We took a US trip back in July 2015 to visit some good friends of ours. Never ones to miss an opportunity of a cheeky Road Trip we travelled some of the mother road that we missed the prior year, a one day special from Chicago to St Louis. This is a take on my adventure that day with Hubby and my stepdaughter, who I’m going to call Eddie after one of the icons from her one of her favourite bands.
Back on Route66 but back to the beginning. We hit the road dressed in appropriate R66 attire and breakfasted within the city limits at Lou Mitchell’s, a R66 institution. This was NOT healthy breakfast day. We smashed through French toast and bacon, waffles and bacon and corned beef hash with no less than four eggs. So glad I did extra time in the gym this morning in readiness! What a great buzz to this place, made all the better by fellow R66 patrons, the excitement for the start of the trip palpable. We bid farewell to Chicago for two weeks and started up the engine.
Our first stop was Wilmington, which was simply a quick stop to say “hi” to our first muffler man. R66 is famous for these ginormous advertising statutes based along points of the route. This one was called ‘Gemini the Giant.’ Sadly the Launching Pad itself, the place Gemini calls home, was abandoned and looking a tad sorry for itself. Its beyond sad to see the decline of this road. As we made our way forward, there were too many stark reminders that many of these businesses just can’t sustain themselves. At times Route 66 was so dilapidated we just couldn’t drive on it.
Next we found ourselves in Pontiac, notable for the R66 bus owned by Bob Waltmire, a R66 die hard, who did most of the sketches you may be familiar with. The town is also known for its amazing murals that established artists have gifted. It was a great stop with an old town feel to it. Plus, we were allowed on the bus even though it was technically shut to visitors, simply through the generosity of the museum volunteers.
On we went were to Atlanta for a slice of pie (the fruit counts as one of my five a day, right?). Atlanta is home to the Palm Cafe and we indulged in peach pie, caramel sundae and blueberry pie. This small town is also home to another muffler man, this one held a giant sausage. Of course it did.
No rest for the wicked, we motored on towards Springfield. Not the Simpson’s town but the marital home of President Lincoln. Unfortunately, we arrived too late for a tour of his house however this paled into insignificance when we found Lincoln had been reincarnated. Imagine our surprise to see Lincoln wandering through Springfield, giving a tour to young kids. One might say it was almost unbelievable. It was soon time to hit the road to St Louis (pronounced like ‘Lewis’), which held our bed for the night. As we entered the City Limits we were a little concerned about where our hotel was situated, having heard a few scare stories. Lucky for us, we were in a lovely little neighbourhood near the Zoo and the Hospital. We had a drive out for some food, realising it wasn’t far to reach a dodgy neighbourhood. A quick u-turn and we got ourselves back to the Hotel and walked to a little crossroad which had a few bars and restaurants. It was a balmy evening and we chose a place where we could sit on the sidewalk. It was a vibrant little community, loads of people around for a mid week evening. We had just settled in with some drinks when all these flash cars started driving around. Turned out it was a ‘thing’ where proud car owners came out to peacock.
It may only have been one day but it was true to America’s most iconic highway. Want to join us? Meet us in St Louis!