Since we had plenty of time to cruise Route 66 on our way home, we backtracked to Gardner to get our trading card we missed the day before. At this point, we cheated and took the interstate back to Pontiac to make better time.
We then headed over to the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame Museum and Livingston County War Museum. This is one of our favorite places in Pontiac and has the largest Route 66 shield in the U.S. We walked around and checked out all the murals, 3D sidewalk mural, and art cars found along the way to the Pontiac Oakland Automobile Museum and the International Walldog Mural and Sign Museum. The best thing about all the museums is that they are both free and educational. We have been to Pontiac on several occasions and there is always something new in each of the museums to look forward to.
At the Hall of Fame, they recently unveiled a new preservation project display at the entrance. I was glad to see some of the places I have volunteered at being showcased. I made a special point to go to the Pontiac car museum to see the recently installed handmade scale model of the Odell Gas Station by artist Willem Bor of the Netherlands. His models are so true to life that a picture of the real place and the model side by side are nearly identical 360 degrees.
We now headed to Chenoa. I was hoping to see the vintage Pharmacy located downtown, but it was closed – maybe next time. Next on our checklist was Lexington, which has a red neon sign with the town name pointing the way from the highway. We also slowly made our way along Memory Lane, an original alignment of 66 with vintage advertising billboards and Burma Shave signs.
After that, we slipped into Towanda and the last stop on the Red Carpet Corridor tour. Be sure to check out their walking Route 66 Geographical Journey and Dead Man’s Curve. We now had completed our collection of trading cards, but there was still more of 66 to go. As you can tell, there are people, places, and things to see in even the sleepiest little town and stories to hear along the main street of America.
While heading back to home, we made one more stop on Route 66 in the small town of Atlanta. This town has a muffler man named the Bunyon Giant, a smiley face water tower, the Palms Grill Cafe, J. H. Hawes Elevator museum, murals, and so much more all within a few blocks. This is a must stop for a weary traveler to slow down and take a break. If you are ever in Mclean, get a bite at The Dixie truck stop and then head downtown to the Arcadium Video Arcade Museum where everything is playable and be prepared to drop some quarters.
On our way home, we made a quick stop in Lincoln at The Mill, which is a former restaurant being restored to reopen as a museum and visitor center. I tried to get a picture of it with my Polaroid, but unfortunately the shot did not develop. We continued to pass many other familiar places, but did not stop until we reached home. Each and every time I travel Route 66, I discover something I have not seen before. It’s amazing how the Mother Road is forever changing, yet still the same.
Thank you for coming along on our journey and I hope you enjoyed the ride. Until next time, be sure to take the scenic route, slow down, and enjoy the view out your windshield.
–Josh Friedrich, Illinois Mile Marker
Thanks to our partners for making this trip possible, including the Peoria Area CVB, St. Charles CVB, Pontiac CVB, Geneva Motel Inn and BEST WESTERN Pontiac Inn. Want to follow in Mile Marker Josh Friedrich’s footsteps? Travel the below map!
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Meet the Mile Marker:
Josh FriedrichScenic Byways
His family likes traveling the roads less traveled with something different around every bend. Josh is big into photography and likes taking old Polaroid shots of Route 66 attractions. Look forward to following his adventures along Route 66 and all over the classic roads in Illinois!