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, with only one year missed (a year where, unfortunately, many things were missed…). The Motor Tour provides an opportunity to drive and appreciate attractions along our Illinois stretch of Route 66. We alternate between a south start and a north start every other year, with northern starts in even years.
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. 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.
The Motor Tour kicks off on Friday evening of the weekend with registration event at a local establishment. Registered participants receive a “goody bag” when they check in. The Association typically blocks off rooms at a 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 rates is included in the Motor Tour Flyer/Registration Form.
We meet Saturday morning at a location at one end of the road. There is additional registration available for those who missed out on the Friday event. 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. Guidebooks 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 hidden stories of Old 66.
Along the way, there are often passport stops, which are featured attractions where you are encouraged to stop and explore. At each passport stop, Association volunteers will be waiting to stamp the passport page in your guidebook, signifying your arrival at the attraction. On some tours, some or all “stamps” may be available in your goody bag.
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 expect vehicles to arrive at passport stops. 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.
Around noon, 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, if you wish to attend, are purchased separately from your Motor Tour registration. 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!