Entries in Lou Mitchell's (2)

Monday
May312010

Day 03 - Thunderstorm on the Tower.

Sometimes things don't work the way you thought they were going to go.

Route 66 historically begins on Jackson St. in downtown Chicago. Jackson runs right thru the heart of the Financial District and right by the base of the Sears Tower. The only problem is that Jackson is now a one way street, and guess what, it goes the wrong direction. 

About a mile from the beginning of the road is a diner called Lou Mitchell's. Beth had read about it and thought it would be a fun place to begin our journey but we thought it may be be easier to avoid doing it with a car full of all our stuff and just head over there today and 'get it out of the way'.

So we grabbed a cab from our hotel. 7 bucks and a tip and we hopped out right in front of the diner. 

Oh crap, its Memorial Day, Lou Mitchell's is closed for the holiday. Well, next door we grabbed a couple donuts at 'yet another Dunkin Donuts' and then decided to just huff it back to the hotel. We don't mind walking on vacation which is really funny because, at home, we are the typical Californian who drives from one end of the parking lot to the other.

Being that we were passing right under the Sears Tower we decided to head up to the Sky Deck at the 103rd floor. They warned us that the visibility was only 5 miles in the lobby but we didn't think anything of it. At the top the rain started… then the lightning bolts, then the thunder claps. At 103 floors you are ABOVE a lot of the lightning… it turned out to be really cool. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a lightning bolt on video? Check it out at 37 seconds in on todays video update. (and yes Jeff Regan, you ARE seeing the effects of the rolling shutter)

We actually stayed on top for a long time. I took a lot of photos for people and we did the "stupid glass box of death", I think they call it something else, where you step out and can look straight down to the ground… not comfortable.

Then we headed down to the street and walked back to the hotel.

Nap time. Cut some video, process some pictures.

Then we get a call from the Borger's, our friends that moved to Illinois from California about a million years ago. They had seen we were here by reading the Facebooker and they invited us to dinner… and that is what we are doing next.

In the morning we'll get the Chrysler out of hock and load it up and hit the road.

Next stop, Bloomington Illinois.

 

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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