Best Way to Mess with Out-of-Town Motorists - 2003
Tell them: "Follow Route 66 until you get to the stoplight at Route 66. Then take a right or left onto Route 66 -- or go straight until you get to Route 66." Route 66 is everywhere in St. Louis. Literally. Trekkin' west on Farty-Far? No, you're not -- you're really on Route 66. Heading into Lafayette Square in search of a chance encounter with a hottie walking a Dandie Dinmont terrier? She'll be sure to remind you that you're actually on Route 66, even if you've noticed the brown roadside insignia while en route. Why the ubiquity, you ask? Chalk this up to Route 66's eight varying alignments during its 1926-to-1985 run as an official U.S. highway. In essence, no matter what River City road you're on, odds are you're just a few stoplights away from the historic, pre-interstate strip of asphalt that has its own fan club and magazine. In a way, this is fitting. St. Louis, you see, is a city that has seen better days -- a forgotten town that peaked back when soda fountains and motels lined the mother road. Still, the serpentine stretch haunts us. And as for the tourist who asks how to find any notable edifice from the original Ted Drewes to Six Flags, just tell the schmo to head on down Route 66 and turn when he gets to Route 66. For living in a town that has taken more than its share of lumps over the years, we're entitled to a hyper-snooty inside joke or two.