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Cross Country Chase

Daily Update – 9/17/2022

Riders departed their host hotels in Rolla, Missouri to embark upon Stage 2, the highest-mileage day of the entire Cross Country Chase. Most of the ride followed the Historic Route 66 Byway, with several other secondary routes tossed into the mix. Small towns along the way showcased art deco-type buildings with vintage signage, and between these towns were miles and miles of rolling farmlands featuring some of the best riding in this part of the country.

Novelty stops like the Uranus Fudge Factory with its sideshow museum attracted some of the riders, while historic bridges and early 20th century architecture appealed to others. Part of the journey took the Chase through the other Springfield—Springfield, Missouri, that is, which proudly highlights itself as the birthplace of Route 66 proclaimed on banners displayed on nearly every street post.

Today’s first checkpoint and quiz took place at Gay Parita, a vintage gas station, garage, and gift shop in Ash Grove, Missouri. The original Sinclair station opened in the 1920s, serving the increase in traffic on the newly commissioned highway, but it burned to the ground in the 1950s. The next owner, Gary Turner, known as the Ambassador of Route 66, re-built the old gas station. The station, vintage garage complete with antique vehicles, and gift shop is now owned and operated by Turner’s daughter Barbara and her husband George, who were most gracious hosts today, providing riders with cold water, snacks, and the welcome shade of their pavilion. The place is an amazing slice of Americana, and it’s well worth the time to explore all the property has to offer.

The City of Joplin, Missouri, hosted a great lunch stop for riders downtown at Hackett Hot Wings. And several city blocks were closed off to give residents and visitors a chance to check out the vintage bikes competing in the Chase.

Although Route 66 passes through Kansas for only 11 miles, the towns of Baxter Springs, Riverton, and Galena, all lend a vintage vibe reminiscent of the early days of the route. From the Rainbow Bridge in Baxter Springs to the “Cars on the Route” in Galena, each town is a lot of fun to ride through.

Our final stop of the day was the Will Rogers Memorial Museum where the City of Claremore, Oklahoma, hosted dinner for the riders. The museum, situated atop a hill, is magnificent both inside and out, and offers splendid views overlooking the city.

Today saw five DNS (did not starts), and ten bikes ended up on the trailer due to a range of issues, such as flat tires, more electrical problems, and electronic ignition problems. As the Chase heads westward, the roads get a little rougher, resulting in low-energy vibration that causes stuff to shake loose, so every night and every morning, riders are outside checking their bikes, tightening things where needed.

Yesterday’s top points earners in each class maintained their positions for another day: Dave Currier (#64) in Class 1, Richard Campbell (#96) for Class 2, and Tim Burns (#105) in Class 3.

At 262 miles, tomorrow’s route is just slightly shorter than today’s, with the Chase making stops at Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios in Tulsa and Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum in Warwick, ending the day at the Route 66 Museum in Elk City, Oklahoma.