Miles driven: ~430
I started a little late today, but I wasn’t too worried since I was so close to the end. I hit the road and made my first stop in Atlanta, Illinois at the Tall Paul statue that used to be located in Cicero at the Bunyons restaurant. These are the kinds of stops I like because they’re so odd. “Hey, here’s a giant man holding an even more giant hotdog… so come visit Route 66.”
I made an unscheduled stop in Dwight, Illinois at a really cool Route 66 information/welcome station. These are some of the best looking old gas pumps I’ve seen on the entire trip.
Another unscheduled stop was in Gardner at an old two cell jailhouse that was built in 1906. I have a hard time believing the exterior walls are original and I’m sure they’ve been replaced. They look in too good of shape to be from 1906. The interior looks as I would expect. You can see the wear and tear of 100 years of time.
Next stop was another “muffler man” – the Gemini Giant in Wilmington. It’s located at the East end of town, but I didn’t know that before I got there. I just kept driving hoping to see it and when I was almost out of town, there it was.
I didn’t stop again until I reached Chicago. I really don’t like big cities, so I didn’t stay there long. I drove until I was close to the Route 66 Begin and End signs, then parked on a nearby street. At $6.50 for a mere hour of time, I found the parking fees a little too outrageous. I only fed in enough quarters to give me time to walk to the streets with the signs, get pictures, and walk back. The “Begin” sign is on Adams St near the corner of Michigan Ave and the “End” sign is one block South on Jackson Blvd, also near the corner of Michigan Ave.
I was going to check out Millennium Park while in Chicago, but didn’t want to waste more money on parking. Parking is just something I have a hard time paying for. Instead, I just headed home to Wisconsin and made it back with enough time left in the day to play a game of cards.
I started Route 66 in California 10 days ago and ended in Chicago today. Granted, I lost two days of travel in the beginning getting the van worked on before the motor blew up, so really it took me eight days to travel the entire 2,448 miles – that’s an average of 306 miles per day. I don’t actually recommend doing it that fast, as I was pretty tired by the end of each day. It was still a fun trip, despite all the bad luck I had on it. I’d like to do it again someday, but in the correct direction (Chicago to Santa Monica). Either way, I can now cross Route 66 off my bucket list.