This morning we got up and headed out to Eckert’s Farm for breakfast. it’s not technically on Route 66, but it’s SO worth a side trip. We stopped in here to pick strawberries the last time we were in St. Louis. I was still pregnant with Lia then. We loved it so much, we decided to stop in on this trip. So we headed in for pancakes and french toast, then made a quick stop in the country store to pick up some apple butter.
After breakfast, we headed to St. Louis so we could jump back on Route 66. We stopped at the famous Ted Drewes Frozen Custard stand, but unlucky for us, they were still closed. I guess ice cream at 10:30 am is too early. Since it was too early for lunch as well, we also passed up Fitz’s American Grill & Bottling Works. We’ll be making a weekend trip to St. Louis sometime soon, so hopefully we can catch those next time around.
Most of the rest of Missouri was pretty boring. We stopped at a few historic landmarks grab a few photos, like the Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, MO and Route 66 Motors in Rolla, MO. I was a little sad that the gift shop was closed.
When we got to Buckhorn, MO we were excited to make it to Lebanon, MO so we could go to Ha Ha Tonka State Park. Then I realized that Ha Ha Tonka is actually in Camdenton, MO which is about an hour away. We figured, what the heck, we haven’t even done much today. So we headed down there.
We had a great time at Ha Ha Tonka! We only had time to see the castle, but that’s really the only reason we went. After we spent some time swordfighting in front of the castle, we headed to Lebanon and hopped back on Route 66 to Springfield, MO.
Things I learned today:
1. My kids really love fruits and veggies. They were more excited to buy cantaloupe & carrots at the Eckert’s country store than they are to get M&M’s at the gas station.
2. Lia loves to sleep. I remember taking a road trip when Ava was Lia’s age (the St. Louis one). Ava refused to nap and screamed most of the way there. When you ask Lia if she is ready for a nap, she says, “Yep. Paci. Gockie (blankie).” And then she goes to sleep.
3. There is a reason that it costs more to buy something that says ‘Route 66’ on it. It’s because people like me are happy to pay extra just to see the ‘Route 66’ mark.
4. Changing a poopy diaper in my lap in the car is hard. Especially when Lia is trying to reach the balloon that Ava is playing with in the backseat.
5. Max likes to share. Or so he informed me when we got M&M’s at the gas station and I told him he would have to share with Lia.
6. Lia has multiple ways of saying yes. They include yeah, yep, yah, yes (with a slight lisp at the end so it sounds more like yesth), and of course, no.
7. Cows, trains, and airplanes are extremely exciting. What I mean by that of course is that everytime we pass one of these, the kids start screaming “cow!” “train!” or “airplane!”.
Eckert’s Farm 5 stars – This place is a family favorite, even though this was only our second visit. We headed down here for breakfast and found out, lucky us, kids eat free on Thursday. We first feasted on their ‘appetizer’ of fried Pillsbury biscuits dipped in farm fresh apple butter. Then we dined on pancakes and french toast… Yum! They even have a little cubby with toys for the kids and no one working there glared at me when my kids were screaming. After breakfast we popped into their store to pick up some of their amazing apple butter. I love this place and wish it was closer to home. Last time we visited, they asked us to send them our photos so they could use them for marketing. Note to Eckert’s Farm : We will gladly trade photos for apple butter 🙂
Route 66 Motors Rolla, MO 3 stars – This place was really cool and had lots of vintage cars out front. I was a little disappointed though that the guy working there went inside to take a phone call and stayed on the phone the entire time we were there. He never even acknowledged our presence. AND, the gift shop was closed. On a Thursday at 2 pm.
Ha Ha Tonka State Park Castle 5 stars – We were nervous that this might not be as cool as it sounds. It turns out we had no reason to be nervous because this place was super cool! It’s the ruins of an old castle built in the early 1900’s. You can’t go inside (for safety sake), but you can walk around outside. There was parking close by and it was a fairly short walk up to the castle. This was the one thing the kids were excited for all day and it didn’t disappoint.
EconoLodge Springfield, MO – 4 stars – Clean, quiet, fairly spacious. Fast WiFi and free breakfast. And Choice Hotels has a deal going on right now that if you stay 2 nights, you get 1 free. I’m hoping to cash in our free nights later in the trip!

Mmm… fried biscuits and apple butter… Lia loved the mini shopping cart at Eckert’s store. You can see it was just her size! Yes, I actually make that face. I can’t believe it either. Lia talking on the phone to Ee. She’s saying, “Moo!”


  • I love reading y’alls blog and looking at your pics. Y’all make taking a road trip w/ kids sound easy lol. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to take that long of a road trip. The farthest we’ve gone as a family is Omaha, NE. Maybe some day, tho cuz we all want to travel hehe.

  • We hope you can make it back to Cuba, MO when the Wagon Wheel Gift Shoppe is open. We also have 12 outdoor murals and the Guinness World’s Largest Rocking Chair 42′ tall, and some good places to eat.

  • Do you remember going to Ha Ha Tonka State Park when you were kids? Robert saw a badger on the hill and we stopped at Osage Beach and went through the Hall of Mirrors. Remember the “sumo jenny, robbie, and kerry”? Along with Mom and Grandma and Mom of course. We also took a ride on the Tom Sawyer, paddlewheeler around Lake of the Ozarks.

  • On behalf of the Eckert family, I would like to thank you for sharing your experience at Eckert’s! We truly love to read our customer’s experiences!! As a thank you for including us in your blog, we would like to offer your family a gift certificate good for one child’s admission to a Mommy & Me Cooking Class or one Kid’s Cooking Class of your choice and a coupon good for up to 4 free kid’s meals. In addition, since you have created a link to our website,, I would be happy to send you a $5.00 Eckert gift certificate. Please email me your address and I will get those items out to you right away. Thanks again for sharing your Eckert’s experience and we hope you decide to come down and see us again soon!
    Keep Smiling!

  • On the way back, don’t forget about Hooker’s Cut!!
    I love how MODoT has put up the Route 66 By-Way signs…I live about a block and a half from Dunn Rd, and there’s a new blue-and-white sign right there on the roadside. I used to live 3 blocks from Watson Rd (MO 366 now), and if you come back through St. Louis around dinner, there’s a great kid-friendly pizza place right on old 66: Happy Joe’s Pizza and Ice Cream.
    Have a great trip!!

  • Ha Ha Tonka is my FAVORITE place in Missiouri!! And it’s currently only about 10 minutes from where I live…I wish I’d have known ya’ll were gonna be here then; I would have totally met you out there. I miss you guys, hope I get to see you soon.

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