Posts tagged Illinois

June 20, 2015: Cozy Dog Run


It was a great day to go on a road trip for the day, so we decided to take our grandson to lunch over at the Cozy Dog Drive-in on Route 66 in Springfield, Illinois!


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June 20, 2015: Cozy Dog Run

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2014 Illinois Route 66 Motor Tour – 25th Anniversary


The Route..

Below is an interactive map of our trip, tracked using my Trimble Outdoors Navigator iPhone app. You can zoom in, or click the link above for a bigger, fullscreen map.


This blog contains a sampling of the photos from our trip. To view all of the photos from our trip, view the slideshow at the bottom of the post or visit our Road Trip Memories page on Flickr at the link below.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Long story VERY short, a change in plans allowed us to be able to attend the 25th Illinois Route 66 Motor Tour. We had been on the tour several times before, but don’t always have a chance to attend. But when we do, it’s always a great time!

After a rocky start Friday evening, we finally hit the road to head west – we were going to stay in Collinsville and then head over to the Chain of Rocks Bridge in the morning to register for the Motor Tour.

We decided to cross over into St. Louis along the new I-70 bridge:

New I-70 Bridge Over Mississippi

We followed along what was known as one of the alignments called “City 66″ ad described in Jerry McClanahan’s EZ 66 Guide, up to the Chain of Rocks Bridge, where the Motor Tour was to begin.

Chain of Rocks Bridge, Route 66, Missouri

What a sight this truck was! Really unique modification of a Ford truck, lots of folks did a double-take on this one!!

Flipover Truck

And here we go, crossing the Chain of Rocks Bridge!

Crossing Old US 66 a Chain of Rocks Bridge   After we crossed the bridge, in Mitchell is the Luna Cafe, with its beautifully restored neon sign.

Luna Cafe, Route 66, Mitchell, IL


Next, we stopped at Route 66 Ridez in Hamel.

Route 66 Ridez, Hamel, Illinois


Then on to our friend Rich Henry’s must-stop – Henry’s Ra66it Ranch in Staunton. Do stop by and say hello to Rich and the bunnies! Rich has old neon signs, semis, both “real” rabbits, and the Volkswagen variety too! He also sells a nice variety of Route 66 souvenirs, books, videos, etc. I have more photos from the Ra66it Ranch in the slideshow, below.

Henry's Ra66it Ranch - Route 66, Staunton, Illinois

Henry's Ra66it Ranch - Route 66, Staunton, Illinois

 We also picked up a bunny named Spot, a few traveling friend for our grandson!

Henry's Ra66it Ranch - Route 66, Staunton, Illinois

Here’s a video of the flipover truck I took here:

Next stop, Soulsby’s Station in Mt. Olive. Great restoration of the old filling station, and inside is a nice collection of Shell petroliana as well as two very nice old signs for a TV repair business that was also run out of the station, after Route 66 bypassed Mt. Olive.

Soulsby Service Station - Route 66, Mt. Olive, Illinois

Soulsby Service Station - Route 66, Mt. Olive, Illinois

On to Litchfield, where this old cafe sits empty.

Cafe - Route 66, Litchfield, Illinois

We were able to see the newly restored “Vic” Suhling Gas for Less sign, also in Litchfield. It is now in front of the new Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center, and is an excellent stop! See slideshow below for more photos from the museum.

Restored "Vic" Suhling Neon Sign - Route 66, Litchfield, Illinois

Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center, Litchfield, Illinois

Next, we spotted a few buffalo roaming! Their timing of dipping their heads down into the grass was perfect to avoid my shutter, but I managed to catch one as he came up for air.

Buffalo on Route 66 in Illinois

Then onto the town of Carlinville. Great “town square” with lots of great shops here. We got out, stretched a bit and took a walk around the square.

Town Square, Carlinville, Illinois


This very cool PT Cruiser was also on the tour, decorated by artist Brian Gregory, who also designed art for the Illinois Route 66 Museum in Pontiac.

Route 66 PT Cruiser - Designed by Artist Brian Gregory


We cruised up on the IL 4 alignement of 66, and finally made it to Springfield. Though the tour would continue to Lincoln for the overnight, we were late in joining, so we skipped the banquet and decided it would be easier to get a place to stay in Springfield. Of course, we would dine on Cozy Dogs – but unfortunately, not until after we had a flat tire fixed! As soon as we arrived in Springfield, we felt the car drastically pulling to the right. Suspecting we threw off the alignment along the VERY bumpy old alignment near the turkey tracks, we found a Firestone who could take a look. As soon as we got out of the car, Pat spotted the trouble…a flat tire! A broken valve stem, probably caused by the aforementioned bumpy road. After going back and forth with our limited options, after a couple hours we were on our way and headed to the Cozy Dog! Just in time before they closed, too…

Cozy Dog Drive-in, Route 66, Springfield, Illinois

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The next day, after obtaining my necessary coffee fix at Mel-O-Cream Doughnuts, we started north. We stopped for a few photos in Williamsville.

Die Cast Auto Sales - Route 66, Williamsville, Illinois


And of course, the fun smiley face water tower in Atlanta:

Smiley Face Water Tower - Route 66, Atlanta, Illinois

And of course some maple sirup and maple candy at Funks Grove!

Maple Sirup - Funks Grove, Illinois

Our stops in Towanda were interesting. The first was the garage (yes, at her house), of Dawn Patterson. Check this out…it’s pristine. She says she uses it as a garage, but it was decked out in Route 66 memorabilia, and I sure didn’t see any tools or cans of oil! We just built a garage and it has unfinished walls and no electricity. Pat was suffering from severe garage envy!

Dawn Patterson's D.K.'s Garage - Route 66, Towanda, Illinois

Dawn Patterson's D.K.'s Garage - Route 66, Towanda, Illinois

Our next stop was Joe’s Garage, which was in a more commercial building, and houses a very nice collection of motor sports and racing memorabilia. They also have a “diner” recreation built in the building next door.

Joe's Diner - Route 66, Towanda, Illinois

After cruising the old alignment in Lexington now coined “Memory Lane”, were were on to the next stop in Pontiac. We visited the Route 66 Museum, always a great stop. They have lots of Route 66 memorabilia, especially for Illinois – and displays on all of the Hall of Fame inductees. Two newer additions to the museum are a treat – two vehicles owned by Bob Waldmire, legendary Route 66 artist and son of Cozy Dog creator Ed Waldmire. Bob also was the inspiration for the character “Fillmore” in Pixar’s Cars.

Pontiac also had an art display of fiberglass cars. There’s a very cool Route 66 one outside of the museum:

P.R.O.U.D. Art Project - "Cruisin' the Square" - Pontiac, Illinois

Across from the museum is also a very nice mural, which is a tribute to Bob Waldmire. In recent years, Pontiac has commissioned many wall murals around town. Bob Waldmire was asked to design and paint a mural for Pontiac, but unfortunately, Bob was diagnosed with cancer and was unable to do so. But prior to his death, he did design a mural, which would be painted in Pontiac for his friends and family. The very cleverly designed mural features Bob painting the mural. Bob was a very neat individual, and though we could not have been any different from each other, his words of wisdom told to me during the 2006 Illinois Motor Tour have stuck with me – “live simply, and you won’t need a lot of money.” While I will most assuredly not live in an old school bus or VW bus, I can see living in a smaller travel trailer with minimal “stuff.” It’s our dream to travel extensively some day, and I want to live simply so as to be able to realize that goal, and will happily sacrifice a house and material possessions for more Road Trip Memories!

Route 66 Museum - Pontiac, Illinois

Route 66 Museum - Pontiac, Illinois

Bob Waldmire Mural - Pontiac, Illinois

We stopped at the Ambler-Becker Texaco Station, which had a volunteer dressed a Texaco Filling Station attendant, offering neat photo ops.

Ambler-Becker Texaco Station - Route 66, Dwight, Illinois

Pat at the Ambler-Becker Texaco Station - Route 66, Dwight, Illinois

The tour ended in Wilmongton, but we proceeded north through Joliet, Romeoville, and into Bolingbrook where we visited our good friend & fellow Route 66 roadie, Lulu. After dinner, we headed back for home.

Until next time!

Pat & Jennifer

Road Trip!


Below is a slideshow of all of the photos from this trip. Click any photo to stop the slideshow and view the photos on our Flickr site. If you are on an iOS device and do not see the slideshow, please click here to view our photos on Flickr.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157644764388300″ width=”600″]


March 1-3, 2013: Grease is the Word!


Overview Map

The following map was created using the Trimble Outdoors Navigator app for my iPhone. For an interactive version of the map or to see a closeup of the route, click the “Bigger Map” link.


We wanted to get away for the weekend to relax from the strain of several circumstances as of late. Between work, family concerns, household projects, due to lack of time, we haven’t allowed ourselves a road trip for a while and we were long overdue! We just had a few days, so we couldn’t travel too far and we kicked around several possibilities. Looking at the map, I suggested that we continue following the Great River Road, south from St. Louis. We had previously followed it from Minnesota, along Wisconsin and Illinois, as well as some in Illinois north of St. Louis. So, we thought we’d take it south from St. Louis and see if we could reach Memphis and partake in hamburgers from Dyer’s Burgers. We saw Dyer’s featured on the Travel Channel’s show “Food Paradise,” on the “Deep Fried” episode. Dyer’s features hamburgers deep fried in oil, but what makes them unique is the fact that there oil is never completely discarded, only strained and added to. Therefore, Dyer’s claim to fame is that the grease/oil contains 100+- year old grease molecules. Grease is most certainly the word!

Friday, March 1, 2013: Indianapolis, Indiana to Olney, Illinois

We started our journey on Friday afternoon from the east side of Indianapolis, after having a late lunch/early dinner at Edward’s Drive-In. We cruised the Evil-I for a while, and took US 40 west from the west side of Indy. We turned south on US 231. We took a little stretch of the new I-69 until we reached US 50. We took US 50, until we reached Olney, Illinois. We stayed at a mom & pop called the Traveler’s Inn Motel, which had definitely seen better days. The thermostat didn’t work, and it felt like 1000 degrees in there. We opened the door and window for a while, but the relief was short-lived. Pat ended up turning the wall AC on. The room had an odd configuration, there was another door in the room, which I assumed had another door on the other side (adjoining rooms, but that have locked doors between them). But actually, the door only locked on our side! We were a little confused, and assumed that room had to be ours or else anyone could just enter the other room! It was cooler in there too, but we opted to stay in our part in case we were wrong. We went to the other side in the morning, and found that its outside door had no number, so we knew it had to have been our room as well. It had two double beds and a kitchenette. Still, not the best of places, but serviceable.

Saturday, March 2, 2013: Olney, Illinois to Holly Springs, Mississippi

Before heading out early, we luckily had the benefit of early light due to central time. As Olney was the “Home of the Albino Squirrels” we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a peek at one if possible! But first, I needed coffee, so we stopped at a cute little coffee shop in town, called Ophelia’s Cup. Great cup of coffee!! Pat got a hot chocolate, and we were off in search of albino squirrels.

A quick search revealed that the albino squirrels mainly resided in Olney City Park, so off we went. We slowly cruised through the park, and spotted many run of the mill squirrels, but none of the albino variety. We started to think we had a better shot at spotting Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, or a unicorn when we neared the end of the park. Then suddenly I saw, frolicking with the “lesser” squirrels, was a pure white squirrel! My camera was set to a slow shutter speed and I didn’t have my zoom lens on, of course, so this was the best I could do:

Albino Squirrel - Olney, Illinois

We continued our southwesterly trek until we reached the Great River Road in Chester, Illinois. To our surprise and delight, Chester was home to Popeye the Sailor Man! How cool is that? Chester is the hometown of Popeye’s creator, cartoonist E. C. Segar. We came upon a park with some murals and statues, and found that there is a statue trail for the various characters. next to the park was a Popeye store and museum called Spinach Can Collectibles – very cool shop with TONS of Popeye collectibles and memorabilia. We debated about getting our grandson a Popeye doll, but at 2 and totally unfamiliar with the cartoon, I didn’t think he’d appreciate it. Instead, Pat picked up a Popeye magnet and I opted for a DVD of the 1980 movie, “Popeye” starring Robin Williams as Popeye and Shelly Duvall as Olive Oyl. That was a favorite of mine and my dad’s, so I had to get it.

We saw the Olive Oyl statue, then proceeded to head down by the Mississippi River, where the 6 ft. tall bronze statue of Popeye was stationed. Here is Pat posing with Popeye:

Pat with Popeye Statue, Chester, Illinois

We continued down the Great River Road, and could have kept the slower pace we enjoy, but ultimately we decided that we really wanted to have the burgers at Dyer’s in Memphis and we would not make it without unfortunately, taking the Evil-I!

We picked up I-55, and journeyed south toward Memphis, destination: Beale Street. The area was fairly easy to navigate, though we didn’t find any street parking, so we opted to park in a garage close to Beale Street. We made the short walk to Dyer’s Burgers and were entranced with the abundance of cool neon! But first thing was our grease fix. We each ordered single burgers, and I selected French fries with mine while Pat decided on onion rings.

Dyer's Burgers - Beale Street, Memphis, TN

The burgers were pretty good though we have had better, flavor-wise. Being deep fried certainly made them moist and I did enjoy the fries a lot! We decided we had just enough room to split a dessert, a deep fried peanut butter & jelly sandwich (a Smuckers Crustable).

After satisfying our stomachs, we went out to satisfy my need to use my new Sony NEX-6 for some neon photos. Not disappointed at all! I used the HDR feature, which really helped to make the exposure simulate what our eyes see. In HDR mode, the camera brackets 6 exposures and combines them within 10 or seconds, yielding a result that is just spectacular. The camera retains the original photo, as I exposed it and the combined exposure. I deleted all of the original exposures, but I will at some point retain a few and post them for viewing to show the before and after. I thought that the HDR feature would be helpful in cutting down my workflow, and allowing me to get my photos processed and uploaded faster by editing on my iPad Mini if needed. I’m happy that only minimal post processing is needed, the camera does a fabulous job processing. I do have an app called Photogene on my iPad Mini which does well handling any minor edits or cropping I need to do, but is fairly well featured enough to handle more if needed (no substitute for Photoshop of course but it’s still a good app!).

Here is a sample of photos from Beale Street. See the slide show below for all of the photos or click the slide show to go to my Flickr site.

Coyote Ugly Saloon, Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee

Johnny G's Creole Kitchen, Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee

Southern Style BBQ Ribs, Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee

We headed southeast out of Memphis, opting to move on for a place to stay the night. We crossed into Mississippi, and the town of Corinth seemed like a reasonably sized burg, but was an hour or so away, and we were getting pretty tired. The small town of Holly Springs was much closer, and had a few choices, and an EconoLodge that used to be a Hampton Inn had good reviews, so we opted to stay there for the night.

Sunday, March 3, 2013: Holly Springs, Mississippi to Indianapolis, Indiana

The hotel had a decent continental breakfast, so we decided to partake in a little complimentary food before moving on. We headed east on SR 4, and north on SR 5, before picking back up US 72. We continued on US 72 until we crossed into Alabama, then took the Natchez Trace Parkway north to its northern terminus just southeast of Nashville. We stopped at a few scenic locations, one being Fall Hollow Waterfall.

Natchez Trace - Fall Hollow Waterfall

In Nashville, we decided we needed to again take the Evil-I so we could get home at a fairly reasonable hour, so we took I-65 north back to Indy. Our final stop was for dinner at Toot’s restaurant in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where first timers receive a complimentary order of fried pickles. We had potato skins as well and I went with the Philly Cheesesteak and Pat ordered a rack of ribs. With yet more grease ingested, we waddled out of there feeling overfull and headed home.

Here is a slideshow of all of my photos from this trip. If you click on the slideshow, it will take you over to my Flickr page where you can also view the photos there.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157632920122139″ width=”600″]

September 1-3, 2012: Lake Michigan Loop Redux



We haven’t been on a road trip or camped in a while and with our 10th wedding anniversary coming up, decided to take a trip over Labor Day weekend. Only two snafus: we needed to watch our 18-month old grandson until noon Saturday while my daughter was in college classes; and then the remnants of Hurricane Isaac were heading to the Midwest.

While tossing out ideas, I wanted to originally camp in northern Indiana and visit the Marshmallow Festival in Ligonier, Indiana and the Blueberry Festival in Plymouth, Indiana. I’d just enjoyed 7 wonderful visits to the Indiana State Fair a couple of weeks ago and was having major State Fair withdrawal symptoms. But being a holiday weekend meant a 3 day minimum stay at state park campgrounds, and since we weren’t leaving until noon Saturday, we decided to just stay in a motel. Adding in the uncertainty of Isaac’s path threatening to put a damper on Indiana and our plans, I was looking for someplace with a drier forecast to go. After checking the forecast for several areas and discussing several trips of various lengths, we decided that Michigan would be a good destination. The first of our two road trip options was to loop the lower peninsula, or the “mitten.” Based on the weather forecast, we would do the loop counterclockwise. The second option was to loop Lake Michigan (the Lake Michigan Circle Tour) – also counterclockwise, due to the weather forecast. We would decide on our route Saturday morning once we saw the weather forecast.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saturday morning, we decided to do the Lake Michigan loop. We couldn’t leave Indiana until around noon, and the rain in central Indiana held off until then. We immediately drove into Isaac’s rainfall north of Indy on US 31 and the radar showed rain all the way to northern Indiana, but clear toward the Michigan border.

Back to the idea about attending a festival, there was a food vendor that I’d tried at the Indiana State Fair and I totally fell in LOVE with their food!! They’re called Pickle Barrel Sirloin Tips, and they’re sooooo good! Juicy seasoned sirloin tips, red skinned potatoes, sauteed onions and peppers…YUM!! I saw on their Facebook page that they would be at the Blueberry Festival, so despite the rain, we stopped by the festival and walked around in search of sirloin! The festival was very large, but we eventually found Pickle Barrel. It was a bit of a challenge to eat my sirloin tips and hold my umbrella but I managed. Our shoes didn’t fare too well in the rain, and eventually became saturated! Despite the extensive and varied food vendors, Pat didn’t find anything that looked appealing to his mildly queasy stomach, so we left the Blueberry Festival…very well impressed and certainly placing the it on our to do list again!

We continued our northwesterly trek toward Lake Michigan on state roads and starting our coastal loop in New Buffalo, Michigan on US 12. In this area, the LMCT follows various roads, often called the Red Arrow Highway, Blue Star Highway or Lake Shore / Lakeshore Drive. We continued until Saugatuck, and realized we were not going to obtain lodging within our budget along the coast. One mom & pop motel at which we inquired rates was a whopping $159! That was far in excess of our budget, especially for a pretty basic mom & pop. I remembered that I had a $25 Hotwire credit, and we had to search in Grand Rapids to get a very nice deal at Crown Plaza.

The hotel was nice, definitely a good deal for the price, albeit off of our route. Oh well, our finance budget prevailed over our time budget!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Another very early morning greeted me. I didn’t take advantage of the fitness center though; instead, I got up and got ready so we could get an early start to make up for heading off route. But sleepless nights mean groggy days and coffee is always a necessity. Must…have…coffee! A quick Google maps search on my iPhone revealed the complete absence of my beloved Dunkin’ Donuts in Grand Rapids! The horror! A search for the generic term “coffee,” however, yielded a different chain called Biggby Coffee. A quick perusal of their website sold me, and I could tell Biggby would be just fine! I love trying new places! There was one not too far from the hotel, so I refueled myself there with a large brewed coffee, with extra half and half. Very good…thumbs up for Biggby Coffee!

Piping hot java in hand, we pressed on, heading northwest on the evil-I to rejoin the Lake Michigan Circle Tour route, which we’d pick up on US 31 near Muskegon Heights. North of Muskegon, we made our way over to the coastal route.

We followed along the lakefront as closely as possible, but sometimes the routing took us back inland. When we arrived in Mears, we were impressed by both the sight of the massive Silver Lake Sand Dunes, as well as the town of Mears.
2012-09-02 09.57.58
It was definitely a touristy area – with campgrounds and motels, shops, and restaurants. We decided that we would put this area on our camping to do list! The next town to the north, Pentwater, was also a tourist spot and well worth visiting too.

We kept on north until we arrived in Ludington, where we stopped for lunch at House of Flavors on the advice of our friend Becky, of AMERICAN ROAD magazine. They served breakfast all day and the mood struck me, so I opted for two eggs over hard, with bacon and hash browns (just $4.99!). Pat went with House of Flavors’ take on a Monte Cristo, with grilled ham, fresh roasted turkey with cheddar & monterey jack on grilled egg-battered bakery bread. To give it the requisite sweetness of a Monte Cristo, they served the sandwich with some of their . We were planning on having ice cream in Mackinaw City at a favorite place of ours, but with a name like House of Flavors and a great selection, we decided to share a single scoop of Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream, which was vanilla ice cream swirled with fudge and soft fudge pieces. Very good and just enough to satisfy but not too much.

We arrived in Mackinaw City hungry for Cornish pasties, fudge and ice cream at Kilwin’s. We’d been there before and it was awesome! I was feeling pretty hungry, so our first stop was our favorite place for pasties, the Mackinaw Pastie and Cookie Co. at their location on West Jamet. I opted for my favorite, the beef pastie, and Pat went a little different and selected the Pastie Italiano, which was a beef pastie like mine, but topped with marinara and mozzarella. Pat also had a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie, since their other specialty is, as their name indicates, cookies.

After dinner, we took a walk around downtown Mackinaw City. We couldn’t go through Mackinaw City without getting some fudge! Of course, we also wanted ice cream, so we went straight for Kilwin’s. As soon as I walked in, I spotted some fudge that looked really good – it was chocolate with caramels and sea salt. I don’t know who came up with this combination, but generally anything I have had with that combination has been VERY good (candy, brownies, cupcakes, etc.). I knew I was going to get some fudge, then ice cream. As I waited, I wanted to snap a quick photo of the fudge to post to friends while the clerk was helping the woman in front of me. Well before I knew what happened, clerk reached over the counter, swatted my phone and loudly and sternly admonished me – “Sorry NO taking photos!! Company policy!” It was really awkward. I was stunned and embarrassed for a moment and looked around to see anyone else’s reaction. One lady looked bewildered and in just a few moments I realized I really didn’t like that action on his part. Even if there is such a policy against taking photos, which wouldn’t make sense to me – the clerk’s enforcement of said policy was unacceptable. Simply post a sign – and certainly don’t allow an employee to swat at a customer or speak so rudely and loudly. It was bad enough he swatted at my old iPhone 3GS – I would have really pitied him had he touched my Nikon D700. I would have raised a fuss indeed! We just walked out without buying anything. I was not going to patronize any place that treated customers that way for just taking a photo. With social media, that’s free advertising! I was going to extol the delights of their fudge (and ice cream) with my friends but instead this is the review they get from me. I posted on their Facebook page, but their response was fairly generic. They said they spoke to the employee, clarifying the photo policy, but I never said specifically when I was there or who the person was. Well, live and learn. I will not be spending any of my hard earned money at Kilwin’s again – fudge shops are abundant there – and I have not had a bad slice so far!

Moving on, we stopped at a few other shops, then we got to one called the Sweet Spot. They had lots of candy and sweets as well as an extensive variety of popcorn, in both sweet and savory flavors. The staff was friendly but definitely were a hard sell on the popcorn. Definitely had a similar feel to those NYC electronics shops, which were humorously spoofed on the Saturday Night Live skit, “Sabra Price is Right” with Tom Hanks.

After trying at least 10 different varieties, I was popcorned out and managed to extricate myself and get over to the fudge counter, which is what I really wanted, leaving Pat to fend for himself. They didn’t have chocolate caramel sea salt (!), but we settled on chocolate peanut butter, Snickers, and Butterfinger. Pat meanwhile, picked up two large bags of popcorn – cookies and cream and English Toffee and I got a small bag of caramel pecan.

Moving on, we stopped at one more fudge shop called Joann’s Fudge, which we remembered from a previous visit, was very good as well (again, never had a bad slice of fudge!). A quick perusal of their fudge revealed that they had chocolate caramel sea salt fudge! Despite just procuring three slices (1.5 lbs) at the Sweet Spot, I just HAD to get it, since passing up that type at Kilwin’s. I was not disappointed – it was so good!

We didn’t have ice cream, but had plenty of fudge and popcorn, so as sadly brief as our visit was to Mackinaw City, we needed to keep on going. We knew we were pushing the limits of time and distance on this trip! I had done some searching and found several good possibilities for lodging in the UP, in Manistique. The Star Motel had many excellent ratings on Trip Advisor, but I got a voice mail when I called. I tried the next place that was a mom & pop, and had good ratings too – the Northshore Motor Inn. They quoted me a rate of $72 for a king – I thought that sounded good and booked it.

Pat was gearing up to cross the Mackinac Bridge, always a white knuckle ride for him anyway; but it was made worse for him by the ominous loop of the wind advisory conditions on the bridge and relentless thoughts of the woman whose 1987 Yugo was blown off of the bridge, free-falling 170 feet into the Straits of Mackinac. I wasn’t worried, as the woman had actually stopped her car on the steel decking side of the bridge. We wouldn’t stop of course, and we could drive on the non-steel deck. Besides, my Corolla had an additional 800 lbs over the Yugo, that had to help. The warnings also were for RVs, or vehicles that were towing boats or trailers. While that advisory didn’t apply to us this trip, we do have a Serro Scotty travel trailer and it would be nice to camp in the UP sometime, and it was pretty obvious the advisories pretty well determined we won’t be crossing the Mackinaw Bridge with the Scotty in tow! I guess if we want to visit the Mackinaw / St. Ignace area, we’ll have to stay south of the Bridge. If we want to camp in the UP, we could visit the western part and go through Illinois and Wisconsin. Chicago traffic vs. the Mighty Mac – what a choice!

We crossed the Mackinac Bridge just fine and pulled off at a scenic rest area on the other side.

2012-09-02 18.40.11

Moving west through the UP on US 2, we spent the night at the Northshore Motel in Manistique, Michigan. We left the windows open so we could listen to the waters of Lake Michigan lap against the shore. We woke up the next morning and took a few photos.
Northshore Motor Inn - US 2, Manistique, MI

2012-09-03 06.27.30

We continued looping Lake Michigan on US 2 and other two lanes, making an obligatory stop at Mars Cheese Castle (which was housed in a completely new building, but still retained the classic sign).

Once we reached the northern Chicago suburbs, we decided to hop on the Evil-I and get home.

Here is a slideshow of all of my photos from this trip. If you click on the slideshow, it will take you over to my Flickr page where you can also view the photos there.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157631370856252″ width=”500″]

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Filming Locations


Glenbrook North High School – 2300 Shermer Road, Northbrook, Illinois

In this scene, Ferris Bueller’s (Matthew Broderick) girlfriend Sloan (Mia Sara) is escorted outside by Principal Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) to wait for her “father” to pick her up from school after the death of her grandmother. Of course, it’s a scheme to get her out of school to meet Ferris and his best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) for a day off!Ferris Bueller's Day Off - High School

Glenbrook North High School - Northbrook, Illinois

“Oh Sloan dear…hurry along now!”

Ferris Bueller's Day Off Filming Location

Ferris Bueller's Day Off Filming Location

SAVE FERRIS – Water Tower – Northbrook, Illinois

Word around town spreads quickly of Ferris’ major “illness”, prompting the painting of this water tower to help the community rally around this sick youth.

SAVE FERRIS - Water Tower

SAVE FERRIS - Water Tower - Northbrook, Illinois

Koenig & Strey Real Estate – Winnetka, Illinois

Ferris’ mother Katie’s real estate office, which is actually a real estate office (the same as shown in the film).

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Koenig & Strey Real Estate - Winnetka, Illinois

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Koenig & Strey Real Estate - Winnetka, Illinois

Glencoe Beach – Glencoe, Illinois

After taking the 1961 Ferrari GT California owned by Cameron’s father, and seeing the  mileage that the parking lot attendants added to it, Cameron goes into a catatonic state.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Glencoe Beach - Glencoe, Illinois

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Glencoe Beach - Glencoe, Illinois

Tri-State Route 66 Festival — The Prelude


Here it is Wednesday morning and we’re getting ready to head off for five (hopefully) peaceful days on the road. Our day will start off with a drive out to Springfield, Illinois where we’ll have lunch at the Cozy Dog Drive In, well known as the restaurant where the corn dog was invented 50-some years ago. From there, we pick up that grand old two-lane highway, Route 66 and take it south into St. Louis, where chances are we’ll be diving into a concrete from Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, another Route 66 icon dating back to 1941. After that, we meander our way through the Ozarks of Missouri before picking a spot for the night.

Thursday we’ll finish our drive along 66 in Missouri and head into Joplin where we’ll bunk up Thursday & Friday nights. The Tri State Route 66 Festival is our destination, just over the Missouri/Oklahoma border, at the Downstream Casino. Friday we’ll be cruising throughout central Oklahoma. As some of you know, we’re big into photographing old movie scene locations and there are a couple of towns where “Rain Man” was filmed that we’re going to hit. We also plan on hunting down an old plant that used to build Serro Scotty trailers back in the 1960’s, since we’re (almost) new owners of a 21st century model.

Looking forward to hooking up with some of our old Route 66 friends we’ve met throughout the years this weekend. Feel free to follow along with us here on the blog, as I hope to have daily updates and photos of our trip as internet connectivity allows.

Off we go!

The Blues Brothers Filming Locations


Joliet Correctional Center (aka Joliet Prison) – SR IL 171, Joliet, Illinois

Joliet Prison - The Blues Brothers, Joliet, Illinois

November 2005:

Building across from Joliet Prison featured in The Blues Brothers, Joliet, Illinois

Joliet Prison - The Blues Brothers, Joliet, Illinois

Joliet Prison - The Blues Brothers, Joliet, Illinois

November 2005:

Joliet Prison featured in The Blues Brothers, Joliet, Illinois

Dixie Square Mall – Harvey, Illinois

Dixie Square Mall, Harvey, Illinois

August 2010:

Dixie Square Mall - Harvey, Illinois

Dixie Square Mall, Harvey, Illinois

August 2010:

Dixie Square Mall - Harvey, Illinois

Dixie Square Mall, Harvey, Illinois

August 2010:

Dixie Square Mall - Harvey, Illinois

Quality Inn – 3801 North Mannheim Road, Schiller Park, IL

In trying to put the band back together, Jake and Elwood discover that many of their former band members are now in a band called “Murph and the Magic Tones” and playing at the lounge at a Holiday Inn. Jake and Elwood are horrified to find them in red velvet suits, singing “Quando Quando Quando.”

Holiday Inn - The Blues Brothers

August 2009: Of course, all of the glorious Holiday Inn “Great Signs” have gone away, and even the iconic Holiday Inn font is gone too. Holiday Inn has of course, deemed it too dated, and replaced it with a “fresh, modern” look. (In other words, a boring, generic corporate logo).

This location is now a Quality Inn. My photo is not at the same angle as the one above, I was on the opposite side of the street, but it is in the same direction. If you click on the screen capture above and view the full-size version, you should be able to see the interstate overpass more clearly. The traffic signal on the right is just visible as well.

Quality Inn - O'Hare Airport

Illinois SR 59, West Chicago, Illinois

Jake and Elwood run out of gas, and arrive at this gas station (also out of gas!).

Out of Gas - The Blues Brothers

August 2009: This location is nothing more than a concrete foundation overgrown with weeds. In some ways, it’s difficult to identify this location as the correct one, but upon closer look, it’s obvious. The curve of the road, the power lines, and even the billboards are in the correct location. There are also several cuts in the curb for the entries.
IL 59 - West Chicago, Illinois

West Wind Motel – IL SR 38, West Chicago, Illinois

Elwood propositions the Chic Lady (Twiggy) to meet him at a nearby motel, and surprise…she shows up! But Elwood will not, so here she is, waiting (and waiting) at the West Wind Motel.

Waiting for Elwood - The Blues Brothers

The West Wind Motel is located at 28W721 Roosevelt Road (IL SR 38) in West Chicago, Illinois. The location doesn’t look too different now, with the exception of a change of color of the bottom portion of the motel, and a sign on the building appears to have been removed, along with the phone booth. The old neon sign is still there, though!

West Wind Motel - West Chicago, Illinois

Movie Filming Locations


Here’s a random collection of movie filming locations, of which I don’t have enough photos to warrant a separate page.


FAO Schwarz, 5th Avenue & 58th Street, New York, New York

12-year old Josh Baskin, frustrated at his slight stature, turns into a grownup after making a wish with a fortune telling machine called Zoltar. After frantically searching for the Zoltar machine to turn back into a kid, Josh has some time on his hands, while waiting for information from the Department of Consumer affairs as to the location of a Zoltar machine, and gets a job in the data processing department at MacMillan Toys. One Saturday, Josh spends a little time browsing at New York’s famous toy store, FAO Schwarz. Many locations of the store were used here, and I visited the store many times with my then 4-year old daughter. (She was very much into “Hello Kitty” stuff and FAO Schwarz had a huge area dedicated to this cute kitty). At that time (around 1991-1992), the store had changed very little since the movie was filmed.

In one of the movie’s most memorable scenes, Josh runs into his boss, the owner of MacMillan Toys, who spends his Saturdays at FAQ Schwarz observing what toys kids are into. He and Josh spend a little time bonding as Josh explains his likes and dislikes of various toys (much to the bemusement of Mr. MacMillan). They stumble about a large floor model “piano,” where Josh starts to play “Heart and Soul.” Mr. MacMillan joins in, and together they do a well-coordinated routine consisting of Heart and Soul and Chopsticks. Having not had so much fun in a while, MacMillan taps into Josh’s knowledge of toys and makes him vice president….one of them, anyway – they have a hundred of them!

From the movie:

Big - Tom Hanks

Big - Tom Hanks - 1988

FAO Schwarz, approximately 1991 – 1992:

FAO Schwarz - 5th Avenue, New York, NY

In May 2013, when the photo below was taken, the clock was no longer in this location, as the store was completely remodeled/renovated. It was hung on a wall above an escalator leading to the lower level. It still played “Welcome to Our World of Toys” every 15 minutes. The store closed on July 15, 2015.

Clock face at FAO Schwarz

Rye Playland, Rye, New York

Two scenes in Big were filmed at the location below, which is Rye Playland Amusement Park in Rye, New York. It was depicted in the movie to be “Seapoint Park” New York. In one scene, Josh goes to Seapoint Park on a date with his co-worker, Susan.

Big - Tom Hanks - 1988

At the end of the movie, Josh returns to Seapoint Park after discovering that a Zoltar machine is here, so that he could make a wish to turn back to a kid again.

Big - Tom Hanks - 1988

Rye Playland Boardwalk, taken approximately 1991:

Boardwalk - Rye Playland - Rye, New York

Palisades Interstate Park – Fort Lee, New Jersey

Where Josh wishes he were “big” with the Zoltar machine at the carnival.


The site below where the carnival was held and where Josh rode the next day to find the site looking basically like we did. Untitled

Hotel St. James, 109 W 45th St, New York, NY

After finding himself “big” Josh needs a place to stay and selects the Hotel St. James.  During our stay here in May 2009, we did not find it at ALL in the condition from the movie. Rooms were pretty small, but that’s about it. I should’ve taken some interior lobby photos, as those scenes were filmed there.Hotel St. James - Times Square, New York, NY

Jingle All the Way

Mickey’s Dining Car – St. Paul, Minnesota

36 7th St W, St Paul, MN

Mickey's Dining Car - St. Paul, MN

The Producers

Bethesda Fountain in Central Park – New York, New York

This is from a scene from “The Producers,” in which down-and-out Broadway producer, Max Bialystock (Lane) is trying to convince his mousy accountant, Leo Bloom (Broderick) to participate in a get-rich scheme. They will oversell shares in a Broadway show, keep the additional money and go to Rio. But in order for the scheme to work, the show must be a “surefire flop.” Leo is too scared to do it, and runs away as Max desperately convinces him that it will work (“We Can Do It”).

The Producers - Bethesda Terrace, Central Park, New York

August 2008

Bethesda Terrace - Central Park, New York, NY

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

The Sun Motel – Braidwood, Illinois

Del Griffith (John Candy) and Neal Page (Steve Martin) are two very different businessmen who met by chance in New York City when Del “steals” Neal’s cab to the airport. Unfortunately, the simple, short flight from New York to Chicago just before Thanksgiving turns into a two-day ordeal, bringing Del and Neal together as they make their way from New York to Chicago by way of Wichita, Kansas.

In this scene, they are waiting for a ride to the “people” train station, 40 miles away, which they will make sitting in the back of a pickup truck. They just spent the night sharing the last motel room in town, at the fictional “Braidwood Inn.” This motel is actually in Braidwood, Illinois along I-55.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles - "Braidwood Inn"

June 2006

The Sun Motel - Braidwood, Illinois

From the movie

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles - "Braidwood Inn"

June 2006

The Sun Motel - Braidwood, Illinois

A Christmas Story

The house in the movie “A Christmas Story” is located in Cleveland, Ohio. For more information, click the link for the official site. You can visit it and go on a tour! The house was being restored when we passed through Cleveland in July 2007, we just took a couple of exterior photos.

House from "A Christmas Story" - Cleveland, Ohio

House from "A Christmas Story" - complete with leg lamp - Cleveland, Ohio

Brieties Again – Greenville, Illinois


Pat and I took a quick trip to Greenville, Illinois to take photos of a diner called Brieties Again. The diner was the subject of an upcoming “Diner Days” feature in AMERICAN ROAD Magazine, written by John Goldsmith, the Executive Director of the National Road Association in Illinois. Becky Repp, AMERICAN ROAD’s Managing Editor, asked if I would take the photos.The article was published in the Autumn 2008 issue of AMERICAN ROAD.

To view the photos, click here to visit my Flickr site: June 2008: Breities Again – Greenville, Illinois

Route 66 Cozy Dog Run


Sure you can get an average corn dog anywhere, but why settle for average when you can have the best! The Cozy Dog Drive-In, on Route 66 in Springfield, Illinois was started by Ed Waldmire in 1946. You can read more about the history of the Cozy Dog here.

Slideshow of All Photos

For more details about a particular photo, click on it in the slideshow and it will open in my Flickr site.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157603706854785″ width=”500″]

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