After a nice homemade breakfast at Nana’s 12 Bakery and restaurant, (named for “Nana” and her 12 grandchildren), we said goodbye to the nice people of Cuba, climbed into Miss America and continued Southwest.
One thing we noticed shortly before we left Missouri, was a huge swatch of brown over the town of Joplin. It stretched out for miles on either side of the airplane. We realized, (and confirmed later) that this was a result of the devastating tornado that tore through Joplin back in 2011. We were shocked at how huge of an area it covered. The photo does not even begin to show the scope of it. There was nothing left in this area. It was as if everything, trees, sod and all was torn right out of the ground.
Our next destination was just across the state line to the town of Miami, Oklahoma. Now how many people can say they have visited Cuba and Miami both in the same day without ever laying eyes on the ocean?
We had originally planned to stop in Miller, MO at a small grass strip airport, as there is a nice little restaurant on the field I had heard about. However, with the hot temperatures and fully loaded airplane, we thought better of trying to get in and out of the short grass runway. Boy, were we glad we changed our plans, as Miami, Oklahoma was a delight!
The Miami airport (KMIO), was also an airbase during the 2nd world war. They utilized it as a training base for British pilots. Lots of history here as well. We had a nice chat with the fellow at the FBO and he pointed us in the direction of town so we could look around and catch a bite to eat. One thing he mentioned we may want to check out was a fully restored 1920’s era theater in the center of town, the Coleman Theater. He wasn’t sure if it was open, but told us to check with the Miami bureau of tourism, which is located right next door to the theater.
When we pulled up to the old building, We knew we had to get inside! I am a sucker for old theaters, and I even used to be a member of the ATOS (American Theater Organ Society), which was dedicated to the restoration and preservation of old Wurlitzer theater pipe organs. These grandiose pipe organs were used to accompany silent flicks back in the early 1900’s before the “talkies” came to be. Sadly after motion picture sound came along, many of these old theaters were torn down and the organs scrapped as a result. It is a joy to see a restored old theater like this.
Sure enough, the theater was closed when we got there. We did as was suggested and went next door to the tourism office. We hit the jackpot! A very accommodating young gal pulled the keys out of a desk drawer and led Randy and I and two other women who happened to be in the right place at the right time next door to the theater. She opened the door to us and we walked in a to a work of art. I think the four of us all muttered “WOW!” at the same time. The Coleman theater has been beautifully and painstakingly restored to her old glory. We were allowed to wander the theater from top to bottom. We walked out on stage, visited the balcony, dressing rooms, sitting rooms, walked backstage, saw the old curtain levers and pulls (still in use) and even visited the “haunted” basement. What an unexpected find!
After our private theater tour, we were directed to an old Route 66 hamburger chain, Waylans Kuku, where we enjoyed a couple of burgers and some fried yellow squash. After we ate, it was already time for us to head back to the airport to depart to our next destination – Oklahoma City. After about a two hour flight, we finally touched down at Wiley Post airport (KPWA), just outside of OK City. We were exhausted. One of the employees at the FBO was kind enough to drive us to our hotel. We were too tired to go out last night, so ordered a very good pizza, kicked back and relaxed for the rest of the evening, anticipating our big day tomorrow.