The St. Louis Gateway Arch went up in Route 66's declining years. Completed in 1965, the quite extraordinary span (more elegant than Toronto’s intimidating CN Tower) commemorates America’s westward expansion.
I give in and go up.
I go up, but can’t get down, well, not for a while. It’s packed in the confined viewing area.
Eventually, a technician arrives.
Arch literature proudly touts the internal tram system as having been created in just two weeks. Perhaps they could have taken a little longer. Still, it is half a century old.
Returned to land, I flee to Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, where, if anything, the crowd’s bigger than at the top of the Arch. The stand has been on Route 66 since 1929.
Frozen custard: ' … must have at least 10% butterfat and 1.4% egg yolk. The amount of air, also known as overrun, truly separates frozen custard from traditional ice cream. Traditional ice cream has as much as 100% overrun, which causes ice crystals to form. Frozen custard has 20% overrun or less. This reduction of air is what give frozen custard its silky smooth texture.'
Technicalities aside, it is really, really good, despite rapidly melting in the Missouri heat. Instead of two, I should have had three scoops.
I admire the owner’s philosophy. He’ll never expand: ‘Franchising could lead to mediocrity.’ I also like that, for years come December, Ted Drewes sells not just any old Christmas trees, but balsam firs from Nova Scotia. Which is kind of surprising in a state with so many trees.
This nice lady is another Ted Drewes customer.