It all starts with cluck…

Today was the start of a cross-country trip from Chicago to Santa Monica. The fist stop was in an office/warehouse park in Wilmington, IL to see Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket and Cocktail Lounge. It’s been in the same location for 70+ years:

The staff is used to gawkers — we took photos and asked lots of dumb questions.

Next we drove to Joliet. There we hiked in 90+ temperatures on paths in the “Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Preserve”:

We wandered through tall grasses while viewing hundreds of Monarch Butterflies that we’re hanging from trees, grasses and flowers — no photo can do this occurrence justice:

The wild flowers and grasses were a delight too:

In the past three years bison have been introduced as well though we saw only brief shadows of the beasts–23 cows and 4 bulls:

The intent is to cull grasses and re-build up the population of this former state resident.

There’s also a small museum on-site that discusses a variety of topics–from glaciers to Native Americans to trains to the Underground Railroad:

From Midewin we returned to Joliet for lunch:

The food was authentic and honest, as well as, quite tasty and the cost was very reasonable:

After a brief walkabout we visited the town museum in order to learn more about Route 66–and to take advantage of a photo-op:

Who wouldn’t want a photo with the Blues Brothers!

On the road to Braidwood we stopped to see an extremely large spaceman. Located in Wilmington this “Gemini Giant” guards the entrance to the “Launching Pad” a drive-in in name only for a few more months — its being converted back to food from a gift shop:

I did like this old ride located adjacent to the front door:

From here it was on to Polk-a-Dot Drive-In located in Braidwood. This ice cream shop is another original loaded with all kinds of photos and other memorabilia:

And of course, I enjoyed a hot fudge sundae:

Once more we hit the road. As the day got hotter and later the attractions began to wear thin. A stop at Gardner highlighted a two cell jail:

This was quickly followed by an old Texaco Service Station:

This brought back a ton of memories. I wonder if Texaco still has gas stations?

By this time, my companion and I yelled mea culpa and decided we’d seen enough for today. Interstate 55 was a mile away and we escaped the much slower Route 66 until tomorrow.

For now the comfort of a room in Springfield was all we wanted.

Tomorrow we’ll cross into Missouri — St Louis and beyond.

What awaits us is anybodies guess—so stay tuned.

About tourdetom

I'm retired. Travel a lot.
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