Cars on the Route in Galena, Kansas
In a little spot just north of downtown Galena, Kansas is a sweet little old gas station filled with good food, great stories and lots of memorabilia from the movie, "Cars". Parked out front is the tow truck that inspired the creation of "Tow 'Mater". It is just the beginning of the wonders held within the doors of this little place.
Parked Out Front
Out in front of this quaint little building you will find the mining boom truck which inspired the character Tow 'Mater in the movie "Cars". The old boom truck sports a set of "eyes" to help give the reinforcement of the character's personality! Not only that, this gas station location was the inspiration for part of the town in the movie "Cars". On the back corner of the lot you will find a spiffy firetruck watching over his flower bed, just like Red in the movie "Cars" as well! The Kan-O-Tex gasoline pumps standing out front are brightly painted and shining...perfect for that photo session for children of all ages. There also is a car parked out in front that looks suspiciously like Doc, yes from "Cars," at least from the front. There are also several table and chair sets for the diner who wishes to just soak up the environment outside or who wish to simply relax, shoot the breeze and enjoy the sun setting in the west. You will feel as if you have just stepped into the movie and the smile on your lips makes it all worthwhile.
Come On In
When you step through the doors you will be greeted by the happiest and chattiest hostess you will ever meet! Melba Rigg is one of the 4 women who own and operate this interesting and informative stop along the 13 mile stretch of Route 66 that skims the southeastern corner of Kansas. Melba and her sisters, Renee Charles, Judy Courtney and Betty Courtney bought and renovated the old Kan-O-Tex gas station. Inside you will find an array of snacks, sodas and sandwiches which will delight your mouth and your wallet!
The place was originally named "4 Women on the Route" to reflect the shared ownership. The name was changed to connect it with the movie and the significance of the inspiration. Cars on the Route is a true reflection of what the place is all about! Inside and out, you will find something for or about the movie!
Take A Look Around
The inside of the station feels like you are stepping back in time. Look through the momentos of days gone by and of the renovation of the station. There are albums of memories just waiting for the perusal of all. Inside the bathroom is a wall of maps...see if you can find where you are! There is also a gift shop of Route 66 and "Cars" souvenirs for children of all ages. You will also find some hand crafted items made by locals that are showcased and offered for sale. Whether you are a collector, a souvenir hunter or simply wanting to get your hands on a Cars...this is the place for you!
Find It On The Map
In The Snack Shack
You will find several delicious offerings in the Snack Shack served up fresh . You can wash it down with a bottle, yes...a bottle, of soda. The kind you get out of the big ice box chest and pop off the cap! Remember those? It is so cool to do, you may have to fight off the younger ones to get to do your own cap! Of course there are the basic essentials like ice cream and desserts available for those with a sweet tooth. It is all reasonably priced and served with a smile!
The atmosphere here is reminiscent of the good ole' days with vintage decor surrounding you. You are transported there with every bite! My favorite is the BLT sandwich, piled high on a bun, topped with an avocado. Give it a try! Or maybe the cheeseburger, or the hot dog....or.....well you get the idea....they are all good! There is definitely something here for everyone to enjoy!
Heading On Out
As you head on out, tummy full, and brain even fuller, make sure to travel on down the road to see all the other sites along this section of Route 66. Kansas only holds about 13 miles, but they are packed with sites that reflect the Mother Road's glory years. Riverton's Eisler Brothers' Shop is filled with all types of Route 66 memorabilia. Further on down the road, Baxter Springs' Rainbow Bridge is a wonderful photo spot!
These are just a couple of the must see stops along the way! Reminiscent of days gone by, but alive for all to experience today. Keep an eye out, Lightning McQueen and Sarge have both been spotted stopping by to visit and it isn't unusual to see a Pixar or Dreamworks car driving down the highway! You never know who you might see! Hopefully, we will see you!!
Photo and Text Copyright 2011 Deborah M. Carey Updated 2013