Route 66. From Springfield to St. Louis
We start another day on Route 66. Today we begin at Springfield to St. Louis… There’s little to finish the Route 66!. We’ve traveled at least 1,600 miles (probably more) and we still have 512 miles ahead to get to Chicago (counting with today). Day after tomorrow we will be entering Chicago. We are in the state of Missouri and we have to go further north to reach the state of Illinois.
Springfield – Marshfield
We begin our route in Springfield, where we’ve spent the night today. If you couldn’t see Springfield yesterday then you can do it in the morning, after a good breakfast, of course. If you want to go down Route 66 from Springfield you must go to E Kearny Street heading east, this street continues on Route 66 which runs parallel to I-44. We are going toward a village called Strafford, once you cross Strafford, Route 66 merges with I-44 so there is no choice but to continue on I-44 from Strafford until a little before Marshfield where Route 66 splits again from the I-44.
Our first stop today is Marshfield. It doesn’t have something special connected with Route 66 in itself, but has a farm that is worth going, called Walnut Springs. Although you have to detour a little bit, is in a road called Old Wire Rd, in 1880 and is located in the trail of Tears, you can also visit the inside which is restored.
This is the way you should follow to arrive there. It is a detour of about 7 miles which isn’t too much. In Marshfield there’s also a replica of the Hubble telescope. It’s in Webster County Courthouse 140 S. Clay St. It’s not something amazing, but for the curiosity, worth a stop.
Route 66. Marshfield – Lebanon
Once you return from Walnut Springs you can take from Marshfield again Route 66 (from Washington St at the right side and is called Hubble Drive W). Continue driving along it quite separated from the I-44 in fact, until you get to Conway. In Conway Route 66 ends and you’re forced to merge onto I-44 again … until Phillisburg. In Phillisburg you get off the I-44 and pass under it. The Route 66 exists as a service road of two directions by the left of the I-44 as you go to St. Louis, and you can continue up to Lebanon.
Lebanon is already a larger town and has some places to visit. The Munger Moss Motel, a classic on the road with a good collection of toy trucks. The Munger Moss was a sandwich shop and opened first in the Devil’s Elbow around 1940 (we will see later) and was moved to Lebanon in 1946 with the modification of the highway. Taking advantage of the move it was turned into a Motel and was acquired in 1971 by Bob and Ramona Lehman, known for their passion about Route 66.
Also check the Wrink’s Food Market. It opened around 1955 and operated for 50 years until his owner died in 2005. It was left, abandoned and half destroyed until his son reopened it in 2007. It became somewhat famous when Paul Harvey recommended his bologna sandwich of 99 cents. It is curious, but for 5 minutes and keep going.
Lebanon – Waynesville
We keep driving!. We leave Lebanon and point to a section with many things to see. You can continue on Route 66 in E Seminole Avenue taking it straight (right where the Munger Moss is) and Route 66 runs parallel to I-44 on your left side as you drive. Careful!! when you find an intersection that has some signs that say “Sleeper United Methodist Church” tours to your right to go over I-44 and continue on Route !!, It’s not indicated and if you don’t you’ll be going the wrong way
We arrive to Hazelgreen. And what’s in Hazelgreen?. Well a typical Route 66 bridge that allows passing over the Gasconade River. The peculiarity of this bridge is that it is equal to the Devil’s Elbow Bridge. From here, Route 66 is separated significantly from the I-44 and is fully immersed in the forests of Fort Leonard Wood, who was the first training camp of the American army. It is 100% operational, and is visitable, especially military museums. I personally didn’t get to much interest, so I didn’t go, but I leave it here in case you’re interested.
And we’ve got to Waynesville approaching the Devil’s Elbow. As you get out of Waynesville to your left and up in a landfill is The Frog Rock, a stone that apparently looks like a frog, often painted so that the resemblance is greater. Just after The Frog Rock, you drive under I-44, but Route 66 continues as if it were a service road sometimes closer and sometimes further. And you will see that something happens, and the Route 66 has two lanes for a few kilometers! This is part of it’s original design!. Meanwhile you may have noticed that the landscape is much greener!!!
You are about to cross the Big Piney River Bridge and Devil’s Elbow. It is called Devil’s Elbow because it is a tight bend where the ships carrying the river logs jammed. You can get closer if as you cross the bridge take a small road that goes to the right and runs close to the river. A good place to relax for a few minutes. As you continue on Route 66 you are going to go through what they call the “Hooker Cut”. Basically it’s a point where they had to dig the surrounding mountain so the Route 66 could pass through. Nowadays is something we are used to see, but for those time it was an exceptional work.
Waynesville – St. Louis
A little further Route 66 and I-44 merge again. You can use the service roads if you don’t like the highway, I did it !. You’ll pass Arlington. At the east is the Trail of Tears. A little further, you can go see “The Johns Modern Cabins”, if still standing. There are some cabins in the woods that despite the name, there aren’t modern at all and half destroyed, or at least were. I don’t know if they have been restored since 2010. Back to I-44 we follow up to Rolla.
In Rolla you have inside the university a replica of Stonehenge but half the size of the original. At least curious. Also in Rolla it is one of the roads that takes you to Mark Twain National Forest, if you want to visit. We leave Rolla and drive to St. James. St. James was one of the destinations of the Italians who emigrated to America. They began planting vineyards in that area and today it produces wines of recognized name. At the roadside you can find a kind of shops where you can taste it if you want, but beware !, you know, if you drink …..
After Rolla are Cuba and Sullivan. Before arriving Cuba you can take exit 203 from I-44 to retake Route 66. Cuba is full of churches and also there is the Wagon Whell Motel. It is quite well preserved and offers visitors the posibility of experiment how was the old hosting service. Of course it has a typical neon sign of Route 66.
Route 66 continues parallel to I-44 to Sullivan which has nothing special except that it is the hometown of George Hearst, Senator and newspaper magnate. He is Patty Hearst’s grandfather which kidnapping took the international press breathless in the 70’s. Patty Hearst suffered an extreme case of Stockholm Syndrome. She even to robbed a bank with her captors. Finally she was captured and sentenced.
Just after Sullivan is Stanton where you can find Meramec Caves open since 1930 and highly recommended. Also there is the Jesse James Wax Museum and the Ozark Court which is an old motel that had a characteristic neon sign, a deer. The sign is no longer there and the motel …. maybe not.
From here, Route 66 and I-44 are the same except for some short stretchs, very short. Once you get to Gray Summit you can stop to see the botanical garden, Shaw Arboretum. And …. we arrived to St Louis !!.
In St. Louis you cannot miss and the Chain of Rock Bridge. It was built in 1929 and was originally a toll bridge. Then it supported traffic of Route 66 over Mississippi River!!. This allowed to avoid crossing the entire city by migrants who did the Route 66 and therefore reduce traffic congestion. This worked from 1937-1967, at that time it was closed to traffic and its destiny was uncertain, until 1990. In 1990 it was saved from demolition and turned into a pedestrian path. It is characteristic because in the middle of the bridge has an angle of 22° which allowed it to be resistant to the river current and makes easier the transit of vessels.
And for today is enough. Don’t you think?. Use your remaining time to know St. Louis and walk around St Louis. And if you find something interesting not hesitate to tell us, we’ll include it immediately!
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”. – Mark Twain
This post is part of Serie of Post about Route 66 Itinerary.
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