Miles traveled: 582 miles
Time traveling: 13 hours
Average speed: 45 mph
States traveled: Indiana, Illinois, Missouri
When we started planning our trip, I bought this roadtrip guidebook from Borders.
It’s been a pretty good resource throughout our journey. It has town-by-town descriptions of several popular roadtrip routes throughout the US, including route 66. When I first read through the attractions we would be passing, I noticed one that I knew Marcus would not want to miss.
The Cozy Dog Drive-In in Springfield, IL is the birthplace of the corndog. Being a huge fan of corndogs, it was a big hit with Marcus.
After our lunch, we jumped on the historic route 66 for a ways. At this point, route 66 is basically a two-lane highway running directly parallel to the main interstate, only a few hundred feet to the right. It has been re-routed at every interstate entrance ramp to avoid the traffic, so you have to loop around and make a left turn to stay on it. At one of these we got confused and got back on the highway, but once we figured things out, we got back off to make it to our next destination.
Henry’s Rabbit Ranch was a bit underwhelming. I was expecting fields filled with little fluffy bunnies merrily hopping about, but instead there were a lot of rabbits of the vehicular variety. Like this:
We did find one rabbit though:
There were supposed to be actual rabbits there (it says so in my book), but we suspected that they must’ve been taken to a cooler location. It was probably around 100˚ here. After that, we hopped (haha get it? rabbits??) back on the interstate where there wasn’t much to see in the rest of the state of Illinois. The rest of the state looked pretty much like this:
Marcus kept saying, “It’s so farmy!” I, having had experience with farms, was less impressed. And then the road bends, and out of nowhere, this site springs up.
We had suddenly entered St. Louis, Missouri, and were seeing what I have now learned is called the Gateway to the West. It was really cool to see in person, if only from the car. We passed through some quick but serious rain that cleared up just in time for the sun to set, and it made for some really beautiful skies.
We had known we were aiming for the city of Joplin but weren’t positive we would make it all the way there so we hadn’t booked a place to stay. I tried to use Priceline via our phones to get a reservation but apparently the internet connection wasn’t stable enough to actually book, so I made a call to dad in NJ who graciously offered to negotiate a price for us and gift us the room for the night. We ended up in a way-too-nice hotel that I wish we could’ve stayed longer at. There was two pools, a spa, and they gave us complimentary beer/wine tickets when we checked in that we didn’t use because we were already too tired. We must’ve been really tired, because I mean, who says no to free beer?! But there was something else calling my name:
Pillows, labeled soft and firm. For real? Way too nice, dad. But thanks, we loved it anyway!
This is part 2 of my six-part roadtrip series! To read the next part, click here!