Day One on Route 66, The Mother Road

Last updated: May 05, 2024.

I’m your host, Buzze A. Long. Welcome to Route 66, America’s Mother Road!

From Adams Street in Chicago, we’ll wind over 2,000 miles through the most beautiful country in the world; ending up at Santa Monica Pier on the blue Pacific Ocean.

Stops include Pontoon Beach, Bado, Glen Rio Texas and Rancho Cucamonga. So let’s get started!

After a day of positioning to Drive Route 66, 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 was no 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 Chicago. 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.

Route 66 Starts Here In Chicago

The Start of The Mother Road

There are no hassles on #Route66. 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:

Michael Anthony has your check waiting...

Michael Anthony’s Restaurant on Historic Route 66

Michael Anthony has your check waiting…

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.

The Signage for Route 66 in Illinois Is Easy To Follow

Keep Your Eyes Open – Signage for Route 66 in Illinois

North of Joliet, Old Route 66 travelers are forced to hit the SuperSlab, I-55.

Travelers on Route 66 Follow I-55 to Joliet

Get Your Kicks on Route 66 by Taking I-55 to Joliet

For Route 66. Take I-55 Exit 268 for Joliet, Illinois

Take x268 for Joliet, Illinois

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, IIllinois.

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:

Muffler Man Spaceman on Route 66

Please Mr Spaceman – Look and See

… 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 –

The 'Gemini Giant' Muffler Man FEET

Route 66 Muffler Man FEET! in Wilmington, Illinois

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

Buzze Tip:

Engage with the people you meet on #Route66, 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

Braidwood, IL.

As I drive up to the Polk-a-Dot Drive-In,  I’m greeted by Elvis and the couple in the white Ford pickup:

Elvis on 'IDroveTheMotherRoad'

Elvis on ‘IDroveTheMotherRoadRoute66’

Further investigation reveals Jake and Ellwood –

'IDroveTheMotherRoad' with Jake and Elwood

‘IDroveTheMotherRoadRoute66’ with Jake and Elwood

Doin’ some quality time with James Dean below:

Buzze & James

Hangin’ out with James Dean at the Polk-a-Dot

And whispering sweet nothings to Marilyn:

Blowin’ In Marilyn’s Ear With As You Can Tell, She Likes It.

This was a great movie. Your Investigative Reporter looks to see if that rumor about her wearing 2 pairs of underwear are true:

Why is that tune from ZZTop goin' thru my head??

Why is that tune from ZZTop goin’ thru my head??

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:

Not much traffic today at the Stop Sign in Gardner, Illinois

Not much traffic today at the Stop Sign in Gardner, Illinois

Some other sights from today:


SNAFU in Normal, Illinois

I-55 is off to the right

I-55 is off to the right of the abandoned lanes

Odell, IL Gas Station #IDroveTheMotherRoadRoute66

Restored Service Station, Odell, Illinois by #IDroveTheMotherRoadRoute66

The good ol' days when gas had LEAD and lots of it

The good ol’ days when gas had LEAD and lots of it

Restored Camping Trailer in Odell, Il

Restored Camping Trailer in Odell, Il

As I was taking pictures at this restored service station in

Odell, Illinois

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!

Yesterday was a Day of Positioning to Drive Route 66.

Don’t forget to look at Page 2 for Day One on The Mother Road!

Buzze A. Long,

driving The Mother Road Route 66


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