Day 4 – Illinois into Missouri – End in Rolla MO

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The Driveby Tourist took a drive-by picture of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and then stopped at an institution on R66. Ted Drews Custard.

Had to have “breakfast” here! A Route 66 tradition since…. forever!

..and on the road again…

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Here is an interesting water tower! (It’s the name of the town.)

Visited the National Transportation Museum in St. Louis MO. This was on display at the front door. Don’t remember what “brand” it is, but I know I should!

Interesting story. This is a hand made car that was designed by a clothing designer from Detroit. It was designed in the early 1950’s and wasn’t completed until 1960. The guy at the museum told me it was built for about $150,000. That would be about $1.75 million in today’s dollars according to the volunteer there. He had actually driven the car. Since it was early 1950’s technology, it really doesn’t drive very well, he said. It’s only got about 600 miles on it.

Some time after it was built, he sold the car to Bobby Darin. He thought that he and Sandra Dee driving the car would give it more publicity. 

Who remembers the Burma-Shave signs? There would be a series of 5 signs along highways with one line of rhyme on each sign and the 5th would say “Burma Shave”. For those of you who go way back, I believe there was a set of these on US 59 between Pelican Rapids and Fergus Falls?

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…and this is an actual rhyme from a set of 5 signs.

These and many other signs and pictures from Route 66 were in a small museum that was part of a Missouri Route 66 State Park. The visitor center contained the museum. The park was just a day park for picnicking, biking, hiking, and other activities down by a river. “Back in the day” people from St. Louis had built cabins and then houses there. Most were on stilts as the river flooded regularly. They hired a man to come out and put oil on the road to keep down the dust. The guy also had a contract with a company to dispose of hazardous waste oil. Being a bit unscrupulous, he used that oil on the roads. Suddenly dogs and cats and kids started getting sick. The government came in to inspect and the owners of the houses refused to believe it. The problem was “solved” when the river had a record flood and tore everything away. Interesting how contamination like this happens and develops into a legal battle.

This is part of the Wagon Wheel Motel, one of those along 66. Many of them are in ruins or torn down. This is one of the few still in operation. And expect to be busy all summer.

(Hmm. this picture didn’t retain it’s aspect ratio.)

The next two pictures are from Bob’s Gasoline Alley. He has thousands of collectibles outside like these signs and inside like the obligatory Elvis. The Driveby Tourist took a lot of pictures but is only “driving by” on this blog. Will save the rest for editing and creating a picture book of the trip.

I’m not sure how he pays for all this. He wasn’t selling tickets and didn’t have a donation box. He has “tons” of stuff that isn’t even out for display. He and (his wife, I assumed) were setting up tables in the museum for an event to be held on Saturday. He remarked about the number of people who were coming in early this year. Maybe by May he’ll be selling tickets. Great guy to talk with. Had a lot of stories about collections and about comments from people visiting his museum.

And…. the Giant of the day. This is the World’s 2nd Largest Rocking Chair. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized this chair as the largest in the world in 2008. It measured in at 42 feet, 1 inch.  In 2015, the town of Casey Illinois took the title by building a rocking chair that was 56 feet, 1 inch.

Route 66 is amazing. The number of people who own and have owned businesses along the highway who found ways to survive when the Interstate system was built is staggering. Much of the work is done for the love of the “Mother Road” along with their own love of maintaining something. Many of course are businesses who need to make a living, but there are also those like Bob who has done his work for the love of the “blood” of the automobiles and everything else that happens along the way.

Day 4 ends in Rolla MO. Have a few places to see here before being “on the road again”.

Still thinking about a theme for the trip. Thought of (and others suggested “Got my kicks on Route 66”) but that seems too obvious. Still thinking of “I did it my Way”. Thought of it when I posted the picture of the Elvis figure!

Thanks for traveling with me!


This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. tom

    Stan is Hip to Route 66 ??

  2. tom

    Great travelogue just keep on keeping on. Can’t wait for the book of photos/text Be happy to buy it

  3. Beverly Blinde

    I got a kick out of the Bourbon water tower – wa=onder what liquid it holds???

    And are there blog posts for days 2 and 3?

    1. admin

      Just getting to replying. I’m at the “official” half way point.

  4. Karen Bartels

    “I did it my way” made me think of Sinatra, not Elvis.

  5. Linda H

    Great photos and writing!! I feel like I’m on the road with you!!!

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