The roadsides along Route 66 are flecked with rusted antique trucks, gas stations both crumbling and restored, colorful murals, and gift shops. Did I mention that we brake for gift shops?
On Day 12 of our journey, we took a slight detour via MO38 to see a quarter-scaled (1,200 pounds) model of the Hubble Space Telescope in front of the county courthouse. Dr. Edwin Hubble, for whom the scope was named, was from Marshfield. Again, we found more murals. We didn’t spy any gift shops, so we continued our trek.
Near the intersection of I-44 and Route 66 we stopped at Redmond’s, which bills itself as the largest gift shop in the world. It had a huge assortment of gifts, from pottery to Coca-Cola memorabilia, but only a small section devoted to Route 66. By this time, I was looking for a Swiss Army knife with “Route 66” engraved on it, something I had seen earlier. Redmond’s didn't have any, but it had good prices. We recommend it.
Our next stop was Lebanon, where we took photos of the old Munger Moss Motel, which has been at that site for 72 years. Its colorful signs give the mileage to cities across the USA and the world. We went inside the gift shop, of course. One Route 66 book said we had to do that if we couldn’t stay the night at the motor court.
The shop was a big disappointment. It was tiny, didn’t have a good variety of gifts, and smelled like cigarette smoke mixed with dust and grime. An elderly woman came out of the back room looking as if we were interrupting her soap opera. When I expressed disappointment that she didn’t have any Swiss Army knives with Route 66 on them, she said I would just have to look somewhere else. It wasn’t so much what she said, as it was her attitude when she said it. She was downright rude. We don’t recommend this shop.
It took us a while to find Devil’s Elbow, which is both a city and the name of the original, twisty, Route 66 that crossed an historic iron bridge at a bend of the Big Piney River. I don’t know what we were expecting, but the bridge was a bit of a disappointment. It was just an iron bridge. Still, it was interesting to drive on the old roadbed.
Once back on the four-lane version of Route 66 that bi-passed that iron bridge and the many curves that led up to it, we headed for the next I-44 on-ramp. That led us to 270 North, which took us around St. Louis. We stopped at the first exit in Illinois that had some motels, found a La Quinta in a place called Pontoon Beach, and there we rested.