Welcome

Thank you for visiting paducahsun.com, the online home of The Paducah Sun.

Calendar
June 2012
S M T W T F S
27 28 29 30 31 01 02

Click here to submit an event.

Class of '66 to travel Route 66

By MARTY FINLEY The News-Enterprise

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. - Forty-eight years after they graduated, members of the Elizabethtown High School Class of 1966 are reuniting to travel one of the country's most famous highways.

The classmates are banding to travel a roughly 300-mile stretch of U.S. Route 66 from Springfield, Missouri, to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The members who have confirmed their invitation will gather at the starting point of the University Plaza Hotel in Springfield, where many already have booked their reservations. Embracing a spirit of spontaneity, no further reservations have been booked along the route, said Bob Swope, one of the classmates who will make the trip, likely in a 1962 Chrysler Imperial.

"We may want to pack a tent and some sleeping bags," Swope said with a chuckle.

Stephen Rafferty, the classmate who developed a working itinerary for the trip, said there is a simplistic beauty in embracing a self-guided journey without set limitations or hurried schedules.

"Leave it open," Rafferty said. "Where you end up is where you end up."

The group plans to depart from Springfield on July 13 and wrap up their trip the following Sunday, July 20, in Oklahoma City. The itinerary as planned would include stops in Joplin, Mo.; Miami, Okla., and Tulsa.

During his research, Rafferty consulted AAA maps, tour books and other guides and brochures to not only find the best route but also locate entertainment options along the way. To their delight, the approach being taken is filled with museums, wineries and yard sales.

Rafferty joked a visit to Oklahoma's wineries may result in a tour of local jails.

The group estimates an average of 60 miles of travel each day, which is easily attainable in a day's journey while leaving time to tour individual cities and towns.

Tulsa has been penciled in for a two-day stop because the dates the class intends to pass through the city align with a large shopping extravaganza flush with antiques and collectibles.

"Is that where the yard sale is?" Darlene Baumgardner Trimble asked Rafferty of Tulsa. "I'm a two-nighter."

Trimble, a fellow classmate, said she enjoys shopping and site-seeing and is thrilled about hitting such a legendary roadway with old friends.

Route 66 as it was once known technically doesn't exist anymore, decommissioned for decades now and removed from most maps. But patches of it still exist and it attracts flocks of tourists each year who want to travel past the same mile markers so many did in the 1950s and 60s.

Route 66 opened in 1926 and was heavily traveled as people migrated west during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. The road was developed from Chicago to Los Angeles and runs through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. It garnered many nicknames, including "The Mother Road."

Swope said his classmates grew up enamored with Route 66 but only started talking about the journey three years ago during a gathering at a classmate's home, where it was noted that most of the class would turn 66 in 2014.

One classmate mentioned a road trip along Route 66 would be a clever way to commemorate the occasion, but they only latched onto the idea when Rafferty developed a rough draft of his itinerary.

For classmate Dan Rennie, it will be a chance to reconnect in person with some he hasn't seen in years. Rennie lives outside of Oklahoma City and has supplied Rafferty with brochures and materials on Oklahoma, noting the state and the city have active tourism industries with lots of options over a multi-day visit.

For Rafferty, the trip gives him the freedom to pursue a personal achievement with a group of people he enjoys spending time with.

"If it wasn't for this class, I wouldn't do it on my own," he said.

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Your comment has been submitted for approval
captcha f5a1beca5c4a425294f2105cc10ce22a
Top Classifieds
  • ROCKY Mountain Mare - 8 yrs old - goo ... Details
  • Rottweiler Mastiff Mixed Pups - Mom h ... Details
  • FULL blooded healer pups-All shots/wo ... Details
  • Cocker Spaniel Pups.AKC (270)476-2580 ... Details
  • RUNNING, fixable, junk vehicles, equi ... Details
  • PILLOWTOP Mattress Sets, NEW in plast ... Details
  • Save Money on your Mortgage! No refin ... Details
  • SEEING is believing! Don't buy p ... Details
  • 1994 Ardmore by Clayton 16x80 Must be ... Details
  • 1000 Wayside Dr 4BR, 3.5B $264,900270 ... Details
  • Office/Warehouse Updated Office with ... Details
  • BASEMENT home- 550 Oak Valley Rd - Ma ... Details
  • Lake Front Home 3,000 sq. ft., Kuttaw ... Details
  • 19'8" BASS TRACKER PRO - 27 ... Details
  • 2005 Ford Taurus, 115k miles, exc. co ... Details
  • 2012 Nissan Altima SL Coupe Nice! 28K ... Details
  • AMC SST '72 4 dr. sedan, Onlytw ... Details
This Week In Photos
Most Popular
  1. Baseball series a hit for city
  2. Baseball series a hit for city
  3. Madison emergency official resigns after audit finds theft
  1. 6 officers indicted in Gray death
  2. 84-year-old Paducahan lands giant carp
  3. Suspect arrested on prescription drug charges
  1. Bible, Quran promote different approaches to life
  2. Baseball series a hit for city
  3. Baseball series a hit for city
Discussion

Check out these recently discussed stories and voice your opinion...