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An Early Start
Like travelers everywhere, we were up before dawn, and on the road in the middle of the night. We left a 4 in the morning, none of us having gotten any sleep, but hey, that's all part of the fun of traveling. This was Sunday morning, so everything was closed. Fortunately, the age of automation has arrived, and I was able to get gas at 5:00 on a Sunday morning from a closed gas station, by using my credit card at an automatic pump. We swung west of Chicago, giving that large city, and it's traffic a wide berth. Illinois is much like Wisconsin, except for being flatter and less interesting.
Our first stop was at the Turtle Creek information center. 
Let this photograph stand as a representation of about six solid hours of driving, with no sleep the night before. Caffeine (which I had recently given up) probably saved all of our lives that first day.
A bridge across the Illinois River. This is the first bit of excitement we have had sent starting out.
a rail bridge parallels the highway.
A small exhibit in the "Route 66 rest stop" This is the same one with the outdoor exhibit. It is also the first sign of acknowledgment we have seen given to the old road.
The Dixie Truck stop, one of the landmarks of old 66, which has survived as part of the Interstate. I never could resist a buffet, when traveling.
The Route 66 Hall of Fame inside of the Dixie Truck Stop.
The inside of the Dixie Truck Stop.
More of the inside of the Dixie Truck Stop.
The buffet line. Not too busy at the moment, but it is still pretty early on a Sunday morning.
What truck stop, or tourist attraction would be complete without a game room.
The very photogenic arch, of the very photogenic St. Louis. This city is right on the Mississippi, and played a major part in the settling, and trade of the nation. 

Ted Drewes, on old Route 66 in the heart of St. Louis. This place has been famous for decades, as one of the better custard stops for long distance travelers. 
The heat of the day certainly did not hurt business.
Three Please Good stuff, but it's hard to impress Milwaukeans with custard when we have Copp's, and Leon's. The custards help with the heat of the day, and then it's off to the Ozarks.
West of St. Louis, and traveling through the beautiful Ozark Mountains. A visitor center sits right in the middle of it all. Oddly enough it was staffed by a pair of retirees, both from Michigan.
More Ozark scenery, as the road meanders through. These are beautiful, soft, well forested mountains, as opposed to the rough peaks of the west.
There is an almost tropical quality to the verdant growth in these hills.
This was our first real meal since breakfast. Our only other food of the day had been our custards at Ted Drewes. I never had a burger, and a bowl of chili taste so good. 
I had never heard of these places before, but I guess it is a fairly large chain. it is very much in the fifties style, but unlike most of the "retro' establishments, this is the genuine article. They have been in business since 1934.
Our rooms for the night. Days inn is generally a pretty nice place. This one was on the outskirts of the Branson area

Forward To the rest of Missouri, a bit of Kansas, and Oklahoma