Route 66 Caravan

America's Biggest Road Trip!

Route 66 Caravan Road Log:
June, 14~15, 2003


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2003 Route 66 Caravan Schedule

Exploring Route 66 in the Mississippi River Area

Saint Louis

St. Louis was founded on the banks of the Mississippi River in 1762 and became the "Gateway to the West". Lewis and Clark left St. Louis on their epic journey across an unknown land to the Pacific Ocean. Fur trappers and mountain men used St. Louis as a supply and entertainment center before starting out for the Rocky Mountains. Gold seekers left St. Louis on their quest for riches. Immigrants and settlers bound for the vast prairies passed through here. St. Louis is used to a nation on the move; people going west to find a better life. Route 66 came through here in 1926 and continued the traditions of travel established over a century earlier.
Saint Louis Skyline
        
There are several alignments of Route 66 through St. Louis. It can be pretty confusing. The Route 66 Caravan was lucky to have Jane Dippel and Fran Eickhoff, both Board Members of the Route 66 Association of Missouri, guide us through some of these alignments over the Mississippi River and into Illinois on Saturday. I was doubly lucky to have Ron and Emily of the "Friends of the Mother Road" guide me back through some more alignments on Sunday morning to get a few additional photographs. Now you all know how we spend our days off - Route 66ing of course!
     

East St. Louis B-B-Q

East St. Louis is a depressed area of Route 66 that might not be appropriate for the casual Route 66er - especially at night. But there is a lot of faded glory to be seen along the Mother Road here.

        

The Nite Spot Cafe in Fairmont City has a classic neon. Emily Priddy, Friends of the Mother Road, is saving the image of this sign for posterity.

Emily at the Nite Spot Cafe

         
Town and Country Sign

This old sign is all that remains of a motor court located on the outskirts of Edwardsville. Once again I can't help but think of the people who passed this way once, so long ago.

 

Granite City from McKinley Bridge

One of the early alignments of Route 66 over the Mississippi River went over McKinley Bridge. The bridge is now closed but Granite City is still going strong. A drive through this city on old Route 66 offers many fine old buildings, neon signs, and leftovers from Route 66.

Hudson's Jewelry

This fine old sign is located in downtown Granite City. Though this gem is two blocks off Route 66 proper, it is well worth a look-see. The Jewelry store has moved to a new location - will this old sign be but a memory soon?

           

Chain of Rocks Road

The Chain of Rocks Road on Route 66 in Illinois has a lot of leftovers from the hey-day of Route 66. The roadside signs and businesses all catered to a nation on the move. Today these old signs offer some great photo opportunities. Debby's Route 66 Frozen Custard is open for refreshments though!

Debbie's Route 66 Frozen Custard

      

There's some great signs here ...

Chain of Rocks Motel

Land of Lincoln Motel

        
Twin Oaks Gas
          

Mitchell on Route 66

Bel Air Drive In Sign

Mitchell, Illinois has a lot of Route 66 memories like this old Drive In. The Screen is gone but the sign remains.

 

The Colorful and Infamous Luna Cafe

The Luna Cafe in Mitchell, Illinois along old Route 66 has a pretty interesting history. I could tell we were getting into gangster country. In Missouri seems like everything is "Jesse James slept here, or hid here, or robbed this" Now in Illinois we have Al Capone and his friends. The Luna Cafe is no different. Evidently Al Capone used to frequent this little cafe in the country. The Luna Cafe was built in 1924, two years before Route 66. Though it really was a cafe, it also hosted a gambling operation in the basement and provided female companionship on the second floor. The story goes that if the red cherry on the old neon sign was turned on the girls were in. Though I don't have any evidence, I bet that this old roadhouse was a true "speak-easy" during the prohibition era. If these walls could talk I bet we'd get some pretty colorful stories!
Luna Cafe

Luna Cafe Sign

 

The Luna Cafe still serves the locals and travelers alike.

 

This classic neon sign is just too cool!

     
Larry Wofford & David Moore

Larry Wofford (left) bought the Luna Cafe six years ago. His friend, David Moore, a.k.a. the Snake, loves this place!

 


West 66
Previous Log
Go West down the Mother Road

Road Log pages read like a book:

Follow the Route 66 Caravan
down the Mother Road ~
select the Route 66 direction
you would like to go.

East 66
Chain of Rocks Bridge
Go East on the Mother Road

 

 

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