Route 66 Day 5
So the day began with an early breakfast. Not that we particularly wanted one, but everybidy else in our bed & breakfast place was heading off for the Arcola Horse Progress Day fair, which is a kind of trade fair for everything horse-drawn. As the B&B advertised its seven-course breakfasts, and as everyone gets served together, we got up for breakfast at 0645 and sat down with a Kentuckian who runs horse shoeing courses, his wife, and a guy from Alabama who has a horse breeding business.
We were not disappointed. One course (some kind of pickle) was omitted today because of the need for speed, and none of us wanted cereal (homemade of course). But we had locally-grown fruit cocktail, rhubarb muffins and angel biscuits, a selection of vegetables (carrots with fennel, two kinds of mushroom, corn cobs), sausage with tomatoes and potatoes, and finally eggs baked in filo parcels. The food was truly amazing: the best of the trip so far (that bar keeps being raised).
We decided that while the fair sounded interesting there were more diorectly Amish-related things we wanted to see, so we headed into Arthur where the community is centred, as well as taking in the Amish Interpretive Center in Arcola.
Cozy Dog Drive-In. Unfortunately it's not too well marked and by the time we realised what we thought was an ad for the place was actually the sign for the turn-off, we were past it. So we carried on, a little disappointed but not downhearted, as our guide said there was another classic place up ahead in Litchfield. It reckoned it was more classy than most of the R66 diners, so when we hit Litchfield we stopped at the Ariston Cafe. Another good decision, as the food there was great too. Hilary had a salad, Ruairidh had cannelloni, and I had enchiladas, and all were first-class. And the cheesecake dessert we shared was magnificent.
We were interested to spot signs off the road to historic covered bridges, and then we passed the sign to say we had entered Madison County, which explained it. No sign of Clint though.
Before we got to St Louis we wanted to take a look at the old Chain of Rocks Bridge over the Mississippi. Route 66 used to go over it, then it was closed and the road routed over a new bridge upriver. Fortuntely instead of demolishing the old bridge as planned, it was decided to restore it as a cycle and pedestrian way. It's a mile long and has a 22 degree bend in the middle because of the riverbed geology. Great fun to walk, and a helluva big river. We were impressed in our only previous visit to the USA when we flew over the Missouri on our way to Denver, but this was even bigger. (Of course, by the time the mighty Mississippi reaches Chain of Rocks it's carrying all the Missouri's water as well: the confluence is a few miles before St Louis.)