This morning, heading west from Cape Girardeau, I saw a column of flaming red light in my mirror. Sadly, it wasn’t Cape Girardeau on fire, but rather the rising of the accursed daystar. Unfortunately, the picture doesn’t really do it justice. But the column of red light isn’t a camera artifact; it was actually there in the sky. I’m just guessing, but I think the effect was the result of sunlight refracting through, or maybe reflecting off, atmospheric ice particles. Or both.
It was certainly cold enough to have atmospheric ice particles.
I made it to Springfield today, and called it quits there because I found a microbrewery.
This place had a small, but wide, selection of beers – it wasn’t all IPAs like you find at some places. In fact, there wasn’t an IPA. The nod to the hopheads was in the form of a California-style American Pale Ale, which was actually pretty good. Personally, I thought their Doppelbock was most awesome, but it’s a seasonal beer for them.
Another reason on the plus side of traveling in the winter – breweries are more inclined to make darker beers.
As we all know, every state has a place named Springfield. It’s probably why The Simpsons named its town Springfield. I looked for a monorail, but didn’t find it.
What I did find was that Springfield, MO, among whatever other claims to fame it might have, was the birthplace of Route 66. That is, the push to make Route 66 an official thing in the highway system came from some dude in Springfield. I’m sure it only went through this city by pure coincidence.
So, of course, being a road geek, I had to stay in a Route 66 themed motel tonight.
According to the motel‘s ever-changing sign, ELVIS (in all caps) stayed here in 1956. And on a cold, windy night, if you listen really, really hard, you can hear… the wind. So I don’t know if that’s true or not.
Route 66 itself, of course, was decommissioned in the 1980s, but it’s got enough history attached to it for localities to hold on to the past, however irrelevant it might be today. The Interstates made Route 66 obsolete, and even if it still existed, it wouldn’t be the Mother Road that it used to be. Most people see roads as a means of getting from one point to the next as quickly as possible, which is fine as far as it goes, but it means that a lot of the reason to travel on 66 disappears: the businesses and services dedicated to travelers.
Such services now cluster, lonely and bright and incorporated, around interstate exits. Such is change.
Still, one day, for historic reasons, I’d like to travel the length of the classic route, just to do it. Well, one of the classic routes, anyway. Like every other road, it was subject to numerous shifts and reroutes over the course of time.
This trip is not that day – when I do that, I’ll want to start in Chicago and go all the way, and plan it so I’m following as much of the original route as possible.
Of course, I’ve already been on portions of it; you may remember my post after leaving Winslow, Arizona a couple years back – that’s an example of a preserved section of 66 going through a town.
Still no snow in the forecast for the next couple of days, so I’m going to keep heading west. Now watch there be a blizzard.