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Travel Journal

The O'Learys Experience Route 66 Nostalgia

Submitted by Jessica and Chad O’Leary

My husband Chad and I are both 32 years old from Milton, WI. We both have a passion for “back in the day." We've often been told we were born in the wrong era. We love all things 50s. As part of that we had planned our one-week vacations the past three years around Route 66. Route 66 travel all started for us three years ago when we did the Red Carpet Corridor. That two days we decided we HAD to drive Route 66.

So three years ago on our one-week vacation, we drove our daily driver car from home to start in Chicago and we made it to Amarillo TX. Year two we drove from home straight to Amarillo to pick up where we left off and then made it all the way to LA. Those two weeks were by far the best vacations we have ever taken!

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Josh and Wendy Friedrich Go to Kingman, Arizona on Route 66

By Josh Friedrich

As each day grew nearer our anticipation nearly overwhelmed our ability to focus on anything else. The day had finally come for us to embark on our greatest hi-way adventure to date. This had been in the works for nearly a year. We unloaded our kids and pets into the capable hands of their grandparents. We were headed to Kingman, Arizona for the International Route 66 Festival. Now let me tell you, this would be the longest road trip (11 days) we have attempted and the longest time away from our young roadies, Charlie & Lizzy. As my license plate states we were ready to "VU 66" and get our kicks! Now during this trip we were forced to take the Interstate for longer periods of time, change plans, take a wrong turn, and not see/stop at must see gems. However, that did not take away from the overall fun, great people, awe inspiring places, and cool things we did do during our journey.
 
Day 1 August 9th
 
Our first stop was in Collinsville to test out the new tripod and remote on the camera. We thought what better place than the World's Largest Catsup Bottle to do so, especially since it was for sale and who knows what the future holds for it. This would be the first of many selfies for us during our trip. Next we made our way to the Route 66 State Park and its visitor center/museum. I highly suggest visiting it, plus the gift shop is has a great selection of just about everything a souvenir hunter could want. I picked up a hiking stick medallion for a new found hobby of mine.

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Motor Tour 2014 Recap - Through the Eyes of Participants

Here it is - the official recap for our 25th annual Motor Tour! Some participants were kind enough to share their memories and photos of this exciting event that took place June 13-15, 2014. Read on to experience your very own Motor Tour adventure through their words and images!

The Friedrich Family

By Josh Friedrich

On Friday, June 13, after I got off work, we piled into the van and made our way to Edwardsville for their Route 66 Festival and the kick off to the 25th Annual motor tour. I was looking forward to seeing all our 66 friends and making some new ones this weekend. The downtown was full of people, vendors, and sweet and savory smells. We picked up our tour packet from Cathie and Marty, said hello to John Weiss, and then made our way over to see two of our favorite authors. Joe Sonderman and Chery Eichar Jett just released their new Arcadia book, Route 66 In Illinois, and Joe released a new hardback, Postcards From Route 66. I picked up each and promptly had them personally autographed. Now it was time to find some dinner and we chose a food truck called Pickerill's Pick'n 'N' Grinn'n BBQ. We had a dirty, filthy dog, a dirty dog, and BBQ cheese fries. Everything was great!

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Dirty Filthy Dog, Edwardsville Rt 66 Festival, photo courtesy Josh Friedrich

Bucket List: Driving the Entire Route 66 in a 1966 Thunderbird by Two 66’ers

Our thanks to Dianna Pickett for providing the following information about a trek along Route 66 in support of a worthy cause happening now!

Bucket List: Driving the Entire Route 66 in a 1966 Thunderbird by Two 66’ers
Benefitting JDRF - Oregon/SW Washington Chapter
Having Fun While Helping Others

Oregonians Jim Pickett and Joe Roberts will leave September 15, 2014 on their bucket list adventure of driving the entire route of the historic Route 66, also known at The Mother Road. They will also be fundraising for JDRF - the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research.

Happy 25th Anniversary Wishes from Members Tony and Kathy Melone

The following letter from Association members, Tony and Kathy Melone, comes just in time to celebrate our Association's 25th anniversary and our 25th annual Motor Tour. Thanks to the Melones for such kind and thoughtful words. From one 25th anniversary celebrator to another, Happy Anniversary and many more!

Tony writes:

My wife Kathy and I are kind of new members, going on four years. We have been on the Motor Tour the past three years and are still amazed at our “Hidden Treasure,” Route 66 in Illinois.

We are lucky to have an old 55 Buick Super that we take on the road often, and we are looking forward to this year’s 25th anniversary of the organization. It happens to be our own 25th year wedding anniversary this year.

A Trip of a Lifetime

By Edward Johnson

I don't know exactly when the idea struck me of taking Route 66 all the way to California and back. I do know it was there in my mind long before I ever got an anitque vehicle and joined the McLean County Antique Auto Club or joined the Route 66 Association of Illinois. At some point it turned into the idea of a group trip to celebrate the car club's 50th anniversary in 2013. I started talking about it at the monthly meetings over two years in advance to give anyone interested in going along plenty of time to get themselves and their vehicle ready.

I put together a proposed itinerary of places to see and places to stay along the way and a group of interested members had our first meeting in February of 2012. The start-off date was settled on for September 15th, 2013. The plan was to travel no more than 200 miles a day if possible and stop anywhere and see anything that was of interest to us. Through several meetings there were some changes made to the plan as stops were added or dropped or evening stops were changed.

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World's Largest Covered Wagon to be Repaired Following January Wind Damage

Our thanks to Nancy Saul, Interim Director of Logan County Tourism Bureau for providing the following press release.

LINCOLN – The World’s Largest Covered Wagon will soon stand straight and tall again on Old Route 66 for the entire world to see.

On January 26, a storm rolled through Lincoln, carrying wind gusts of up to 50 miles an hour.

The storm pushed the monstrous wagon askew, breaking the front and back wheels on the driver’s side and leaving the roadside attraction tilted at a 45 degree angle. The wagon cover was also ripped from its mountings and destroyed.

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Deanos Rt 66 Motorcycle Trip

The following travelogue was submitted through our website submission form by enthusiastic Route 66 Traveler, Dean Radford. Thanks, Dean, for sharing your adventure!

While visiting my brother in MI, I met Dan Rice who provided info on Rt 66. So I decided to head out from Flint, MI on my 1300 V Star motorcycle to Chicago shoreline and ride a portion of 66.

Four weeks later I arrived home in Ft Lauderdale after making it to Santa Monica, then U.S 10 - 6K miles. I met special people and had wonderful experiences in Pontiac IL, Commerce and Claremore. Special time in Seligman meeting Angel and the guys at Canyon Inn. Country Manor in Dwight was a nice dining experience. TRIP OF A LIFETIME for recently retired senior!

Route 66 International Festival in Joplin, Missouri

By Marcia Gascho

Several months ago, we heard that Joplin would be hosting the 2013 Route 66 International Festival on August 1-3. It had never been held in Missouri before. It was close enough for a long weekend trip so we decided to go! We made hotel reservations and I signed up for the Festival e-mail list. It was exciting to read about new events that were being announced. I was especially happy to hear that the Road Crew band would be performing. I love their Route 66 music.

Motor Tour 2013 Highlights: The Friedrich Family

By Josh Friedrich

2 Just off 66 2.JPGThe Route 66 Association of Illinois Motor Tour kickoff celebration took place in Plainfield at "Just Off 66." This place is AWESOME! The walls are covered in vintage signage and vibrant neon lights. There were classic arcade machines and tons of 50s and 60s era artifacts from the heyday of Route 66. Cool classic cars sat outside and even a Red Radio Flyer Wagon convertible car for us to enjoy while eating our dinner. Charlie couldn't stay away from his best bud, Marty Blitstein, and helped out at the registration table. After a great evening with our fellow roadies, it was time to head to the hotel for a much-needed nights rest.

After a quick continental breakfast, we headed over to the Berwyn Historical Museum. While there, be sure to charge up at the E-car charging station out front. The place was packed with people and we missed out on getting the goodie bag by a few minutes. I liked the Route 66 history represented, especially the stuff about The Spindle art piece. We posed for the group photo, hopefully I didn't blink or have a goofy look on my face. After that we waited patiently for a spot to open up so we could join the caravan out of town, with an official police escort. We meandered our way past the Steak-N-Egger and onward to Saban's for a good view of the fenced-off section of Route 66 near the Vulcan Quarry that is unsafe to drive on due to mining and erosion near the road.

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Learning to use our calendar puts the fun and adventure of Route 66 at your fingertips. It's easy to discover the when, what and where of events along the road.

Here's How!

Historic Maps

Highway GuideWatch Route 66 evolve into The Mother Road  with maps and highway guides from 1917-1992 courtesty of the official Illinois Digital Archives.