Route 66

The stretch of old Route 66 running through Lebanon (pop. 14,709) holds more than its fair share of sights, so make sure you slow down and soak it all in. The most worthwhile but easiest-to-miss sight is the excellent Route 66 Museum (915 S. Jefferson St., 417/532-2148), tucked away inside the Lebanon-Laclede County Public Library, next door to the Ritz 8 Cineplex. Here the whole history of the U.S. highway systems is conveyed through maps, postcards, promotional posters, and life-size dioramas. The stretch of old Route 66 running from the museum along the north side of I-44 holds the marvelous Munger Moss Motel (1336 E. Route 66, 417/532-3111, $45), where Ramona Lehman and family have been offering clean rooms, a swimming pool, and a wonderful neon sign since 1946. Across from the Munger Moss is a bowling alley with a snack bar and a set of batting cages (5 cents a pitch!), making it a perfect Route 66 destination.

Follow Elm Street (old Route 66) east from downtown Lebanon, past the Munger Moss and along the north side of I-44 to two more highlights. On weekend nights, noisy NASCAR stock cars race around the asphalt oval of the Lebanon I-44 Speedway (417/532-2060, $12).