Route 66 | Day 1
Our Route 66 adventure started from Chicago. We traveled across the State of Illinois, with our main strops being Joliet, Funks Grove and Atlanta. We regret missing a stop at Pontiac though (between Joliet and Funks Grove, that is)…
Joliet is a small town that has become popular thanks to an Old Prison located in a short proximity to the town itself. The Joliet Prison operated for 144 years, housing over 1.300 inmates. After it was officially shut down, it became a set for the famous movie “The Blues Brothers”, while the popular TV series Prison Break was also filmed here!
After a few hours of driving, we felt like making a short stop for stretching our legs and the Funks Grove factory proved to be the ideal place! Funks Grove is actually a family farm where the well-known American maple “sirup” is made!
It i also the midpoint of Route 66 in Illinois!
Atlanta is another small town in Illinois, somewhat famous for an enormous Muffler Man holding a host dog in his hands. And this is just one of the many Muffler Men you will find along Route 66, as these giant statues were pretty popular back in the old days for advertising businesses. Personally we found them kitsch and did not bother anymore looking for more such road-side attractions, but rather avoided them instead!
Route 66 | Day 2
The morning of our second day on the road was dedicated to exploring Springfield Illinois, a town linked with the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln.
As most people driving on Route 66 seem to choose Springfield for their first overnight stop, you will most likely do the very same. Personally, I strongly recommend saving some time for a short visit at Abraham Lincoln’s Home, which is offered free of charge!
Abraham Lincoln’s Home in Springfield is a small but beautifully restored house that will give you an essence of Mr. Lincoln’s everyday life before becoming the 16th President of the United States. You can pick up your guided tour ticket at the Visitor Center located at the entrance of the site. The tickets are also a great souvenir to take with you as you will find different Lincoln quotes printed on them!
The guided tours are running from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and are filling up on a first come – first serve basis. Having said that you might have to wait for a while. But the good news is that these tours are running very frequently (approximately every 5-10′), so the visitors are served quite fast! Expect to spend no more than 30′ for such a guided tour.
For those who want to take a virtual tour of Abraham Lincoln’s Home, Google Arts and Culture has also made this possible through this link!
En route to Saint Louis, we made a short stop at “Pink Elephant Antiques” store, an amazing place recommended to us by Pit, an old veteran we had the honor to meet outside his house in Williamson where we made our ordinary stop for stretching our legs…
Running late, our visit in Saint Louis was cut short; a quick drive past the famous Gateway Arch and the historic district at Delmar Loop.
The last stop of the day was at Cuba, a small city in central Missouri that has been designated as the “Route 66 Mural City” thanks to some amazing murals that are decorating the city walls!
Our compulsory overnight stop was made in Rolla and that was the end of our second day on US Highway 66.
Take-away regret of the day: We missed visiting the Ariston Cafe in Litchfield, whih is not only considered to be the oldest restaurant on Route 66 but was also opened by a Greek, Mr. Pete Adams!