Man, Illinois is FLAT!

     It all begins here in Chicago. The Historic Route 66, The Mother Road, is the ultimate road trip. Joe and I start our trip on Friday, April 7th. 
     We decided to start the day early and walk down to Lake Michigan and watch the sunrise. It was a beautiful crisp morning and the walk was quiet and gave us energy for the adventure ahead.

     After we sufficiently brought in the morning, we walked to Lou Mitchell's for breakfast. This was a "must do" on all of the Route 66 lists I found. It has been a Chicago staple for over 90 years. Great diner atmosphere. If there is a line, fear not. They give you fresh powdered donuts while you wait. Actually you get one even if you don't wait. The coffee was really good and the silver dollar pancakes reminded me of my childhood. The staff was super nice and really seemed to legit be happy to be there. I love places where the people who work there like being there. And bonus when the food is awesome. And it's like going to Grandma's house, they just keep feeding you. No joke. The waitress brought over a bowl with cut up orange and prunes and literally said, "Eat this, it's good for you." And then came back and asked if we wanted a little bit of ice cream. Joe got an insane omelet. Everything was awesome. It wasn't expensive. We spent about $36 with tip but in hindsight we could have shared a meal. Too much food! I give it a 5 on the "Po Praise Meter"

     Time to leave the Palmer House Hotel and head to the airport to pick up our car for the 2400 mile trip!!

   After a long trip to get the car and then heading out towards Joliet, our first stop on the actual Route 66 was Del Rhea's Chicken Basket. (It would seem "Food" is definitely a theme for Route 66 travelers!) This is another "must do" on Route 66. The restaurant itself pays homage to Route 66 with all of the memorabilia but somehow you can feel the spirit of Route 66 in the building and the people. First question when we walked in "Where are you folks from?" (That is actually a question we heard all day everywhere)I suggest if you are eating at Del Rhea's to get the lunch buffet. $10.99 a person and you get a chance to sample everything. The chicken was definitely unique. I'm a southern girl and very picky about my chicken so the jury is still out on how good it was to me. But the fried cod was awesome. I fully expected to go into the kitchen and see my Grandma cooking! There was tuna casserole and jambalaya and veggies and of course mashed potatoes. Mmmmmm.mmmmmm,Good! I give it a 4 on the "Po Praise Meter!"

     Back on the road heading to Litchfield!!

Route 66 is a fun road to drive and I don't know if it was the time of year or what but there was no one on this road. We were lone travelers. Illinois does a great job with the signage for Route 66. Easy to follow and well marked.

     Next stop was Pontiac to see the Route 66 Hall of Fame Museum. To be honest the only reason I even put this stop on the agenda was because it was the first "official" Route 66 museum on the route. And there was a mural walk that I thought would be interested. But this stop was far more than I expected. It is more than worth the time to stop. We were greeted by Rose at the Hall of Fame museum and she was a cutie pie for sure. You could tell she really enjoyed working there and she knew so much about Route 66 and those who have worked to make it famous. The museum was filled with history and eclectic memorabilia. It was like stepping back in time. But the best part of the stop in Pontiac was see the War Museum. I have never seen that big of a collection of uniforms and weapons and artifacts from wars. Being a military brat and wife, this was an amazing sight. The uniforms were donated by family members of the men who wore them. We found the uniform that would have been worn by Joe's dad. The best part of this museum is you can touch everything. The museum was run by veterans and they all had stories to tell. If you have a chance stop by this great museum and check out the history of our freedom and give thanks to the men and women who have fought for it. 
After spending more time than expected in the museums, we did a quick tour through the mural walk and were off again to get more kicks!
Pontiac gets a 5 on the "Po Praise Meter!"

    Heading to Atlanta, IL we saw along the route signs for Funk's Grove Pure Maple Sirup and had to stop. Glad we did. The woman behind the counter (forgot to get her name - my bad!) was originally from New Jersey and she knew all of the places we go to regularly. We had a wonderful conversation, bought a trinket and were back on the road but not before trying a sample of maple sirup (yes that's how they spell it)!

    We made a quick stop in Atlanta, IL to take a quick picture of the Paul Bunyon statue (holding a giant hot dog - weird!) We saw a cute little diner and thought we'd stop for a quick drink. After a nice chat with the owners and $6 worth of drinks (YIKES!) we were off again. The stop in Atlanta gets a 3 on the "Po Praise Meter!" (I would have given it a 4 had the drinks not been so expensive and a 2 if the Paul Bunyon wasn't there)

     We made our way to Litchfield where we were staying the night. Got there in time to go to the drive in movie at the Sky View Drive-in.  After paying $5 a person and a bucket of popcorn, we pushed our seats back and we enjoyed "Beauty and The Beast" on the outdoor screen followed by "Rogue One." I have to admit we were pretty exhausted and didn't make it through the whole movie. Headed back to the Holiday Inn Express for a good night's sleep. Litchfield stop gets a 5 on the "Po Praise Meter!"

Day One - A Success!


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