Route 66 stretches across eight of the country's best states, but you'll get to see more of some states than others. While you'll spend at least a day in most of the Route 66 states when you tour with us, you'll find that the Mother Road only runs for 12.6 mi in the southeastern corner of Kansas.
That said, just because you can speed through Kansas in well under an hour doesn't mean you should! There are plenty of fantastic things to do in and around the small towns of Galena, Riverton and Baxter Springs.
Cars on the Route, Galena
If you have kids, you're bound to spot some familiar faces at the north end of Main Street in Galena. An old Kan-O-Tex service station saw revival following the release of Disney Pixar's Cars film. It has seen changed its name to Cars on the Route.
What makes this gas station stand out is Tow Tater – the real life inspiration for Cars character Tow Mater! This is the perfect place to make a quick stop for a photo and maybe even a piece of Cars memorabilia for your kids back home.
Galena Mining and Historical Museum, Galena
As you follow the road west out of Galena, you'll notice an old railroad depot. Once servicing lines through Missouri, Kansas and Texas, the depot now acts as a museum.
This museum is a must-see for anyone with a keen interest in the United States' mining and military history. It houses an impressive collection of mineral samples and genuine mining equipment as well as a noteworthy model of the Grand Central Mine. For lovers of tanks and Jeeps, a collection of classic US military land vehicles is on display behind the main building.
Eisler Brothers Old Riverton Store, Riverton
This historic grocery store even predates the Route itself! The store was built by Leo Williams in 1925 after a tornado destroyed the existing building on the site, where his wife Lora had served lunches. Split into two sections, a commercial area and a residential space, the grocery store was both a business and a home for the Williams. In 1940, the family moved to the neighbouring house and converted the residential section into a Route 66 memorabilia store.
The shop eventually passed hands from the Williams to the Eislers, who continued the business. In 2011, Scott Nelson, their nephew and the President of the Route 66 Association of Kansas, bought the store. To this day, you can still buy your basic groceries and iconically American deli sandwiches from the store, though it also acts as the association's headquarters.
Brush Creek Bridge, Baxter Springs
Another historical site, the Brush Creek Bridge is the one remaining bridge of its type (a fixed Marsh Rainbow Arch bridge) along the entire length of Route 66. This style of bridge was patented by Iowa bridge designer James Barney Marsh as part of a project to connect the mining communities of Route 66's Kansas stretch in the early 1920s. Since the Brush Creek Bridge was erected, Marsh built a further 70 throughout the midwest.
Unfortunately, the bridge is too narrow for heavy traffic, meaning local motorists favour a nearby replacement bridge. However, people wanting to experience all the history of Route 66 in Kansas are still able to take a tiny detour to walk or drive across the bridge.
Though Kansas represents very little of Route 66's total length, there's so much local culture and history to be witnessed. Don't miss the chance to see everything Route 66 has to offer – book your complete road trip with Route 66 Tours today.