After a whirlwind day in Chicago and a stop at Doc’s dealership outside St. Louis, we were headed toward Oklahoma City. Since we were spending the night in Springfield, Missouri, we reached out to our friends John and Sandy to see if they could meet us for a late dinner. Mike met them years ago when they were traveling Dyno operators. Good, good people. They live in Joplin, about 45 minutes away, but they made the trip. We had dinner at the Travel America restaurant with them and the semi truck driver John. The food was so-so, but the company was terrific. I’m still amazed by how many wonderful people we get to see all over the country.
It wasn’t the prettiest truck stop. The blacktop was extra cracked and spotted with even more oil than usual. The field adjacent to it, where we walked the dogs, was littered with trash where the pavement and the grass met. But, in the morning light, the rolls of hay cast long shadows over the green, and I could almost imagine I was sipping from a steaming mug of coffee, looking out from the porch of a cozy farmhouse.
At the junction of Highway T and Interstate 44 in Rolla, Missouri, we spotted what looked like an old western town. It was an antiques mall. There was also an army surplus store at the same exit – something for both me and Mike! We quickly pulled off to explore.
Old Towne Antiques is filled with collectibles, vintage memorabilia and newly made arts and crafts. When I say filled, I mean it. There are six connected buildings that’re jam packed with stuff. You’re even given a map with a pen when you arrive so you can find your way around and mark the spots you want to return to.
The location started with four buildings that sat empty for three years before they were connected and new facades were added to make it look like an old western town. An array of vendors have booth space inside. With restrooms and a small cafe, it’s easy to spend a couple of hours investigating all the nooks and crannies.
The mall is open seven days a week, and people come from all over the country to check it out. The parking lot is RV friendly with plenty of room to park and turn around. I fell in love with a painting, but there was no place to hang it in the RV. Instead, I picked up a vintage looking necklace to add to my jewelry collection.
A visit to Old Town Antiques makes for nice walk break during a day of driving, and you might just find that must-have piece you’ve been looking for!
Our trip from Milwaukee to Vegas for Christmas was tight and long. We had to arrive by a certain day; with the deadline and weather issues, there was no time go out of our way to sightsee. But we did have to break periodically for diesel or to walk the bark babies. It was on one of those quick stops that we discovered a mini Route 66 at the I-44 Welcome Center at Conway, in Missouri, at Mile Marker 110.
There are picnic shelters with Route 66-related “storefronts,” including a barber shop and a diner. An information area inside the main building near the restrooms and vending machines is staffed to provide tourist information and features more Route 66 memorabilia. With 75 truck parking spaces on each side of I-44, there was plenty of room for our RV with the Jeep behind it.
Although we were only there for a few minutes, it was a fun stop on a no-nonsense trip. It would have a cool place to take goofy period pics in nicer weather if you lived nearby.