Cruising sections of old historic Route 66 is what most enthusiasts do while on vacation. Some folks inadvertently drive on Route 66 while heading to a destination without realizing what road they are on, then it clicks when the first Route 66 sign is seen through the windshield. Casually stumbling upon Route 66 while traveling can result in a pleasant surprise and a subtle awakening, which inspires taking interest in the history and tradition of the Mother Road at a later time. Memories of the good times on the old historic Mother Road eventually beckon casual travelers to come back for more. After looking into a return visit via internet resources, more information about regional Route 66 attractions appear and a complete tour of a section of the Mother Road can be planned.
Touring sections of Route 66 is the best way to go, especially when fuel prices are high or time is limited. A popular section of Route 66 for doing a day tour runs from Devils Elbow to Springfield, Missouri. It only takes a couple hours to do a casual sightseeing tour of this section, but those who have more time on their hands will find a few days worth of fun things to do and plenty of Route 66 history to experience.
There is a bit of meandering involved with driving this section of the Mother Road, because there are several old Route 66 alignments in this region of Missouri. In some parts, Route 66 is nothing more than a modern frontage road that runs adjacent to Interstate Highway 44. There is also a stretch of Route 66 in this area that is an abandoned four lane highway that used to be a heavy Ozark tourism corridor before the Mother Road was bypassed by a the modern freeway. Most of old Route 66 in this region is a two lane country road that runs through small towns that once catered to tourists going west during the golden age of automobile travel. When a visitor finally gets to Springfield, this is where the traditional Route 66 big city experience awaits for those who are drawn to the neon lights.
Following the old nearly completely abandoned concrete four lane highway section of Route 66 will lead to the narrow country road that goes to Devils Elbow. The narrow two lane country road is marked as National Scenic Byway Route 66, so this old alignment is fairly easy to find on a map. The community of Devils Elbow was established in the 1920s, but the history of this perilous section of the Big Piney River dates further back to an age when river boat travel was the only mass transportation option. Devils Elbow is named after a dangerous sharp bend in the river that caused many a captain to lose their boat.
The sharp Devils Elbow bend can be seen from the antique steel bridge that spans the Big Piney River and recent extreme flood damage can be noticed too. The great flood of 2017 practically wiped out the Devil’s Elbow Café, which has been a Route 66 landmark since the 1950s. The resilient owners rebuilt and they recently reopened the doors. Avid fans of Route 66 historic preservation have answered the call and many make the pilgrimage to this landmark business just to spend a few dollars to help the cause. It is the Route 66 nostalgia buffs that keep the old historic landmarks like this alive all along this old highway. The only reward for being a philanthropist in this case is the good feeling that one gets from performing a good deed along the Mother Road, which will keep the heart warm for many years to come.
A meandering we will go! Traveling from Devils Elbow to the old historic Route 66 attractions in Rolla, Doolittle, St Robert, Lebanon, Phillipsburg and Conway on the way to Springfield does take some planning. Plotting the points of interest in a GPS system then selecting the most efficient route choice is a good method for creating a travel path, but there are always a few kinks to deal with. The timing is also essential to plan, because if one wants to do lunch at a specific historic Route 66 restaurant, it is no use showing up at 8:00AM.
Historic points of interest and roadside oddities featured in the photos include Devil’s Elbow, The Mule Trading Post, Cookin’ from Scratch Chicken Car, Munger Moss Motel, Dowd’s Catfish & BBQ, Route 66 Antique Mall, I-44 Route 66 Welcome Center, The World’s Biggest Gift Shop and the very first Steak ‘n Shake on the Mother Road in Springfield. As can be imagined, there are plenty more places along this section of Route 66 that are not featured in the photo album that are well worth checking out too.
It is the nostalgic attraction beckons visitors to drive the Devils Elbow to Springfield section of Route 66 in Missouri. Part of the attraction may be one of traveling on the same road that previous family generations experienced long ago. Stopping at the same places that the parents, grandparents and great grandparents were attracted to is the means for gaining a little bit of insight into the lifestyle that the relatives led way back when. There is nothing like hearing grandma tell a story about the wild times she had while driving in a 1956 convertible down Route 66! Carving your own notch of glory into the history of Route 66 is still part of the scene in modern times!
Leave no trace!
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