Route 66. From St Louis to Bloomington.
You are one step away from completing Route 66. It is today, and tomorrow. Tomorrow afternoon you will be entering the city of Chicago and you will have traveled through a very important migration route of the United States of the early twentieth century!. We start in St Louis, Missouri. You have visited the Chain of Rocks Bridge, and the city of St Louis and you are about to perform another stretch of Route 66. You have to know that you are crossing the Mississippi River. Not too not long ago was called the Mississippi-Missouri river and was considered the longest river in the world as it flows from Montana to New Orleans.
In addition, you are crossing the eighth state of your route, you are stepping into Illinois, the last state you’re going to see in this beautiful travel. We say it easily, and when you’re doing it seems quite normal, but when you look a little backwards and you take a look at what you have driven on a map or in Google Maps you realize the route you have done.
Perhaps you wonder why I didn’t set this section straight to Chicago, as you are at 297 miles. The truth is I have two reasons for doing so. The first is that every day we are walking an average of about 200 miles and there is no reason to change that, the second and most important is you are not in a hurry and is better to arrive to Chicago tomorrow with plenty of time to enjoy it. And at the same time you can drive this stage today without any hurry and without missing a thing.
So we start in St Louis, if you didn’t have time last night to know it, you can do it this morning. If you did it yesterday then you start directly going to Bloomington. Today’s section is relatively short, 162 miles. It will take few time so you can enjoy stops and take it easy, no rush at all.
To exit St Louis you must cross the river, you can do it through the “New Chains of Rock Bridge” or the “McKingley Bridge” since both have taken part in any of the historical paths of Route 66. Whether you cross by McKingley Bridge or the New Chains of Rock Bridge you will be following Route 66. The first is to the south, and it is the one I recommend you follow as you can pass by Brooklyn, Venice and Granite City and St Louis. You should follow the 203th until you cross the 270th in Mitchell. If you do it through the Chains of Rock Bridge then you drive into the 270, but you’ll miss these villages through the Route 66 passed until the 50’s. In addition, between Granite City and Mitchell, along the highway there is a mustangs cemetery which is curious.
When you cross the 159th Hwy you take it north to Edwardsville, where the Moon Cafe is. Furthermore, in Edwardsville is the Mustang Corral which is a repair center for Mustangs. They have an exhibition where both the old and the new ones are, if you want any. If you go, you will see that they also have all the spare parts of all versions of Mustang. In Edwardsville you take the 157 Hwy toward Hamel. At Hamel you have two alternatives, or take Interstate 55 or take the old Route 4, both were part of Route 66 in different times and layouts but the older is the Route 4. If you take Route 4 you will go through Staunton where it is the Henry Rabbit Station,which is an old gas station that also acts as outdoor museum of Route 66.
Route 66 from Staunton to Mount Olive runs parallel to Interstate 55. In Mount Olive there’s a former Soulsby Shell Gas Station, although’ve already seen a lot of these. Continue along the old Route 66 that runs parallel to I-55 to Litchfield where you’ll find the motorcycle shop called Niehaus. When we were there the exhibition was brutal, mostly Goldwings.
From Litchfield Route 66 and I-55 merge, so there’s no alternative, you have to go within the I-55. Continue to Waggoner where there’s a statue of the Virgin Mary which is a replica of the Virgin of Lourdes called “Our Lady of the Highways”,.
We are getting closer to Springfield. In Springfield is the Cozy Dog Drive Inn that has been running since the 2nd World War. They invented the Cozy Dog which is a kind of hot dog but rather to put the wiener into a bread is coated in batter and has a stick, to eat, it became very famous on Route 66.
Springfield was founded in 1819 and is known especially because Abraham Lincoln lived in this city and has his tomb in this city at the Oak Ridge Cemetery. You can also visit the city with no rush and see the house where Lincoln lived. Nowadays has been converted into a museum. Also some ancient government buildings are in Springfield.
You should know that Illinois is Amish territory. The Amish are descendants of Dutch immigrants. They refuse to use the technology, which involves not using car, no electricity or machinery of any kind. They live as if they were in the eighteenth century. Don’t be surprised to see them at all. The largest Amish community in Illinois is in Arcola, you can detour if you want and go there, but beware, they don’t like to being taken in pictures (logically).
Keep going north, and there’s little to get to Bloomington, but before you must go through Lincoln where it’s The Mill Restaurant, formerly called Blue Mill and was established in 1920. Its design is like a German mill. In 2007 a conservation initiative saved it from demolition and is now a museum.
Before Bloomington is McLean where Dixie Truckers Home is. For many years here was, in a small parlor, the “Route 66 Hall of Fame”, with pictures, souvenirs and memories of Route 66. But it was moved to Pontiac, Illinois, due to a fire in 2004. The Dixie Truckers Home is the oldest still operating truck stop on Route 66.
And we’ve got to Bloomington where there are the headquarters of Beer Nuts. It is a snacks factory well known in USA, you can visit it and also there’s a souvenir shop.
As you can see the stage of today is simpler and shorter than others.
Get ready for tomorrow as you get to Chicago, your endpoint of Route 66. It is important for you to take good advantage of tomorrow and day after tomorrow to see as much as possible. So I recommend you go to bed early and wake up pretty early too, well, as usual in the last few days.
As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!! You think I should add something? Any comment? Please tell me !. Did you like the post? Please let us know! Your opinion is important to us !
“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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