Seven score and nine years ago Abraham Lincoln made his now infamous "four score and seven years ago" speech, two years before he was assassinated. He is considered one of America's finest and most influential presidents, and revered in Springfield, Illinois, where he spent much of his adult life and is now buried alongside most of his family. On Wednesday morning, we checked out the Lincoln memorial and tomb where he is buried, before hading into downtown Springfield to see the Lincoln museum. We also had a tour of the house he land his family lived, which is now owned by the state.
In the way to our next stop, we called in at the Cozy Dog Drive In, which offers "cozy dogs" - kind of battered hot dogs on a stick. It was recommended by a number of guides we looked at and understandably - they were fab! Further along the road we encountered Henry's Rabbit Ranch, a small converted petrol station where a somewhat eccentric man named Henry sits in a store with about ten rabbits selling various bits of tat and anthropomorphising the rabbits by talking about them as if they were people. A nice enough guy but possibly a little mad! Thursday brought us to the Gateway Arch, a monumental arch in St Louis just by the Mississippi river that towers 630 ft into the sky. You can reach the top of these by means of these weird capsules that seat five people at a time and are a strange cross between a lift and a Ferris wheel. From the top, though, again the views of the city were amazing and we got some brilliant photos. On the way to our stop for this evening, we stopped off at Ted Drewes frozen custard stand, a renowned venue in St Louis for delicious - which we can now vouch for - ice creams, well worth a stop. On from here to the Meramec Caverns, a set of caverns that were used quite extensively for both hideouts and materials during the American Civil War, and was also the hideout for fugitive Jesse James, though inexplicably this is never mentioned in the Cher song! As caverns go, this was pretty amazing, with some incredibly old and intricate looking stalactites and stalagmites. Finally, we checked out the World's largest rocking chair, which like most things on Route 66 is completely random but somewhat impressive.
Having covered around abt a fifth of our 2500 mile drive, it is has been pleasant driving so far. The original Route 66 comes and goes so some of it is interstate, some of it is single carriageway, and small amounts of it is pretty much dirt track. Also, signs come and go - possibly because someone has nicked them for their collection - making it difficult to stay true to the original at times. It all adds to the experience though!
A second Springfield, this time in Missouri, is our destination for tomorrow, and I'll try and update again when we hit Oklahoma on Saturday evening.