Cars on the Route on Route 66 in Galena, Kansas

During our recent Kansas and Missouri trip, we decided to check out some things that we had not seen before. One interesting place on Route 66 came up in some internet searches, so we decided to swing by and see Cars on the Route. It was worth the trip for us.

Cars on the Route

Cars on the Route in Galena, Kansas

Our drive took us to Cars on the Route in Galena, Kansas. This was originally an old Kan-O-Tex service station, which has now been converted into a diner and gift shop. As is the story of most of the places that we visited on this trip, Cars on the Route was closed when we got there in the early evening. But we still braved the rain sprinkles to walk around and have a look at this cool-looking place.

Tow Truck at Cars on the Route in Galena, Kansas

Cars on the Route even has a famous resident. When the creators of the Disney/Pixar movie “Cars” were checking out locations along Route 66 for inspiration for the movie, they came across an old, rusty crane truck. As the story goes, Joe Ranft fell in love with the truck, which became the inspiration for Tow Mater in the movie.

The truck sat in a field for years before being discovered by the movie folks. It is now parked next to the Cars on the Route building and has been given eyes in its windshield to make it look even closer to the movie character. The previous owners of Cars on the Route held a contest for school children of the area to name the truck, and the name chosen was Tow Tater. It was interesting to see this little piece of movie history.

Cars on the Route in Galena, Kansas

Some other vehicles that had been modified to resemble characters from Cars were also there, including a version of Red the firetruck and a closer version of Tow Mater. I did not get a good photo of Tow Mater (oops), but you can definitely see his distinctive teeth here.

Gas pumps at Cars on the Route in Galena, Kansas

I liked the feel of this old gas station, complete with the old pumps out front, one for regular and one for ethyl. You can easily imagine what it was like in the old days to pull up to the pumps, after which an attendant runs out and you say, “Fill ’er up!”

Kan-O-Tex Gas pump at Cars on the Route in Galena, Kansas

And here is a closer look at one of those old pumps, complete with the Kan-O-Tex logo on top of it. The newfangled electronic pumps these days just do not have the same character that the old pumps had. And I like the red and yellow color scheme of these pumps, too.

We saw a few other Cars and Route 66 items scattered throughout Galena, so we made the most of our time while we were there. Watch for those in the near future!

Small Towns

Big cities are good for some things, but you can’t beat that small-town charm!

We live close to several small towns, so maybe I am biased. We do most of our shopping in those small towns, as well as much of our eating out. Recently, we walked into one of our favorite small-town restaurants. The server then correctly told us what we wanted before we even had to say it, except that he asked for our salad dressing preferences just to be sure. You might be able to find that kind of service in a big city, but it is much easier to find it in a small town.

Yes, small towns do not have quite the variety of things that big cities have. But they make up for it in charm. Give a small town a chance when you can!

“Return to your home, and declare what God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole town what Jesus had done for him. - Luke 8:39

About the Photos

We arrived at Galena just as it was about to get dark. It was also beginning to sprinkle rain. Fortunately, the rain was just a few drops here and there. And fortunately, it was not all the way dark yet. I did not even have to increase the ISO on my camera. I just kept the aperture open all the way to f/1.8 to let in as much light as possible. With a little bit of processing help, you can still see everything in these photos just fine.

And how can you complain about the sky in that first photo? Putting up with a few raindrops was worth it for that.

Photo: Each photo is a single Raw exposure, processed in GIMP and Raw Therapee. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Rokinon 35mm f/1.8
Date: October 10, 2022
Location: Galena, Kansas

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.