Entries in St Louis MO (3)


Day 06 - Bloomington, IL - St. Louis, MO

Well, we thought we were going to stop in Springfield and although we did "stop" there we didn't spend the night. Instead we decided to push thru and make it all the way to St. Louis. More on that later.

We drove a lot of road that looked just like this today and never once saw a toll plaza.

Second of the "Illinois Giants" in Atlanta, IL.

Believe it or not, we ran into Julie and David at 3 different stops today. First was at the Sirup stop in Funks Grove, second was at this old collection of Gas Station stuff and later in the day we saw them at Cozy Drive In hot dog stand. I doubt we'll see them again but would love the opportunity. BTW... they were from Quebec.

Embracing the name... after 47 years.

Lincoln's tomb in Springfield.

Stopped by Lincoln's Tomb and spent some time there. The tomb was designed and built within 7 years of his death.

This neon Route 66 sign is in the window of Cozy Drive In. Its been there since 1950 and has been run by one family the whole time. It has a great collection of Route 66 memorabilia. The owner also is credited with inventing a device to dip corn dogs into the oil to cook better. On the wall was a history of the various devices he had created over the years.

The third of the "Illinois Giants" in Springfield. We had to back track a little bit, not much, to get this one at the tire center in Springfield. Chris was navigating and not as good at noticing all the fun attractions in the guide books... (take note Jay Norton, we'll be discussing this in Texas!)

There is about 1.5 miles of Old Route 66 between Chatham and Auburn made entirely out of brick. Yet another 'backtrack attraction', missed another one and had to make another u-turn.

This is an old bridge over the Mississippi that was closed years ago but bought by a tour company and now is used only by pedestrians and bicycles. The "Chain of Rocks" bridge is over a mile long and is the longest 'pedestrian' bridge in the US. Believe it or not, we missed the exit for this too!!! Today our "u-turn meter" was pretty much pegged.



Day 07 - St. Louis is by a river.

The St Louis Arch is something of a photographic peculiarity. You are inextricably drawn to it and want to walk toward it and see it up close but it is so big if you ARE to close you can't shoot the whole thing. I normally shoot with a 16-35mm f2.8 lens on the 7D and Beth's lens of choice is the 24-70mm f2.8 on the 5DMK2. Since the 5D has a full frame sensor the 16mm is usually too wide for Beth's taste. As we got closer I could tell she wanted to change lenses so I gave her the wide lens. I'm glad I did, her pictures are great.

The arch is about 630 feet tall, I've heard 640 and 634. I couldn't help but think that if you stretched it out and stood it upright it would be a REALLY tall building.

View of old city hall (in the middle with the dome) from the top of the arch.

I think I took about half a dozen photos of people standing in front of this sign at the top, even directing some people to readjust their framing to include the sign in the shot... I hate the idea of people having crappy vacation photos.

Thats the 24-70 on the Canon 7D.

As for scale... the brown is the Mississippi River, the little red square down there on the barge... thats a helipad for a helicopter tour that flies around the arch. Yea, thats a long ways down there.

After the arch we headed to "Blueberry Hill". What a great burger/music/bar hang out. The owner was there, hanging out and 'running the joint' from his apparent favorite seat at the bar. I happened to notice that the workers were young, hip, trendy kids that frankly, all seemed to really dig their jobs. Hanging on one of the walls in one of the theme rooms was a staff photo from 2009 and what a HUGE staff this place had, had to be at least 70 people in this photo. Also, how many restaurants have staff photos taken together? Anyway, they had one many awards for "Best Burger", "Best Fries", "Best Onion Rings" etc... The secret... simple.. a burger made from a hand made patty... try it sometimes... it helps!

Wanting to be prepared for Jon's birthday tomorrow I realized the only suitable place to shoot a "happy birthday" message was at the arch... which was about 8 miles back at the river... as much as I hate backtracking, we just had to do it... so we returned to the arch to shoot Jon's video which you can see at the beginning of Day 9.

Another Route 66 institution. Frozen custard at Ted Drewes. As we were walking up to get inline I overheard one little girl say to her parents as they were walking away with their order, "I want to meet Ted Drewes someday"

This photo caused a couple who was sitting near by to ask the obvious question... "why you takin' a photo of that custard on the hood of your car?" Cuz we can!



Day 08 - Happy Birthday Jon.

 Happy Birthday Jon. (we actually shot this yesterday)

Saturday morning began with a phone call to Scott, our friend in Oklahoma. Ever since we started talking about this trip Scott has been excited about showing us the sites in Tulsa. Yesterday we got an email from him with directions to his house. Beth suspected he thought we were arriving 'any day now' and sure enough...

When I emailed Scott telling him we would be there probably next Saturday he called and was shocked that since we were "just a few hours away (400 miles) why was it going to take a week to get there. He was also amazed we hadn't been exposed to any toll roads.

I took the time to explain to him that we've been really sticking to the back roads, the 'historic 66' for almost the entire trip. So if there had been any toll roads we were no where near them. Anyway, it would be a few days and not a few hours before we made it to Tulsa.

What WILL be fun though is that Carter Jake, Scotts son will be in a race on next Saturday, so that should be fun to see. I'm not sure what type or racing it is but Scott explained that this is a type of training ground for budding NASCAR racers.

Last summer when Beth went to Texas for the birth of her first niece, she was introduced to "The Wonders of QT" We'll have to take a photo of the GYNORMOUS drink dispenser wall they have there. Its pretty amazing and I guess it is the 7-11 of the south, except that they are gas stations (fillin' stations for you mom) as well.

We're driving down Route 66 this morning and we are pretty lost... Its hard to follow all the twists and turns and cross here and cross back there that happens on this old forgotten road. Basically we are both getting frustrated trying to follow the maps and guide books. All of a sudden we see these kids on the side of the road waving us into a car wash and we think, "Why not??" Turns out they were trying to raise money to go to Béla Károlyi's olympic training facility in Texas.

A while later, we're driving through an unincorporated part of Missouri and we come across another 'attraction' that i think my brother Jon, who turns 44 years old today would REALLY enjoy.  Some day we'll have to come to Missouri to celebrate his birthday.

Take a close look at that sign... "Worlds Largest Fireworks Stores"... PLURAL... we've seen more than one of these places... ONE was even part of a gas station (sorry... Fillin' Station). They like things that blow up here.

I got to tell you, from an art direction stand point, the artwork on these boxes of fireworks was really fun. Just wild crazy zany art work to appeal to dudes... and nothing could have more than 500 grams (or was it milligrams) or powder by law but they play that up on almost every box.

By the way, this is WAY more then the typical "safe and sane" crap they still sell in some places in CA. This is the real deal, you can by a brick of fire crackers for like 25 bucks and this place is not a seasonal thing either... this is YEAR round.  

This is a classic stretch of 66, well, sort of. For much of the drive you are driving on the frontage roads. Here you can see the traffic on the Interstate running parallel to the old highway.

You know that phrase, "highways and byways"? Well today we got to drive on an honest to goodness byway.. . still not sure what it means to be a "byway" but in Missouri, the Historic 66 signs often say "Byway" on them.

This is the BBQ place Missouri Hick, it was good... I think I've had better but no complaints at all... the decor in the place seemed a little forced... they were definitely 'playing to the audience' here.

We have driven by TONS of churches. Definitely in the heart of the bible belt here.