As you leave Webb City (westbound), you can take a bypass alignment of Route 66 around the north side of Joplin. Just continue on Broadway to Powell, then MacArthur to MO Rte. 43. Take 43 south to MO Rte. 66 for the drive west into Kansas. A much more satisfying (and surprisingly well marked) route follows a maze of streets through a residential neighborhood. There are directional Route 66 signs to guide you, but you’ll still want a good guidebook.
The zig-zagging drive into Joplin along the historic alignment of Route 66 was such a nice experience, I didn’t even think to stop and take a picture. You can, of course, avoid the maze of left and right turns down residential streets, but why would you want to?
I did stop for a minute in downtown Joplin…
… but I took only a couple of pictures…
…then continued on. I’m not saying there wasn’t anything exciting in downtown Joplin. Probably, my short attention span had more to do with the fact that I had already explored a couple of other downtowns already, and I had only driven about 20 miles (not much, considering I needed to average about 300 miles a day on this trip!)
Note: This trip was first published in 2008.