The shortest but perhaps best-signed stretch of Route 66’s eight-state run is its 14-mile slice across the southeast corner of Kansas. Be careful not to blink your eyes, or you’ll be saying, as Dorothy did in The Wizard of Oz, “I think we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
If you’re coming from Oklahoma, Baxter Springs is the first town you reach, and Murphey’s Restaurant (620/856-3263), at 1046 Military Avenue, is famous for its great pies. East of Baxter Springs are a couple of old rainbow-arched concrete bridges and a few other Route 66 relics: In Riverton, the next town along, the Old Riverton Store (620/848-3330), aka “Eisler Bros.,” has been open since the 1920s. Across the highway from a big power plant, the old store is now headquarters of the small but active Kansas Route 66 Association and an essential stop for fans of the old road—and of the old-fashioned milk shakes whipped up there.
The last town in Kansas is Galena, where the funky Galena Mining and Historical Museum (hours vary; 620/783-2192), just off the main drag and marked by a big “Old 66” sign at 319 W. 7th Street, is stuffed with old newspaper clippings and other items that give a glimpse of town life during its 1920s-era mining heyday, and various rusting tools and machines testify to the work that once went on here.