We were up and out of the room by 11 am. We headed east on I-40, and after a while we ran across this enormous field of windmills, most of them happily milling away.
Soon we were past the fold on our Rand McNally Road Atlas, which puts us on the same page as home.
According to our maps and guidebooks, there was no much along I-40 in Oklatucky to interest us. Somehow, the Will Rogers Museum was not that great a draw. This meant that we would have to entertain ourselves, which can be dangerous. It usually involves shopping for tacky things.
About 1:30 we stopped at the shopping-for-tacky-things mecca of the midwest: Indian Trading Post in Calumet, OK. Not only can you see the billboards for miles, but there is a giant Indian-head sign, a display of frontier life featuring synthetic bison, covered wagons, tipis, mock windmills, and a dozen and a half old tractors.
We spent a good half an hour at Indian Trading Post, buying gifts for many of our friends. (Be afraid, friends...especially Mr. Ric.)
By 3:00 pm we reached Oklatucky City, where we stopped at Wal-Mart and bought Star Wars toys and some groceries (coke, cheez-its, and bananas). Then we went to a local Toys-R-US and got more Star Wars figures. We got gas at $2.699, which was probably the cheapest we've seen on this trip. We finished our stay in Oklatucky City with lunch at Sonic.
We continued east on I-44, still following the route of old US Route 66. We stopped about 7:00 pm at the rest stop in Vinita, OK, and found ourselves in...wait for it...the World's Largest McDonald's. Yes, larger than the new one in Beijing, much larger than the one in Moscow. The World's Largest McDonald's is so big that it extends clear across the Interstate.
The World's Largest McDonald's has a gift shop, and for confirmed tack-o-rama fans like us, it was nirvana. We bought postcards, we bought a jigsaw puzzle, and we bought the single tackiest item that we've found on our entire trip: a World's Largest McDonald's snow globe. We would put up a picture, but the snow globe is packed away in multiple layers of styrofoam and bubble wrap. We'll try to remember to take a picture when we get home.
Now, I-44 crosses directly from Oklatucky to Missouritucky, but we exited in Miami and clipped the corner of Kansatucky, just so we could say we'd been there. During the 10-or-so miles that we were in Kansatucky, we stopped at the Wal-Mart in lovely Baxter Springs, where we purchased floppy hats and Star Wars toys. (We've both been wanting floppy hats ever since we were in Yellowstone, but we could never find ones we liked. The ones at Wal-Mart were on clearance for $5 each.)
At 8:50 pm they announced that the Wal-Mart was closing in ten minutes. Yes, apparently in Baxter Springs, Wal-Mart closes at 9 pm.
At 9:09 pm we crossed over into Missouritucky and rejoined I-44. Then we drove, drove, drove, until about 11:00 pm we stopped in Springfield, MO. We drove past a Wal-Mart that was open 24 hours a day: obviously, we were not in Kansas anymore.
We found the Krystal Aire Inn & Suites, a non-smoking hotel with wireless Internet access (it said so on the sign) and settled in for the night.
Tomorrow: drive, drive, drive. And maybe some caverns that we saw advertised.