I’m sure all of us have snickered at the name of the seventh planet from the sun in our youth. I like to think that I’m an intelligent person, but I still find stupid humor to be funny, too. I was in luck today, with a fun place that embraced this sort of silly fun.
First, though, we had some driving to do. After several states of straight flat plains, I’m thrilled to return to more interesting and, in my opinion, scenic driving along Route 66.
We even got to drive on the old 66 itself a little bit.
Our first destination for the day was the Devil’s Elbow Bridge. This is one of two curved bridges on Route 66 in Missouri, the other being the old Chain of Rocks Bridge we visited. This is the only one that’s still open to traffic.
From there we proceeded more or less down 66. It keeps making these annoying switchbacks across I-44 that we got tired of following, since the frontage roads continue on both sides anyway. Finally, we slowly pulled into Uranus.
You have to leave your maturity inside the van when visiting this place. The butt jokes run wild, and are pretty much the entire point. As soon as you walk into the general store and gift shop, the staff says “Welcome to Uranus!” quite loudly. As advertised, the place features fudge, which they will happily pack for you while cracking all the worst butt jokes you’ve ever heard about Uranus. It was fun to wisecrack along with them and be 12 years old again for a little while.
There are other features and attractions to check out here, too, though the store is the best part. I also loved the funny signs all over the place, each of them stupid in its own way.
This place was definitely worth a sticker for the headliner. I put it on sideways, both because the place is so offbeat and silly, and because Uranus is the only planet knocked over on its side like this.
I had a difficult time growing up again after that, but eventually we continued on down he road to Lebanon, and another Route 66 museum.
This one is actually inside the town library. It’s pretty neat, this time with a Missouri-centric angle on the whole thing. There are plenty of great displays, including one on the early days of motoring and road trips.
Hey, I’ve seen a setup kind of like this somewhere before. For early travelers, a long road trip was a massive undertaking. People had to bring everything but the kitchen sink with them, and even that might come in handy. Once highways and the facilities that go with them were built, anyone could do it with practically no equipment or planning at all. Yet with the van life movement, we’re coming back full circle to bringing everything with us, and not relying so much on finding things on the way. Except Walmart parking lots to sleep in, since overnight parking is more difficult to find now than it was 100 years ago.
Since Lebanon, MIssouri doesn’t exactly have the best violent crime rate (one of the worst, actually), we hit the interstate for once to spend the night at a rest area down the road. Ironically, it turns out we didn’t really leave Route 66 after all.
The walkway between the rest area and truck parking is done up like Route 66, including a sign and replicas of some of the buildings you find on the way as canopies over picnic tables. We had an impromptu pot luck dinner made of whatever we had in our vans before settling in for the night.