Route 66 – Chicago to Springfield, IL (Day 2)


For our next day, we left from Downers Grove on I-294 north up to the O’Hare Oasis for breakfast.  We then continued north on I-294, exiting at US 19, which we followed into Skokie and Evanston.  We stopped at a park on Lake Michigan and took a walk by the lake, and through a very nice, seemingly exclusive neighborhood of stately elite homes, many in brick.

We drove down into the city to visit the Hit the Road travel store owned by Route 66 mailing list members Maureen and Annice.  We talked with Maureen for a bit and had a nice visit at the store, and we both bought a number of items there.  They have great road travel supplies, maps, car organizers, kids games and so on…as well as Route 66 memorabilia, books, and videos.  One interesting thing they have available is custom made diner furniture, if you want a retro style diner booth and table, or round stools, they can custom order this for you, at pretty reasonable prices!

We then drove downtown to Route 66, turning east onto Jackson.  We passed by Lou Mitchell’s (I still have to get there for breakfast!).  Rather than head over to Adams & Michigan, we turned south and made a quick loop around the block and headed west on Adams from this point.

We went through the run down area in Cicero, where there was a tricky intersection (there’s a detour, so follow the signs!).  We ended up on 26th Street, but of course, we weren’t lost since Pat is known as the Road Maven (and I’m pretty good with directions too)!  We simply followed 26th Street west to the intersection of IL 43.  We made a left turn south, until we reached the intersection of Ogden (White Castle Hamburgers on the corner).   Unfortunately, on the short stretch of Ogden which we missed was a neat hot dog place called Henry’s (with a great neon sign!), and Bunyon’s Hot Dogs.  I passed by this on my first trip as well, to see my first muffler man there (though I hadn’t seen Henry’s then).


We didn’t go back to see Henry’s or Bunyon’s, so we continued on 43 and then followed Joliet Road through the Forest Preserve and into Lyons.  In McCook, there is a detour of Joliet Road.  There are signs to guide you, but you follow 55th Street west to S East Ave. and head south until the road hooks back up to Joliet Road.  Pat explained that this area is closed because Joliet Road ran along the middle of two huge quarries on either side.  It was not structurally sound, so this section was closed.  You can see the quarries a little bit on the detour.

There’s not too much interesting to see along here, it’s an industrial area.


In Countryside, we were on the lookout for the Wishing Well Motel on the right…unfortunately, we were so focused on it that we missed the Route 66 Cafe and Grill 3/10 mile before it…we couldn’t figure out how we missed it!  I was especially baffled, since if you read the narrative of my first trip, I had brunch there!  Well, it shows how selectively we see things, and how our memory works to remember how things are…a day or two later, I was too curious as to how I missed it, so I had to go back.  It turns out I had seen the sign, but it didn’t really register in my mind…because it wasn’t the Route 66 Cafe and Grill anymore!  It’s now called the William Tell Restaurant, and is located in the same building, only off to the right near its attached motel.  I should have realized this the day before, because the sign is still a round white sign, but I was focused on looking for the Route 66 shield, it never occurred to me.  Plus, I remembered the area as being different than it really was, with a bigger parking lot – that’s why I say your memory sort of alters the way you remember things!

So, the sign for the Route 66 Cafe & Grill is no longer there, very disappointing!  There is a very faded neon sign still on the building, but without the word “Grill,” and there is a listing in the phone book for the Route 66 Cafe.  I believe it is still open for breakfast and lunch (as the sign indicates). If you are there early, check it out.  It was good at the time Amber and I went in August 2000.

We continued through Indian Head Park and Burr Ridge, and ended our trip by having an early dinner at Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket, where Pat introduced me to a Midwestern delicacy……chicken gizzards.  However, I opted for grilled herbed chicken breast instead, and it was absolutely excellent!

That concluded this trip…till next time!

This is a picture of a “Blues Brothers Car” we spotted from the window of room at the Suburban Lodge in Downers Grove.  It was still there last month, and the shrinkwrap from the speaker was removed…it’s really cool to see that!

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