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 Friday: August 8, 2003 - On our way to Chicago

We were off to what I considered a late start this morning. 7:45am. Even though it was late, it was still overcast in West Milford. I really wanted to get "on the road" by 7am. But it worked out okay as we pulled into our first scheduled stop in Fremont, Indiana shortly after 6pm. I can't believe we drove 638 miles today. No construction, no delays, no accidents, no complaints. The CB helped pass the time quite a bit. We even passed a "Roush Racing Truck" probably on its way to Brooklyn, Michigan for next weeks NASCAR race. We're at the Jellystone campground/resort in Fremont. It's a huge campground, 400+ spaces, almost all full. We are already meeting some very interesting people, including Darryl Bildner of Michigan, who has a very unique Harley Davidson that he uses in parades, dressed as "Uncle Sam".

 We're still about 150 miles from Chicago and the start of "Historic Route 66", but still expect to have breakfast at Lou Mitchell's tomorrow, mid morning. The time difference is already starting to confuse us. Even though we haven't crossed a time zone yet, Indiana does not observe Daylight Savings Time so we're already an hour off. Please visit the picture page for today. I've included a picture of our map on the trailer that shows where we've been on prior trips and hope to add "several" states this trip.


 Saturday: August 9, 2003 - Illinois

Chicago was a bit of a disappointment to me. Partially my fault, just leaving the campground at a very late 9:15am. We ran into construction leaving Indiana and getting on the Chicago Skyway, which really slowed us down. Of course, just like 3 years ago on our way to the Midwest, Chicago was cloudy, overcast and smoggy. We could barely make out the top of the Sears Tower. We made it to Lou Mitchell's around 12:30pm. Even if we wanted to stop at this late hour for breakfast, I couldn't find any place to park. The town was just too busy for me, and it was just too fast paced. Couldn't wait to get out of Chicago. A few minutes later, we were at the official start of Historic Route 66 at Adams and Michigan.

Traveling out of Chicago on Ogden Ave, I found a sign where I could pull over safely and get my picture taken next to a Route 66 sign. I do recall going thru Douglas Park but could not locate many of the other establishments mentioned in many a Route 66 literature. From what I understand, more and more of them are disappearing. Next stop would be the speedways in Joliet.

From the road, we could hear the drag races at Route 66 Speedway. Every so often for about 10-12 seconds, all you could hear was the sound of open headers racing down the track. Chicagoland Speedway was pretty much locked up tight but we did get a picture of the Tropicana 400 pace car. After leaving Joliet, I stopped to take a picture of the Gemini Giant outside The Launching Pad restaurant. We then stopped next door and chatted for awhile with Thomas Lambert of Lambert's Racing Fanatics, picking up a few miscellaneous NASCAR items and finding out that many people stopping in his store are diehard Earnhardt fans. Thanks for the hat, Tom.

Passing the Exelon Nuclear Plant, I was told to get down the road as quickly as possible. Traveling down IL53, marked Historic Route 66, You can see an old alignment just to right with grass growing up thru the cracks in the concrete. A little bit further to the right in the same picture, you can see the hustle and bustle of Interstate 55 which replaced old 66.

On to Odell and we stopped at the Standard Oil Gas Station, which was originally built in 1932 and restored in 1999, and snapped some more pictures. Illinois does not have many campgrounds and we started getting concerned about finding a campground soon, without having to drive several more hours to Springfield IL. We stopped for gas and found out there was a campground in El Paso IL and we headed towards Hickory Hills. Sorry Hickory Hills, but I don't remember ever having this much difficulty getting our camper level.

"At this point, I would like to commend the Illinois Route 66 Association for maintaining the markers as well as they do. To this point, it appears as if only 1 marker from Chicago to Pontiac is currently missing."

Today's Pictures


 Sunday: August 10, 2003 - Illinois/Missouri

I'm starting to get used to local time, so when we began this morning at 9:00 am EDT (8 am local) I didn't think it was all that late. More later. In the meantime, feel free to look at.........

Today's Pictures


 Monday: August 11, 2003 - Missouri

We broke camp this morning around 9:15 am EDT and headed up to Meramec Caverns leaving the trailer at the campground till we got back. We were the first people on the tour this morning. Ron thought it was fantastic. "Home Run", he said. We both feel this is the BIGGEST cavern we've been into.

The rest of the day was pretty much spent just cruising' the old sections of Route 66. Going thru Cuba, we did see the Wagon Wheel Motel. One thing I found interesting about Cuba was the murals that were painted on the sides of various buildings. This was never mentioned in any of the Route 66 material that I have read. It appears to be a series of murals about the history of Cuba. I have included several on the pictures page along with the plaques attached to them. The one that depicts Al West was on a wall facing Route 66 and did not have a plaque attached like the others. However, Al West was Mayor of Cuba from 1946 to 1958.

It may not be big by today's standards, but Hooker's Cut was the deepest rock cut during it's time. We somehow missed the turn for Devil's Elbow. Traveling thru Lebanon, a picture of the Munger Moss Motel was taken. It certainly did look inviting and if we were looking for a room for the night, I feel this is definitely the place we would stay.

Growing a little road weary, I decided to just get on the Interstate and head for Carthage where we knew there were several campgounds. We decided to stay at the Precious Moments campground. For those into collectibles, this is definitely a stop you do not want to miss. The campgounds are on the site of the "Precious Moments Chapel". Along with several other Precious Moments display. Very inspiring. Do not miss it...

Today's Pictures


 Tuesday: August 12th, 2003 - Missouri/Kansas/Oklahoma

Wow. Three states today. I think we got spoiled going thru Illinois. That state was great with all the Historic signs. Missouri at this point was the toughest state to keep track of Route 66. Kansas wasn't too bad (all 13.2 miles). Oklahoma to this point is pretty straight forward, but more signs to reassure the traveller they are still on 66 would be better.

Learn more about the murals in Cuba, Missouri

The town hall in Carthage was definitely a site. I just had to take a picture of the barber shop going into Joplin. Once we got on the old alignment going into Kansas, I had goosebumps when I saw Route 66 painted into the road. Although there was only 13.2 miles in Kansas, there was still alot to see. I almost missed Eisler's because I blinked at the wrong time, but I did manage to get several pics of the Rainbow Curve Bridge.

After leaving Miama, Oklahoma I picked up a real old portion of 66 that just had a 9 ft wide pavement. This was just too much for us and got off as soon as I could. Don't get me wrong, it was a blast being on this part of old 66' but was just too rough a road. When we hit Foyil, I had to stop at the Totem Pole Park 4 miles off the highway. The gift shop/museum is only open from 11-3 but for once, we hit it at the right time. Our next picture shoot would be at the Blue Whale.

After almost running out of gas, I had to detour down 177 to I40 before I wanted to. When I finally found a gas station, it became apparent that I only had about a half gallon left in the tank and couldn't have made it much further.

At the KOA  just outside of Oklahoma City, we were excited about being able to add yet another sticker to the trailer on our map of the states that we have been to...

Today's Pictures


 Wednesday: August 13th, 2003 - Oklahoma/Texas

More of a travel day than anything else. From this point on much of the old 66 is now Interstate 40. We spent a good part of the morning walking around the Memorial at the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Another must see if you're doing Route 66. In going up to Geary I missed a turn to get back down to I-40 and wound up setting us back about an hour or so. The picture at the right is of the first (restored) Philips 66 Station in McLean. Then on to Amarillo, passing the largest cross in the Western Hemisphere. Looking forward to exploring Amarillo in the morning and then on to New Mexico.

(Doesn't mean we didn't take any, just didn't feel like posting any today.)


 Thursday: August 14th, 2003 - Texas/New Mexico

Today's Pictures


 Friday: August 15th, 2003 - Williams, Arizona

I apologize for not haveing updated this site the last few days. Hopefully I will get to it tomorrow. We are in Williams for two days. Tomorrow morning we plan on going to the Grand Canyon and then catching the activities in Williams tomorrow afternoon. Annual Twisters Cruise is supposed to big. Some really neat cars pulling into the campgrounds tonight. Enough for now and look for some updates tomorrow night.

Today's Pictures


 Saturday: August 16th, 2003 - All activities from Willims AZ

The Grand Canyon this morning and the car show in Williams in the afternoon.

Today's Pictures


 Sunday: August 17th, 2003 - Arizona/California


 Monday: August 18th, 2003 - Needles to Santa Monica

We left Needles this morning in 90 degree weather. Getting back on the Interstate, I knew we would be entering L.A. by days end. At least half the day, we were on Route 66 rather than the Interstate. Two memorable stops were Roy's Cafe in Amboy (population 20), and the Bagdad Cafe in Newberry Springs where I met and shook hands with General Bob (no pictures allowed). He looked at all the pins on my hat and said I had more medals than he did.

Getting closer to L.A. we ran along the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. What a beautiful site. And then at last. Santa Monica Blvd. The "Hollywood" sign on the mountain top was a site to see, but we didn't get close enough to get a good picture of. And then....

Santa Monica Blvd and Ocean Ave. And the Will Rogers plaque, what's considered the END of Route 66. It was about 4pm and it was difficult to find a parking space because we still had the trailer at the back of the Jeep. We checked into the campsite (right on the ocean), had something to eat, and made it back to Santa Monica right after Sunset.

Next stop - Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam.



email: ron at rhenion dot com


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