The morning of the second day of the road trip started with us visiting a cemetery before 9am.We visited Lincoln’s Tomb and found out that he’s buried a few feet behind and 8 feet under the “show” tomb, we posed with his gold nose, and we avoided the hoards of children on a field trip.
We then stopped at the Cozy Dog Drive-In. I was simply going to photograph the outside, because 10am is too early for a hot dog, but a woman came out and told us to come inside and check out all the memorabilia and meet everyone. She turned out to be a regular customer and a part of a ham radio club who meets at the Cozy Dog Drive-In for coffee.On the way out of town, we stopped to meet yet another muffler man, the Lauterbach Giant. I read that he lost his head in a tornado, but the tire shop fixed him up again.Our next stop was Becky’s Barn, an antique store, where we met the owners, Becky and her husband Rick. Wow, were they characters! After chatting with them for awhile, Rick asked me if I take photos of people. I said I did. He then invited me to take a photo of him on the toilet in his “office.” So I did. We chatted with them for awhile, I bought some vintage children’s books, they almost got into a fight outside, Rick took our photo with Becky, then Rick suggested that he and I drive off into the sunset together.Becky’s Barn is located along the 1.4 mile section of the original 1931 Route 66 brick road. It’s pretty cool.We then passed an amazing barn with an American flag painted on the side of it. I had the Mister turn around for a photo and he kind of pulled off to the side of the road, but because there isn’t really a shoulder, so we mostly just turned on our flashers. Before I could hop out for a photo, a minivan rolled up behind us and didn’t really pass us very quickly, but then did. So I jumped out, got my photo and then saw the minivan turn around and come back. Now, remember, I was just yelled at the day before by the drunk guy who wanted to know what I was “takin’ pitchers fer,” so I was worried that the minivan was going to yell at us, too! However, the driver of the minivan pulled up and explained that she was the owner of the barn and asked if we wanted more information. Her husband painted the barn after 9/11 and she complains that groups of bikers pull over and take photos on their bikes with the barn as a background, but then, they go behind the barn and piss in the field. Gross. Come on bikers. Stop it.Becky told us to be sure to stop at the Turkey Tracks. They are literally turkey tracks in the original 1927 laid-concrete for Route 66. It was one of the best roadside attractions we stopped at on the trip. Maybe because it was so simple, and didn’t require money.We stopped for lunch at the Ariston Cafe. I do not recommend it. It was so-so. I think it stays in business because of people like me who read about it in a book and stop there because it is such a Route 66 place to stop. Maybe the pie is good, but the lunch was not memorable in a good way.
And then we got to Henry’s Rabbit Ranch. And no, it’s not a whorehouse. It is a rabbit ranch. Because I’m allergic to rabbits, I only briefly went inside and met Henry. I also checked out some of his outside rabbits in pens, but thankfully out in the open air where my throat doesn’t close up. I loved Henry’s Rabbit Ranch with his VW Rabbits a la Cadillac Ranch, his tiny gravestones, and his Humping to Please trucks. One thing is for certain, Henry really loves his rabbits.
Next up was Pink Elephant Antiques. We didn’t find anything inside, but the outside was awesome, and the flavor of the week kind of saved my life.As I was photographing the Bel-Air drive-in sign, a man pulled over and told me that if I like neon, we should stop at Luna Cafe down the street.So we did. And wow, it was full of characters. We had a drink at the bar and chatted with the bartender and a couple of regulars about Route 66. Then there was a shift change and a new, younger bartender came in, let’s name her … Tiffany. But the old bartender was still behind the bar. A customer came up and was telling Tiffany was he wanted (I think it was like 2 Buds and a Screwdriver), and the old bartender asked if he wanted her to make it or wait for Tiffany. He told her, well, I’m going to tip Tiffany. I just thought that was so weird. And the place was charmingly … run-down.
We crossed the Mississippi and drove into St. Louis. We were trying to follow Route 66 turn-by-turn, but it turned us into a really terrible neighborhood, so we jumped on a freeway and made our way to our hotel for the night. We stayed at the Union Station-turned hotel, and I do NOT recommend it. The hallways and room smelled like shit. Like, it smelled like sewage. So don’t stay there. Actually, don’t stay anywhere in St. Louis, just keep going!