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Route 66 Road Trip Day 2: Springfield to St. Louis

Follow along on our Route 66 Road Trip turn by turn along the Mother Road from Chicago to Los Angeles! Day 2 from Springfield, Illinois to St. Louis, Missouri included Lincoln’s tomb, the Cozy Dog Drive-In, yet another muffler man, Becky’s Barn, Henry’s Rabbit Ranch, and, of course, lots of vintage neon signs! 

Route 66 Road Trip Day 2: Springfield to St. Louis

The second day of our Route 66 Road Trip started with us visiting a cemetery before 9 am!

We visited Lincoln’s Tomb where we found out that he’s actually buried a few feet behind and 8 feet under the “show” tomb. Then we posed with his gold nose and tried to avoid the hoards upon hoards of children on a field trip.

We only spent about an hour here in order to keep going on our trip, but if you’re a huge Lincoln fan you might want to build in a bit more time for a visit.

We then stopped at the Cozy Dog Drive-In. I was simply going to photograph the outside because in my opinion 10am is way 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 member of a ham radio club who meets up 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. We didn’t.

Update: Becky’s Barn is closed. I don’t know what happened to Becky, but according to their Facebook page, Rick now has a new lady in his life, they’ve sold the barn, and moved to Florida!

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 it 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. Yes, please! 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.

Before we left Becky’s Barn, Becky told us to be sure to stop at the Turkey Tracks. There 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. Unfortunately, I do NOT recommend it. It was just 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.

We passed some neat old gas stations and a large rocking chair, but not the world’s largest rocking chair as that is still to come along Route 66.

And then we got to Henry’s Rabbit Ranch. No, it’s not a whorehouse. It is in fact a rabbit ranch.

Because I’m allergic to rabbits, I only briefly went inside and met Henry. I checked out his outdoor rabbits in pens, but thankfully out in the open air my throat didn’t close up.

I loved Henry’s Rabbit Ranch with his VW Rabbits ode to 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. It was HUGE! Surprisingly, we didn’t find anything we couldn’t live without inside the shop, but the outside was awesome! We grabbed some ice cream which kind of saved my life and explored their outdoor treasures! They also own a Harley Davidson muffler man!

After driving too fast past the Bel-Air drive-in sign, we made a quick U-turn so I could go back and photograph it!

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!

Wow the place was charmingly … run-down and 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 named Tiffany. The old bartender was still behind the bar serving drinks and Tiffany was prepping for her shift. A customer came up and was telling Tiffany what he wanted (I think it was 2 Buds and a Screwdriver) and the old bartender asked if he wanted her to make it or if he wanted to wait for Tiffany. He told her, “Well, I’m going to tip Tiffany.”

We then crossed the Mississippi River and drove into St. Louis. We were trying to follow Route 66 turn-by-turn, but this was the only time we got a little lost and since it was getting dark we jumped on the 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, maybe, don’t stay anywhere in St. Louis, just keep going!

Planning your own Route 66 Road Trip? I used the Route 66: EZ66 Guide for Travelers to plan our trip and I highly, highly, highly (I truly cannot emphasize it enough) recommend the book/maps if you’re planning to drive most of Route 66 turn-by-turn – meaning all of the historic route, no modern-day highways.

Follow along on the rest of our Route 66 Road Trip:

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The mayel

Thursday 10th of July 2014

Loving your photographs!


Thursday 10th of July 2014

Thanks, Mayel!

Kim E

Thursday 10th of July 2014

Love as always! But dang, I'm staying at that Union Station next April for a photo conference (it's where it's being held out). Bursted that bubble, the photos look amazing. Oh well... and totally not a fan of STL!


Thursday 10th of July 2014

Oh, Kim, I am sorry! Hopefully by then they will get their crap cleaned up (literally). But if you venture into the mall that is connected to the hotel, hold your camera equipment and purse tight! The mister and I were followed around by a guy who I can only assume was planning to snatch my bag.

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