We spent a little bit more time in the car today than originally planned, but it was still great!
We woke up this morning and had a quick breakfast before packing up the car and heading out to say farewell to St. Louis.
This sculpture is called 'The Awakening' and looks like a giant coming out of the ground.
From here we headed out on the road and drove past the 1000 signs directing us to Meramec Caverns which was our next stop. This was a slightly cheesy, yet super cool tour of some amazing caves. The cave itself is spectacular, and the tour route has been adjusted to allow for easy navigation for all people. This tour definitely maintained some of the cheesy old Route 66 kitsch as thegrand finally of the tour was a 'light show' where one of the rangers flicked lights on and off by hand on the beautiful cave rock wall in time with the tune "America the Beautiful".
When we finished exploring the caves we had a picnic lunch. We were not ready to get back in the car so we took a break to enjoy being in the fresh air and decided to play a game of cards (skip-bo!).
After our break we headed back on the road, we drove through some beautiful country-side and through the Ozark Mountains. We took some time getting off of the main highway and merging onto the Old Route 66, which runs parallel a lot of the time from the updated highway system.
We accidentally made our way to a bit of a ghost town called Ash Grove. The folks in the restaurant were super helpful and directed us back on to Route 66.
We drove a short distance from Ash Grove to a tiny town which was home to the Gay Parita: an old service station turned museum along the Route. The owners greet each guest with a large postcard of their shop and encourage guests to help themselves to a cold soda or water from the fridge. This cold drink was a welcome respite from the heat - we saw our car thermometer go up to above 90 today. The folks here were also very helpful in making suggestions for other stops along our trip.
We weaved along the old highway for a while seeing small town after small town stopping to help a turtle cross the road and stopping to take a picture with the Route 66 sign.
We then made our way to another great stop called "Cars on the Route" in Glena Kansas - an old Kan-o-Tex service station. This was a cute little shop/diner that we stopped at for photos. A neat thing about this stop is that the creators of Pixar's "Cars" were inspired by this stop for their character "Mater". The old rusted tow truck is still parked outside sitting beside the life size Pixar remodel of their truck.
We are now resting up (in Joplin, MO) getting ready for another busy day tomorrow!