BAXTER SPRINGS — I was cruisin’ the “Route” through Baxter Springs, Kansas last Thursday when I saw a vintage car towing a tiny camping trailer parked in front of SACS 66. I stopped to ask questions and was told by a by-passer that the car was a “deuce coupe”.
Let me be honest with you right now, I didn’t have the slightest idea what a deuce coupe was. Sure, it’s a car, but what kind?
A little surfing on the Internet gave me the answer. A deuce coupe is a 1932 Ford coupe; it’s called a ”deuce” because of the “two” in 32.
Nowadays, most people don’t know what they look like, but if you saw the movie American Graffiti, you saw a beauty. You know, the yellow hot rod that the cowboy drove? That was a deuce coupe. Everyone wanted one because deuce coupes had great lines, and you could make street rods out of them that looked “cool”.
You may also be familiar with the Beach Boys’ song, Little Deuce Coupe which became a big hit, reaching number 4 in the US, and eventually going platinum.
Okay, back to my story. I was able to run the owners of the deuce coupe and trailer down. They were in Angels on the Route buying some food. After a few minutes of conversation with the owners, I was totally charmed by the couple and asked if I could take some pictures and interview them. They graciously consented.
Sue and Rick Martin had left Flagstaff, Arizona on Labor Day and were traveling Route 66 for their honeymoon. When asked how they met, Pat explained that she was a widow in a small town and Rick, living in Flagstaff, had recently lost his wife to bone cancer. They both were lonely and met on Match.com. Feeling their children might not approve, they said they met at church.
Rick had always loved classic cars. He had driven a 1960 Corvette for 25 years but sold it to help pay his wife’s medical bills. When he acquired the “Deuce”, modified with an 8 cylinder Chevy engine, he thought it would be fun to travel Route 66. When he heard of a hand made travel trailer in Tucson, he bought it. After crawling in to test the sleeping quarters, Rick found it was about a foot too short for him to sleep in. While he was extending the trailer by a foot, Rick also added solar panels to charge his phone and run his television along with other electrical appliances. The trailer opens up to a fully equipped kitchen.
Sue has a foundation that works with juveniles who have trouble getting their life going in the right direction and Rick manufactures “Route 66” and “Diner” memorabilia.
After visiting about the joys of living in a small community, Pat and Rick were directed to the museum and the SEK Ministerial Alliance Thrift Store.
The Deuce Coupe had a little bellyache, or fever, or something when it got to the thrift store and Berniece Moss, manager, directed them to Star Lube where Bud Martin loaned them his truck and suggested places that they could eat. After a great meal at Weston’s, Sue and Rick returned to find the “little deuce coupe” as good as new with no charges being accessed by Bud Martin.
During my interview with Rick and Sue, I ask what their favorite stop on the “Route” had been so far. They said they could not name one, but what stood out in their memory was the many friendly people they had met up and down the Route.
I have a feeling that when they get home, the town of Baxter Springs will stand out as one of their favorites.