Day 14: Route 66, Joliet to Springfield

Today we say goodby to our temporary Chicago digs, load up the car and head out on the Mother Road picking up where we left off yesterday. Our first destination is Joliet with no real plans on how far we’ll get, we’re just exploring the road and stopping for pretty much anything that looks interesting. Plus, we’re using our guide book to seek out some of the Route 66 highlight just to be sure we don’t miss out.

By the end of the day we’re in Springfield. On the Interstate this is a 2 1/2 hour drive. We spend the entire day and it’s quite dark when we arrive in Springfield. So much to see, so many stop, so much fun!

Joliet Prison

Joliet, what’s it famous for? Why the Joliet Prison and a High School that looks eerily similar to the prison. Plus Joliet Jake of the Blues Brothers and Elwood is just down the road.

We stop by the museum, but it’s not open until 10 am and we don’t want to hang around that long so we cruise around town a bit and see the Rialto and then head on down the road.

After Elwood its Wilmington, home to the Gemii Giant and the Launchpad Drive-In.

Next stop is another Drive-In in Braidwood-Godley, the Polk-A-Dot Drive In with some more characters hanging around in the parking lot.

Shirley is with Elvis and I’m with Marilyn. Then there is some guy and Betty Boop! Around the corner are Jake & Elwood, another Elvis and Superman.

Shirley rockin’ with The King
In the Slammer!!!!!

Next we stop in Gardner, home of a two cell jailhouse.

Dwight is next on the Route and it’s quite the place to take the family.

In Dwight, at the Ambler’s Texaco Gas Station we meet a group of guys from Germany who flew to Los Angles, rented a car and are doing the whole Route 66 road trip to Chicago, typically considered going in reverse, but hitting all the stops.

Lots of vintage restored garages and gas stations on the route. This is anther one on the way out of Dwight.

Odell is next with it’s claim to fame, you guessed it, another gas station.

In between towns and cities there are lots of sights from days gone by. This one is still in operation and apparently was one of the most advertised items on Route 66.

After a short drive we’re in Pontiac where we spend quite a bit of time at the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum and the next door Livingston County War Museum.

So much memorabilia
Bob Waldmire‘s VW Bus
I’ve been to Cool Springs, very “cool”, middle of nowhere.
Around the back of the museum

Back in the car and more driving down the road to Lexington, where we drive on Memory Lane which was supposedly closed to traffic, but what the heck, then by Toward and into Bloomington-Normal, two towns so close together that shared the same Main Street!. What’s the attraction here? Another restored gas station!

Sprague’s Super Service with Shirley jumping to the pump!

Next stops are Shirley, Funks Grove, McLean, Atlanta, Lawndale, Lincoln, Braodwell-Elkhart, Williamsville, Sherman and finally Springfield where we end the day. Some got photos, some didn’t. It was getting dark and once that happened it was just pushing on to Springfield and our hotel for the night.

Shirley’s Church in Shirley, Il

A long and full day on the road and we only stopped to look at a small portion of the sights and attractions. Shirley is now a Route 66 convert and thinks this wasn’t such a crazy idea after all and wants to see more!

Tomorrow we’re touring the Frank Lloyd Wright Dana Thomas House and then returning to Atlanta,IL for a little Route 66 shopping before making the turn towards home.

For more: Photos of what we saw on Day 14

Funks Grove country store
Atlanta – The giant muller man called Bunyon Giant holding a hotdog, not a muffler?

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