Throughout the summer, we’ll be sharing weekly installments of a Route 66 travel journal written by association member Joe Razumich. It’s his entertaining account of a recent road trip from his home down Route 66 to Rolla, Missouri for the 75th anniversary of the iconic Munger Moss Motel. On his adventure, Joe passes through Illinois so you’re sure to recognize many of the places he mentions. So, without further ado, here’s Joe!
Sit back and enjoy a Journey Joe travel adventure. Is Journey Joe a real person? Well, not really. But he’s as real as any nickname, any stage personality, any thought or collection of travel experiences that any roadie might have. The real “Joe” is Joe Razumich, a lover of cars and the open road ever since his childhood, growing up around the corner from a hot rod shop, a busy Broadway, and a railroad track. But really all Real Joe does is drive. And put gas in the tank. And put Mr. Suitcase, Mr. Duffle Bag, Ms. Cooler, Mr. Road Atlas, etc., collectively known as the “Inanimate Objects”, in the trunk or behind the passenger seat. Or, to put it another way, Joe loves to drive. Journey Joe loves to write about it – and take you, Dear Reader, along for the ride.
Oh, and the car has a name too. The one we’ll be riding along with on this particular trip, is Angel the Corvette. She’s blue like the sky and she believes she can fly.
OLD TELEPHONE POLES
Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Day 1
Munger Moss Motel. Missouri. Mother Road. Marla. Oops I promised not to call her that. It won’t happen again.
Welcome to the next great Journey Joe adventure: A pilgrimage down Route 66 to Rolla, Missouri for the 75th anniversary of the iconic Munger Moss Motel. Journey Joe has been invited to the party and he was not to be denied. Angel the Corvette was more than ready for the trip; she hasn’t been on Route 66 since 2018. “Vagabond’s been having all the fun lately” lamented the feisty gal of my six-speed dreams. And so it was, that the familiar passel of inanimate objects made their way into the garage and into Angel’s spacious storage locker. Well, not all of the objects. It is June, after all. So Mr. Space Heater will sit this one out.
So there’s some extra room for a change. What better opportunity for a new twist on the familiar adventure? The “Twist” came in the form of a request from a friend of a friend. One of my Facebook friends from a Route 66 group, Lulu, contacted me for a ride to Missouri. Lulu’s expected ride cancelled out, and she’s already bought and paid for her room at the Munger Moss Motel, for the celebration. I mulled it over in my head …
“Taking a virtual stranger along with you, for a whole week, down Route 66. Are you crazy?”
“Yes! Yes you are crazy!” retorted the Journey Joe voice. “It’s Route 66, the road where Magic was born. We got the means, so let’s share that magic with someone else who loves Route 66 as much as we do.” And so I told Lulu (who I knew previously as Marla), “Sure, if you can get in and out of a Corvette, you’re in the passenger seat!”
“Are you crazy?!?!”
“That’s what my friends said to me”, recounted Lulu, “when I told them I just hitched a ride with a Facebook friend, to head down Route 66 to Missouri in a Corvette!”
I picked up Lulu at her apartment right on time, at 3:00 this Tuesday afternoon. Our first stop will be the Braidwood Motel in Braidwood, Illinois, where we will launch our Route 66 exploration to Missouri.
Well, so we’re both crazy, aren’t we. That certainly evens up the score. I got a good inside laugh when Lulu was telling me about her friend’s exclamation, which was exactly the same thing I had thought to myself.
Today was perfect top-down weather. Clear blue sky, low 80’s, low humidity. And it aint gonna last, so we bobbed and weaved our merry way westbound through Indiana, avoiding road closures to cross the state line to Illinois, then on county roads through
Illinois backcountry, narrowly avoiding Kankakee and then cruising up along the Kank River up to Braidwood. Check-in was a breeze, and for the fifth time in my travel career, a room at the Braidwood Motel is immaculately fit for purpose. I’m in room 12, and Lulu is in room 10. The televisions work, the AC units work, and there’s plenty of bathroom tissue in each room. Lulu retired early, and I took Angel out for a tank-up and car wash.
The car wash tried to scam me. I put in seven quarters, and after that, it rejected twelve quarters before accepting one more. Hah, the scam didn’t work. I got the bugs cleaned off of the Angel-Vette, and thus ended this most delightful day.
Follow along with Journey Joe’s travels! Click to read the following entries in this series as they’re published.