Friday 24th July 2020
Fly Manchester to Heathrow, Business Class, on an Airbus 321 jet (BA 1391).
Take off at 12.10pm; land at 1.20pm
Check into Sofitel London Heathrow T5
Spend the night there in a Luxury Club Room with Club Millesime Access
Saturday 25th July 2020
Fly Heathrow to Chicago, Business Class, on a Boeing 747-400 (BA0295).
Take off at 10.30am; land at 1.30pm (Chicago time) which is actually 7.30pm UK time
Check into La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Chicago Downton
Then we have a 3 night stay in Chicago
Things to do in Chicago: Sears Tower, River Cruise, Millenium Park, Grants Park with the Buckingham Fountain, Navy Pier (Saturday night fireworks), Lou Malnatti's for Pizza, Lou Mitchell's for breakfast, the list goes on.
Beginning the drive
It isn’t possible to drive R66 all the way, the road has been re-named, re -aligned etc. This means we may be travelling on the original R66 road but with a new road number/name. Often the old road has been left to over grow with the newer road running alongside. At other points the road will feel new and ‘interstate-ish’ because the route has been bypassed and sort of disappeared. Very often the rail track also follows the same route so we may find ourselves driving alongside trains.
To attempt to stay on the authentic route we will need to follow the smaller R66 towns along the way, many of them barely exist now. If we only put the attractions we want to see in the SAT- NAV we will be automatically directed to the interstate roads, i.e. the fastest route, and miss lots of R66.
This way of driving will obviously take longer, but for the first few days I think it is worth trying to do to get a more authentic experience. Then, if things start to get a bit samey or if we want to spend longer at selected attractions than on-the-road we could look at using the quicker roads more often.
That said, we will be leaving from O’Hare Airport not the start point in Chicago, so will need to ‘pick up’ the route and may miss the first couple of small towns.
Route 66 is 2,448 miles long.
However, we will be driving around 2,760 miles because of the detours off R66 we make to visit The Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Lake Havasu etc.
Off we go! Chicago, Illinois to Springfield, Illinois
Along the route we will visit or pass;
Rich & Creamy and Route 66 Park Joliet, IL - Photo Stop and Ice cream - Rich &Creamy is typical of ice cream stores that dotted Route 66 in its heyday. Jake and Elwood, The Blues Brothers, dance atop the tower wrapped in neon lights. The Route 66 Park has an eclectic collection of public art works. Address: 920 N Broadway St, Joliet, IL 60435, USA
Joliet Prison - Photo Stop - Address 1125 Collins St, Joliet, IL 60432, USA Closed but now used in many films.
Joliet Area Historical Museum – Visit - Address: 204 N Ottawa St, Joliet, IL 60432, USA
Has a permanent R66 exhibition.
Gemini Giant at Launching Pad - Wilmington IL – Photo Stop - The old Launching Pad Drive-In is the home to the Gemini Giant, sporting a space helmet and rocket ship. It is a remnant of our fascination with space travel in the 1960s. Come on by and take a picture with a piece of history. Address: 204 N Ottawa St, Joliet, IL 60432, USA
Polka Dot Drive In – Stop off /Brew/Photos -
Address: 222 N Front St, Braidwood, IL 60408, USA Authentically restored 50s style dinner ( approx. 3 miles after Gemini Giant)
The Ambler-Becker Texaco Station – Photo Stop -
Address: Historic U.S. 66, Dwight, IL 60420, USA Restored filling station and small visitor centre.
Odell’s Standard Station – Photo Stop -
Address: 400 S West St, Odell, IL 60460, USA
Restored filling station
Murals on Main Street Tour / Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum
Address: 110 W Howard St, Pontiac, IL 61764, USA Visit/ Food A unique collection of More than 20 outdoor murals located in and around the historic downtown district, honouring the commercial, social and political history of the city. The Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum tells the story of the people and places. Summer hours: Monday through Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. See Bob Waldmire’s campervan.
If we want to eat here Edinger’s Filling station looks good at 423 W Madison St, Pontiac, IL 61764-1726
Stop for lunch at Pontiac then carry on to Springfield, Illinois.
Normal Art Deco Theatre / Tudor Style Gas Station (run down) in Normal - Photo Stop -
Address 305 Pine St, Normal 61761, United States
Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup Shirley - Visit -
Address: 5257 Old Rt 66, Rural Shirley, Shirley, IL 61772, Shirley, IL 61772, United States. Established in 1891. Sirup is correctly spelled this way to distinguish it from sugar-based syrup. There is a gift shop .
Atlanta's Bunyon Giant Atlanta, IL – Photo Stop -
Address: 112 SW Arch St, Atlanta, IL 61723, USA
World’s largest Covered Wagon Lincoln, IL - Photo Stop -
Address on the grounds of Best Western 1750 5th St, Lincoln, IL 62656, USA Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the "World's Largest Covered Wagon," the Rail-splitter and its driver, Abe Lincoln.
The Old Station Williamsville, IL – Photo Stop -
Address: 117 Elm St, Williamsville, IL 62693, USA
This 1930's service station is a collector's dream with vintage gas pumps and signs on the outside of the building. Although the building is now closed, it is a classic photo opportunity for Route 66 travellers.
Springfield Illinois – Kickback is served at 5.30pm-7pm. We need to arrive in time to enjoy the food and drinks. They serve beer, wine and cocktails included 3x each!!! It still showing the same on their website Yippee.
Stay overnight at Drury Inn & Suites, Springfield Illinois
Things to do in Springfield, Illinois
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum
- Visit - The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to the life and legacy of the 16th president. The museum features high tech exhibits, interactive displays, and multimedia programs, as well as, a reproduction of the White House as it looked in 1861.
Address: 212 N 6th St, Springfield, IL 62701, USA
Lincoln’s Tomb State Historical Site
- Visit - See Lincoln’s tomb
Address: 1500 Monument Ave, Springfield, IL 62702, USA
- Visit -
Address: 413 S 8th St, Springfield, IL 62701, USA
Cozy Dog Drive-In
- Food/ Lunch/A must -
Address: 2935 S 6th St, Springfield, IL 62703, USA packed with mementos as well as with Mother Road souvenirs for sale. A R66 classic diner.
Leave Springfield early pm