Entries in Giant Alert (2)

Tuesday
Jun012010

Day 04 - Start of Route 66

OK... Today we are FINALLY hitting the road, and THIS is the actual start. 

Lou Mitchell's is a bit of an institution on Route 66 and rightfully so. The breakfast was great. Just sort of one of those things you need to experience. They don't take credit cards so you need to be prepared for that, sort of the same as the Artists Café in that regard.

We left Lou Mitchell's and back tracked a few blocks to go shoot some video at the official beginning of the Route. Jackson Street has always been the official path of Route 66 but years ago they turned it into a one way road, all but the last block of it before Lakefront Drive... go figure.

So, in order to drive out of Chicago "on" Route 66 you now have to go one block north and drive out on Adams Street. It has taken on the responsibility of being the new 'official' route. As it turns out this is a theme that you run into THE WHOLE trip.

As we drove out of town, this is what the Odometer read. Should be interesting to see what percentage over the "google maps" milage we drive with the side trips and mistakes we'll more than likely make.

These brown "Historic Route" signs will be our best friend for a the next 2000 miles. 

One of the first notable cities you drive through is Joliet Illinois. I'll always remember it as the location of the prison that Jake got out of in "The Blues Brothers".

Not an "official Illinois Giant" but a bonus giant right off the top. This guy is running a jack hammer because it is in the left field of a minor league ball park. The team is "The Jackhammers". The park was all fenced in but there was a gate open so we just walked in, walked out to the outfield, took the shot and left... easier to ask forgiveness then to ask permission.

Illinois has a few of these "giants" across the state. They use to be very popular to entice people to stop at their shops. We found this one right around the time for lunch. It worked... we stopped. The Gemini Giant as this guy is called is the first of the three 'official Illinois Giants'.

In the town of Odell there is an old gas station that is a historic landmark. Out front there is a button to push that plays a sound file with the details about the site. My mom told me that as a kid they always called the "fillin' stations".

The end of our first full day of driving brings us to Bloomington Illinois. Tomorrow we'll take a side trip to fulfill a desire that Chris has had for a few years now. Visit the childhood home of his mother.


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Friday
Jun042010

Day 06 - Bloomington, IL - St. Louis, MO

Well, we thought we were going to stop in Springfield and although we did "stop" there we didn't spend the night. Instead we decided to push thru and make it all the way to St. Louis. More on that later.

We drove a lot of road that looked just like this today and never once saw a toll plaza.

Second of the "Illinois Giants" in Atlanta, IL.

Believe it or not, we ran into Julie and David at 3 different stops today. First was at the Sirup stop in Funks Grove, second was at this old collection of Gas Station stuff and later in the day we saw them at Cozy Drive In hot dog stand. I doubt we'll see them again but would love the opportunity. BTW... they were from Quebec.

Embracing the name... after 47 years.

Lincoln's tomb in Springfield.

Stopped by Lincoln's Tomb and spent some time there. The tomb was designed and built within 7 years of his death.

This neon Route 66 sign is in the window of Cozy Drive In. Its been there since 1950 and has been run by one family the whole time. It has a great collection of Route 66 memorabilia. The owner also is credited with inventing a device to dip corn dogs into the oil to cook better. On the wall was a history of the various devices he had created over the years.

The third of the "Illinois Giants" in Springfield. We had to back track a little bit, not much, to get this one at the tire center in Springfield. Chris was navigating and not as good at noticing all the fun attractions in the guide books... (take note Jay Norton, we'll be discussing this in Texas!)

There is about 1.5 miles of Old Route 66 between Chatham and Auburn made entirely out of brick. Yet another 'backtrack attraction', missed another one and had to make another u-turn.

This is an old bridge over the Mississippi that was closed years ago but bought by a tour company and now is used only by pedestrians and bicycles. The "Chain of Rocks" bridge is over a mile long and is the longest 'pedestrian' bridge in the US. Believe it or not, we missed the exit for this too!!! Today our "u-turn meter" was pretty much pegged.