Route 66 – Springfield, IL to St. Louis, MO

February 3 – 4, 2001

Since our roadtrip through Illinois was cut short a week ago, Jennifer & I decided to complete the 2nd half of the trip this past weekend.

We began this weekend’s journey by leaving Indianapolis on US 36 and heading west to Springfield, Illinois. As you may recall, last weekend the Cozy Drive-In was mysteriously closed at a time of the day when it should’ve been opened. We thought we’d try our luck with our Cozy dog quest once again and fortunately, they were open Saturday afternoon. So Jennifer was then able to finally have her first Cozy dog. Buzz Waldmire was behind the counter as usual, but he’s lost a lot of weight and has a full beard…..hardly recognized him!

After our late lunch, we decided to take the 1926-30 alignment south out of Springfield. We mixed in a few older sections of 66 down our trip on IL 4, and especially enjoyed the brick stretch of road. After we toured
Carlinville, we went east to pick up the newer alignment of 66 north of Litchfield. From there, we made our way through Mt. Olive, Staunton, Hamel, and Edwardsville, where we picked up Chain of Rocks Road. After trying to convince ourselves to stay at one of the independent motels near the Chain of Rocks Bridge (we couldn’t convince ourselves THAT much!), we took IL 3 south to pick up the interstate and made our way into St. Louis to look for a place to stay. We both had read this part in East St. Louis was not a good place to stop or have a flat tire…….we now know why! After we saw our second woman standing on a street corner wave to us (perhaps she liked Jennifer’s Neon?), we realized it was ill-advised to have taken this route after dark on a Saturday night! But after we got back on the interstate and across the river, all was well. After cruising down Chippewa and Watson, we found ourselves on I-44 westbound. We pulled into an evil chain motel where they “leave the light on for ya” in Fenton which was conveniently located across from a Krispy Kreme where we had a late night snack.

On Sunday morning, we made our way to the Chain of Rocks Bridge to snoop around. We found some old road remnants around the Canal bridge that I saw on list member Steve Look’s website. After we did some footwork in weeds looking for concrete, we took Chain of Rocks Road back east to hook up with the interstate.

Just to warn everyone, it looks like the remnants of the old Bel-Air Drive In, and sign, will soon disappear. There was a big sign near the old drive-in sign stating it was the future home of the Bel-Air Industrial Park. Chances are they aren’t smart enough to incorporate the old theater sign with it, so if you have never got any pics of it or the other remnants of the drive-in, you might want to…….soon!

From there, we jumped on the super slab and made our way back to Indianapolis…..with the occasional side trip onto US 40. Jennifer then made her way back to Chicago Sunday night. Stay tuned in the weeks ahead for another road report. Our next weekender will be a trip deeper into Missouri.

Until then…….

Pat in Indy

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