I spent just a little time on the freeway, so I could get this photo:

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    Despite having billions of dollars of liquid gold beneath its surface, the state of Oklahoma still expects travelers to pay tolls. (Maybe they spent all the oil money teaching their college football teams how not to tackle?) As I pulled to the booth, it was clear that the rebellious motorcycle spirit was already infecting Adam. He brazenly jumped out of his car and paid my toll before I could fish my wallet out from between my layers of rain gear.

    Soon we were on a road that was more scenic, more iconic and much more free:

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    Like hyenas fighting over a zebra carcass, it seems like every town along Route 66 tries to get their piece of this historic highway. I’ll write more about this road later.

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    Our first stop in Tulsa was at the Gilcrease museum. I was actually looking for something that might serve as my backdrop for Oklahoma, rather than Tulsa. I’m not sure if it is allowed to take two song place pictures in the same city. Can one of the Everywhere Man board members check the bylaws for me?

    From 2009-2016, Oklahoma had one of the best license plates in the country:

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    Unfortunately, their new one is some sort of white-out ink-blot test….

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    The sculpture featured on the former is Allan Houser’s Sacred Rain Arrow. It stands proudly in front of the Gilcrease Museum.

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    When a song place is an entire state, it is always difficult to choose a picture. I thought that something Native American themed would be appropriate for Oklahoma and I just love this sculpture. It depicts an Apache warrior firing an arrow blessed with prayers for rain into the Spirit World. You might say that this year his aim was really good.

    The museum was actually closed for the day (Monday), so it was really easy to get Annie into position.

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  2. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

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    Moving on to the Tulsa picture, there was only one image that would suffice. I had perhaps never been so sure of a song place picture. The image to represent Tulsa has to be the Golden Driller.

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    Boom.

    I was giddy with enthusiasm at seeing this guy. Perhaps it’s because sometimes I struggle so hard to get that perfect song place picture. This was almost too easy and too perfect.

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    Adam’s assertion: Annoying attempts at absorbing alliteration are actually alarmingly alienating all avid acolytes absorbing amusing articles.

    (That’s actually the best sentence I’ve written so far, I think)

    Since he thinks my use of alliteration is “cheap,” he said I should write a haiku poem to describe the Golden Driller. Your wish is my command:

    Needing six cow hides,

    Custom made with rope laces,

    Where does he buy shoes?

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    Adam and Natalie treated me to a great Mexican lunch. One of the best meals I had in Mexico was enchiladas Suizas (Swiss enchiladas) at a restaurant in Chiapas. Natalie made sure she found a place that offered this dish. They were great!

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  3. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

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    After lunch, it was time to check out one of Tulsa’s neatest attraction: The Gathering Place. I guess you could say it is a park, but that would be selling it extremely short. More than 80 private contributors donated $465 million (not a typo, I swear) to construct this sprawling amusement park for families along the Arkansas River.

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    It is completely free and the funds to maintain it have already been secured for the next 100 years.

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    The girls had a lot of fun playing…..and so did the boys. :-)

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    I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more expansive and entertaining city park.

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    The Family and I split up for a bit and I did some more exploring of Tulsa on my own.

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    I really wanted to find a piece of Golden Driller memorabilia, so I stopped into a shop called Decopolis. There I found a Golden Driller pin which will live on my tank bag.

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    The guy behind the counter was really helpful and gave me some more ideas for Tulsa pictures.

    Old Route 66 through town has some interesting sights:

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  4. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

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    There was just one more picture I wanted. It is another Native American themed sculpture: Appeal to the Great Spirit by Cyrus Dallin.

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    I’m actually pretty proud of the following picture:

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    There was no lens flare in the original, but I have a technique to get this effect. I just wipe some of the grease/sunscreen mixture off of my nose and spread it across the lens of my phone camera. I had to do it a half dozen times or so, so the rays would disperse at just the angle that I wanted. I bet they don’t teach you that trick at photography school. :lol3

    My home for the night would not be in Joplin. I was heading for one of the most recognizable places in the state: Muskogee.



    In some ways I feel bad for the people from this town. Every time they tell someone where they are from, the song is the first thing people think of. It’s like when people say they are from Norfolk, Nebraska. People naturally respond, “Oh, the hometown of Everywhere Brett?” It must be terrible!

    Muskogee is Natalie’s hometown. Her good friend, Tish, still lives their along with her boyfriend, Travis, and their kids. I took the scenic route, avoiding the tolls, which provided me with some great riding.

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    I had a great time getting to know our hosts. We kept them up way too late with a drawn out game of Catan.

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  5. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

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    Tuesday, June 18th

    Tish and Travis became the first Oklahomans to sign Annie.

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    They also gifted me with an Oklahoma pin and some good tourist information about the state. Thank you guys!

    On the agenda for the day was to complete some more Oklahoma themed experiences. First up though, I had to get a good Muskogee picture with my favorite Muskogeean (Muskoger? Muskogle?…not sure).

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    We would head on to Talequah. This city was established in 1839 as the capital of the Cherokee Nation after they were removed from their native lands in the Smoky Mountains area. The Cherokee Heritage Center is a living history museum in the area. We did not have time to tour it, so we went to a site called Hunter’s Home instead.

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    This place has a really interesting history. A Virginian named George Murrell married a Cherokee woman named Minerva Ross. They traveled the Trail of Tears together and established this plantation in 1845. As it was in Indian Territory, Murrell had no ownership of the land. Everything had to be in Minerva’s name.

    The home and grounds have been well restored and cared for and there is even more restoration to come.

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    We received a guided tour of both the interior and exterior which was fascinating.

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    We even got to feed the chickens. :thumb

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    We stopped into a diner where I ordered a chicken fried steak sandwich that ended up being bigger than my head.

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  6. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

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    The Family needed to run a few errands and I explored Talequah a little bit more on my own. Some of their street signs include Cherokee. It has to be one of the coolest looking written languages I have ever seen.

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    The ride back to Joplin was easily the best riding of Chapter 4 so far.

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    About an hour into my ride, I came across a traveler that needed some help. A big turtle was slowly making his way across the road. Judging by its size, I thought it was a snapper, but it was just a huge box turtle. He was in a really bad spot, on the inside of a blind corner.

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    After parking Annie and running back to the terrified terrapene (sorry, Adam, the alliteration is here to stay), a car came around the curve. It slowed to a crawl as I gestured at it wildly. Wouldn’t you know, it was Adam and Natalie. This was unexpected, but I don’t think it is quite unlikely enough for the “never tell me the odds” gif. We have to have standards here.

    We were a little hesitant to just grab the turtle, so we ended up just sort of foot-pushing him into the grass. Natalie took a great photo that I just love:

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    A guy from the adjacent campground walked over and said, “I can take him back to the river if that makes you feel better.” He just nonchalantly picked the turtle up and carried him away.

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    I will always stop when I see a turtle. A Western painted named “Swimmer” was my first ever pet. Likewise, I will always stop whenever I see a Honda Dream. I’ll have to come back and visit this museum sometime:

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    Back at home, Adam crossed off place number 69 of 92: Tulsa, Oklahoma. With this, it means that our journey is officially 3/4 complete. It was a good thing they still had a confetti cannon left over:

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    Natalie crossed off place 70 of 92: Oklahoma, officially beginning my final lap.

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  7. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

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    Just like the third lap of The Mile, the third lap of this journey was absolutely the most difficult phase. It spanned about 19 months. It included the long ride south through 14 countries, just to visit 11 song places. It encompassed my difficult hiatus during which I lost my Dad. It featured a time of resilient rebirth, as Mom and I traveled joyfully together. It has required the awesome support of a countless number of people to carry me to this point.

    Now comes the final lap.

    My eyes are fixed firmly on the prize. There’s nothing left to do but to pour my all into this experience. I am committed to opening my throttle wide open, so that when I cross the finish line I will be physically, mentally and emotionally expended. I guess I don’t know how else to travel. :-)

    22 to go.

    Finish strong, everybody.

    BA
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  8. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

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    Realtime update: In terms of song places, I’m probably further behind in my writing than I have ever been. I still need to write about Springfield, Wichita, Dodge City and Hennessey. Texarkana is up next for me, but I am going to catch up a bit before heading there. I keep meeting wonderful people and having memorable experiences, so there are lots more stories to tell. I’m currently in Ardmore, OK, heading slowly across the southern side of the state. As always, thanks for coming along!
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  9. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze I keep blowing down the road Supporter

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    :lurk
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  10. interceptor1972

    interceptor1972 Been here awhile

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    Glad you made it to Ardmore . Now you have both bases covered! If you're still hanging around Ardmore tomorrow, there's a likelihood that I'll be in Ardmore for work. I'll check with you . Ride safe my friend!!

    Manoj
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  11. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Brett; when you stop for a turtle on the road...always help it in the direction it was already headed. If you move it off the road to the side it came from it will just go that way again after you leave.
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  12. KiwiPewe

    KiwiPewe Coddiwomple Supporter

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    And when you've finished the American one, you can do the NZ version.
    And then the Ozzie one.
    And then the UK one .

    No pressure, mate! :D
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  13. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer Supporter

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    Fourth Quarter! Suck it up!

    As if you’re you aren’t having the time of your life.. Ha! Hoping for fair weather and good trails.
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  14. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    WingMom Son,
    If y'all ever get up here again between Toronto and Niagara Falls you can ride both of my mid 60's Baby Dream Benly 150's!
    Epic RR dude!!!
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  15. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

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    Thanks for lunch! I nearly went into a burrito coma at the library. It was so nice of you to help me out one more time. :-)

    Yes! I should have included that. I'm 95% sure I got this one pointed in the right direction. :thumb

    I think the rule should be that if you finish the toughest version of the song (the Americas one), you get to compose the next one. Who is up for "I've Been Everywhere" the global edition?

    I've been to Cairo, Brno, Mexico, Yokohama
    Auckland, Khazakstan, Durban, Nicaragua

    I think there's potential there. :-)

    I'm about to finish like Nebraska in the '95 Orange Bowl!

    Careful, I might take you up on that!
  16. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

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    Putting the Spring in Springfield

    Of all the Springfields I could have visited, the one in Missouri ended up being a great choice. In this update we eat in a quonset hut, walk with Wild Bill, frolic with butterflies and finish our sentenc. (Sorry I ran out of space.)




    (A full discussion of why I chose this Springfield will be included at the conclusion of this post)



    Thursday, June 20th, 2019

    Joplin, Missouri

    I was still basking in the comprehensive hospitality of my friends Adam and Natalie. We decided to do a day trip to take care of place 71 of 92, Springfield. I left a little earlier than my support vehicle and had a leisurely ride down old Route 66. Nice to know you can still get your De Soto fixed along the way!

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    I doubt there will ever be another traveler who takes such a roundabout way to ride Route 66. I did Chicago in 2017, flew through St. Louis in 2018 and will be chipping away at sections of it all throughout Chapter 4.

    Springfield touts itself as the “Birthplace of Route 66.” Indeed it is where the highway first received its numerical designation in 1926. This road was a major thoroughfare for those traveling west during the Dust Bowl years. It continued to be a prominent route until it was eventually bypassed by interstates in the 1980s. Tourism has revived this route and it is now perhaps the most well-known highway to non-Americans.

    It was patched onto my friend Pablo’s riding jacket in Buenos Aires:

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    I saw multiple signs for it in the biker clubhouses of Brazil:

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    (I’ve been waiting to post these pictures for a long time!)

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    Brazilians seemed especially drawn to the mystique of this road. I often had questions about if I had ridden on it.

    My first stop was the history museum which is located in the town square.

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    I was welcomed very warmly here and everyone was very interested in my story. The museum is actually under major renovations so only a fraction was available to go through. I’ll just have to come back.

    My new friend, Don, walked me out into the square and showed me the site where “Wild Bill” Hickock shot Davis Tutt in 1865.

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    The disagreement began over a gambling debt and Tutt shot first from the other side of the square. Hickock returned fire to here:

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    Lucky shot? Maybe. But it’s probably never wise to fire on someone whose first name is “Wild.”

    There was a lot of history about Springfield and Route 66 which will be interspersed through the rest of this post. The old theater is still in great conditions and plays a film on Route 66 history.

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    After my visit, I felt well informed about other things to see and do while I was there.

    During the 1950s the Ozark Jubilee, which aired from Springfield, was one of the most popular TV programs in the US.

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    Johnny Cash was a performer on the show in 1956. Hank Snow was actually the most prominent country music star who didn’t perform on the show. He gave his sole allegiance to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. This seems like a very “Hank Snow” thing to do. :lol3
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  17. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

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    The museum sparked an idea for an iconic Springfield picture, of this recreated sign:

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    This sign sat in front of the Route 66 stop which is recognized as the first drive thru restaurant in the world. The story goes that the owner, Red, made a false measurement and could not fit the “er” in the word “hamburger.” He posted the sign as it was and it became a unique and memorable site.

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    The restaurant operated from 1947 to 1984. This recreated sign was put up in 2013. I just love this story and the photo. This may well represent “Springfield.” My photographers were a couple of nice guys named Steve and John. One of them was a local and had eaten at Red’s many times. He recalled how efficient their system was, with Red coming right out to the waiting cars with his notebook. By the time you rolled up to the window, your order was usually ready to go. Thanks for sharing the stories!

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    Adam, Natalie and the girls caught up with me here and we made a stop into the visitors center. They gave me some more good ideas and a new sticker for my trunk lid.

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    Natalie researched lunch options and was confident that we should go to a place called Casper’s. When we got there, I could tell why she was so sure this should be our eatery. I’ve never eaten anywhere like this before:

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    This little building, known as a quonset hut, contained unspeakable treasures inside.

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    Casper’s began in the back of a fruit shop in 1909, moving to this location in 1948. It is a true Springfield original.

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    Where else can you go to buy a gallon of chili?!

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    Their motto of “Eat, Pay, Tip, Get out!” sounds a little harsh, but there are only about 25 seats in the whole establishment. The wonderful waitress, Marcie, is responsible for all of them. She flits around like a figure skater performing a routine, keeping the tables moving but also taking time to interact with everyone.

    The prices are really reasonable and beer is actually cheaper than pop. There have probably only been a couple of times during my life when I thought, “You know what, I could use a Schlitz right now.” In this occasion, it seemed like the only logical choice.

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    Even the bathroom was full of personality.

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    I will definitely be back the next time I pass through town.

    I challenged Adam and Natalie to write haiku poems describing our visit to Casper’s. They both turned in some gems.

    Adam:

    Eclectic diner,

    A greasy cheeseburger meal,

    In the quonset hut



    Natalie:

    Springfield’s secret stash,

    Sipping Schlitz scintillating,

    Swedish Stallion’s soul

    I thought I would declare a winner, but both of these are great. Natalie's alliteration kind of seems like pandering though... :hmmmmm
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  18. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

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    We found a good city sign and I decided I should be “springing” into Springfield. These photos don’t always turn out too well. Sometimes you get this:

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    …but every once in awhile you get a good one:

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    After a quick stop to the hospital to repair my now torn meniscus, it was time for another fun connection. My cousin, Tracy, lives in Springfield. She took time out of her afternoon to show us some of her favorite things of the city.

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    Tracy is a botanist and has always had a fascination with butterflies. She took us to the Butterfly House at the Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park.

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    I learned so much here. I had a fun time reminiscing about my trip to see the Monarch Butterfly sanctuary in Michoacan, Mexico (Page 29).

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    We spent some time just leisurely strolling through the park and chatting. It is a pretty area. After that, we headed to a Braum’s restaurant for some ice cream. I asked Tracy if she would be the one to cross Springfield from my sign.

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    It was so great to see her!

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    Please notice the framing by Natalie of the word “hamburger” in the photo above. This is some next level photography!
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  19. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

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    There was one more stop for us to make. You can’t really go to Springfield without visiting Bass Pro Shop.

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    This store began in 1972, when young Johnny Morris started selling fishing lures in the back of his father’s liquor shop. It has now grown into one of the leading outdoor retailers in the world. They now have over 200 locations and recently bought out Cabela’s, a Nebraska company, to nearly double their size.

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    The stores themselves are tourist attractions, with countless stuffed animals, fish and activities.

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    Adam and Natalie had given me a giftcard for me birthday. I used it to purchase a new camping towel. I left mine in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico the same day that I crashed. I made it through the rest of Latin America using a hand towel to dry myself. This is still one of my proudest accomplishments.

    The End of the Trail sculpture. More on this in a later post:

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    Adam, Natalie and the girls left town and I ran around a little more. A couple of places were closed and I didn’t find much else worth sharing. Part of me wishes I would have had some more time here to make a couple of more connections. My second grade teacher lives there as well as a guy I had met in DC. It’s close though, so I’m sure I will be back.

    I did make one more stop along Route 66 on the way home.

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    Sometimes I see a building like this and just have to know what the inside looks like. I actually got a pretty good photo out of it.

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    No nose grease required. :thumb

    Thanks again, Adam and Natalie, for your amazing hospitality! You two have been such an integral part of this journey. I look forward to more adventures together.

    21 to go.

    Stay bouncy, everybody

    BA
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  20. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

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    So why did I chose the city in Missouri to be my official “Springfield?”

    Depending on the source, there are somewhere between 30 and 40 Springfields in the US alone. Lacking sufficient time to visit them all (next trip?), I had to choose one. Here is a summary of that process:

    I narrowed it down to three Springfields pretty quick: Missouri, Illinois and Massachusetts. I eliminated Massachusetts as it is in the same metro area as song place 30, Chicopee. When duplicate places exist, I intentionally choose places that are further dispersed to follow the theme of “traveling every road in this here land.”

    Comparing Missouri and Illinois, Missouri has a larger population both in the city proper (168,000 to 117,000) and metro area (466,000 to 207,000). Illinois gains some points for being a state capital and temporary home of Abraham Lincoln. Missouri has Route 66 and more 20th Century history.

    Another way I like to compare things sometimes is by using Google Trends. This is a free service (for now) from Google where you can enter any terms and see how they compare in search traffic. Here are the global numbers for the three Springfields from the last five years;

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    Missouri leads this metric by a wide margin. Ultimately, it just seemed like Missouri was the right choice. We’ll never know exactly where Geoff Mack was looking when he selected Springfield, but I feel like I’ve done my due diligence to try to choose the correct one.
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