Today we left a very wet Chicago and began our journey south along Route 66, our destination today was the town of Lincoln, Illinois. It became a very wet and cold morning by the time we got to Braidwood. We sought shelter for a while under an overpass the rain got that heavy.
It was a journey of approximately 269 km (167 miles). This section of Route 66 has a lot of touristy things to stop and see. We ticked off the following items today:
- The Launching Pad Drive-In & Gemini Giant, Wilmington
- 2 Cell Jail, Gardner
- Ambler’s Texaco Gas Station, Dwight
- Odell Gas Station, Odell
- Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum, Pontiac
- Pontiac Oakland Museum, Pontiac
- Sprague’s Super Service, Normal
- Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup, Funks Grove
- Bunyon Giant, Alanta
Whilst the roads are fairly well marked to highlight old Route 66 you do need to keep alert for turn offs onto older alignments. The route changed over the years so sometimes you get more than one option when it comes to travelling through towns. Roadworks and detours make it a bit more interesting as you need to try and find your way back onto Route 66 once you get forced off.
Not long into the ride we were forced off Route 66 due to a traffic accident, with a detour around Lewis university. Getting made to turn off threw me a little bit as I wasn’t expecting any deviations to our trip.
Once back on track we stopped in at the Gemini Giant at Willmington stands as a lonely sentinel over the “Launching Pad” cafe. It was closed when we we stopped in and it was still rather wet. After a quick couple of touristy photos it was time to keep moving. Next stop was the 2 cell jail at Gardner.
There are 2 historic service stations along this section of Route 66. Ambler’s Texaco Gas Station, also known as Becker’s Marathon Gas Station at Dwight and the Standard Oil Gasoline Station at Odell.
From the 2 service stations we headed towards Pontiac for lunch and a visit to a couple of museums. The first one was the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum followed by the Pontiac Oakland Museum.
The Route 66 Hall of Fame museum is well laid out and show cases both Route 66 and the local Pontiac area. It has an extensive display of military uniforms and associated paraphernalia. If you love cars then the Pontiac Oakland Museum is a must see. It is a privately owned collection of Pontiac’s and Oakland’s.
While you are in town don’t miss checking out the murals, the courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practised law and Bob Waldmire’s bus.
Bob Waldmire bus was an American artist who is well known for his artwork of U.S. Route 66, including whimsical maps of the Mother Road