Greetings, friends! Due to preparing for our Alaska cruise and my procrastination (Mainly my procrastination!) I have fallen behind in updates of our Route 66 drive we began back in July. (https://cortlandwriter.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/our-route-66-adventure-has-begun/)
About the Route 66 road trip: Our plan is to leave our home here in northern Illinois and drive down to the St. Louis area and pick up where we left off from our Illinois Route 66 “day trips,” the subjects of these current posts. Now that we’re home from our magnificent journey to Alaska—and catching our breath—we’re in the midst of readying ourselves for the full drive along America’s Mother Road, beginning on September 13. I promise to be more consistent with posts along the way!
And so, without further ado, what follows is the continuation of our trek through the Illinois segment of Historic Route 66. Good to have you along for the ride!
Up and out on the road early, we made it back to where we left off on our journey of the Illinois portion of Historic Route 66, in Dwight, a 90-minute drive from our home near DeKalb, we were back on the Mother Road by 10 a.m.
Our first stop (after a potty break and coffee at McDonald’s!) was the Ambler-Becker Texaco gas station that dated back to 1932. The very kind and friendly lady who greeted us was very helpful in explaining the history of the station and its role in the Route 66 lore.
Down the road about six miles or so, we came into the town of Odell. The first thing that caused us to stop was the site of the old subway that is no longer in use. But back in the early days of the busy traffic on this route, it was necessary to build this tunnel under the road for the safety of all pedestrians.
A short distance away was the 1932 Standard Oil Filling Station. It was a perfect example of a “throwback” piece of Route 66’s earlier days. It’s a “must-see” stop for anyone traveling the route.
Just down the road, and off to our right, was an old barn advertising Meramec Caverns. How often we saw these barns in years past with this advertising.
Soon, we were getting hungry. To our good fortune, we were nearing Pontiac, the site of the Old Log Cabin Restaurant.
Originally opened in 1926 as a roadside lunchroom and gas station called the Log Cabin Inn, the rustic Old Log Cabin Restaurant hasn’t changed much over the years. Mother Road memorabilia covers the interior walls, which still have the original siding. I had a patty melt that I’d make the trip back for!
From there, we drove the short way into Pontiac and found the Route 66 Hall of Fame Museum. It is located in an old fire house and is attached to the old courthouse.
The museum is worth spending quite a bit of time in to enjoy the wonderful displays of words, artifacts, and photos to convey the story of the Mother Road.
And the wall murals all around the area are outstanding! Bob Waldmire’s iconic VW van is on display as well as his Ultimate Hippie RV Land Yacht. Anyone traveling Route 66 will surely learn about Bob and his role in the preservation of the Mother Road.
From there, we drove through towns of China, Lexington, and Toward, and were treated to sections of actual Route 66 pavement as we neared the Bloomington-Normal area, most of which wound through business and residential and downtown streets.
Once we made it to the south side of Bloomington, we left the route and made our way back to the interstate and drove the three hours back home.
We would pick up from Bloomington on our next day-trip. For now, though, we were tired and ready to call it a successful journey.
Next time: Bloomington to Staunton