The summer has flown by – after such a long and cold winter I was convinced we would have super hot days and dry nights. Seemed logical but there is no formula for Illinois weather. I hope everyone got out on the Mother Road and enjoyed at least an hour or two of cruising. It is so good for the soul.
The Motor Tour was amazing! Thanks to all the people who worked hard (especially Marty Blitstein with all the “before” and “after” work) and all the communities that participated directly or sponsored our tour. Celebrating 25 years is pretty amazing in a time where everything becomes obsolete so fast. We have been through good times and bad times on the road together so we celebrated for three days!
Crossing over the Chain of Rocks Bridge is always such a great treat, and to get an original Waldmire Chain of Rocks print AND cross the bridge was a terrific start! Our trip was a great blend of old and new and many new friendships were formed as we wound north. The overnight in Lincoln was great as usual – with the added plus of the original Tropics sign delivered by the City of Lincoln to the banquet facility for a photo opp! Fabulous mashed potatoes AND the Tropics sign!
We were happy to induct our new Hall of Fame members at the banquet: Hi-Way Tavern and Frank and Dora Catalano (Edwardsville), the Postville Courthouse (Lincoln), and Nelch and Son Concrete (Springfield). We’re glad to know that the Hi-Way Tavern has just reopened on the road again. The Postville Courthouse is always a great place to visit with its great band of volunteers. Nelch and Son Concrete, located on Route 66 is the oldest continuously operated concrete business in Illinois (118 years!). Their unique blue and teal trucks can be seen today in and around the Springfield area.
The Bob Waldmire bus received a fresh coat of waterproofing, courtesy of the Preservation Committee! We’re working on getting a cover/portico to go over the bus to help preserve it. This is a 1966 school bus that was converted by Bob to be his studio/home and is approaching 48 years of age. The USA-made original Bob Waldmire t-shirts are being sold to help us pay for the proposed project. We’re currently in the process of getting estimates and bids. Over 30,000 people have gone through the bus since it opened officially at the Red Carpet Corridor Festival May 2011.
Our Annual picnic was held at the Sugar Grove Preserve in Funks Grove. What a perfect place to visit with fellow members and have a great cookout! Gray skies turned blue and we visited and had a great end-of-the-season party.
The best part of being a volunteer is meeting the people coming through on their Route 66 Experience. The second best part is when the same people come back again and bring more people. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting people as they come thru on their yearly trips down 66.
The work that’s been done in connection with IDOT since 1991 is much appreciated. We hear how well Illinois is marked. Our county reps watch signage in their communities and alert IDOT when something is missing. Unfortunately signs are a still the target of collectors!
The Berwyn Route 66 Car Show took place on September 6th; the Bassett Waddle in Dwight on September 21st; the Mother Road Fest in Springfield, September 26th-28th; the Pumpkin Festival in Girard (Pumpkin Chunkin’), October 11th (bring your trebuchet – no air canons this year!) and our annual elections in Pontiac will take place on Sunday, October 19th at the Pontiac City Hall Annex, 115 W Howard Street.
If you’re interested in being part of the Board – come to this meeting. We ask that all county reps work 3 Saturdays a year (if possible) at the museum, keep an eye on their area of the Mother Road, and keep us informed on what is happening on their part of 66. All board members are invited to be part of the Motor Tour process which requires about 6 meetings between October and May.
We will be participating in the Ham Radio Operators “Route 66” days the weekend of September 20th and 21st. The New Lenox chapter of the Illinois Radio League under its President, Jerry Watts, is participating with its members working out of our museum’s top floor. Their last “Museum Day” event in the museum’s upper room was a success and they even had a guest appearance by a real bat that circled the room during the early morning hours!
Last but not least, John and the late Lenore Weiss were honored and their names placed in the inaugural Route 66 Hall of Fame Walk in Kingman, Arizona, that debuted during the recent Route 66 Festival. They were honored for their preservation work in Illinois, which led the way for other Associations to form their own Preservation Committees.
We move into fall, watching the corn turn golden, the trees start to change colors and the wind get a little brisker. I’m not ready for winter yet; still have some two lane fever. I thank all of your for your continued support, and hope and pray that we have a kinder, milder winter…or a kinder milder form of cabin fever in case last year repeats itself. Can there be such a thing as a double Polar Vortex?
See you on the road!