We left St. Louis about 2:30 in the afternoon heading southwest toward The Show Me State of Missouri. We had a difficult time trying to pick up Route 66. My pal, at the restored gas station, in Illinois was right when he said Illinois has the best signage.
Leaving Illinois in the late afternoon we arrived in St. Louis, Missouri by 7:30 ish. I was driving so I couldn’t look too closely but I can still see the image in my mind. The arch in the distance and the Mississippi River, two more firsts for us and I remember thinking, “This is where it all started; the westward movement of those who came before us.”
I am – as I have admitted on more than one occasion – a lover of history. There’s just no denying it. Call me a nerd if you must, but I believe as a society we cannot move forward if we do not understand how far we’ve come. Walking in the path of those who came before us, such as President Lincoln, has always held a special fascination for me.
Not only had I never been to Chicago before this trip – I had never been anywhere in the state of Illinois and I was about to learn a lot about the state. When you grow up in one part of the U.S. you don’t really know what’s going on elsewhere – you know, like I never thought of Illinois as farming country…
Okay, admit it. When you travel to a new city you just want to climb on board one of those double-decker, cheesy looking, brightly painted buses that drive tourists all around the city. Right?! Today, was the day. After wandering Chicago yesterday, we decided the bus was the order of the day.
We were in the tasting room of G.H. Mumm’s Champagne Cellars in Reims, located in northern France, sipping and comparing the lovely bubbly in our champagne flutes when our guide asked us if we knew about Route 66. “Of course,” we said, “as a matter of fact we’ve driven the route.” His smiled broadened as he told us that Route 66 is very popular in Europe and many aspire to travel to the U.S. because they want to drive Route 66.
We pay the obligatory fee at the entrance to Burney Falls State Park, park and step out of the car and it hits us – we’re in the mountains. What is it about mountain air and the smell of pine trees? I swear the air has healing power and for me, it always brings about a big sigh of happy.