Sunday, 11 August 2013

Another attempt to keep going down 66

Having gotten distracted last time by side trips to Indianapolis. Hannibal and elsewhere, we are back in St Louis to continue the drive down to LA.

St Louis is famous for its Arch which we had to visit. It is a most photogenic thing and an amazing piece of sculpture.

Arch from across River

I first saw it from a Greyhound but a few years after it was built (it opened in 1965) as I crossed the same bridge we drove over today.

Arch from Riverfront

It dominates an area with the catchy name of “The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial”. Jefferson negotiated the Louisiana Purchase (about which we knew nothing until this trip) and because of this he gained a place on Mount Rushmore.

Arch Arch-1

Its shape is symbolic of the opening up of the west to settlers. It demands to have its photograph taken from every conceivable angle,


and so we complied.

State Capitol

The State Capitol is somewhat dwarfed by the skyscrapers around it

State Capitol-2 

but some of them have been carefully positioned to create

State Capitol-1

rather lovely reflection photographs in their glass walls.

Then (at last) we head off for Tulsa following the route of 66 and driving on a few sections of it. The original 66 now only exists in parts because sections were dug up or designated when the I44 was opened. As a consequence, many towns which relied on the trade from traffic going

Route 66 era

through the town went into decline because they were

Route 66 era-1

effectively bypassed. Many have made attempts to find a reason for tourists to leave the interstate and one of these is Clinton which has opened a reasonably nice Route 66 museum.

Route 66 Clinton

Route 66 Museum-6

The old 66 passes outside of the museum

Route 66 Diner

which has in its grounds, one of the original 66 roadside cafes

Route 66 Map

Inside are a variety of exhibits

Route 66 museum

which record the history of Route 66 over the decades

Route 66 museum-1

since its creation

Route 66 Museum-2

plus replica cafes

Route 66 Museum-3

a rather nice VW microbus (which really is from a period a bit later than 66)

Route 66 Museum-4 Route 66 Museum-5 

and a couple of examples of Neon displays from the period. We are hoping to see more neon later on in New Mexico.

Route 66 Car

It also has a number of classic cars from the era on display including this really nice one in the front window.

NPS Map of 66

There are numerous versions of Route 66 – it all depends on which year you choose and what data you believe. I shall not attempt to argue with the experts about whether we are following 66 or not and Wikipedia has a better and more concise account of Route 66 than many and the National Parks Service has what I would regard as an official account of the Road here.

Having briefly met 66 in Chicago and Springfield, we are now driving down parts of it and parts of roads adjacent to it – the main

Route 66 south of St Louis

thing is that if you were to list the towns in the anthem “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” , we are going through them all (or nearly all of them perhaps). But we are having to take into account that a number of sections of 66 in our current area of Missouri and Oklahoma have been closed because of serious flooding and so diversions are in force.

Quite why so many people get excited about stretches of two lane concrete (such as this section near Eureka in Mississippi) is a bit of a mystery but we are following the road as best we can.

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