We were on the road around 9:45 Tuesday morning, heading north on I 35 through Kansas City. I love the KC skyline, even though it has changed a lot since I first saw it in 1983. My favorite is, what my family calls the “candle building,” the Power and Light building, built in 1931. At night it has changing colored lights at the top. Winding our way through the city passed the Liberty Memorial, passed the cathedral where I sang in the choir, and then across the newest bridge— the Christopher S. Bond that replaced the Paseo bridge in 2010 — that goes over the Missouri river.  KC is a town of many bridges. I even photographed many of them when I lived there in the hopes of writing a book one day.

We made our first stop at Cameron, MO at a McDonald’s around 11:30 for a potty stop and late breakfast. We can always count on them to have clean bathrooms and good coffee. My sister likes her coffee. I like the egg & cheese biscuit. Toby likes to just get out walk, sniff, and piddle. We then headed east on US 36. I love this route, it is much better then I 70 because there is a lot less traffic and I always like to stop in Hannibal, MO.

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Hannibal has a wonderful river front area and is the birth place of Mark Twain, so there’s a museum and lots of little antique shops. We had a late lunch at a little cafe antique shop around 1:30 then crossed the mighty Mississippi heading east on 72 to Springfield, Illinois.

My sister had done a little research on her phone and in the Route 66 book and had found a pet friendly Route 66 hotel in Springfield, so at lunch I’d made reservations. We arrived around 4:00 and were very surprised to discover this hotel was the first Holiday Inn on Route 66! IMG_0916

Yes, an older building but the room was clean with all the amenities, TV, Internet, refrigerator, and microwave. After settling into our room we explored the building.

 

In the lobby was a 1941 Model T! Along a large hall, off the lobby, were glass display cases with all sorts of nostalgic pieces,

 

I loved the old porcelain ice box and stove, great historical pieces.

 

 

Then we decided to drive to downtown Springfield to visit some of the Lincoln spots, like his historical home, library and museum, however it was after 5:00 so everything was closed. Darn! I guess we will have to do this next time. So we headed back to our hotel looking for a place to have dinner. We stopped at Darcy’s Pint because there were a lot of cars in the parking lot, a good sign. I had salmon for the second time this trip, unfortunately I never had catfish, which is what I usually get while in this area. Oh well, next time!

The next morning we drove across the street to the McDonald’s for our usual back-on-the road breakfast. Our next Route 66 stop would be Atlanta, Illinois, I had marked this in my original research to see the Paul Bunyan statue holding a hot dog. Something unique!

Atlanta is well worth the stop because it not only has the Paul Bunyan Muffler Man statue (Taylor doesn’t say why it has muffler in the name) , which was moved here from a Hot Dog Stand in Cicero in 2003, but also a Route 66 Arcade Museum, the 1901 Seth Thomas Clock at the library, and the J.H. Hawes Grain Elevator Museum (Taylor 58). The volunteer in the Arcade Museum was super fun to talk to and gave us a little tour. To our surprise upstairs they have a whole room devoted to Lincoln, because Atlanta was part of his circuit. We told her we are related to Lincoln’s mother, she said we were the first visitors to tell her that.

 

She suggested we take a little walk to the grain elevator because we would pass the library with the Seth Thomas Clock.

 

I didn’t take any photos of the clock or library, instead I took a photo of the old windmill at the edge of the train tracks we crossed to get to the grain elevator. It was a beautiful day, however we needed to get back on the road if we were to get home before dark, our next stop would be Joliet.

The most surprising aspect of this Route 66 Road Trip was that everywhere we stopped there were friendly volunteers to share all sorts of fascinating information. It was like this stretch of road holds some magical force that you can feel where ever you stop.

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Back on US 55 headed north to Joliet we decide to stop at the Joliet Route 66 Diner for lunch, before running the gauntlet passed Chicago. Again we were not disappointed, however I did not have their specialty a Monte Cristo per Taylor (44), instead I had a chicken salad croissant special for the day. It came with fries and a large dill pickle. Yum. My sister had soup and a sandwich, maybe a BLT. All I remember is it was way more than she could eat. While we were in the diner, Toby ate in his carseat with all the windows down a couple inches.

After our lunch stop we got on the turnpike I 80 to 94 north. This is the one stretch of road I’m always happy to be done with! Back in Michigan I asked my sister if she would mind stopping at Bridgeman. She says “you’re driving.”

Bridgeman’s Weko Beach holds a lot of memories for me. I think of it as my therapy spot. I love sitting on the beach and listening to the waves lap against the sand, it is the most relaxing sound. So we got off the highway and drive to the beach for our last stop of this Route 66 Road Trip.

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The little snack bar was open, so we got ice cream and sat on a bench at the edge of the beach and just enjoyed the view, of the flattest Lake Michigan I’ve seen in a long time.

We got back on the road again and arrived at my sister’s around 8:00, woohoo before dark. I was home about fifteen minutes later, unloaded the car and warmed up my leftovers from the night before that I’d put on ice in the cooler.

It’s always good to get home after being away for a week or more. Home, were we can just relax and go to sleep in our own bed. However, it is also sad, the time always seems to go by way too fast.

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I really hope to drive more of Route 66 next year. For now, I’m just really glad we took the time to stop at as many spots as we could along Historic Route 66. I highly recommend this road trip.

 

 

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