We set off at 9am and made our way out of St Louis on Route 66 and headed south west through the state of Missouri.
Our first stop on the way was at the Meramec Caverns, an underground cave system with rock formations and underground rivers and lakes. Our tour guide was your typical young hillbilly who probably wanted to be a police officer but failed the exam. He had a torch which he likes to spin around and pop back in its holder whenever he had to put it away, and I’m sure in his mind he pretends its a gun. To be fair he was very knowledgable and enthusiastic about his job, but his hillbilly accent kept us amused for the whole tour.
The tour took around one and a half hours, and culminated with a light show in a kind of underground theatre, with flashing lights shining onto the largest rock formation whilst ‘God Bless America’ played on the sound system. It finished with a giant US flag shining onto the rock. We just sat there kind of bemused, wondering why they’d decided to make a natural attraction so tacky.
It was nice to come out of the caves and into the sun at the end of the tour, as it was pretty cold within the cave system. We got back on the road and continued South West through Missouri.
Our next stop was at the US66 Outpost on the outskirts of Fanning, home of the Worlds Largest Rocking Chair. It’s one of the places Billy Connolly visited in his documentary driving Route 66, and his book is on display inside the shop with the pages that show his visit to the rocking chair marked for visitors to read. After having our pictures taken next to the chair, we headed inside the store which had an impressive collection of Route 66 memorabilia.
Inside was a friendly old lady who gave us the background to why the chair was built, and let us try some moonshine. The moonshine was 50% alcohol and there were 5 flavours. Baz, Leccy and I each tried 3 shots, whereas Sticky declined as he was driving. After buying some memorabilia, we set back off on the road. It was a good job Sticky didn’t try the moonshine, as within 5 minutes of leaving Baz, Leccy and I had all dozed off in the car for a couple of minutes. That stuff was strong!
The rest of the day was spent on Route 66, zig-zagging over and under the interstate that runs parellell. We stopped for some more pictures at Devil’s Elbow, a bridge that passes over a river in a picturesque wooded area, then made our way into Springfield, Missouri where we planned to spend the evening.
Next stop: Oklahoma City