Turkey Tracks is a quaint attraction along Illinois Route 66 where you can actually see turkey tracks in the pavement in Nilwood. Ron Wichern, a local farmer has graciously hand made a new Turkey Tracks sign denoting the location of the tracks. Our Motor Tour will stop by the Turkey Tracks on June 9 between 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM.
Author: Editor Gina
Seasons come and seasons go, and I am oh so ready for this 2018-2019 winter to be over.
My mom used to tell me all the time that everything has a season and it’s not always a good season but it will eventually pass. Since Christmas, I have attended three funerals for my ’66 Family: Mike Cummings, Willie Anderson and Dee Pincsak, and one for my real extended family. I had been notified about another passing of a great friend of ’66, George Leone.
I also ended up in the hospital myself and thanks to an amazing paramedic team and wonderful care at the hospital, I (in Ernie Edward’s terms) lived to tell. With time comes adjustments and I am certainly learning/trying to adjust. I had sepsis and didn’t know until I shoveled some snow at work and set off a chain of physical reactions.
It’s been a hard winter for tourists all up and down the road – we weren’t the only ones experiencing bad winter weather. Parts of Arizona saw snow in areas it hadn’t been seen in years! The visitor numbers at our museum were down but now it’s March so they wil start going up again. This is the time of year we have an upswing in school visits and our curator, John Wille, has been putting together some fun activities for this year’s students. The Bob Waldmire bus has been closed for the winter and will reopen to visitors on May 4th during the Red Carpet Corridor weekend.
The Red Carpet Corridor tour will officially be just one day this year – Saturday, May 4th, however some of the Red Carpet communities may have activities on Sunday, May 5th as well.
This year’s collectible is a magnet, and the communities will have them available AFTER the festival as well. Look for your Red Carpet Corridor brochure and all the directions and information are available in it. The website to check out locations and activities is www.ilroute66redcarpetcorridor.com. This year Smokey the Bear will be 75 years old and will be featured at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Towanda will have their annual car show and fabulous Pin-Up contest just to name a few events!
We are working on the 2019 Motor Tour – this year’s tour goes north to south and our overnight in Lincoln includes our Hall of Fame dinner with Chef Wentlandt providing a fantastic Roadie dinner at our banquet. We will be at the American Legion for our meal which is located next to the Best Western hotel. Our board has been working on providing a lot of “news” for the tour as well as some favorites. We look forward to this tour, aptly titled, “Life in the Slow Lane.” We are celebrating 30 years as an association! We will be visiting a private auto collection, several “new” museum stops, and the tour will conclude in Litchfield this year.
This is the last year of the National Parks Service Route 66 corridor Act. This Act will be sunsetting this year and our association is working on a nomination. Over the years, Illinois has had the opportunity to use these Federal grants for many of our preservation projects. The Ariston in Litchfield will be relighting their original/rebuilt/repaired neon window lighting soon. The original window neon repairs are the latest project of the joint efforts of the Route 66 of Missouri Neon Preservation Committee and our Route 66 Association of Illinois to get a National Parks grant. Other grants received for neon repairs were for the Vic Suhling sign (Litchfield), the Del Rhea Chicken Basket sign (Willowbrook), and the beautiful rainbow-colored neon at the Luna Care (Mitchell).
Our award-winning Preservation Committee has some work days coming up – and “We work for food!” so come out and get dirty, laugh, and make our icons clean and fresh for the upcoming Route 66 travelers!
The Road Ahead just held their annual meeting and we will be publishing details on our website and in the nest newsletter. This committee has been working with representatives of all eight states and has been working hard to establish committees and put in place guidelines to help all eight states with preservation and economic development. The National Trail is alive again in Washington, D.C., and we are ever hopeful that this will pass. Just as each state has taken care of their Mother Road miles individually, the entire road needs to be under the care of the National Parks Service to Make sure its historic story never fades. We aren’t losing our miles, we will be protecting the work that’s been done and we will continue to assist Illinois’ 91 Route 66 communities.
Mark your calendars for June 22 and 23. Our Association will be co-sponsoring (with the city of Pontiac) Cheryl Jett’s play, “Aprons Away,” at the Eagle Theatre in Pontiac. This will be a free performance. Association members can reserve a seat in advance – details will be posted in May on how to reserve a free ticket and the show times on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. This is to celebrate our Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum’s 15th anniversary in Pontiac. More information will be available via an email newsletter and on our website and Facebook page with we have all the details worked out.
We all look forward to Spring! Before you “honey do” lists get filled out, take a few hours and get out on the road! Holly and Tully have done amazing work at the Launching Pad/Gemini Giant in Wilmington. There’s a lot of new businesses and restaurants in the Bloomington/NOrmal area. It’s almost Sirup time at Funks Grove! Take a photo at the Williamsville Public Library corner photo opp! Don’t forget to stop at the Litchfield Route 66 Museum (and stop for hash browns at Jubelt’s across the street).
Sunny days are coming and I can’t wait to complain about the heat! Be safe, be strong!
President, Route 66 Association of Illinois
Recent visitors to our Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac, Illinois may have been disappointed to discover that the Bob Waldmire converted school bus that resides behind our building was closed for the cold weather. We want to let everyone know that the bus will open and ready for touring season on Saturday, May 4 (the same day of the Red Carpet Corridor Festival). We hope you’ll add a visit to this charming, unique display at our museum when you’re in Pontiac!
We’re excitedly planning our 30th annual Motor Tour as we speak. Are you wondering exactly what a Motor Tour is? If that’s the case, this is the story for you!
Our Motor Tour is an annual three-day event sponsored by the Route 66 Association of Illinois (that’s us!). Since 1989, the event has been scheduled for the second weekend of June. The Motor Tour provides an opportunity to drive and appreciate the attractions along our Illinois stretch of Route 66.
So each year we plan a trek down the road, inviting everyone to come along for the ride. Although we’d love you to join our Association, you need not be a member to join us on the tour.
The Motor Tour kicks off on Friday evening of the weekend with on-site registration at a local restaurant. We eat a wonderful meal, then meet and greet our fellow Route 66 enthusiasts. The Association blocks off rooms at a couple nearby hotels with a special rate for Motor Tour participants who wish to wake up on Saturday near the start of the road portion of the Tour. You must book your hotel room in advance – information about hotels and their rates is included in the Motor Tour Flyer/Registration Form we prepare for each tour. You can register for the Motor Tour in advance by downloading the Motor Tour registration form when it becomes available for the current year. Association members will also receive a copy of the Registration Form in their Spring issue of our Quarterly Newsletter, The 66 News.
We meet Saturday morning at a location at one end of the road. (We alternate between a South start and a North start every other year.) Registered participants receive a dashboard plaque (to identify your vehicle as a Motor Tour participant), a decal and an informational guidebook/passport as they check in. When the appointed time comes, we get in our cool cars, new cars, vintage cars (or on our motorcycles, bicycles, roller skates or whatever rolls you down the road) and form a procession along Route 66. Thus begins the Motor Tour. We drive along Route 66 at a leisurely pace, enjoying the sights and attractions as we tour. Our guidebooks will show and tell us the way as we drive along the Mother Road, as well as inform and entertain us with stories of the people and places that made Route 66 beloved. Whether it’s your first ride along the road or your thousandth, you’ll discover the hidden history of Old 66.
Along the way, there will be passport stops which are featured attractions at which you are encouraged to stop and explore. At each passport stop, Association members will be waiting to stamp the passport page in your guidebook, signifying your arrival at the attraction. Bear in mind that the Motor Tour is just that – a tour – and not a race. The guidebook provides an itinerary and approximate window of time when volunteers will expect vehicles to arrive at the passport stops. The times are not engraved in stone, however, so do travel at your own pace so you can have an authentic Route 66 experience. While we begin the tour as a group, each vehicle travels independently and is free to join or leave the tour at any time.
At noontime, the group stops to enjoy a lunch break at a predetermined destination. After lunch, the band of merry travelers continue along the Mother Road with more attractions to be enjoyed.
Come Saturday evening, it’s time for the Hall of Fame Banquet. This event is held at a banquet facility near where the Tour stops for the night. Tickets to the Hall of Fame Banquet must be purchased separately from your Motor Tour registration if you wish to attend. The Hall of Fame Banquet honors those who have served Route 66 through their contributions to its character or their preservation efforts. This year’s nominees to our Hall of Fame are inducted at this banquet. The Association will again have blocked off rooms nearby for you to book in advance at the Motor Tour rate.
Sunday brings the final leg of the journey along the Mother Road. At the final stop we bid our fellow Roadies a fond farewell and a hearty, “See you on the Road, Friends!”
The Motor Tour is the highlight of our Route 66 year. People from all over the world join us for this celebration of the people and places that make the Mother Road our special treasure.
You’re cordially invited to join us on a journey along a nostalgic slice of Americana every June. We think of the Motor Tour as a Scenic Sampler of the attractions that make Route 66 special and worth preserving. We hope that after experiencing a taste of the Mother Road that you’ll come back for a second – and third – helping!
The Motor Tour makes a great family vacation! We guarantee you’ll meet wonderful folks and make new memories while experiencing some old-time charm. We look forward to seeing you on the Road!
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
If you’ve never participated in a Motor Tour, you may not know what we’re talking about here. In case you’re wondering, read, What is a Motor Tour Anyway? to get up to speed.
Our annual Motor Tour for 2019 is shaping up nicely: this year’s theme is Life in the Slow Lane! You can now pre-register for this fun-filled weekend event. This year marks our 30th Motor Tour. You get a lot of fun for only $35 per registered car!
You don’t need to be a member of our association to participate in our Motor Tour, but we’d love it if you joined our mission to Preserve, Educate, Promote and Enjoy Route 66 in Illinois. Click for membership information.
Tour highlights include:
- North to South tour direction (Romeoville to Litchfield)
- Registration: (fill out registration form and pay on site OR pick up participation packet if pre-registered) Friday evening June 7 – 5:00 PM -8:00 PM OR Saturday morning 7:00 AM – 8:30 AM at White Fence Farm (parking lot), Romeoville, IL. (Tour takes off immediately following morning registration).
- Includes stops/events in Joliet, Gardner, Atlanta on Saturday; Springfield, Nilwood and Gillespie (special event) on Saturday and many more destinations along the way!
- Hall of Fame Banquet (separate event – $25 per person) Saturday evening will be held at the American Legion Hall in Lincoln, Illinois featuring the famous food of Chef Wentlandt!
- Each registered car receives a commemorative aluminum license plate (additional plates will be available for $5 each)
- Commemorative T-shirts, 100% cotton and made in the USA (of course) will be available for sale
You can easily pre-register for this event by downloading the form below:
(Pre-registration before June 7 is $35; on-site registration Friday evening or Saturday morning is $45.)
Submit completed form with payment to:
9280 Drummond Dr
Tinley Park, IL 60487
Pre-registered tour participants will receive further details at a date closer to the tour date by mail.
For questions about our Life in the Slow Lane Tour, contact:
We look forward to motor touring with you!
The Road Ahead Partnership is looking out for the future of Route 66. The annual meeting of their Board of Directors was held on February 22 and 23 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
We are sorry to report that Dee Pincsak passed away the afternoon of Sunday, February 17.
Dee and her husband Gene are At-Large Board members of our Association. A memorial service will be held at a future date.
Updated details: The visitation will be this Saturday, February 23, from 12:00 noon – 2:00 PM at the Jackson Funeral Chapel, located at 250 N. McKinley Ave in Rensselaer, Indiana. A funeral service will follow at 2:00 PM. Dee’s obituary can be viewed on the Jackson Funeral Chapel website.
This year just flew by! In reflecting with fellow members, we talked about how much we accomplished this year, what we have yet to do in Illinois, and what we hope to work on next year. “Next year” is here already! As I write my President’s letter update, we are in the midst of a government shutdown. The National Trail is currently stuck but I believe that this Bill making Route 66 a National Trail is a necessity – it must pass!
Our Association is full of sincere, enthusiastic caretakers of the Illinois miles, but as the road ages, so do we. There’s a time and place for government in our lives and I believe National Trail status will ensure that the grit and self-reliance of the Mother Road will continue on and be protected as a National Trail.
Since 1989, our Association has worked with IDOT on making sure all the alignments in Illinois were marked wherever possible. Since there were business routes and temporary detours, not all 66 alignments are recognized by their communities. We have seen in the past few years Lincoln marking all three alignments that run through their city, and we are hoping Springfield will add signage to a few sections of their 66 alignments as well.
There was a couple that did Route 66 and realized while they were traveling back to New York that they missed the Turkey Tracks. So they drove back. Never underestimated the two-lane and its stories.
Our Association participated in the recent Sonrise Donut Sign auction, It is our stance that we don not buy icons or signs, l however we were worried that this sign would end up leaving Illinois and become part of a private collection in California. John Lucchesi, our Sangamon County representative, filled us in on what was going on and our Executive Committee participated in an open discussion of what we should do. The bidding was fast and furious and our bids were quickly outbid. It turns out that a group of Springfield business members had put together funds and were working on a plan to save the sign. The City also revealed that they will be working on more 66 signage for the city of Springfield. I told him that my Christmas wish was that the Sonrise Donut sign would stay in Springfield. That’s when he told me that Springfield had rallied and had put together the funds to buy the sign (both sides).
We lost a past board member, Wyman “Bill” Deck since our last newsletter. Bill was always an interesting conversation, fully engaged with preserving not only his family’s pharmacy history, but the history of Girard and the other Blue Carpet corridor communities as well. Bull will be missed. Luckily, the Route 66 Scenic Byway was able to record some oral histories with him before his passing.
Our 2019 Motor Tour theme will be “Life in the Slow Lane.” We look forward to a north to south tour this year, with our overnight in Lincoln. We already have some amazing new places to stop as well as some tried and true. This will be our 29th tour. Save the date – the first full weekend in June 2019 – the 7th, 8th and 9th.
So until the rain stops and the snow flies, we look forward to a new year of preservation and festivals on the road. I ask that you support the local small businesses that service the 91 communities of Route 66 in Illinois.
Our latest joint effort with the Route 66 Association of Missouri will be the relighting of the original neon window signs at the Ariston Cafe in Litchfield. We look forward to the “new” “old” neon in the Ariston’s windows. Our past joint efforts include the Luna Cafe, the Vic Suhling sign at the Litchfield Route 66 Welcome Center, and the Del Rhea Chicken Basket sign in Willowbrook. There is nothing as inviting as a warm original neon sign.
We appreciate the hard work of our county reps. In the last year, we’ve had some personnel changes, and we’d like to acknowledge the time and effort of these county representatives for their years of service. Jerry Law, “The Emperor of the South.” was amazingly hands-on in the counties from Springfield to the Chain of Rocks bridge. Jerry’s enthusiasm and friendly smile endeared him to many along the road. Don Johnsen, DuPage County rep, brought his amazing energy to our meetings with fresh perspectives and events. Martha Jackson, a constant in the Litchfield community, is sidelined by her health but continues to represent Route 66 in the Litchfield area.
We appreciate the efforts of all our county representatives, past and present, for giving up their time for meetings and volunteering at the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum. The current Board looks forward to a new year and new projects along the Illinois miles.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Route 66 Association of Illinois, I wish you all a happy, health, prosperous New year! May your photos and warm memories of your ’66 trips make the winter days fly.
Cathie Stevanovich, President