Thursday, July 2, 2015

Route 66 - Part I

Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas,
New Mexico, Arizona, California

Get your kicks in 8 states, on Route 66!

I watched Route 66 on TV as a kid, and later on the new digital TV channels as an adult. It makes you want to explore. I asked my bride if she would like to take at trip down Route 66, and she enthusiastically said yes! However, only if we could bring Bubba, our dog. So we did.

Realize, we were taking this trip sort of spur of the moment. We planned to take the trip. We just did not know when. With the 4th of July weekend coming up we chose to go, and to extend the holiday weekend into a 5-day trip. This roughly calculated we could get to Tulsa and back. Whether it would execute that way we had know idea. No hotel reservations for us and Bubba. We chose to start at Joliet, IL, South side of Interstate 80, and go as far as we could (and back) within the 5-days.

We did buy maps and books for Route 66 earlier in the year. As I stated, the decision when to leave was spur of the moment. We were aware of the different Route 66 roads to take. We wanted to stay true to the oldest, that which was designated Route 66 back in 1926. When it was not available, we traveled the 1926-1930 route, and if not that, the latest one from 1930-1985. Note that the milestone for this is 1938, where it was finally reported as being fully paved. One stretch we traveled felt like we were driving on the original paved! Ouch.

Why connect Chicago to Los Angeles? I am not exactly sure why. Perhaps it made more sense to build the first interregional link, or national highway, between these two great cities, linking the rural communities with it along the way. The rural communities are was makes this. Not that we build the road. That we connected communities to it.

That is pretty much how we did it. We made it to Tusla, stopping at each unknown along the way to site see and photograph. We actually made it to Tulsa a few hours ahead of plan, so we did our thing of site seeing and taking photos. Then we headed home that same day, stopping in Missouri at night. Glad we did, because when we passed Cuba, MO on the way back, I saw something I could not pass up. We spent a lot of time there looking, and we still made it home in the evening.

The photos below were taken by both Christi and I. To ease the review of photos, tagging, and uploading, they were done as one batch with my name on the tag. Do know, the better photos are from Christi. My humble opinion.

This first photo of the Blues Brother's car was taken on Rt. 53, just South if I-80.

Bubba, like most dogs, enjoys traveling with the wind in his face. The photo below is one of the lease interesting shots. He really likes hanging one arm outside the car while supporting with the other. Stretching his head around the A-pillar of the car. Like a dog that has places to go.

Our first "planned" stop was to see the Gemini Giant, and the Launching Pad drive-in restaurant, on Rt. 53 in Wilmington. This was on Christi's list to do. Unfortunately the cafe was closed and up for sale I think.

Traveling down Route 66 was very relaxing. Somewhat a throwback in time to what I consider better days. Things go timeless to a point, including what catches your eye, at least for me on this trip. One site I did not see, that Christi saw, was this dinosaur. My dad worked at Sinclair Research, in Harvey, IL, testing engines with different fuels and lubricants. The symbol of Dino stuck with me through all the years. Christi was aware of that and proudly pointed out I passed this up. So I turned around to photograph it. It is located just down the road on Rt. 53, from the Gemini Giant in Wilmington.

Another stop that was on Christi's list. The Pok-a-Dot Drive In also on Rt. 53, in Braidwood. (22 N. Front St.)

Bubba saw the figures on both sides of the building as we drove around, and he growled. We did not go inside.

I have to hand it to Illinois. Illinois had the best marked routes, and site markings. There was very little in Missouri. Very little to see too.

A lion water fountain. Not sure if the little kids get a kick out of that or not. I know Bubba did not want any part of it. One sniff at the large tooth and he was done.

Gardner's first jail. A one door jail for 2 prisoners. Built in 1906.

Bubba breaking out of jail and leaving the mommy behind (photo below). Funny thing, though not so funny to Christi, I had a hard time re-opening the jail door. I had to force it shut for the photo. Note: Lift up on the door to open!

Outside the jail was an interesting looking cafe. It was not open. Had a lot of wear on the outside, however, kept up for the tourists. The inside was pretty cool. I had to photograph through the windows.

I asked Christi to take a photo of this for me. Reminded me of the camper we use to take camping.

Bubba did not settle in and sleep in the car too much. He got bored when we had to roll the window up (because of car speed). He jumped to attention and ran to the window when we were able to open it.

Passing through town we notices a street with pavers, so I stopped to photograph. There was actually a street sweeper cleaning this street just before the photo.

Pontiac, IL, turned out to be a pretty nice town to photograph. We are going to make plans to come back and take more time looking around.

As I wrote, one can get relaxed, in a zone, traveling down Route 66. This used car lot was around a bend in the road. I briefly questioned to go back or not to photograph, because it was not a historic Route 66 site. Split second later we were cutting back through the neighborhood to go back.

Some interesting and nice cars here. I remember thinking that the car clubs in NW Indiana and Chicago would love to get there hands on these. I get first dibs.

Though not old enough for me, Christi liked this little blue car on the lot.

Christi also likes the old pickup trucks like this. So do I. I can picture Bubba hanging out of this one, and driving.

When Bubba first saw this guy, he took a couple steps back, then with head down he sniffed as he stepped closer. He was not sure of this big guy.

World's largest covered wagon, as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records, is located near historic Route 66 in the town of Lincoln. IL.

The first day, we made it to Springfield, IL, and had to stop and sleep. On the way in, we saw this donuts shop and wanted to go back in the morning. Ha, closed and for sale.

Realize to, I just said we made it to Springfield, IL from Joliet. A lot of stops in between. I was planning we would have been near St. Louis at this point in the trip.

Photos taken through the window. A lot of Route 66 vintage stuff inside. Pretty cool looking.

The Bushby mobile that we are traveling down Route 66 in. Maybe Bubba thinks he's a hamster. Might explain why he hangs his arm out the window looking forward.

We had the thought we would stop at all the fire hydrants we could find when Bubba needed to go. Did not always work that way. Here is one photo.

We saw a sign for a covered bridge, so we took a quick detour to see it. I had never seen one, that I could recall. I think Bubba had a lot of fun, as you will see in a couple photos.

Rain nor sleet nor mud will stop the Bubba from going everywhere to sniff out new adventures, as he displays his muddy feet.

Christi saw these bluffs and birds, and said stop. So I did.

We stopped for the night, and I went out to Jack In The Box for food. Bubba was waiting, patiently, for Jack to jump out of the box. Never happened. He was disappointed.

Looked like a very relaxing do nothing else today place to be, so I photographed it. If I could just go sit there now . . .


Okay, Cuba, Missouri. Still, a very nice town to tour through. Lots of heritage here. More outdoor wall murals than I have ever seen in one town!

Bubba enjoying the view of me taking photos. This photo by Christi.

What is cool about the murals in Cuba, is the history they post for you to read.

Be sure, too, to look both directions when you travel through Cuba. There is always a mural behind you somewhere!

The rocking chair, built in 2008. Not just any old rocking chair chair. The chair. So big you do not see Bubba relieving himself.  Located at the Fanning 66 Outpost in Cuba, MO.

If the above photo makes you laugh, read the labels on the next few photos (you can click on the photo to enlarge) . . .

Do not let this new looking bridge fool you. The roughest travel on Old Route 66 was after this bridge.

One real cool and old Steak n' Shake, with car hops!!! Springfield, MO.

Passed this wall and thought of our friend Lou Shields, and had to take a picture of it. Lou is a skilled musician and artist, who also skate boards. One cool guy.

This place was cool. However, closed on Sunday's. So I photographed over the fence.

This is where Bubba chose to jump out of the car and go for his own private run. Talk about panic. Fortunate for all of us, he stopped when he realized he did something wrong. Christi still had her wits about her after this, and took these photos.

Bubba trying out a new fire hydrant.

Then out of the blue, taking the older of the Route 66 roads, we passed this. We looked at each other and said "no way". No, it is not the one from the movie. However, this farmer build one in the middle of what appears to be nowhere. Beautiful!

We drove by this next spot when it was closing. The gentlemen running it asked me to come in, as he explained the history that includes Bonnie and Clyde. Apparently Bonnie grew up here for a few years of her younger life. She returned about a week before they both were shot down. The story told to me was that they drove up the road and off into the ditch. A police officer went to investigate and was shot down by them.

Bubba happily watching me get wet in the rain while taking photos. Nice to be inside a dry car, huh Bubba . . .

This older theater was very nice looking. Wished it was later in the day so that we could have gone in to look around.

Another day, another rocking chair. Though this one Christi and Bubba could sit in for a photograph.

Because Bubba's best enjoyment is sniffing things, Christi introduced him to some flowers to smell, and decorated him with one. If he only new . . .

Well advertised, and probably the one place you REALLY want to go in and check out. This was the best collection of cars I have ever seen. Yes, there may be better, but still nothing like these Packards!!!

Not everything was a Packard in this show room. Though they were the majority.

Will Rogers museum. Of course, closed because it is Sunday. I will tell you one thing, driving down Route 66 on a Sunday is very appealing when in towns like this. Very little traffic.

Another stop on the Christi list . . . you probably are getting the idea now who the kid is in the family.

The flags represent each state that Route 66 passes through.

Bubba, waiting on dad taking photos.

Waiting on dad again . . .

Home! Bubba was so tuckered out, he went straight to his bed glary-eyed, not wanting to move from that spot for a couple days.

Our next trip may be to complete the leg from Chicago to this trips starting point. Then, plan a trip that will start in Tulsa and go West. In all, the trip was very enjoyable, relaxing. A through back to times past that we remembered as a child. Simpler times for sure.

It is nice to see our past before it can no longer be seen, in that current state anyway. Yes, we saw some areas on the route built up for tourism. Others, as they were in the day, with some up keep along the way.

Trips like this have a way of cleansing your mind of the current hectic pace. It puts things in perspective on what is important. Our mind, our body, what we want to cherish in the long run, is what is important. I am also glad to have done this with Christi, who enjoyed is just as much as I did, if not more. Trips like this build the relationship.

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