Illinois and Missouri
01.05.2007 - 04.05.2007 23 °C
Ok, another attempt to catch up! After leaving Chicago we drove South East, Sarah buried in maps, tracing Route 66. It doesn't exist anymore, at least not a signposted route, but the roads themselves are still there, and most of them are driveable! It was never a long unbroken road, either, but loads of existing tracks and Main streets joined together. So it jinks about, heading basically South or West, so can be a bit tricky to navigate. Plus, the Interstate that replaced it cut into some of the old roadways, so dead ends are quite common!
Anyway, enough with the history! The first day of driving took us through Romeoville and Joliet (named for Shakespeare characters, altered later in their history) and a couple of restored gas stations in little towns.
We stopped for the night at a place called Chenoa in Illinois. Back on the road on Wednesday morning we passed through Springfield, IL, where we ate at the Cozy Dog Drive-In (a Rte 66 favourite where the corndog was invented). We also went to Lincoln's tomb and monument in the town where he lived. We carried on south, on a variety of roads (some narrow two lanes, some wide dual carriages). Some stretches also popular with tortoises with a death wish! We've seen many a squished tortoise en-route!
That evening we crossed the Mississippi, leaving Illinois and entering St. Louis, Missouri.
The next morning we spent exploring the city, and went up the St.Louis arch, which gives great views over the river and the city's downtown. Was an interesting experience going up the arch; squashed into a little pod which looks like a washing machine with 3 Germans (that's not regulation, that's just who we ended up with!). Luckily it doesn't take long to reach the top!
That afternoon we went to the Budweiser brewery and did the free tour there, where you get free beer at the end! Was very interesting. We followed that up with a visit to the famous (well, in St.Louis) Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, which is basically like icecream. Full and contented we carried on with the drive, reaching the little town of St. James and Finns Motel. Not the ritz by any means, but better than future accomodations. But we'll come to that later... !
We started Thursday morning with a brilliant breakfast in a classic diner, then carried on on our merry way. More retro hotel/motel signs, restored gas stations, and great landscapes.
We stopped in the town of Webb City for the night, and as all the motels suggested in our route 66 books seemed to have been demolished and replaced with shops, we opted for a 'local' motel, which last saw the decorators, and the cleaner, in the 1950's. All part of the Route 66 experience! That evening we had the treat of going to a drive-in theatre, which was amazing. It had a brilliant atmosphere as it was full of local families and it was a lovely warm evening. We had hotdogs and popcorn, and it felt like a great USA experience!
Love to all, back on again soon!
Dave and Sarah XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX