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.
Sunday, June 20, 2021. Day 6. Part 1
I started out dreaming that I was at the party at Munger Moss Motel, mingling with everyone new that I’ve met. But then my dream switched over to the work environment. I was monitoring some safety function on one of the automation systems I was responsible for at the refinery. One or two mis-clicks on the keyboard and I was in a completely different automation system and could not get back to where I needed to be. Eventually I resolved the issue. But I had to tell my boss. It took awhile, but I caught up to him and explained the problem in private so he could understand the weight of the situation. “These Programmable Controllers don’t have enough firewall between them. I was trying to monitor one of those distillate hydrotreater furnaces, and next thing I knew, I was on a page where I could start your motorcycle!” Boss said “You’re definitely on the radar now!” Then I awoke, feeling content that for a change I remembered what I was dreaming about. Now as for what it means… don’t know yet.
The agenda for this Sunday morning was “Easy.” At the Elm Street Eatery, I took inventory. It’s difficult to describe the feeling of family that this Route 66 enigma carries with it. From business owners, to wacky curio shop owners, to preservationists, historians, poets, and to simple vagabonds like Journey Joe here, everyone is welcomed like an old friend, visiting Mama’s house for an old fashioned dinner and gab session on the porch. The music played familiar melodies overhead and what caught my attention was a most poignant tune composed by Jackson Browne. I put my head down, tuned everything else out and focused in on his artful melody and the insightful way that he described a singer he was enamored with. He’s singing tribute to just one person, but in his brilliant lyrics I could find references to the spirits of every individual I’d encountered this weekend.
After breakfast, I sat out on the upstairs balcony at 8:00 am and ate an apple, while I listened to the whirring rush of the interstate traffic just beyond the tree line. Almost no traffic at all on Route 66 this Sunday morning. Count my blessings and let time stand still.
It was time to check out of my wonderful digs and collect Lulu and her valuables at the Munger. After a round of goodbyes, we headed west for a mile or so, to the giant Chicago Cutlery store that I never knew existed. Lulu did some shopping there, and then afterwards, that inevitable inflection of the road trip was upon us: We turned around and started heading home.
With only two days available for the trip home, there wouldn’t be a whole lot of stops and visits today. Our one “must-see” was the Fanning Outpost. Unfortunately it was closed for Father’s Day. We kept on going, eastbound on Route 66, relishing in our kicks and the scenery and the thrill of it all. Our destination was Springfield, Illinois, and to get that far in one day we had to (gasp) jump on the interstate around St Louis and its western suburbs. No worries, Angel is quite comfortable at superspeeds.
We made it to Springfield in good time, late afternoon. There’s a new place on the south side of town called Motorheads. We decided to try them for dinner. So did just about everyone else who was on the road this Sunday. Sitting at the bar, I overheard the bartender telling the couple next to us that “The kitchen is not taking any more orders for the next hour. They have to catch up with the backlog.” So we left Motorheads, hungry. Next option: Cracker Barrel across the street. It was fine with me, it was fine with Lulu. While we were enjoying our Cracker Barrel dinner, I reserved us a couple rooms at the Baymont Bigbox next door. A big box modern room, right next door, for just sixty eight bucks, you can’t go wrong. Can you … ?
TO BE CONTINUED…
Follow along with Journey Joe’s travels! Click to read the following entries in this series as they’re published.