Travel Journal

See You at the 2014 International Route 66 Mother Road Festival!

International_Route_66_Mother_Road_Festival__Springfield__IL.pngWe're looking forward to seeing you at this year's International Route 66 Mother Road Festival and Car Show! This 13th annual festival is coming September 26 - 28 to downtown Springfield, Illinois.

Association President Cathie Stevanovich, Treasurer /Membership Chairman Marty Blitstein, Cook County Representative, John Miller and At-Large Board Member Kathy Miller will be manning our booth at the festival. All our great Route 66 gear will be there too: T-shirts, pins, books and more!

Click to be directed to the official website for this event!

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.

Getting Our “Kicks” on Route 66: A Route 66 Trip Spanning 13 Years

Born and raised on the north side of Chicago we are two friends from the same neighborhood who share many childhood memories. After graduation from high school, we were college roommates. Of the many adventures we shared across the decades, college road trips, affectionately referred to as “Born Frees,” were particularly memorable. Attending Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, we would drive to various college campuses on weekends during the school year to find adventure (really looking for girls!). One summer during our college years we traveled round trip by car from Chicago to San Francisco on what we referred to as the “Western Born Free." As older adults (born in 1949 and 1950) we wanted to take another memorable “Born Free” and decided to become “Route 66 Roadies." The “Mother Road” certainly did not disappoint. We wanted to share our adventure with newsletter readers.

Mark & Bruce Chicago.pngIt took 13 years to complete our 2500-mile Route 66 adventure. We first set out on our “Mother Road” adventure in the second week of July 2000 when we traveled from Chicago (beginning in front of Lou Mitchell’s restaurant) and ended our first phase of our trip in Joplin Missouri. Two years later we flew into Joplin to begin the second phase which ended in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Due to some health challenges, it would be more than a decade until we were able to complete the final phase of our travels on Route 66. This past June (2013) we booked a flight from Chicago to Albuquerque to begin the final phase of our trip through New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Concluding our adventure at the Santa Monica Pier, we went on to meet up with our wives in the Los Angeles area.

During the three phases, we traversed Interstates and parts of the original road through seven states with the aid of three revisions of Tom Snyder’s Route 66 Traveler’s Guide and Companion.

To record our travels, we made our own documentary video entitled, “The Mother Road: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow." Armed with a video camera and an external microphone for the first two phases of our trip and our iPhones for the final phase, we interviewed many along the “Mother Road." Typical questions for those interviewed included “What is your connection to the Mother Road and how long have you had this connection?” “Do you have any childhood memories of Route 66?” “Can you tell us of any interesting visitors or celebrities that you have seen along Route 66?" “What changes, if any, over the years in have you seen in the Road?” What do you anticipate for the future along the Road?"

Donna and Michael Orlowski Getting Their Kicks on Route 66!

Our sincere thanks to Donna and Michael Orlowski for sharing their own Route 66 story and a terrific photo taken in front of our museum mural in Pontiac, IL!

Michael writes:

We enjoy traveling the Mother road as often as we can and over the years have seen many changes, some good but also some bad especially when one of our Rt.66 friends or attractions is lost. We are hoping to travel the full route in about two more years after I retire. I think it will take us at maybe two months, we like to stop and see everything. Enjoy the road as it is meant to be seen.

Here are Donna and Michael Orlowski getting their kicks on Route 66!

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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.