Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 16 - San Bernardino to Santa Monica, California

We made it! We reached the western end of Route 66 today. What a ride it has been. Although today was a very short mileage day, it still took us four hours to get to the Santa Monica pier. The weather was lovely and the ocean beamed as we approached it. Adrian and I parked the car and walked out to the beach. We had picked up some sand on the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago and we deposited it on the shore of the Pacific. We celebrated our achievement by having lunch with Russ Olsen, author of Route 66 Lost and Found. Photos from Russell's books will appear in the exhibit.

As I reflect on our journey, I can say that the experience was everything I had hoped. Route 66 really is the Main Street of America and driving it is a trip through time as well as space. Being able to do this with my son was priceless and a memory we will both cherish always. My excitement about the exhibit we are developing has been amplified tenfold. You may follow the progress of America's Road: The Journey of Route 66 at the exhibit web site. Thank you for following us on this adventure. Perhaps you will be inspired to get your kicks on Route 66.

- Seth!

After getting all set, we prepared for LA traffic. It took us an hour and a half to get from San Bernardino to Los Angeles (30 miles!). We entered LA and crawled down Sunset Blvd. after rolling along the Arroyso Seco Parkway. Sunset led us to Sana Monica Blvd. and onto Lincoln Blvd. The official end of Route 66 is Lincoln and Olympic, but that intersection is fairly dull, so we u-turned and drove to the intersection of Santa Monica and Ocean. We had reached the shores of the Pacific Ocean!

We have had a great 16 days on the road. We travelled through plains and rolling hills. Dusty fields and empty flatlands. Jagged mesas and windy mountains, all the way to sunny California. Driving the mother road was an experience I will never forget. I had a great time on route 66.

- Adrian

Below: Seth! and Adrian reach the Santa Monica pier
Bottom: Adrian deposits some Lake Michigan sand into the Pacific

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 15 - Barstow to San Bernardino, California

Dragging myself out of bed early this morning after a 1:00 return from the drive-in was difficult. I had a pleasant 8:00 meet with Jim Conkle of the California Route 66 Museum and Route 66 Pulse magazine. After stopping to wash the car, I went back to the room to rouse Adrian and get back on the road. We had a short drive, so there was no big hurry. We already had made our lodging plans and were very excited to be staying at the Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino. We could see the teepee tips and palm trees rising above the other motels as we approached. The Patels have done a great job of fixing up and maintaining this classic 1949 Route 66 icon. If you are ever in the area, you need to stay here. Adrian spent a long time in the pool and we savored our last night on Route 66.

- Seth!

From Barstow, we continued on through the desert. The town of Victorville marked the start of an uphill climb through the Sacramento Mountains and the end of the Mojave Desert. At Cajon Pass, formed by the San Andreas fault line, we started downhill at a steep 6% grade. From there, we rolled smoothly into San Bernardino. In San Bernardino, we HAD to stay at the famed Wigwam Motel. The wigwam rooms were wonderful and our host, Kumar, was great. Teepee-shaped rooms--what neat idea! Also while in San Bernardino, we stopped at the San Bernardino County Museum, an interesting museum about the area we stayed in. Thus ended our penultimate day on the Route.

- Adrian

Below: A pair of photos of the Wigwam motel

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 14 - Needles to Barstow, California

Update: For those of you who don't use Facebook, our photos are now available
on flickr as well. Links are in the sidebar at right for your convenience.

Today was a bit of an adventure. We reluctantly departed the warm morning of Needles, once again trying to beat the heat. Had we known that more humidity awaited us, we would have been even more reluctant to leave. Adrian and I pointed the Mustang toward Barstow and headed out across the Mojave Desert. It was a classic scene from an insurance commercial when our car overheated on a stretch of road, miles from anywhere. Hood up, radiator fluid and steam spewing skyward, we remained calm while adding some water to the reservoir and waiting. Long story short, we made it to Barstow where, upon further inspection, I decided that the reservoir tank itself was leaking. Our motel was conveniently located to a repair shop and we are now good to go. I trust that Adrian will tell you about the drive-in movies. For my part, I'll just say that
being up until 1:00 AM is hard on the driver.

- Seth!

We left the swelter of Needles and began our trek across the Mojave Desert. We meandered through the many small desert towns of the Mojave, and enjoyed the distant mesas. After Amboy, our engine overheated and we had to wait for it to cool down. In the mean time, I added a contribution to the "public art" corridor. People have long added their names to the desert by using stones and sticks, so I wrote my initials with some rocks. Soon, we were back on the road. We took it quite slow on the rough road to Ludlow, where we filled up the tank and purchased coolant for the engine. The road carried us on through the desert into Barstow. Our motel of choice was the Route 66 Motel. We took the Mustang to a service station where we realized the radiator reservoir had a leak. After running a few errands and having dinner, we got ready to go to a drive-in movie. The double feature was "Salt" and "Inception", both great movies. It was a wonderful experience to be at a drive-in theater.

- Adrian

Below: The sign at the Route 66 Motel, Barstow
Bottom: Adrian waits for the movie to start a the drive-in

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 13 - Williams, Arizona to Needles, California

I knew that we would be headed into the desert today, so I did my best to get us on the road early. When we awoke in Williams, it was about 76° F. As the sun got higher in the sky and we descended from an elevation of 6,700 feet to 495 feet, the mercury rose. By the time we reached Needles, we were enjoying 114° and a mere 15% humidity. We have only run the A/C in the car for about an hour on this trip and not at all since Oklahoma. The nice thing about the desert is that it is a dry heat. That makes all the difference, as far as I am concerned.

On the way there, we stopped at the Hackberry General Store. This was Bob Waldmire's place from 1992 to 1998. Back in the spring of 1995, our mutual friend Bob Hanie died. Bob and another friend, Bill Crook, telephoned me from the roof of the store to share their condolences since they could not attend Hanie's memorial service. I remember wondering what on Earth this place in the desert could be. Now I know.

Onward and downward, Adrian and I were both excited to head into Needles. The road itself is a wild ride as Adrian will describe. It is also home to Snoopy's brother, Spike. You will probably be interested to know that Spike debuted in the Peanuts strip on my 10th birthday. I remember wondering what on Earth this "Needles" place in the desert could be. Now I know this, too.

- Seth!

Making our way through the forested hills of Arizona, we puttered along to Crookton Road, the gateway to the longest, most pristine section of 66 in the country. We took this stretch through Seligman and Peach Springs, past Burma-Shave signs and through Hackberry. In Kingman, the Black Mountains began to loom ominously large as we approached the deadly pass. We could see the steep beginning as we crawled towards the windy road. We were met by sharp hairpin turns, steep mountain grades, and nerve-racking drops and dips.

As we reached the top of the pass, we remembered that what goes up must come down, so we prepared for the roller coaster ride down to Goldroad, then Oatman. In Oatman, where wild burros live, we were stopped by a literal tourist trap. There is one road through town and it was blocked by a mock gunfight right smack dab in the middle of it. After descending from the Black Mountains, we curved through Golden Shores and crossed the Colorado into Needles, California. In Needles, it was a cool 115 degrees. Refreshing.

Below: Oatman Road winds through the desert
Bottom: The pool at River Valley Inn, Needles, California

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 12 - Holbrook, Arizona to Williams, Arizona

Today was a long drive and a bit hard on my nerves. More on that in a bit. Our plan today was to take Route 66 from Holbrook to Williams and then head up Highway 64 to the south rim of the Grand Canyon and then back down to Williams. This we did. Quite a bit of today's driving was on the Interstate. That's not a problem but we prefer the old road. There will be plenty of that in the days ahead! We went to bed last night with a thunderstorm outside. That was the third night on this trip we have had that. Our days have all been dry. When we got up this morning, the rain had stopped but the temperatures were still cool. A mild day is okay with me. As we headed north on Highway 64, the temperatures went up as the skies got sunnier. By the time we got to the long line at the entrance to the Grand Canyon, I was pretty toasty. The Mustang was not happy to be idling in a 40-minute wait to get into the park. We were also low on gas. Once we got in, there was no place to park. (This is the hard-on-my-nerves bit I mentioned.) Ultimately, we did find a place to park, selected by the car when the engine died. A short walk later, we were on the rim of the Grand Canyon. I have to say, that's the biggest canyon I have ever seen. No wonder it has such a clever name. We took some photos but as I have been told in the past, you really have to see it to believe it.

- Seth!

P.S. The reason we were low on gasoline is that I use a fuel additive that is supposed to go in when the tank is near empty. It's a balancing act that sometimes gets a bit shaky.

We left Holbrook early and were soon waving goodbye to it as we drove into the sunrise. (Although in the opposite direction.) Our first stop of the day was the Jackrabbit Trading Post. As we waited out the 15 minutes before they opened, I rode a giant jackrabbit. Inside, the large curio shop was a vast array of souvenirs. Further on, in Winslow, Arizona, we stood on the corner, with "Take it Easy" wafting through the busy square. The next stop was Meteor Crater, the most well preserved impact site in the world. We continued on, through the ghostly, haunting ruins of Two Guns and Twin Arrows. We didn't forget Winona as we went on down the road. We made a long loop up to the Grand Canyon. Our painful wait in line was rewarded by the magnificent views of the canyon. Down in Williams, Arizona, we are lodged at the Canyon Motel and Railroad RV Park. Our room is a 1940s flagstone cabin.

- Adrian

Below: Adrian on the corner of Winslow, Arizona
Bottom: Remains of Twin Arrows Trading Post

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 11 - Gallup, New Mexico to Holbrook, Arizona

We made another state change today. We had breakfast in New Mexico and lunch in Arizona. The Mustang has been acting up a bit so we made it a priority to get to Holbrook and locate a shop. Mechanic Frank rolled up his sleeves and got right to work. A few adjustments here and there, the replacement of a 45-year-old fuel filter, and we were out the door. (Unfortunately, it now looks like we need a new fuel pump.) We had been hoping to stay at the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook but they were booked. So, we checked into another motel and went up the road to visit the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest. You'll have to see our photos. These places (colocated in one park) are amazing. I was particularly impressed by the petrified logs that are millions of years old. Crikey! After all of this driving, my legs are starting to feel like petrified wood. Hopefully after a good night sleep I'll be ready to go to the Grand Canyon.

- Seth!

Soon after leaving Gallup, we crossed the state line into Arizona. We continued on the scenic road to Holbrook, only 96 miles away. When we arrived, we went straight to the mechanic who inspected the Mustang and fixed a few things. We dropped our stuff off at the motel and got some lunch. We then backtracked to the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert National Park and toured the beautiful cliffside road of the Painted Desert. In the Petrified Forest, large logs of wood turned into stone line the now empty plains. A huge summer thunderstorm hit Holbrook when we arrived so we ended our day indoors.

- Adrian

Below: Colors of the Painted Desert; Bottom: Seth! on a petrified log

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 10 - Santa Fe to Gallup, New Mexico

New Mexico is such a beautiful state. It occurred to me today that, although I have been to New Mexico before, I have never driven through it. This is all new to me. Adrian and I were talking about which state we have liked best. My first thought was New Mexico but as we reflected on the trip so far, there have been aspects of each state that stand out as winners. The cornfields of Illinois, the rolling hills of the Missouri Ozarks, and the pristine stretches of original Route 66 pavement in Oklahoma all rate quite high. New Mexico has been interesting because the terrain will stream past our car and subtly change from rounded outcrops of boulders to tree-covered hills to low open grasslands and back. Cruising from town to town on stretches of two-lane highway keeps us within arm's reach of this diverse and gorgeous scenery. I am really enjoying that. Good ol' Route 66.

- Seth!

After we navigated out of the maze of one-way streets in Santa Fe, we drove through the many suburbs of the capital. It was a scenic drive down to the heart of Albuquerque. The road plunged us into rural Losa Lunas where we joined up with magnificent Highway 6. As we drove along Highway 6, we traveled further and further away from civilization, past beautiful mesas and rolling hills. We drove through the may towns in the Cubero area. Near Bluewater, the Mustang began bumping a lot, a worrying problem. We still soldiered on. Across the Continental Divide, and into Gallup. Our lodging foe the night was the El Rancho Hotel/Motel, a place where old movie celebrities have stayed (i.e. Ronald Reagan, Doris Day, Kirk Douglas, etc.). In the restaurant, they had a sandwich called the Ronald Reagan, with a side of jellybean, of course. At the gift shop there, I purchased a handmade, beautiful kachina, made by a local artist. That ended our 10th day on the road.

- Adrian

Below: Scenery along Highway 6; Bottom: Lobby of El Rancho Hotel/Motel

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 9 - Adrian, Texas to Santa Fe, New Mexico

We did not expect to get this far today but for a couple of reasons (as you'll learn from Adrian) we continued all the way to Santa Fe. It's a lovely area although we've become accustomed to fewer people and smaller towns. I can sure see what draws people here, though.

I have to tell you some things about our car. If you want to meet guys, get a sweet 1965 Mustang. We get so many comments on it everyday. "I love your car." "Awesome car!" "I hate you. I always wanted one of those." The funniest thing, though, is when people ask what year it is. Frequently, they want to put forward a guess and more often than not they ask this: "What year is that, a '64?" Um, no. Ford did not make a 1964 Mustang but a lot of people seem to think so. (The first model year was 1965.) Of course, I just politely tell them it's a '65 and say thank you. We're so proud of our ride. Now I just need to find an open stretch of road and give Adrian a chance behind the wheel.

- Seth!

In the morning, we drove the whole 36 miles to the New Mexico border and entered the "Land of Enchantment". The Texas-New Mexico border has a perfect line between flat and distant mesas, a truly amazing sight. We drove through awe-inspiring terrain and curved our way through Tucumcari and Santa Rosa. We had chosen to take the long Santa Fe loop, so we took 66 up to Las Vegas (New Mexico) where we planned to stay. When we got there, however, the motel we wanted to stay at had been made into condos! We realized that we could get to Santa Fe before check-in time at motels in Las Vegas, so we hit the road again. About 15 miles out of town, I realized that my sunglasses were still sitting on the table where we had lunch. We quickly drove back to pick them up. Fortunately, they were right where I left them. Our long (over 300 miles) trip was rewarded by gorgeous Santa Fe. The skies over the town were a brilliant blue setting off bright white clouds. Thus ended our longest drive yet.

- Adrian

Below: New Mexico greeted us with mesas and buttes
Bottom: We were particularly impressed with the rock outcrops

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 8 - Shamrock, Texas to Adrian, Texas

I forgot to mention that last night I ate one of the best steaks I've ever had. It was at Big Vern's Steakhouse in Shamrock. Perhaps savoring that steak caused me to leave my nice camera tripod on the ground at the U Drop Inn! (As of this writing, it is still not back in my possession and may never be. Dang.) The drive across Texas today was quite pleasant. We enjoyed a respite from high humidity. One area where Texas earns some points is in the rest area department. I remember when highways used to have picnic areas--occasional places to pull off the road, stretch, and eat a sandwich--a tree, a table, and trash can. On this trip, we have found these almost exclusively on the Interstates. Texas, however, has provided a few of these no-frills places to stop on Route 66. Adrian and I are trying to only dine out one meal per day, so we are carrying a cooler with picnic supplies. Picnic areas are our friends!

- Seth!

Our journey took us out of Shamrock and through McClean and Alanreed. Further west in Groom, we saw the largest cross in the western hemisphere, at 19 stories tall. Also in Groom, we realized that the tripod was still in Shamrock. What fun! Shortly we arrived in Conway, home of well, nothing. The next city was Amarillo. Near Amarillo, we visited the famed Cadillac Ranch, a crazy feat of outdoor artwork. We then passed through Vega and continued to Adrian, Texas, (what a cowinkidink) and ate at the MidPoint Cafe. Interestingly, Adrian also happens to be exactly halfway between Chicago and LA. After realizing that Adrian had no lodging to offer, we went back to Vega to stay at the Country Inn Best Western, our only good option. We went to swim in the pool and had great temperatures, so we sat by the pool for a while. As I sit in bed writing this, I can hear the operatic sound of the trucks driving by. Surprisingly beautiful.

- Adrian

Below: The famous Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo, Texas
Bottom: Halfway between Chicago and Los Angeles is Adrian, Texas

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 7 - Oklahoma City to Shamrock, Texas

We are approaching the halfway point of this journey. I have been shooting a lot of photos but for every one I take, I feel that I should be shooting 30 more. There is so much to see out here on the road. Much of it is nonspecific, just scenery and a rolling ribbon of old concrete. But there are also many reminders of the heyday of this road. It would add at leat a week to our trip if I stopped to photograph every abandoned old gas station. Their architecture is so unique and dated, they are like timecapsules. A highlight of today's drive was that we got to drive on many, many miles of the original Portland concrete roadway, most of which was in very good condition. The other highlight was seeing and photographing the U Drop Inn. There is something interesting to see around every bend of Route 66.

- Seth!

We made a brief, six-mile loop in Oklahoma City, with stops including a museum photo op and the OKC Federal Building memorial; a humbling experience. Soon we were on our way to, well, we didn't know at that point. Outside of El Reno was the entrance to a pristine section of Route 66. It has near-perfect 1930s concrete, complete with curbs, winding through the countryside. On that road, we crossed a 1933 truss bridge over a long gully. In Clinton, we stopped at the wonderful Oklahoma Route 66 Museum. Further on, in Elk City, we visited the National Route 66 Association Museum. After a few more towns, we crossed into Texas. Next thing we knew, we were in Shamrock, Texas, our stop for the night. Our motel of choice was the Blarney Inn, a nice Irish-themed motel. A beautiful Art Deco tower called the U Drop Inn - Conoco Tower is in Shamrock and we visited it to take photos. That concludes Day Seven.

- Adrian

Below: Adrian at Hamons' Court (a.k.a. Lucille's) near Hydro, Oklahoma
Bottom: Our beloved Mustang at the U Drop Inn, Shamrock, Texas

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 6 - Tulsa, Oklahoma to Oklahoma City

I guess that this is where the Grapes of Wrath part of our journey begins. Oklahoma looks better than it did 75 years ago, fortunately. We have been enjoying the ever-changing scenery and Adrian is looking forward to getting into the desert in few days. Giddyup!

- Seth!

We woke up pretty early today to do some sightseeing in Tulsa. We did a few geocaches near our motel, then visited the Gilcrease Museum of the Americas. I particularly enjoyed the artwork of Olaf Seltzer at the museum. Seltzer painted about Native American life and culture. We hit the road from there, and began our drive to Oklahoma City. As we drove through the small agricultural communities, iconic red dirt lined the hills. As we drove in between the many fields of Oklahoma, I began to imagine the dust bowl era. In the days when crops wouldn't grow and the infertile soil blew useless on the wind. Back when the farmers and their families endured the dust storms as they ravaged the over-farmed landscape. And when the desperate, ruined farmers headed west to find a new life in sunny California. Further west, on our own pilgrimage to California, we stopped in Chandler, Oklahoma, at the art gallery of Jerry McLanahan, the author of our 66 guidebook. Soon we arrived in Oklahoma City. After an unsuccessful search for non-chain motels, we settled for a "Super 8", the next best thing. That ended our sixth day on the road.

- Adrian

Below: Adrian and artist/author Jerry McLanahan
Bottom: Ruins of an old gas station near Arcadia, Oklahoma

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 5 - Springfield, Missouri to Tulsa, Oklahoma

We made it to our fourth state today and are enjoying the varied scenery. Adrian is ready for some desert and I know that the road will not disappoint. (He's ready for dessert, too.) The continuous thread through our journey has been heat and humidity. It was a sunny 98 degrees when we rolled into Tulsa. The other ongoing theme is Adrian's deck of cards. He is learning several new tricks/illusions each day and I am the volunteer from the audience--every time! Speaking of Adrian, here is his whale of a tale.

- Seth!

We left town fairly early and headed into the last of the Ozarks. In the outskirts of Springfield, we found a small geocache in a neighborhood park. It was quite a scenic drive from Springfield to Carthage, filled with rolling green hills--both wooded and field-covered--with old gas stations and motel relics peppered throughout. Soon we entered Joplin, our last town in Missouri. The main street of America took us through 13.2 miles of plain old Kansas. Momentarily (literally), we entered dusty Oklahoma.

We twisted along small farm roads through the many towns of northeastern Oklahoma. Along the way, we saw a billboard saying only "Jesus" and Burma-Shave styled signs with biblical passages. Can you tell we're in the Bible belt? In Catoosa, Oklahoma, we saw a large, concrete blue whale in a small lagoon. Crazy Okies! When we got to Tulsa, we stopped at the Desert Hills Motel. End Day Five.

P.S. Guess what folks?! I have a tan! A reverse trucker's tan...a passenger's tan! Yeah...that's it!

- Adrian

Below: Adrian with the geocache we found;
Bottom: The blue whale at Catoosa, Oklahoma
Be sure to see our other photos on Facebook!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 4 - Stanton, Missouri to Springfield, Missouri

Well, I am now sporting a nice trucker's tan; my left arm is as brown as a biscuit. Despite the prolific sweating, we are having a great time. The Mustang is making friends everywhere that Adrian takes us. He is as good a navigator as he is a journalist. You might be interested to learn that I am drinking only water on this trip--no beer, soda, wine, milk, juice, booze. Just water. Will that offset the ice cream we are eating? Time will tell. Here are some other interesting facts:
  • For every mile of interstate driving, it takes about 1.14 miles of Route 66 to get to LA.
  • We will average 150 miles per day as opposed to the 500+ miles that an interstate driver would do.
  • Our average speed so far has been 32 miles per hour, including lunch and photo stops.
We are now in our motel room, looking out at a Midwest thunderstorm. I expect that Adrian will begin recapitulating our day any minute now. Until then, I'll work on getting some photos uploaded. Oh, he's ready...

- Seth!

We began the day with a mesmerizing tour of Meramec Caverns. After we packed up the Mustang, we drove to the town of Sullivan. Soon we passed a water tower labelled "Bourbon" (for the town) much to my enjoyment. We passed through scenic Cuba and saw the world's largest rocking chair. Our road twisted and turned through Hooker's Cut and Devil's Elbow, two cuts through majestic limestone hills.

I began to notice how, as Route 66 twists and flows gently through the contours of the land, the interstate simply plows right through the land; it hardly goes up or down. We got a beautiful drive from Waynesville to Conway, with the gorgeous Ozark hills and meadows, and the sheer limestone cliffs. Our drive took us through Marshfield, home of Edwin Hubble, noted astronomer (he discovered that the universe expands) and namesake of the Hubble telescope.

We quickly arrived in Springfield, Missouri, our stop for the night. As soon as we arrived at the Rest Haven Court, a summer thunderstorm began, thus ending our third day on the road and our first day without getting lost.

- Adrian

Below: Stalactites and stalagmites in Meramec Caverns;
Bottom: Adrian is a tiny figure in front of the world's largest rocking chair.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 3 - Springfield, Illinois to Stanton, Missouri

Today was our first full day in the Mustang. It ran like a champ but it does not seem to love the A/C so we did without. That was a hot, sweltering reminder of why I live in the Pacific Northwest. Now for the recap from Adrian...

- Seth!

We rushed through the morning packing and preparing until 10:15 when we hit the road. We chose to take the earlier 1926-1930 route instead of the post-1930 route. The way we went took us through classic Illinois farmland, including an original stretch of roadway from the 1920s. That same stretch had turkey tracks in the concrete, a very famous anomaly. We had a great lunch at the Ariston Cafe in Litchfield. We then traveled through the tiny villages of southern Illinois and crossed the muddy Mississippi River into the "Show-me" state.

Our first "real" trouble on the road was in confusing St. Louis. A combination of vague directions and poor signage made for a nightmare in the gateway to the West. To make matters worse, the temperature was way into the nineties and humid as all get-out. But after that incident, it was smooth riding through the emerald Ozarks, winding through green cliffs and hills. Relief from the heat was welcome as we arrived at our motel in Stanton by the Meramec Caverns--and in fact called the Meramec Caverns Motel. We ended our day calmly at our quaint motel room.

- Adrian

Below: Adrian at the Ariston Cafe in Litchfield, Illinois

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day Two - Springfield, Illinois

Adrian said that I should write today's entry, since we did not really go anywhere. This was our day to get provisions and car supplies. In the morning, we stopped by the Pioneer Motel out on Peoria Road for a photo opportunity. The old and unglamourous sign looks much as it did long ago. Around midday, we went to Shea's Gas Station Museum also on Peoria Road. This is a very eclectic and densely-packed family owned museum that grew out of Mr. Shea's gas station that has been located here (or nearby) for 65 years. The 95-degree outside temperature was cranked up a notch in these old buildings and sweaty was the look du jour. It was definitely worth the stop, though.

We regained some strength lost to the 72% humidity and went out in the evening to the Barrelhead on Wabash Avenue (also on Route 66) where I had a horseshoe and Adrian had pizza. We visited with friends, had some ice cream and are turning in for the night. Tomorrow we are on the road again and headed to Missouri.

- Seth!

Below: Seth! at the Cozy Drive In on Tuesday evening; Bottom: Adrian with Mr. Shea

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day One - Chicago to Springfield, Illinois

We have completed day one and will stocking up with provisions on Wednesday. Adrian's journal about today's adventure is so good, I don't have much to add. It looks like he'll be our blogger.

- Seth!

After an early rise at Mark and Julie Brandt's house, we drove into Chi-town and looked for the famed "End of Route 66" sign on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Jackson Street, near Grant Park. I navigated us through the busy Chicago streets out to the town of Joliet (near Romeoville!). We stopped to see the "Gemini Giant" in Wilmington. At the town of Pontiac, we ate lunch at the Old Log Cabin Inn and stopped at the quaint Route 66 Hall of Fame Museum. We traveled through Normal and Bloomington to Funk's Grove, home of Pure Maple Sirup (spelled just that way!). However, upon arrival, they were sold out and only open by appointment or random chance.

In Atlanta (Illinois, NOT Georgia), we stopped to photograph the "Bunyon Giant" and question the strange smiley face on their water tower. Our first time getting lost was in tiny Lincoln where we were unsure of an unmarked turnoff. After that, we cruised down to Springfield and had dinner at the Cozy Drive-In. That concluded our first day on Route 66.

- Adrian

Below: On the shores of Lake Michigan; Bottom: Adrian at the starting point in Chicago (the sign marks the end for eastbound travelers)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Eight States, 2,448 Miles, 17 Days

We will begin our journey at the origin of the Road: Chicago, Illinois. It will take us about 17 days to travel the entire 2,448 or so miles of Route 66. No reservations, no deadlines--just two guys on the road, looking for America. If you are not familiar with Route 66, there is quite a bit of information about it on the Web. You might start at Wikipedia. The "real" way to do the drive is from east to west as we are doing, ending in Los Angeles. Here is the map:

Let us know if we should visit you along the way!

Countdown and the new blog

Our trip begins in less than two weeks! Chicago to Los Angeles! This is the 1965 Ford Mustang that we will be driving.