Awesome Science Center, Route 66 and Gateway Arch National Park

October 8-14, 2019 — With the fall season in full swing we continue this week to make our way south. We have definitely felt a cold chill in the air and actually saw a few flakes of snow. The cold and snow have us yearning for sunny, warm Arizona. 

Not only are we looking forward to the mild desert winter weather but also to staying in sites for longer lengths of time. Moving sites every few days and exploring new areas like we have been for much of the year is very exciting, however, it is exhausting, tiresome and taxing to the point that visiting places is almost a chore and no longer appealing.

We are feeling quite travel-weary at this point and are considering putting the rest of our October/November travel plans on hold and heading straight to Arizona where we can rest and recuperate for our next big adventure. 

While pondering these thoughts, we spent the week touring the Springfield, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri areas. Follow along below for a pictorial of our explorations of the cities. All nights this week were free stays with one night at a Boondockers Welcome host site, two nights at Harvest Hosts locations and four nights at a casino. 

Mile Driven - RV
Miles Driven - Car

It’s hard to miss the fact that Springfield, Illinois is located along Historic Route 66 as there are signs dotted all over town pointing out unique attractions, historical icons and Route 66 nostalgia. 

The Cozy Dog Drive In located in Springfield, Illinois is a Route 66 roadside attraction. Family owned and operated since 1950, the drive in is home of the “famous hotdog on a stick” aka corn dogs. The restaurant also features Route 66 memorabilia and merchandise. It’s a fun stop to grab a quick bite to eat and step back in time. 

The Illinois State Capitol building is located in Springfield, Illinois. It was completed in 1868 at a cost of $4.5 million dollars. Interestingly, the building is the sixth one to serve as the capitol since Illinois was admitted to the United States in 1818. The first capitol building was in Kaskaskia, the second, third and fourth buildings were in Vandalia and the fifth capitol building was in Springfield. 

Abraham and Mary Lincoln lived in a 12-room Greek Revival house on the corner of Eighth and Jackson Streets in downtown Springfield, IL for seventeen years before moving to Washington DC in 1860. The house is a National Historic Site and is open daily for free ranger led tours. On a humorous note during our house tour, upon entering the kitchen a lady asked the ranger where the sink and faucet were. Yes, she was being serious. 

The Lincoln Tomb is the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary Todd Lincoln, and sons Edward, William and Thomas. The Tomb, located in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, is a designated National Historic Landmark. 

Golf courses through the Harvest Hosts program are great overnight options when looking for a short stopover. We had a pleasant, quiet stay at The Rail Golf Course in Springfield, IL. The staff were very accommodating and allowed us to drop off our RV early in the day so we could tour the local area. We didn’t play golf but instead supported the business by taking in a great meal at their cafe. 

The Saint Louis Zoo has over 17,000 animals covering 600+ different species. The zoo is fun for people of all ages and the best part, there is no entrance fee. They do charge for parking but if you arrive early in the day you may luck out and get a street parking spot very close to the entrance for no charge. 

The Saint Louis Science Center is full of opportunities for hands-on learning, experiments, building, demonstrations, etc. that showcase how fun and exciting science can be. It is appropriate for visitors of all ages and has no admission fees. We spent several hours there and had a great time. The Science Center is located in the Forest Park area of St. Louis, Missouri. 

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri was redesignated as the Gateway Arch National Park in 2018. A visit to the Arch including a tram ride to the observation room at the top is a must-do when in the area. We declined a visit this time around as the weather was poor impeding the views and we had previously been up to the top. 

The River City Casino in St. Louis, Missouri allows free overnight parking to guests that utilize the casino property. Parking is in a lot away from the casino in the designated truck parking lot. The casino is a huge complex with multiple dining venues, concerts, events, etc. RVers do need to register with the casino security staff upon arrival. 

Woosh. Another busy, busy week of traveling and exploring. Follow along next week to see if we continue our route south or move straight to Arizona. See you then!

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