Monday, June 20, 2011

Land of the Giants

Day 3: 358 Miles
Total: 1,199 Miles

This post is coming a day late because we had a long day yesterday, but I'll explain...

We woke up early after a good night's sleep and decided to backtrack a little. One of my favorite restored gas stations is in Odell, Illinois and it was getting dark when we drove by it initially, so we wanted to go back and get a daytime shot. On the way, we stopped and shot this Meramec Caverns advertisement out in a field. Remember when these signs were painted on barns all over the south and midwest, along with "See Rock City"?

This gas station sits on an amazingly quiet section of Route 66. It's hard to believe, but there is a church about a tenth of a mile down the road where a tunnel had to be dug under the road to allow attendees to safely cross because traffic was often bumper to bumper. Yesterday some fellow Route 66 travelers stopped to take pictures while we were doing so. They just parked in the middle of the highway, took their pictures, then drove on. Not a single other car passed during that time. Times change...

We then returned to Pontiac where we had spent the night, and visited a Route 66 museum there. They had some great stuff including Bob Waldmire's VW van. Bob was a famous artist and character who lived in a converted school bus and traveled Route 66 extensively. For you fans of the movie "Cars", the George Carlin-voiced hippie van called Fillmore was based on Bob's character. Bob passed away in 2009. The next few pictures below are of his van and bus.

Illinois is clearly the land of giants, and after having found the Gemini Giant on Day 1, Day 2 provided a goldmine of new material. First stop was the town of Atlanta where the Bunyon Man was seen holding the worlds largest hot dog. He is the Gemini Giant's twin; one of sixty or so produced in fiberglass by a company in California.

Abraham Lincoln was always bigger than life, and where better to find a couple of giant statues of him than his longtime home of Springfield. This first statue sits in front of a Best Western Hotel. The historical significance of Lincoln in a covered wagon is completely lost on me.

Next we see a younger, skinnier and taller Abe at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

Still in Springfield and looking a bit like Abe is the Lauterbach Giant, another relative of Gemini.

After a long day we crossed the Mississippi and stopped in St. Louis just long enough to get a "concrete" from Ted Drewe's. You're probably wondering what is going on with such a massive crowd there. Was the president in line in front of us? Perhaps John Lennon reincarnated? Nope...just a typical Sunday night at this St. Louis institution. Worth the trip from North Carolina all by itself.

Now it was getting really late but we still had plans. We wanted to get to the Wagon Wheeel Motel in Cuba, Missouri to spend the night. It was another 65 miles down Route 66, but they had rooms so we were on our way. Too tired to take pictures last night, but I'll get some today before we leave.


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