Route 66 is arguably, the most famous road in America, even if it was officially removed from the US Highway System in 1985. Tourists come from all over the world to drive the ultimate American road trip. I have been meaning to drive the Illinois section since we moved to Chicago, so after years of postponing, I finally organized the trip! Brad decided to sit this one out, so I was joined by my good friend SE and her friend from out of town. Both of them are from big cities in the UK, so I was a little worried about giving them a false impression of small town life in America. Honestly, I needn’t have worried. Sure the drive is an absolute indulgence in American kitsch, but the towns and the people are genuine and really friendly. Every one we spoke to wanted to chat and ensure that we saw everything their town had to offer.
The next “big attraction” on the map was the ‘Rich & Creamy’ ice-cream shop in Joliet. The building itself was nondescript, but it was topped with a giant Rt 66 sign and replicas of the Blues Brothers, Ellwood and “Joliet” Jake. It was neat, but the far better attraction was across the road. “Dick’s Towing” is exactly that, a towing service. The classic cars dotted around and on, yes on, the building are a brilliant marketing tactic. We were surprised when the owner came out to talk to us after taking a few photos. He told us a little about his business then allowed us to take photos inside the cars. We stayed longer than we had planned, but it’s not every day that we’re allowed to play in police cars!
I have to admit, I thought the Gemini Giant would be bigger. It's located next the Launching Pad diner, which was closed. I guess they didn't know that we had our hearts set on milkshakes. While taking pictures of the giant, a large group (pack? Convoy?) of bikers drove by. There must have been hundreds of them. All waving and smiling like they were in a grand parade. A big slice of cheesy America! Speaking of cheesy, if you are into giant statues, have a look at this Muffler Men map created by RoadsideAmerica.com. My list of National Lampoon-ish destinations is growing at a steady rate!