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Ride across the river August 30, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Bicycling, Bridges.
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A cyclist takes us all the way across the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis, which once carried Route 66 over the Mississippi River. It’s now open to pedestrians and cyclists only.

In it, you’ll see the St. Louis skyline in the distance, the water intake towers, and several Route 66-related displays.

The cyclist is sucking wind in parts of the video, but the bridge remains deceptively steep in parts.

Bible journey is back on the road August 29, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Religion.
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After a summer hiatus, the “Route 66: A Road Trip through the Bible” is back this week, with an entry from the first book of John.

It shows once again why folks nowadays don’t pick up hitchhikers.

Missouri Hick Bar-B-Que damaged by fire August 28, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Restaurants.

The popular Missouri Hick Bar-B-Que restaurant along Route 66 in Cuba, Mo., was severely damaged in a fire late Saturday or early Sunday, according varying accounts from Cuba residents on Facebook.

The restaurant isn’t historic, but remains notable for its hillbilly-style cedar decor and furniture, in addition to its much-praised barbecue. It’s a prime example of a relatively news establishment that’s embraced the Mother Road’s old-time quirkiness and hospitality.

It’s been listed for years on the Route 66 Dining and Lodging Guide, and is a member of the Route 66 Association of Missouri.

The Missouri Hick also sits just east of the historic and restored Wagon Wheel Motel. Its overnight guests often ate their supper there.

Here’s a video shot last year about the Missouri Hick, during the Route 66 by the Cars for a Grand folks:

I’ll track down more information about the blaze and post it here …

UPDATE: A blog post by Jane Reed at Cuba Murals had some details about the fire at Dennis Meiser’s restaurant:

A group of dispirited employess were sitting on the front porch. Doors to the building were propped open. Other than telling me not to go into the building, they didn’t have much to say. It was plain that the fire had saddened them. One employee said that the fire department may have been alerted by the fire alarm system during the middle of the night. No employees were on site when the fire started, and Meiser had been out of town. The employees said that he was on his way back to Cuba.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that while both floors of the dining areas are smoke-damaged, they are intact. The outside of the building on the front and sides look about the same. Most of the damage was in the kitchen although the front door was cracked.

We have not talked to the fire department or Dennis, but we hope this popular eatery is soon reopened.

Reed also posted some photos from the fire scene. The damage to the restaurant is not readily apparent. So perhaps the Missouri Hick will reopen quickly after repairs are made.

UPDATE 8/31/2011: The Cuba Free Press posted a report. An alert state trooper on patrol saw the fire in its early stages, thus preventing it from becoming a lot more damaging.

Fire officials think the restaurant could reopen within 30 days.

UPDATE 9/21/2011: Meiser said today the restaurant would reopen by mid- to late October.

UPDATE 10/24/2011: Missouri Hick Bar-B-Que has reopened. Here’s the report from the Cuba Murals blog.

Food magazine devotes entire issue to Route 66 August 28, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Books, Food, Magazines, Restaurants, Road trips, Web sites.

Popular Plates magazine is devoting its current issue to food and restaurants along Route 66. This particular magazine boasts the added cachet of employing Michael and Jane Stern, authors of the popular “Roadfood” book and website, as the editors.

The magazine is 96 pages and costs $9.99. It will be on sale at bookstores and other retailers (I found it Saturday in a grocery) through Oct. 3.

The magazine’s content includes a forward written by the Sterns, a history and overview of Route 66, 12 must-stop dining places on the Mother Road, an advertorial about a trip on Route 66 in three General Motors vehicles, specific food specialties from Chicago to Los Angeles, and more than 75 recipes inspired by Route 66’s regions.

The last part contains how-to-make instructions on cowboy caviar, Navajo lamb and hominy chili, horseshoe sandwiches, buttermilk pie, and even an old-fashioned beer-battered brain sandwich.

The magazine is sprinkled with short sidebar stories about Route attractions. And the photography is gorgeous and even scrumptious. I nearly groaned with hunger when I saw a close-up image of a slice of Texas pecan pie.

An inside look at Popular Plates' Route 66 issue.

Some of the content from the Route 66 issue can be found online here. But the dead-tree issue is worth your money and time — especially with longtime road warriors such as the Sterns guiding the way.

You also can order the Route 66 issue from Popular Plates here.

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