Our BIG News!
You’ve patiently waited for two weeks for us to announce our BIG Route 66 Association of Illinois news. Well, without further ado, here it is!
Through the efforts of a dedicated Route 66 Association of Illinois board member, some very special items will soon be on display at our Museum and Hall of Fame in Pontiac, IL.
What are these special items? And who is responsible for securing them for us to display?
Route 66 Artist and Icon, Bob Waldmire’s van and bus!
Bob Waldmire's 1972 VW Van
Bob Waldmire's converted schoolbus
Sadly, Bob Waldmire passed away December 16, 2009. Among the possessions he left behind were these two very precious items that in many ways defined the free-living man who embodied the spirit and soul of Route 66. These two vehicles are the physical manifestations of Bob's dedication to Route 66 and his art which celebrated it.
Bob traveled the Mother Road for decades in his 1972 VW van, greeting folks and sharing his unique art as an unofficial ambassador of Route 66. As you can see, the van represented the artist’s lifestyle. He created his art in it and displayed his art from it. A lot can be learned about Bob and his passion for Route 66 just by looking at his van.
The bus was Bob’s home. It is an actual school bus that Bob converted into a home for himself when he wasn’t traveling Route 66. His environmentalist roots are evident in the way that he turned this bus into a home that expressed his strong beliefs in a simple and basic lifestyle.
In honor of this auspicious acquisition, we are declaring the month of August “Bob Waldlmire Month” here on our website. That means that we will be featuring many more stories about Bob Waldmire and especially about these possessions of his that we will now proudly display. Details about the van and bus, additional photos, more about Bob and their connection to Route 66 will all be coming your way this month!
How did this good fortune come our way? These items are available for our Museum and Hall of Fame to display because of the tireless efforts of one man, our Association Treasurer, Marty Blitstein. For many months, Marty has coordinated with the Waldmire family, the City of Pontiac, IL and other parties to make this acquisition possible. This represents the culmination of a relationship with Bob himself that Marty is proud to have enjoyed for several years. It is Marty’s distinct pleasure to continue honoring Bob by putting these quintessential items on display so that all may continue to know this very special friend of Route 66.
Where and when can you see these items on display? Those details are still being finalized. We will keep you apprised of all the details here on our website as to where and when the Waldmire van and bus can seen.
The Association is thankful to Marty for his dedication to preserving and displaying these iconic Route 66 items.
We have opened this story up for your comments and questions. Please share your thoughts and reactions to this, our Big Announcement with us. Do you have Bob Waldmire van or bus stories and/or photos? We’d love to share them with our readers!
We welcome your Route 66 news, stories, photos and events for publication in our newsletter or on our web site!