Vaccines are slowly but surely becoming available, and with it the promise of a less quarantined world. People who did not venture out since last March have gotten their shots and waited out this strange period in our life. I spent hours and hours tryiing to get an appointment online for Cook County, on hold with the local Walgreens, etc. to no avail. A customer of mine went to the Adams County website and was able to get an appointment and a shot. I decided it was tine for a road trip! I was able to get appointments and Saturday we took a cruise to the Quincy Civic Center and were treated like royalty. Wheelchair assistance, fast access registration, easy parking, and an amazing staff. Marty’s doctor had told him to get the Johnson & Johnson shot – and this was the only place I could find it. Once and done! We all need to be careful = the numbers are rising and that will affect all of us. In complimenting a paramedic working at the clinic he shared with us a lot of people had come down from Chicago. I spent more time in line at the Quincy McDonald’s in the drive up lane than I did at the entire Quincy Civic Center and that included waiting 15 minutes to make sure we didn’t have any reactions to our shots! First cruise of the year a little bit “off” 66 but parallel most of the way!
It has been a strange winter and spring. We started this year in quiet reflection mourning the loss of many of our members from sickness, age, and even a few from Covid. Saying goodbye is never easy and I am honored to haver had the opportunity to know some amazing people from all walks of life as a member of this organization. Since last summer we lost Marty Bilecki, Chuck and CJ Beeler, and Duke Cartwright. The recent passing of Glaida Funk, Rose Vargo, Lou Vargo and Adella Hodges recall great memories. I am happy to have shared time during the Motor Tours with all of them. Over 20 Motor Tours personally and each one with special moments – our Association is blessed with so many great people.
Slowly international travel is being eased. I believe it’s going to take at least two years to get to the prior amount of visitors we were experiencing. The interest in Route 66 remains strong. Our museum in Pontiac will continue to be open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM until the end of the year. The City of Pontiac continues to support us and we are thankful for all they do for our association.
To get everyone out of the house comfortably and safely, we are sponsoring a “Spring Fling” Car Cruise to raise money for The Mill in Lincoln, Illinois. The Mill’s museum does not have heating and air conditioning so our association gave a donation to them and are holding a caravan cruise down Route 66 on Saturday, April 17th to help them pay for proper heating and air conditioning. We will be starting in Wilmington with limited cruise “stops” along the way. This cruise is structured so it is strictly you and your family or friends in your car (with your germs) enjoying a great day on the road. There will be seven designated places where you can get a stamp on your Cruise Card simply by pulling up. to a designated stamp giver on the street at the assigned place. If you choose not to make the stops you can get all seven stamps at the end of the cruise in Lincoln at The Mill. The Mill will be open for socially distanced information and fun! There will be a split the pot as well. We thought it would be a great way to get out of the house safely and give the car a little extra mileage to get your car primed for the summer season. Safe, secure and masked your are on your own to add stops or meals to your day on the road. Activities will concljude at The Mill between 4:00 PM and 5:00 PM. There will be an e-blast and the info will be on the website. This is a cash/check only sign up. Rain or sine we caravan. $20 gets you a Mill Mask and a Cruise Card -= additional masks will be available at $5 each. ALL PROCEEDS go to The Mill. For questions or more information, email email@example.com.
Red Carpet Corridor will be a one day outing this year. It will be a no-contact event with your cameras catching photos of a special code, and people without fancy phones can write down codes posted in each community. Codes sent to the Red Carpet will result in being mailed a special 96th anniversary postcard. All communities will have socially distanced activities from Joliet to Towanda. Info is also available on ilroute66redcarpetcorridor.com – please review times and places. Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 1, note the Route 66 Association of Illinois museum will be open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM that day just for the event. The museum will be the Pontiac location for the code. It’s also the Swinging Bridges ARt Festival in Pontiac so there will be a lot to see and do!
The Odell Car show is Saturday, May 29th. This is a fundraiser for the Cancer Support Center in memory of Lenore Weiss. Details on the website. Be there or be square! John Weiss and Debbie Mosher have had amazing raffle prizes in the past and I am sure this year will be no different. The Cancer Support Center in Mokena and Homewood provide food, support, counseling and care for families affected by cancer so your raffle tickets make life so much easier for families who need emotional and physical assistance. Think of all those days you have been inside safe and sound and dig deep to help those families who cancer is always present in their lives every day and night and it’s personal.
Our Motor Tour, Life is a Highway, will be June 11th, 12th and 13th. This will be our 30th annual tour – from south to north, starting with opening night registration at the Comfort Inn in Edwardsville. Saturday we will start with a double cross of the Chain of Rocks Bridge, and up along the road. New places, new faces! Stops include Fairmont, Collinsville, Livingston, Mt Olive and Litchfield. Optional stops Raymond, up to Chatham for the “new” Corvair Museum (admission$5). Drive thru Springfield to the Hall of Fame banquet and overnight in Lincoln. Sunday morning there will be activities at The Mill, drive thru Atlanta, Funks Grove, and Bloomington for a passport stop at Hall of Fame Casey’s in Bloomington, and up to Lexington and on to Pontiac for lunch. After lunch, cruising thru Odell, Dwight, Gardner and up to Joliet for a private event/pre-Grand Opening at the New Rock and Roll Illinois Hall of Fame! Price is $35 prior registration, $45 at registration. Hall of Fame dinner will be at the American Legion Hall next to the Lincoln Inn and the Abe Lincoln Wagon. $25 for dinner. Due to Covid regulations, we will be socially distancing and tickets will be limited to 150. If you are going to send in a check for your reservations, please send separate checks in case we can’t do our dinner as planned. The banquet will be modified to allow social distancing so we are well within current Covid guidelines. We plan on a safe tour, great stops, good times after a tough year of Covid lockdown.
I look forward to a safe spring and fantastic summer filled with car shows, cruises, the Motor Tour and more community events with you! Remember to support eh 91 Route 66 communities and to invest in them by buying gas, meals and motel rooms. We are in this together and together we will make 2021 a banner year!
President, Route 66 Association of Illinois