Another Intelligentsia craving forced us out of the hotel early, allowing time to check out the Buckingham Fountain before embarking on our epic Route 66 road trip. The Mother Road, as it is called, is full of history (and kitsch) and virtually impossible to see in its entirety in the seven days we've allotted ourselves to get across the country. So, we've decided to stick mostly to the freeway that runs parallel to the original road and pick a few highlights along the way. First stop: the Gemini Giant, a 30-foot tall statue named after the Gemini space program, in the parking lot of an abandoned diner about an hour southwest of Chicago in Wilmington, IL. Further down the I-55, we lunched in Springfield, IL at the Cozy Dog Drive-In, a historic Route 66 eatery and the birthplace of the corn dog, then enjoyed a mid-day snack of soft-serve ice cream at Twistee Treat, a retro cone-shaped shop found in the parking lot of the Pink Elephant Antique Mall in Livingston, IL. The mall was closed by the time we got there but apparently it is a must-visit if you like relics and Route 66 kitsch. Just outside of St. Louis, MO, our final destination for the day, we ventured way off the beaten path to discover the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, a significant landmark for travellers driving Route 66. Closed to cars due to its dangerous design, it has a 30-degree turn midway across the mile-long structure that stands 60 feet above the Mississippi River. Quite spectacular! We arrived in St. Louis before dark, allowing just enough time to see Gateway Arch and enjoy dinner at Mango Peruvian Cuisine, one of downtown St. Louis' most popular eateries - which just happened to be recommended by my friend Lisa over at This Beautiful Day.

ENJOY!


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