See the sights. Taste the food. Discover why Route 66 is an icon for America’s wanderlust. Come along with our adventurer as she crosses our state on the Mother Road in a candy-apple red 1966 Ford Mustang. She discovers an Old Stagecoach Stop Museum, an Osage monument, a giant rocking chair perfect for selfies, and a unique bridge.

For more than 50 years, Route 66 has been the epitome of the all-American family vacation. Sightseers have enjoyed true Americana with the bountiful, beautiful, and sometimes bizarre places along the route. From food to motor courts and motels, this is the first of a two-part episode exploring historic Route 66.

In Season 5, Episode 3, Missouri Life Adventurer Meredith Hoenes travels down one of the nation’s most iconic roads. Developed in the mid-1920s, Route 66 covered nearly 2,500 miles of road from Chicago to Santa Monica, California, to connect rural communities along the way. By 1931, Route 66 was completely paved in Missouri.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Pulaski County

Sightseeing in Style
Meredith slides behind the wheel of a candy apple red 1966 Ford Mustang convertible from St. Charles’ Fast Lane Classic Cars and begins her Route 66 journey in St. Louis at the Chain of Rocks Bridge. The iconic bridge was part of Route 66 from 1935 to 1965. Now a pedestrian and bike greenway, this much-beloved piece of Route 66 tourism still offers a great view of the massive Mississippi River and downtown St. Louis in the distance.

Next, Meredith makes a quick stop at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, a St. Louis staple since 1929, before continuing on Route 66 to Cuba, the “City of Murals.”

Various artists came together to create the Viva Cuba Mural Project where history meets art in 14 colorful creations. Visitors can see the murals and the Osage Trail Legacy Monument Project, a massive sculpture depicting an Osage family traveling westward along the Osage Trail. This is the only known monument in Missouri for the Osage Nation.

Traveling farther, Meredith stops at a vintage gas station sign nestled between Route 66 and Interstate 44 marking Bob’s Gasoline Alley.

Bob Mullen shares the story of how he and wife Darlene started their substantial collection of vintage gas pumps, signs, toys and license plates by accident.

“It’s my hobby,” says Bob. “I got my first sign and said I’d like to have another one.”

The couple’s collection keeps growing and they happily show it off.

One final stop in Cuba is the oldest continuously operated motel on Route 66. The Wagon Wheel Motel still lures travelers with its flashing neon signage to stop for the night at the completely-restored spot with original architecture and plenty of charm.

Many things attract travelers’ attention along the iconic route including the 42-foot “Route 66 Red Rocker” at Fanning 66 Outpost. After taking a selfie with the chair, people can grab refreshments like gourmet popcorn, fudge and choose from more than 300 glass bottled sodas.

Meredith then continues down Route 66 to Pulaski County – which encompasses 33 of the original miles of Route 66 — where quirky attractions and historic landmarks are plentiful.

Waynesville is a town that began as a trading post and welcomed stagecoaches and wagons long before classic cars. The Old Stagecoach Stop Foundation House Museum was built in the 1850s and served as a variety of places: stagecoach shop, tavern, hotel, Civil War-era hospital, dentist office, and boarding house for workers building nearby Fort Leonard Wood. Each room in the 10-room museum now depicts a different era of the building’s history.

Travelers can also see unique bridge architecture when they cross Devil’s Elbow. The steel bridge crosses over Big Piney River, the waterway once used to transport timber and railroad ties to St. Louis as early as the 1800s.

With all of these interesting sights to see, Route 66 visitors today truly enjoy the ride more than their destination. Now it’s time to spark your own spirit of discovery along one of the most iconic roadways in America. Watch this episode of Missouri Life TV to find your must-see destinations along Route 66.