"We're not in Kansas anymore"

But we were there - for a couple days of work on the new book. 

I drove out to Baxter Springs on Saturday to get there in time to spend a couple hours at the Baxter Springs Heritage Center. There, I needed to pick up scanned photos from Museum Manager Linda Kennedy and take another look at the exhibits. 

(On our trip there back in April, co-author Joe Sonderman and I enjoyed a guided tour of the museum from Linda. Then we spent hours perusing the exhibits and photos, snapping reference photos, and compiling a list of what we would use from their great collection.)

Late Saturday afternoon, after some time at the Center and a visit with Linda, I took some photos of the Fort Blair site on nearby grounds. Baxter Springs has a significant military history, which we'll reflect in the book.

Then it was downtown (a whole couple blocks away) onto Military Avenue/Route 66 for some photos and a light supper at Cafe on the Route. 

Next was the short drive out to the Marsh arch bridge.

Then I headed down to the Joplin area, where I stayed at a little cabin, worked on my scanner settings (exciting Saturday night activity, right?), got a great night's sleep, and woke up Sunday morning to a peaceful view of a small lake.

By 10:15 a.m, three of us assembled from different directions at the Galena Historical and Mining Museum for a serious day of going through photographs. Fred Billingsley from the museum board graciously hosted co-author Joe and I all day. Joe had just driven out that morning from St. Louis, I straggled to Galena the handful of miles from the Joplin area, and Fred met us there. 

About ten hours, close to 100 photos for the book, and a half-dozen granola bars later, even Joe and I, self-confessed photo and history geeks that we are, were ready to call it quits. We really enjoyed spending time with Fred and appreciate so much his contribution to the project. And now the museum has another 100 of its photo archive scanned in high resolution.

The next time you're in Galena doing the Route 66 tourism routine with Cars on the Route and the Murder Bordello, don't fail to also take time to visit the museum. We all owe Howard "Pappy" Litch a debt of gratitude for amassing this collection. 

We drove our respective automobiles over to Carthage, Missouri, and it was close to 9:00 p.m. when we arrived. After a day with no real meals, we were delighted to find the Sirloin Stockade with its buffet open and still serving. For me, a day in the tri-state area usually ends with a visit to the wonderful Boots Court Motel and that was our lodging Sunday night.

Monday morning we had a big breakfast at the Pancake Hut next door, enjoyed a great although brief visit with "Debbie Dee" - Deborah Real - at the Boots, and Joe volunteered to do some weed-trimming and clean-up.

Then it was time for the drive home. We're not in Kansas now, but we'll be back again, sometime in August.


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