Greetings from the Mother Road!
Spring is almost here and if you’re like me, I am tired of winter. I look forward to my ride down to Pontiac to volunteer, to seeing the farm fields overturned, the early signs of spring such as bushes starting to blossom in yellow and purple, signs that Winter is past, Spring is ahead, and the fun in the sun days are starting! The Red Carpet Corridor is May 3rd and 4th, followed shortly afterwards by our Motor Tour June 6th, 7th, and 8th.
This year will be our 19th Annual Motor Tour. We are traveling South to North this year, with our overnight in Lincoln. The Hall of Fame Banquet will be at Lincoln College. Logan County Tourism, The Heritage Corridor, and Lincoln College are hosting our dinner which starts out with an hour concert with Elvis Himselvis and His 5 Piece Band followed by the Hall of Fame Dinner and Program. We have 3 new Hall of Fame members this year. There were 14 nominations this year, and much time was spent by The Hall of Fame Committee choosing this year’s Honorees.
Our Association is growing up and with age, comes change. We are in the middle of reexamining our Bylaws, making revisions to help us get our 501(c)3, taking into account the new technology and using the web for Information and committee work, and preparing for the next 20 years.
We are blessed with many members who have gone out of their way to help the Association and its members.
Jerry Law, our new Board Member from Wood River, has become IDOT’s best friend and has spent time on the road checking for signs, accurate road markings, replacement signs, and visiting people and businesses along the road. Jerry’s worked so hard since October I have asked him to be our first Grand Marshall for this year’s tour!
The Museum Committee is working to refine and rearrange the Hall of Fame. By Fall when the elevator is finished so should our new floorplan be In place. We are looking to become a research and information center as well as the best darn Route 66 Museum on The Road today. With the addition of Michael Campanelli’s Photo Exhibit, we can expect even more tourists this year!
Last Sunday I had the pleasure of visiting with 4 tourists who came to Pontiac on their way to Chicago. All 4 were from Italy on vacation! They had stayed at KOA campgrounds the entire way and had encountered cold weather in California, tornados in Oklahoma,flooding in Missouri, and on that Sunday in Pontiac rain and snow. They were so excited about Illinois and all that they had seen despite the weather.
Their enthusiasm reminded me of why we are involved with the Mother Road. Looking at the photos on display they pointed out to me various pictures and remarked to me that those photos must be older because either the photographed image had been damaged, or fallen over, or in the case of the Twin Arrows, one of the Arrows was damaged. They talked about how wonderful all these things were – and how sad they were that they didn’t get to see any Greyhound buses on the road! They endured miserable weather for weeks but this vacation had been planned and researched and they were so excited about every facet of the Mother Road and the people who were preserving it. They left in sleet, anxious to get to Odell Station, and on to Gardner, the Polk-a-Dot in Braidwood, and seeing the Chicago skyline! And folks, they were going to be CAMPING outside Chicago that night also!
So spend some time on the Mother Road! Come join in the fun on the 90 miles of Red Carpet Corridor! Check the website for events all along the road and Car Shows! Sign up for this year’s Motor Tour “Rediscover Route 66.” Write an article about you and your connection to the Mother Road. We will be publishing your articles on the web and in our quarterly magazine.
Our Hall of Fame and Museum hours are now 7 days a week! Monday through Friday from 10 to 5, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 to 4 p.m. and as always, Tours can be accommodated with advance notice. “Come home” and visit.
If there is something happening on your stretch of the road, please let us know. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.
See you on the road –
President, Route 66 Association of Illinois