UPDATED SATURDAY NIGHT: More than 75 Route 66 enthusiasts from seven states as far away as Wisconsin and Texas arrived Saturday afternoon in Laclede County during Day 2 of the three-day Route 66 Association of Missouri Motor Tour.
The tour began Friday in Pacific and spent that night at the famed Wagon Wheel Inn in Cuba. Stops earlier Saturday included the Devil's Elbow Bridge, Uranus Fudge Factory and Waynesville before the tour arrived about 2 p.m. at the threatened Route 66 Gasconade River Bridge near Hazelgreen.
"So far, we're winning the battle," "Roamin Rich" Dinkela, president of the state association, told the travelers while they gathered in the middle of the historic bridge, which was closed in December 2014.
The Route 66 Association of Missouri has been negotiating with the Missouri Department of Transportation to assume ownership of the bridge, which would be restored for pedestrian and recreational use. The association has succeeded in delaying MoDOT's planned demolition of the bridge, but the association and MoDOT disagree on insurance issues.
"If it hadn't been for the work of the Route 66 Association of Missouri, you wouldn't be standing on this bridge right now," Dinkela said.
The caravan of mostly classic cars then headed west on Route 66 to Lebanon, where they were met at the city limits by a Lebanon police car, which escorted the group to the Lebanon-Laclede County Library.
Library Director Cathy Dame, who also is secretary of the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society, greeted the visitors outside the entrance before they toured the Route 66 Museum.
A social event Saturday evening at the Munger Moss Motel featured a performance by Elvis tribute artist Brian Lee Dunning of Yukon, Okla.
The motor tour will gather at the Boswell Park Route 66 murals and the restored Camp Joy cabin on Sunday morning. Afterward, the Route 66 Association of Missouri board will meet at the Wallace Center.
Board members of the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society are serving as ambassadors for the motor tour's Lebanon visit.