It was cloudy and rainy, so I skipped the top of the Arch and just sort of looked around downtown and along the remnants of Route 66 after taking the car in for a checkup. I also didn’t venture back out last night, more from a lack of energy than a lack of “courage”…
Once out of St. Louis, I hit Route 66 in a major way. After a stop at a little roadside “welcome center” in Hamel, staffed by a very nice and talkative woman, I was on the way. Two things amazed me: the excellent route markers supplied by the state of Illinois, and the friendliness of the people in the establishments along the old road. Once they learned I was traveling 66, I was treated to stories, photos, and (loved this part) free stuff! Excellent drive.
The Ariston Cafe in Litchfield is a definite Route 66 must. The food was great, and the owners showed me books and pictures and introduced me to the German tourists at the other end of the counter who were also traveling “the road”. Apparently, Route 66 tourism is big with Germans.
After a very long drive through the fertility of central Illinois, I finally arrived at Steven’s house in Madison. Very nice guy, very nice town. And since the heat had finally let up by this point, very nice sleep. This was a welcome thing.
Madison is not an exciting place by any stretch of the imagination, but I found plenty to do there and had a great time. Especially compared to last year’s visit, which was essentially a convenience store run during the Minneapolis trip.