Day One on Route 66, The Mother Road
Last updated: July 12, 2017. My search for Route 66, Route66, Rout 66 began early, about 4:45 AM. I woke up before the alarm. This was good because, well, there wasn’t an alarm. The cell phone I use for an alarm clock went dead overnite “Searching for Service”. Brekky at Micky D’s in Hammond, Indiana then on West toward The Starting Point of Route 66, The Mother Road in Downtown Chicago.
I’m looking forward to the day when I can say,
“I Drove The Mother Road Route 66!”.
Traveling from I-90, finding the embarkation point was easy and quick. Just set the GPS to 111 Adams and go with the flow. DownTown Chicago was pretty laid back, this being about 8 AM on a Saturday morning. The morning was lighted brilliantly by the sun. People were out walking and jogging downtown. Pretty quiet. The sign for Starting Point of the Mother Road is located at a bus stop, which is located on a “Buses Only” lane. I circled the block 3 times, each time pulling into the bus lane, stopping and getting pix of the RT 66 sign.
There are no hassles on Route 66. Adams is under construction just west of the sign. Just hang a left, travel a couple of blocks, hang a right, couple of blocks, hang a left and you’re back on Adams, traveling West.
As you travel West, you will follow Ogden as it ‘Ys’ to the left. Within just a few miles, Downtown gives way to the SW ‘Burbs of ChiTown. Traffic is light, very light, on this Saturday morning. I’m only a few minutes from what once was the largest city in America. Already there is a small-town feel to The Main Street Of America, Route 66.
Michael Anthony’s is on the left:
As I drive Westward, there are more trees and greenery. Along the way I’ve made a switch to Joliet Rd.
Signage for Route 66
is good in the city and ‘burbs. I may have gotten off The Mother Road temporarily here, as for a few blocks the signage indicates “To Joliet Road West”. Then I’m back on America’s Main Street.
North of Joliet, Old Route 66 travelers are forced to hit the SuperSlab, I-55.
Since Ohio, I have been driving in what I call the “Thousand-Mile-Long Cornfield”. After a brief detour through Chicago, I’m back in the cornfield again near Joliet.
A few miles later, I took I-55 Exit 268 to resume travel on The Mother Road.
Old Route 66 traverses Illinois,
crossing back & forth between the east & west side of I-55. I drove through Romeoville, down Illinois 53 to
Joliet has some interesting things, one thing being that US Route 6 travels through the town. Keep alert, there are some turns to be made in Joliet. Looking back, I wish I had spent more time here, but was in too much of a hurry to get into the ‘real’ Route 66 – What??? I’ll spend more time in Joliet on my next trip on The Mother Road. I’ll also have a better look around the Starting Point of Route 66 in Chicago. I traveled down Illinois 53 through Elwood.
The first ‘fun stop’ of the day is caused by the sighting of a SpaceMan:
… if there’s a rocket in your hands for me …
My first – whoops – second – Muffler Man ever. But not my last for the day – keep reading.
… and look at the size of those –
Granny, what big FEET you have!
The Route 66 Spaceman
in Wilmington, Illinois was easy to find because there was a couple staring up at it and taking pictures – my first ’66ers’ of the trip! They were in a white Ford pickup with NJ plates. Asking if they were going to drive the whole route, they answered that this was just a short shakedown for them. They had driven out to do about 180 miles in Illinois in preparation for driving the entire Mother Road by motorcycle next year. They tell me that a dinosaur is perched on top of a building further on – I assume they mean a few TOWNS further on. Whoops!
By the way, the spaceman goes by the moniker of ‘Gemini Giant’.
Here’s your first
Engage with the people you meet on Route 66, The Mother Road. The Main Street Of America is a long, skinny neighborhood. It’s over two thousand miles long. Funny thing is, it is really a NEIGHBORHOOD – people on one end know people on the other end, know what is happening in the middle and are tuned into what is going on. Route 66 has a pulse and the way to feel it is by engaging with everyone you meet. You’d be surprised what you’ll learn!
A few miles drive southwest brings me to
As I drive up to the Polk-a-Dot Drive-In, I’m greeted by Elvis and the couple in the white Ford pickup:
Further investigation reveals Jake and Ellwood –
Doin’ some quality time with James Dean below:
And whispering sweet nothings to Marilyn:
This was a great movie. Your Investigative Reporter looks to see if that rumor about her wearing 2 pairs of underwear are true:
Buzze will stop at NOTHING to get to the bottom of a story for his loyal readers. He is never behind the times. As for that rumor….
… there really is a stop sign in Gardner, Illinois but they don’t use it much. This pic proves it:
Some other sights from today:
As I was taking pictures at this restored service station in
the couple from NJ drove up in their pickup truck. “I must have missed something if I’m ahead of you now”, I said.
I missed quite a bit, including the Sinclair Dinosaur on top of the building. “Where was it?” I asked. “In that first town we saw you”. Whoops. Something to look for next time.
Remember, only 180 shopping days left until Christmas!
Don’t forget to look at Page 2 for Day One on The Mother Road!
Buzze A. Long,