Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Day 7 - Who freezes custard?

After an excellent night at the Route 66 Hotel in Springfield, IL (no really it was a fantastic place to stay we both agree), we started our day with breakfast at the Cozy Dog Drive-In.  Now we hadn't intended to have breakfast here since their speciality is Cozy dogs (thats corn dogs to the rest of America - this place claims to have invented it and hence the slightly different name), but given the proximity to our hotel it's just the way it worked out.  Honestly we were a little worried whether it would be weird, but I can report that Cozy dogs are delicious and totally work as a breakfast food in case you were wondering.
We ate the cozy dogs too quickly to photograph, so here have a pic of the sign instead.
Next on our plan for the day was a lightning tour of Lincoln's home in Springfield and also his tomb.  And by lightning I mean slowing the car down long enough to lean out of the window to take pics.  We didn't tour Lincoln's home but we did take the time to tour the tomb and take a few pics. It's an impressive memorial and they have some of his famous speeches on plaques inside.  I came away with a sense of awe at how someone who lived so long ago could have been so amazing when some people now can't manage to grasp the concepts of equality, as well as a sense of disgust at my own grasp of the English language.  Seriously, the dude was eloquent.
Lincoln's Tomb

Touching Lincoln's nose for luck
From here we moved on to a number of tiny stops on the route... a restored abandoned gas station, a bunny ranch (no not THAT one - this one has actual bunnies!) and a hotel that has a tiny lake with a steamboat in it then made our way to the Chain of Rocks bridge.  

The Illinois end of the Chain of Rocks Bridge
Many years ago this bridge would have marked our departure from Illinois as we crossed the Mississippi River and entered the city of St. Louis, Missouri. However, the Chain of Rocks bridge is no longer in use as a river crossing for cars.  It has long since been bypassed for a much more modern bridge spanning the river nearby, but you can still cross it today on foot and it's become a Route 66 tourist attraction itself.  It's a must see if you are travelling R66 for the views of the Mississippi river alone.  One word of advice though - if you are walking the bridge on a hot day, take some water and remember your sunscreen because there is little to no shade.  It's a deceptively long walk from one end to the other - just over 1.6km each way!  Needless to say we fell upon the car on our return and blasted the aircon on high (and by we I mean I because Rachael is a lizard and revels in any available sunlight).
The lizard basks on the bridge
Lying down in the gap between the two states, basking in the sun. The lizard is stateless.
Still barking... err... I mean basking. 
View of the Mississippi from the bridge.
After retracing our steps a little and using the interstate to cross the river by car, we made our way through St Louis using as much of R66 as we could manage in search of custard. Frozen custard. The reputation of Ted Drewes' frozen custard was legendary on all the Route 66 blogs and programs we could get our hands on.  It was one of three places Man Vs Food covered on their R66 episode and it instantly became a "must see" on our list. Honestly the place could not have been more hyped if Max Clifford was doing it's PR, and so we were hoping it would be good.  We were not disappointed.  Well actually thats a lie, we were very disappointed when we'd eaten it all and there was none left. Who freezes custard? The bloody clever people at Ted Drewes do. It is going to be a true disappointment in my life from this point onwards that this stuff lives nearly 4000 miles from me. Because of our hot walk on the bridge we decided to go 20 minutes past our hotel on R66 just to get this today. This means we have to pass it again tomorrow. So for scientific purposes tomorrow on our way out of the city we will stop and sample the product some more (to make sure today wasn't a fluke) and take photos for you lot. Are we not good to you?

These custard cups are broken - we need new ones.
Driving in America is odd - about 10 times in the last 2 days we have driven past the same Walgreen's.  Is it possible that the theory about the USA being big is a huge conspiracy? Have we been lost and driving in circles for the last two days? Cos I swear all of these Walgreen's were completely identical.  It's starting to give me a complex.

After checking in at our hotel for the evening (a well equipped Holiday Inn Express just off R66), we ventured out to the Soulard area where there are lots of bars and restaurants.  The receptionist at our hotel had recommended Molly's where we had fantastic Cajun influenced food and sat outside in the sultry heat of the evening making little tweaks to the plan for the rest of our trip.
Still can't quite believe we are doing this. Loving every minute of it. 



  1. I think I can safely say 95% of Walgreens in the US look exactly alike from the outside.

    Also, you're making me sort of homesick for NY. We had a place in my little town that did (well they still do, I'm just not there to have any) excellent old fashioned frozen custard. Also, they'll be doing their limited edition peach flavour right now as tomorrow kicks off the 3-day Peach Festival, and it really is fabulously tasty stuff... oh well...

  2. The visit to the Lincoln Memorial looks interesting. I think it was Caren who told me that Lincoln wasn't invited originally to Gettysburg - and only happened at the last minute, so he penned his famous "Gettysburg Address" on the way, hence it being extremely short (apparently, they used to last 1-2 hours back then!). There's no photo of him delivering it because the photographer was still faffing with his equipment - assuming the president was going to be quite some time, when he finished!

    The bridge looks awesome! I love bridges and that one looks like it's got beautiful views.

    And frozen custard? Really? I'll take your word for it!

    Sounds like you're having a whale of a time!

  3. Ted Drewes is an experience. Just queueing up for the stuff is an adventure. And the awesome yumminess is the icing on the cake.

    I've done the same myself: make two visits to TDFC in one visit to St Louis. Well worth it.