Finally! July 10th arrived! It was a picture perfect day for our launch and we left, wheels up at about 11:30AM local time. Our first stop was Litchfield, IL, right on Route 66, where we dined at the Aristan Cafe, thought to be the oldest on the route. The cafe was founded by Pete Adam, a Greek immigrant, in Carlinville, IL in 1924 and relocated to Route 66 in 1929. It is also on the National Registry. The food was very good, the service was excellent, but the real draw was the atmosphere, which made your feel like you had traveled back in time to the 1950s. Right across the street from the cafe, was a Route 66 welcome center/museum, which we chose to wander through. They had a wonderful collection of local memorabilia, even an authentic old fire wagon. It was a very interesting stop and our first taste of the Mother Road!
After departing Litchfield, we headed towards St. Louis, and were very surprised that ATC vectored us right over Lambert field at 3500′! This was very unusual in busy class B airspace. We had a birds eye view of the busy St. Louis airport.
Our destination for our first overnight was Cuba, MO. As luck would have it, the airport was closed for construction. We opted to land at nearby Rolla National (K07) instead. We were very glad we did! This little airport was full to the brim with character. The first thing we noticed were all of the derelict C-47 airplanes in various stage of decay, scattered around the field. We were told that the airplanes had been sitting there for decades and that the airport itself had once been a military base in WWII. (Notice the photo of the old air raid siren). One of the C-47s, pictured leaning on it’s wing, flew in the D-Day raid at Normandy. The manager on duty was as nice as they come and very accommodating. It was about 15 miles to our hotel in Cuba and we were offered use of the courtesy car overnight.
Cuba, MO is a quaint town right on 66, with the typical americana feel to it. Cuba is famous for it’s murals, which are scattered all over town. We photographed many of them, including Amelia Earhart. Our Motel for the night was the Wagon Wheel Inn, which is a famous landmark of old Route 66. Quirky as can be! Check out our Marilyn Monroe headboard.
Dinner was next door at the Missouri Hick BBQ. Randy had a sampler platter and I had some of the best Ribs I’ve ever tasted.
A perfect first day to our excellent adventure.