My Friend AbeSeptember 11, 2016 in the United States
Alright, please forgive me. I will be working from memory, which is quite poor, considering my lack of updates... My attempt at defending myself is I've been fighting a cold (I can't figure out who to blame, Jack who came back with the back-end of a cold, or my sister Gen for having the same symptoms as me) and so everytime we pull over for the night, all I can think of is sleeping... On/off Tylenol for what I assume is a low grade fever, I haven't really felt like pushing back sleep to type. But! Feeling good tonight! Let's do this.
We woke up in our car, completely alone in the truck parking lot, in Dwight, IL. The luxury life of sleeping in a car kicks in - bring out the wet wipes, brush your teeth with bottled water, spitting in the grass... hope your deodorant lasts for the day. My beautiful locks pulled back into my "man-bun" considering unwashed overnight curls are a horrific site to see (refer to my morning selfie on facebook).
Jumped right back onto Route 66 where first stop was an old Amber-Becker Texaco Gas station, complete with a cool make-pretend set up inside the station with an old car, memorabilia from the 40-50s, and even a button to press with a voice-over head about the town and the station's history. This was the first, and far from the last old style gas stations along the route. Just down the block was the perfect spot for breakfast - Old Route 66 Family Restaurant, with a dizzying amount of Route 66 memorabilia filling the dinning room. It seems like half the fun of going down 66 is seeing just how proud people are of being on it... or just how much they want to use the promotion of being an "original Route 66 diner".
Probably more for my enjoyment then yours, I'll continue by listing off everything we did and saw, starting with the town name, simply because I want to remember it all ! You can skip through whatever you want, and I'll elaborate where I feel the inspiration to do so.
Standard Oil Filling Station - this station is the image used for Illinois' Route 66. It is the "gem" of the IL portion, a perfectly restored station, again with a magical talking button. The restoration, like many along the route, was done by volunteers.
Historic Subway Tunnel - You have to try and imagine a time, where in 1910, route 66 was the only road to take, it was the only option. Apparently the traffic on the route was bumper to bumper through many small towns, like Odell. They had to build (or dig) a tunnel underneath the route for people to safely cross the street and get to church and school (the only 2 buildings in town!). In the 15-20 minutes Jack and I spent parked in this "town center", we saw 3 cars, one of which also stopped to admire the station (fellow 66 tourist). The interstates literally transformed these towns from having non stop, bumper to bumper traffic, to having one car pass every 2 minutes. Mind blown.
Bob Waldmire's Land yacht - why not? The man had a bus. He had a boat. He combined the two for a ridiculous looking road boat thing. I'd live in something like that in a heart beat. Everything a girl needs.
Murals were painted throughout town. They even give a map outlining a route to see them all. Great, huge walldogs (I learned a new word!).
Route 66 Association of Illinois and Hall of Fame Museum - This is what I wanted !!! This is what I envisioned from 66. This tiny, jam-packed "Hall of Fame" museum had everything from old stop lights, to a VW van from a route 66 travel guide writer, to photographs, to plaques for "Joy Henderson, Archie's Standard Service Station Owner and Operator, The best friend your car ever had", and more! Completed of course by a wonderful little old lady asking you to sign her guest book. With pleasure!
Pontiac Automobile Museum - Why does Pontiac have a museum on Pontiacs? For obvious reasons! It was perfect.
Old Route 66 Walkway
Court House Square - Bloomington was our first experience with what we soon discovered is a common town set-up for IL. In all small towns, route 66 goes into the town and into the town square. And in every town square, there was a beautiful, usually government or museum type building, with a surrounding square of older styled brick store fronts. This town has a ridiculously beautiful State Courts building: why a town like this needs such a ornamental, large building for what is now a museum on Abe Lincoln, no one knows. But this was beginning of the Abe Lincoln obsession. Illinois had, what I think, is unhealthy obsession with American flags and Abe Lincoln. The flags never diminished, but the Abe references eventually did.
Sugar Creek Nature Reserve - I thought this road trip was about sitting in my car, doing nothing, having things to look at through the window. But Jack being Jack, we went for a walk in this nature reserve. The sun has been bright and beaming pretty much since we've left, and this was no exception. That being said, it wasn't until we started walking that I realized how nice it was to get a good breath of fresh air, away from the road side. This was a welcomed break from the streets and car sounds and smells.
Dixie Plaza (original truck stop)
Arcadia - You have to understand the mind set here - there's a town square. And in this town square, there are about 10 total establishments. By that I mean there were a total of 4 building, but large ones with multiple business fronts... I would say about 3 of them were actually inhabited, the others bordered shut. 1 of those 3 inhabited central establishments - an arcade of course! Full of old classic games like Pinball and Pac-Man. Had myself a blast ! Although I won't lie, I died in all of 2 minutes in pacman...
Smileyface Water tower - photo op !
Palm's Grill Cafe - It closed 5 mins before we arrived, at 5.05pm. The beginning of what seems like an ongoing run of bad luck for business hours. When one is on a road trip, one has no control over the time at which one is in such area. Having business hours of 1pm to 5pm isn't ideal. This cafe was meant to be our food stop, we've been trying to avoid big chains in favor of diners, especially those with a cash machine from the 20's! Ah well, too bad.
Bunyon Giant - Town of 1600 people, tiny little rural town. What does it need? The second Bunyon giant, holding a hot-dog of course ! The hands seemed like he was once holding the axe he is known for, but apparently someone looked at him and said "A lumberjack with an axe? No, no, a hotdog, a hotdog is what he needs".
Telephone booth on City Hall - That's exactly what it is. A telephone booth, four glass walls and accordion doors and all, on the roof top of old City Hall. Why not? That seems to be my favorite response on this route, why not?
Logan County Court House - We didn't go in, but this was where Abe Lincoln worked as a lawyer. And the obsession continues. There's portraits on a bunch of the business fronts, wall murals, the whole shabang.
Fairland Dinner - Ice cream !!!
Illinois State Fair Grounds - Why have state fair grounds so huge when it only runs once a year? Why not! Why include a 30ft tall Abe Lincoln statue? Why not?
Lincoln's Tomb - This place looked like a museum, massive marble building size of a tomb. I expect nothing less for mine.
Illinois State Capitol - To be honest, it was very fancy and ornamental, but it's building style is the same as every other town's state Capitol, big rectangular building with a dome high in the middle. White house, state capitols, all the same.
Original Service Station 66
Lauderbach Giant - holding a flag of course. Still not an axe. Nor a tire despite being in front of a tire shop. No, an American flag. 'MERICA!
Original Route 66 brick paved road - the town got together to try to find a way to insert themselves in the list of places to see along the route 66... So they restored a portion of the road to it's original red bricks. Pretty cool feeling.
Memorial to union workers
Burial site of K-9 police dog - So unlike the other towns where their center squares revolve around a building, this one revolved around a park. In this park was the memorial, but more importantly, the burial site of a police K-9, complete with a beautifully engraved portrait of this brave police officer. His name was Mike.
Whirl-A-Whip Ice cream
We slept on the side streets of Girard's main square. Probably about 5 cars around this square. With our drapes, we're pretty good at not being noticed, and we did just that, stayed unnoticed. *evil laugh*
Wow this was long, I'll make the next one shorter...Read more