After years of talking about it, I finally decided to do it. The wife, son, and myself are going to road trip down Route 66. We'll be starting in Chicago, and heading toward the Sana Monica Pier. We'll be taking my 2013 Core Challenger. I have the next four weeks off, and have no real itinerary for the trip. We plan on driving until we come across something we want to see and stopping when we are tired. I thought it would be cool to post pics of the trip. I'll be posting this across a couple auto forums I'm on, so if you don't quite get what I'm talking about in a post, or referencing a picture, that's why.
Here's the Challenger, ready to go. Don't worry, the bra is only on it for the trip.
The trunk easily fit three large suitcases, a couple bags, and some loose sweatshirts. I think the wife over packed but she claims we need all this stuff.
We pulled out of Toledo and headed to Chicago. I'm not use to the traffic jams we encountered in downtown Chicago. I really don't know how you people that live in big cities put up with it. We decided to skip the sights in Chicago. While there is plenty to see there, it's an easy weekend trip from Toledo. We thought it would be best to come back another time and spend the weekend. We pushed on, just north of Chicago to Field's Chrysler to visit Pat.
In case you don't know who Pat@fieldsauto is, he's a vendor on a couple to the Jeep forums and the guy with all the inside info on new Wranglers. The Challenger was in need of an oil change for the trip, so I though since I was going to be in Chicago I'd stop by and have them do it. It was nice to finally put a face to name. I completely forgot to take a picture with him. I guess if you want to know what Pat looks like, you'll have to stop in and see him yourself.
Our next stop was Wilmington, Illinois and the Launch Pad Diner. I'm sure you've all seen pictures of the Gemini Giant. It's been associated with Route 66 for years. Unfortunately, the diner has been closed. Here, the son and I are posing for a picture. For scale, I'm 6'2".
Our next stop was Pontiac Illinois, home of the Route 66 museum. Sadly, we arrived there after the museum had closed for the day. We decided to spend the night in Pontiac so we could see the museum tomorrow. It was still light out, so we walked the streets of Pontiac taking pictures of the murals that it's downtown is also known for.
My favorite picture so far...
After the museum we'll be heading to St. Louis to visit some of the wife's relatives. I'll post more tomorrow night.
Stop by Bushmaster's Rockin Race Museum in Strafford, MO. The museum is way cool, but the Bushmaster himself is the real show. He's a drag racer from way back when, set all kinds of records and a lot of firsts, and just a unique character all around. He'll talk cars all day with ya. When you get there, just look for the 70 something yr old guy with the headband riding a bmx around the place, and introduce yourself. (And if Abby or Julie are tending the bar, tell them I said hello)
As it turns out, I'm not a 'real' jeeper
Day 2 started out with a trip back to downtown Pontiac Illinois. We hit up the Route 66 museum first.
The Route 66 museum is is three floors high. The building houses the Route 66 museum, the War Veterans museum, and an area that houses memorabilia from the 40's.
The Route 66 section has case after case of memorabilia.
Next, we went upstairs to the War Veterans museum. The museum is dedicated to all the soldiers that have served in the area. 10 years ago the soldiers began to donate their uniforms and memorabilia. It's turned into an impressive, and somewhat eery, collection.
We finished up our day in Pontiac at the Pontiac car museum. This guy has an incredible collection of cars and Pontiac memorabilia. I was told the collection of cars rotates so if you stop by he might have some new cars in.
After Pontiac, we drove on to Springfield Illinois to visit the Lincoln museum. Unfortunately, cameras are not allowed inside the exhibits. You're only allowed to take pictures outside of them. I will say that the museum and it's exhibits were far more interesting than I would have thought. Even my 13 year old son found them "cool".
Here's a panoramic picture I shot of the outside of the exhibits. You enter each exhibit and walk through it, following the different stages in President Lincoln's life beginning with the log cabin on the left.
On your way out of Springfield, be sure to stop by Cozy Dog. They claim to be the originators of the coney dog. Since I can't stand coney dogs, I opted for a chilli dog.
Working on my first heart attack.
Our last two stops before we made St. Louis were Funks Grove and a restored Shell gas station in Mt. Olive.
Funks Grove has been making maple surip since 1891. The women who waited on us said her and her husband were the 5th generation to make maple surip there. If you're traveling down 66 it's worth stopping and picking up a bottle. They have maple surip making down pat. Nothing to see at Funks this time of year, so I didn't take any pics.
The gas station was just a quick photo op for my Challenger.
Today was our last day in St. Louis. We slept in and got a late start going to Meramec Caverns.
The cave was originally a saltpeter mine. Later, it was used as a makeshift dance hall. There was enough room in the cave not only for a band and dance floor, but space for people to park their horse and buggies. Twice a year, they still hold concerts in the main cave. They said that the cave will hold 1000 people.
In the 40's, a drought in the area lowered the water table enough that they noticed a cool breeze coming through an area that had been underwater. After swimming through the pool, they found an opening that lead to another area. In this new, hidden area, they found a number of items, the most interesting being a chest. The initials on the chest were traced to a robbery committed by the James Gang. It is believed that Jesse James use the Meramec Caverns as a hide out by stashing the money in this secret room and using the caverns underwater river to sneak out. It may or may not be true, but it makes the tour more interesting.
Jesse and Frank James in the secret loot room.
Cool stalactite and stalagmite formations.
My son and I also rode the zip lines at Meramec Caverns. He loved it, but I wasn't that impressed with the experience.
Tomorrow we'll say our goodbyes and be back on the road
We started out the day heading out of Ditmer Missouri, driving to the Missouri University of Science and Technology. They have a replica of Stonehenge there. Yea, it is as exciting as you think. I took a picture from across the street and left.
Heading on down 44 we stopped at a diner/bar called Joe & Linda's Tater Patch. There claim to fame is serving a potato, or tater, as a meal. I decided to give the cheeseburger tater a try. I have no idea who the diabolical genius is that thought of this, but it was amazing. A huge tater, covered with a 1/4lb of ground beef, smothered in cheese sauce. They then ring the plate with all the fixins that make up a cheeseburger. To eat it, you cut it up into small pieces an mix it all together. Don't forget to mix in the sour cream and butter.
We stopped by a couple little stores today. Whenever we stop, I always seem to find something there that I haven't seen since I was little. It's kind of cool how coming across somthing you haven't seen in years brings back forgotten memories. At one store it was an old pack of pipe filters. My father use to smoke a pipe and I remember seeing that same box as a kid in the 70's. At the other it was an old military flashlight. I remember all the kids had them hanging on their bikes back in the day. I had forgotten all about that yellow banna seat bike.
The first was the Totem Pole Trading Post. They've been in business on Route 66 since 1933.
The second was the Old Riverton Store
Next I wanted to check out Vintage Iron in Miami Oklahoma. Unfortunately they are closed on Sunday. It's probably for the best. They have a really nice FL shovel head sitting in the showroom. Had I sat on it, I'd have wanted to take it home. But, the trip wasn't a complete bust. Further down main street sits the inspiration for the character Tow Mater from the movie cars.
It's funny we should find Mater. I didn't mention it then, but if you scroll back to the pictures of the route 66 museum in Pontiac you'll notice a VW van. That van was owned by Bob Waldmeir. Bob spent his life cruising up and down route 66, living the hippie lifestyle in that van. (he also had a mustang and a bus) The VW was the inspiration for the character Fillmore, the hippie VW van also in the movie Cars.
Our last stop was Totem Pole Park in Chelsea Oklahoma. It's a park. With totem poles. yup. Totem Pole park. If you're driving by, stop and take a look at the totem poles. They've been there since 1948.
Today's first stop was the Will Rogers Museum. If you don't know who Will Rogers was, Google him now and read this later. Reading about his life will be much more interesting than anything I'll ever post.
A worker at the museum gives a presentation, complete with a roping demo.
Will's tomb is on the other side of this monument.
Next stop was the J.M. Davis Gun Museum.
Davis began collecting guns when he was a boy and stopped the day he died. There are currently just under 14 thousand guns in the collection. Trying to see them is overwhelming. Having once been an avid collector of curio and relic firearms, I skipped a lot of them and went right to the old military guns.
Further down the road we stopped at the Blue Whale of Catoosa. Built in the 70's, it's one of the most recognizable attractions on route 66.
In Arcadia, you'll find The Round Barn. Built in 1898 the it was a working barn and a meeting place for years. In the 80's the roof collapsed. A group of retired carpenters decided to restore it, finishing the work in the early 90. The downstairs of the barn was filled with old tools and mementos. The upstairs is open and available for rent.
The loft of the barn was painstakingly restored.
Practically across the street from the barn is Pops. Pops is a cafe who's shtick is selling unusual and hard to find soda pop. A lot of unusual and hard to find soda pop. As an example, my son had to have the bacon flavored soda pop. We haven't opened it yet. He wants to try it with his friends. I'm fine with that.
The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum is in Clinton. Each room of the museum represent a different time in Route 66's history. It's well done and worth the stop.
We drove pretty hard today and made it to Denton Texas.
I am hooked too. But I did not want to comment until the end. But I am living my wants through your journey so keep up the posts so we all can live your dream. Thank you for sharing this time you are having and posting the interesting sites you are experiencing.
It ain't easy being cheesy:
Sometimes I make decisions like famous people.
George Armstrong Custer "lets go over that hill, I think those are friendly indians!"
Titanic's Captain Smith "What icebergs? Full speed ahead!"
It's been a busy couple of days. We deviated from route 66 in OKC and went south toward Dallas/Fort Worth. My wife has a brother and sister living there so we decided to pay them a visit. Day 7 was spent visiting with family. We avoided all the DFW touristy things since we have been there a couple times already. So, there wasn't anything to post.
Day 8 started with a trip to Big Worm Motorsports. I had installed a set of their light tint on my 2013 R/T. When I traded it in on the 13 SRT, I transferred the tint to the new car. All of the tint transferred well except for the tail lights. Since I was in town, and they offer free installation if you buy at their retail outlet, I thought I might as well get it done. It took about an hour.
Elvis keep us entertained while we waited.
Since we were passing through Dallas we decided to have lunch at Gas Monkey Bar & Grill. The restaurant has a great vibe, and the food was good. I've never had fish taco so I gave them a try. Since I can't compare them to anything I can only say they were OK. My wife says the pink lemonade is the best she's ever had. There's is a small gift shop filled with over priced souvenirs in the back of the restaurant.
After lunch we hopped on 35s and raced toward Austin to see StarBrite. For those that don't know, she is a moderator and queen of the mod threads on Wranglerforum. What was suppose to be a 3 hour detour turned into a five hour bitchfest with me sitting in traffic. Toledo doesn't get traffic jams like Dallas and Austin and I don't have the patience to sit in traffic.
When we arrived at StartBrite's, she had a nice spread laid out of bbq brisket, potato salad, and such. I wish my family and I were bigger eaters, as I'd have liked to of eaten more. We spent a couple hours there shooting the breeze. Our kids got along great too. My wife doesn't participate on any forums and didn't quite understand it all, but we had a good time talking and meeting her family along with 042, another forum member
We left Star's around 10:30ish. We hopped on 183 and headed back north. In case you're not familiar with 183, it's a two lane, pitch black, stretch of two lane black top that connects a bunch of little towns in Texas. Driving it at night, we were sure this was where all the alien abductions in Texas took place. To make matters worse, there are large sections of the road that don't even have reflectors. Did I mention that the speed limit is 75? Oh you crazy Texans... My head said to do 55, but my quickening pulse said to go faster. Much to my navigators chagrin, we did 80 all the way to Abilene where my she thought it was best to stop and sleep for the night. She reasoned that if I drove all night, I'd sleep the entire next day. As usual she made the right choice.
The next morning we hopped on 83, pushing for Amarillo and the Cadillac Ranch. I have to say that the scenery on 83 was stunning. It was exactly as you see Texas in the old westerns. I took some pictures, but none of them did it any justice. The scenery looked like something out of Red Dead Redemption.
The Cadillac Ranch is a must do on Route 66. For those unfamiliar with Cadillac Ranch, it's a bunch of Cadillac cars, buried nose down in the middle of a Texas field just outside Amarillo. Tradition dictates that when visiting, you tag the cars with spray paint. I was surprised at the number of people showing up to participate.
If you want to keep a 13 year of boy busy, just give him a couple cans of spray paint and a Cadillac.
Just beyond the Cadillac Ranch is the midpoint of Route 66 in Adrian Texas. We stopped for a photo op at the MidPoint Cafe. They were closed, but the owner happen to be inside. He saw us taking pictures and graciously opened the gift shop for us. Gee, thanks...
After the midpoint, it was a quick hour trip to make Tucumcari New Mexico where we got a room at the Motel Safari for the night.
Day 10 started out with a trip to the Blue Hole. It's a 81' deep artisian well that pumps out 3000 gallons of crystal clear water a minute. It's a favorite place for scuba divers to practice. They've opened it up to swimmers, but very few jump in. The water is a fridged 61 degrees. Even in the the 95 degree Santa Rosa New Mexico weather, that's cold.
My son did give it a try. He went up the rocks and made the jump in, twice.
Also in Santa Rosa is the Route 66 car museum. They have the usual atuo memorabilia in the front, but in the back is a collection of cars. To get into the car museum section will cost you $5. If my son had not wanted to go back there, I'd have skipped it. It's a nice collection, but not worth the price of admittance.
The museum/gift shop in the front.
Here's a sample of the cars in the back. I want this Auburn but I don't have an extra $42k
Motoring on, you'll come across Clines Corner. They are a curio shop that has been in business since 1934. Their motto is "Worth Waiting For". It should be "Selling You Worthless Crap You Don't Need Since 1934"
Our last stop was the Route 66 Malt Shop in Albuquerque New Mexico. It's a replica of a 50's malt shop serving traditional malt shop fare. My son and I had the best root beer floats we've ever tasted. My wife had a malt shake that was amazing. The service there was top notch. It's worth the trip.
Glad you liked Cadillac Ranch. Hopefully you got to skip the mud and caterpillars. :lmao
The mud wasn't bad. We only picked up one caterpillar. The smell of cow poop was the worse part.
We pulled out of Gallop NM this morning and headed down 40 west toward the Petrified Forest. We had lunch at the cafe and Robyn bought worthless crap at the gift shop. According to the Route 66 tour guides, it's not worth the money to enter the park. We called the visit good and got back on the road.
My son has been bugging me to get him his first knife every time he sees one at the curio shops. I've told him wait until we find a good one. I'm not buying him a POS, $10 truck stop knife. In Holbrook AZ we came across Knife City Outlet and stopped to look around. They have an impressive offering of knives. We found a nice Kershaw there that he liked and I approved of. I definitely overpaid for it, but the boy was happy with his new knife. He has it on the night stand next to the bed at this moment. "Just in case", he said. :roll:
Not far from the Knife Outlet is Winslow AZ. Yes, the one from the Eagles song. And yes, I had to play the song for my son so he would understand why we were stopping there to stand on a corner.
Just outside of Winslow is the Meteor Crater. About 50,000 years ago a meteor hit there. It's a big hole in the ground that they charged me $45 to look at. While somewhat interesting, I wasn't happy about it. This trip is nickle and dimeing me to death.
This is a picture of the crater that they had hanging in the museum. It shows the size of this thing.
The best part of the Meteor Crater was this awesome National Lampoon's Vacation Truckster that was in the lot. It had Georgia plates on it.
For our last stop, we turned up 64 and headed toward the Grand Canyon. On 64, I spotted a green flat fender headed south. Was it anyone here?
Driving to the canyon up 64 there was some wonderful scenery.
My wife and son have never been to the Grand Canyon. Every time we drove by a canyon on the way there, they asked if it was bigger than that. When we finally arrived and they got to see it, it did not disappoint.
We stayed till sundown.
At one of the drinking fountains, and elk was enjoying the water that had run off. A girl decided to help the elk out and turn the water on.
It was well after nightfall when we left the canyon. Heading back down 64 toward Williams, I spotted a car ahead that sported strange set of tail lights. He was only doing 55 so I went to pass him in the dark. As I went around him spotted the wing and shouted "Holy sh*t! It's a Super bird!" I scared the wife half to death. A few miles down the road I pulled in for gas at a station that was closed. As I cut through a restaurant to get to another station the Super Bird pulled in and let it's passenger out so he could run in for a pit stop. I pulled up and talked to the driver of the Super Bird for a minute.
It turned out it was a real, restored Super Bird. The guy driving it said that it was restored by the reality show Graveyard Cars. He was driving it from Oregon back home to one of the Carolinas. I forgot which one. Looking at Graveyard Cars Facebook page, it seems his story is legit.
We've stopped in Kingman AZ for the night. I'm hoping we can make L.A. tomorrow.