A Road Trip on Route 66

Summer is the season for road trips, and we have several planned.  The inspiration for these came from a National Parks website for shared heritage travel. I like the variety of themed itineraries on this site, and plan to come back for more tips. If you're someone who enjoys learning something on a vacation, this is for you.

This weekend we did the Illinois Route 66 trip, though we deviated a bit from the itinerary to include more places because we used the state brochure for the route also. Much of our drive was actually on I-55, with detours to the towns listed. In some cases we drove on the old route 66, which has now become frontage road or a town road. That's when it was great to put on our road trip playlist and drive with the windows down. Here's just a sample of what's on our list: Beach Boys, Michael Jackson, Bee Gees, John Denver, and of course "Route 66" by Chuck Berry.  Road Trippers also has some highlights as well as the Roadside America app.  It seems like every website picks just a few sites, but once you arrive in town, you'll no doubt find other historic places or photo ops.

We stopped at Dwight for a meal and ate at the Old Route 66 Family Restaurant, where Linda was our waitress.  She found a unique Chicago Route 66 T-shirt for Omar. Food was great and the place is loaded with things to look at while you wait. Just a block away is the visitor center/gas station. We arrived after closing time, but we could still look through the windows at the old equipment and car.

At Atlanta, we loved the murals, enormous Paul Bunyon holding a hot dog, and old mill.  The highlight would have been The Route 66 Arcade Museum, but it was closed.  They will be open for the summer, so check the hours and bring your coins. I would have enjoyed playing some pinball with Omar.

Pontiac has a great route 66 museum which includes a variety of photos from the entire route on the upper floor.  Once you've looked at these, you may feel inspired to keep driving west. The town has murals all over, as well as cute mini trucks painted in different themes, so it's a great place to stretch your legs.

Springfield is a place you could spend several days. We visited a few of the presidential sites, but made time for a corn dog at Cozy Dog Drive-in. Imagine our surprise when Abe Lincoln came through the door and ordered lunch.  I wasn't sure what to order, but the locals standing in line suggested the cheeseburger and cozy dog, so that's what I tried.  Both were very tasty.

Now that we've done this small portion, I'd love to see more.  The route has a bike map for anyone with loads of stamina, though I think we'll stick with the automobile.  We had a couple friends who did this on a tandem two years ago and blogged about it. How about you?  Have you done Route 66 in any state?  

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