Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day 37 Summer Vacation 2008

Today is Day 37 Tuesday August 12 2008

We are heading for home.


It is going to be a long day, but it is doable and the end result will be that we will be home after being on the road for 37 days.

We left Lafayette Indiana early enough, but the GPS is really acting weird and has us going in a direction that I just instinctively know is wrong. Then it dies and leaves us not knowing where we are or which direction to go. Time to get out the laptop and fire up Microsoft Streets and Trips. Within a few minutes we are back on track and heading for home.

The border crossing at Port Huron / Sarnia was uneventful. The customs officer looked at our passports, but did not ask us any questions, just waved us through.

We arrived home to find all was as we had left it.

For those of you who are curious… Here is the raw data from our trip.

The Canadian Dollar was at or about par with the US Dollar for this vacation.

We travelled a total of 10802 KM

We spent $810.99 for Fuel

Food cost us an average of $40.84 per day

The average cost for a hotel room was $65.57

Our average daily cost was $241.56

We usually try to keep the daily cost average around the $200.00 mark, but when you add in Hot Air Balloon Rides, Helicopter Rides, Train Excursions etc it brings the average daily cost up a bit.

And that concludes our Summer 2008 Vacation. We hope that you enjoyed following along.

Look for our Christmas 2008 Vacation coming soon to this blog.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 36 Summer Vacation 2008

Today is Day 36 Monday August 11 2008

We slept in a bit and had a nice breakfast at the hotel. Then we loaded up the camera and some bottled water and headed off to find Grant’s Farm. Again the GPS is working in fits and spurts, but after several battery pulls, we finally pulled into the farm yard where Grant greeted us. He showed us around through the drive shed and then we loaded into his pickup truck so that he could take us on a tour of his domain. I think he said he has close to 10,000 acres, all of it corn or soybean. We went over to one of the large grain storage bins and watched and waited while Grant assisted some of his farm hands, get the bin emptied out. They were also in the process of loading last years corn into the grain truck and taking it to the market. Here are some photos.

3 Grant's Farm 4 Grant's Farm 5 Grant's Farm

Here are some of the storage silos, grain truck and Farmer Grant driving one of his tractors

7 Grant's Farm 6 Grant's Farm 8 Grant's Farm

It was a fun day at Grant’s farm, I learnt a lot about farming and realize what a hard job Grant has managing and operating this large farm.

We left Grant to his chores and headed to The Cracker Barrel for an early dinner, then it was early to bed for the long drive home tomorrow.

We are about 15 hours from home and I am tempted to just make the mad dash and get ourselves home. I may change my mind part way through the day, but for now I want to get a good nights sleep in anticipation of a 15 hour drive tomorrow.

To see all of our photos from today you can check them out on my FLICKR site.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Day 35 Summer Vacation 2008

Today is Day 35 Sunday August 10 2008

The plan for today is to visit The Joliet Historical Museum and then we will depart Route 66 and head South to Lafayette Indiana.

Joliet has many lift bridges to cross over the Des Plains River. We had to wait at one as a barge passed through. While we were waiting for the museum to open we went for a walk to check out the other lift and draw bridges in the area.

6 Rte 66 Des Plains River Joliet IL 8 Rte 66 Des Plains River Joliet IL

The Museum was a good way to end our road trip on Route 66. We enjoyed the displays and re-living our trip through the photographs, maps and memorabilia on display.

We took a few photos inside the museum.

2 Rte 66 Joliet IL 11 Rte 66 Museum Joliet IL

Sadly, our Route 66 trip is over, but we sure had fun. I would say that we got our kicks on Route 66. We will return to the Mother Road and drive it again. There are some alignments that we did not drive, there were some businesses that were closed on the days we were there, but that just gives us a very good reason to come back and re-visit Route 66.

We are now going to head south to Lafayette Indiana. I have a friend that I have known for 15 years who has a large farm, and he has invited us to come and visit for a couple of days.

We drove south towards Lafayette. The GPS is acting rather strange and taking us off of the interstate only to put us back onto the interstate, then it will compeletely shut down. Very discouraging, but we press on pretending that we know where we are going. The only way to get the GPS to work is to do a battery pull and re-boot it. Well we got to our hotel and checked in. Called Grant and he invited us to come right over to his place. The GPS died a few times along the way, but eventually we pulled into his driveway. We chatted and visited and generally got caught up and then it was time for dinner, I was getting hungry so suggested that we should go out. Grant knew of a good restaurant close by called O'Charlies so we headed there. Enjoyed a delicious steak dinner with a couple of drinks, but we were tired so we parted ways and Karen and I headed back to our hotel. We made arrangements to meet Grant first thing in the morning out on his Farm where he would be working

If you wish to view the photos that I took today, you can see them on my FLICKR site.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Day 34 Summer Vacation 2008

Today is Day 34 Saturday August 9 2008

Today will be our last full day on Historic Route 66. We are going to end the trip in Joliet Illinois. I really have no desire to continue on into Chicago, I think the traffic and finding our way around is just going to be too much of a hassle to be enjoyable.

Lincoln to Joliet

We woke up, had breakfast and then headed out. Since we are in Lincoln Illinois, we went in search of Abraham Lincoln. We found him sitting on top of an old covered wagon reading his book.

2 Rte 66 Abe Lincoln on Wagon Lincoln IL

We left Lincoln IL and continued along Route 66 and through the town of Atlanta IL. Atlanta has a very colourful water tower.

7 Rte 66 Atlanta IL

We also found another one of the Giants in Atlanta.

9 Rte 66 Atlanta IL

Then it was on to The Dixie Truck Stop in McLean Illinois. We had read in all of the books that this was the first truck stop on the old highway and that there was a nice display of Route 66 memorabilia inside. We bought fuel and then went inside to take a look around. There was nothing Route 66 about this place, apparently new owners had just taken over and have had everything removed. I regret buying gas here and I would suggest to any Route 66 travellers, that unless things change and the owners see the error of their ways, do not bother stopping here.

15 Rte 66 Dixie Truck Stop McLean IL

Next stop is in Funk’s Grove Illinois so that we can stop and check out Funk’s Grove Pure Maple Sirup. No I did not spell this wrong despite what my spell checker is telling me. Sirup is how they spell it. There is a nice little gift shop and you can buy anything maple here as well as souvenirs from the road.

17 Rte 66 Funks Grove IL

We stopped at The Log Cabin Restaurant for lunch and then headed on to the Route 66 Museum in Pontiac Illinois. There is a great selection of enlarged photos on display in the museum. It was great fun to look at the photos and say “we were there” or “we saw that”

There was a nice mural painted on the outside of the building.

21 Rte 66 Pontiac IL

Between Pontiac and Odell Illinois we found some long abandoned pieces of Route 66.

28 Rte 66 btwn Pontiac & Odell IL

In Odell IL we stopped at the Standard Oil Station for a look around and to take some photos.

31 Rte 66 Standard Oil Station Odell IL

We met another couple here who were also taking photos. They were just beginning their Route 66 road trip. We told them about the highlights of our trip and what we had seen and done and what they had to look forward too. We were ending our trip today and they were just starting. Almost made me want to turn around and do it all again.

Next stop was the Village of Dwight Illinois. There are several photo opportunities in this little village.

38  Rte 66 Dwight IL

We stopped at the restored Ambler – Becker Texaco Station and chatted with the volunteers who were working on restoring this old gas station. Built in 1933, this was the longest operating gas station to pump gas on Route 66.

45  Rte 66 Dwight IL

Next stop on Route 66 was the Riviera Restaurant and the Street Car Diner between Gardner and Braceville Illinois. The Riviera is slated to be closed on New Years Day 2009. It has a long and colourful history on Route 66, I am sure someone will come along and purchase the restaurant.

48  Rte 66 Riviera Restaurant & Streetcar Diner btwn Gardner & Braceville IL

Behind the restaurant is a restored Streetcar Diner.

53 Rte 66 Riviera Restaurant & Streetcar Diner btwn Gardner & Braceville IL 54 Rte 66 Riviera Restaurant & Streetcar Diner btwn Gardner & Braceville IL

We stopped in at the Polka Dot Drive In for a couple of milk shakes and to check out this well known Drive In on Route 66.

58 Rte 66 Polka Dot Drive In Braidwood IL

In Wilmington Illinois we found The Launching Pad restaurant and another of the Illinois Giants… The Gemini Giant.

67 Rte 66 Gemini Giant Launching Pad Restaurant Wilmington IL

We will spend the night in Joliet Illinois.

If you wish to view all of our photos from today, you can check them out on my FLICKR site.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Day 33 Summer Vacation 2008

Today is Day 33 Friday August 8 2008

Today we are going to enter the last state of our Route 66 road trip.

We cross over the Mississippi River from the State of Missouri into the State of Illinois. First stop of the morning is The Chain Of Rocks Bridge. The bridge is closed to vehicle traffic except for special Route 66 themed event weekends, then they will open it up. The rest of the time, the bridge is open only to pedestrians.

3 Rte 66 Chain of Rocks Bridge IL 6 Rte 66 Chain of Rocks Bridge IL

We have gotten into a habit of stopping at the entrance to each town and taking a photo of the towns welcome sign. Here is a really good welcome sign for the town of Hamel Illinois. Hamel is obviously proud of their Route 66 heritage.

11 Rte 66 Hamel IL

Next stop is Henry’s Rabbit Ranch in Staunton Illinois.

16 Rte 66 Henry's Rabbit Ranch Staunton IL

We met the proprietor Rich Henry, who was busy dusting one of the ceiling fans as we entered the store. We spent the better part of an hour with Rich as he showed us around his Rabbit Ranch. He has both kinds of rabbits, the hopping kind and the Volkswagen kind. Rich showed us his version of the famous Cadillac Ranch, with his Volkswagens buried in the ground.

20 Rte 66 Henry's Rabbit Ranch Staunton IL

Rich has every kind of souvenir inside his Route 66 store.

28 Rte 66 Henry's Rabbit Ranch Staunton IL

Further along the road we came to the Soulsby Station, a restored Route 66 Shell Station in Mount Olive Illinois

32 Rte 66 Soulsby Station Mt Olive IL

We had lunch at The Ariston Cafe in Litchfield Illinois.

39 Rte 66 Ariston Cafe Litchfield IL

Then it was on to see the Our Lady of the Highways shrine in Raymond Illinois. This shrine was erected to protect travellers as they travelled back and forth on Route 66.

41 Rte 66 Our Lady of the Highway Waggoner IL 42 Rte 66 Our Lady of the Highway Waggoner IL

The next photo op is Art’s Motel.

47 Rte 66 Art's Motel Farmersville IL

Then we pulled into The Cozy Dog in Springfield Illinois to sample the hot dog on a stick that made this restaurant famous from one end of Route 66 to the other.

51 Rte 66 Cozy Dog Springfield IL 55 Rte 66 Cozy Dog Springfield IL

While we were in Springfield we went in search of the Lauderbach Giant, one of several Giant statues in Illinois.

59 Rte 66 Lauderbach Giant Springfield IL

In Broadwell Illinois we stopped in at the Pig Hip Restaurant. Although the restaurant burnt down a few years ago, and then the museum burnt down, the owner, Ernie Edwards still welcomes Route 66 visitors into his home. We visited with Ernie for an hour and learnt about the history of the Pig Hip and Route 66.

64 Rte 66 Pig Hip Museum Broadwell IL 66 Rte 66 Pig Hip Museum Broadwell IL

A bit further along Route 66 we came to The Mill Restaurant. The Mill is currently being restored and I have learnt that since our visit and taking our photographs, that the vanes have been restored and placed on the windmill.

70 Rte 66 The Mill Lincoln IL

If you wish to view all of our photos from today, you can click on the link to my FLICKR site.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Day 32 Summer Vacation 2008

Today is Day 32 Thursday August 7 2008

Today we are not going to put too many miles on the car, but it will be a busy day.

Aug 7

We got to the hotel early, too early to check in but that is ok. Since there is no way that I want to drive in downtown St Louis, our plan is to hire a taxi to take us from the hotel to the Gateway Arch and to Ted Drewes Frozen Custard.

1 Gateway Arch St Louis MO

We spent a couple of hours at the arch, had a quick lunch there and then got in the line-up for the ride in the tram to the top. The line was long and took about an hour before we were finally inside the tiny little tram car that will take us up. We were disappointed by the tiny little windows that you get to look out of from the top, and I am surprised that our photos turned out as well as they did. The glass windows were filthy dirty and everyone was crowding to have a peek through them.

12 Gateway Arch St Louis MO

I suppose that part of the disappointment was that compared to the CN Tower in Toronto with its large windows and being able to go outside on the observation deck or walk on the glass floor, we were spoiled by that experience. We can say that we have been to the Gateway Arch, but when we are in St Louis again, I don’t think we will be paying the admission fee to go to the top.

Next stop on our taxi ride through St Louis was Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. A must stop on Route 66. I have never had frozen custard before, but it was delicious. They refer to them as frozen concretes because they are so thick.

19 Rte 66 Ted Drewes St Louis MO 22 Rte 66 Ted Drewes St Louis MO

We got back to the hotel and checked in. I was glad that we did not attempt to drive through downtown St Louis. Parking at the Arch would have been a nightmare, and the traffic was brutal. A wise decision to let the taxi driver who knew his way around do all the driving.

To see our photos from today you can look at them on my FLICKR site.