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2009: Chicago & Route 66
Chicago's Navy Pier  
With Hungary behind us, it was now time for Route 66 for 2009. The beginning, Chicago IL, which along with Toronto Canada are our two favorite large cities. Its September 29, 2009, and were on the road by 8:15 A.M. Dirk and Gretel in the Mercedes, Anthony and I in the Lincoln Mark IV. We headed West on U.S Route 50. We arrived in Chicago that evening.

The next day we left for Chicago's "Navy Pier." We parked our car and began walking. We walked to the Hard Rock and after that the Sears, now Willis Tower. Both were amazed - said they had never seen anything like it in their lives. All four of us would stand on the clear observation "Skydeck" and have our photos taken. There were many historical facts on the walls about Chicago. My favorite was the fact that Frank Baum was a native of Chicago and he wrote the Wizard of OZ.

Afterwards, we went to a Starbucks. It was the first time for them an they like the fact that the coffee was strong like they're used to. We would walk back to the Navy Pier to Bubba Gump Shrimp and decided to have dinner.
Rt 66 Museums  
We all went near the Shedd Aquarium where we could see the city skyline at night. What a breadth taking sight! (We had been there years ago with little A when he was in sixth grade). They could not get over the sight of it!

Thursday, October 1st. We began our Route 66 Tour. We started at the "Chicken Basket" restaurant, (opened in 1946). The owners name was Patrick, his father owned it first. He said his father looked at him when he was 8 years old and said "I'll never be able to feed you - so I must buy a restaurant."

Our next stop was the "Joliet Rt 66 Museum."  A wonderful museum, car couches, Blues Brothers statues, Rt. 66 video and wall murals. We then found our way to "Wilmington" - Launching Pad Restaurant. with the Gemini Giant; cheeseburgers, coffee and milkshakes for all.
Polk a Dot Drive In  
"The Polk a Dot Drive In" Elvis, Marilyn, James Dean, Betty Boop statues, mini juke boxes, Pink Ladies and T-bird Bathrooms. Route 66 gas pumps with gumballs.

"Pontiac" Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum, lady working there was a fellow Mountaineer! from Fairmont- very nice. Photo Op with a huge mural outside - parked car in front of it. They asked that we send our photos to them to post on their wall, (110 W. Howard St. Pontiac, IL).

We left and then would get lost in miles and miles of cornfields. We would end up at the "Dixie Truckers" Home in McLean. We checked into a hotel.
Cozy Dog Drive In  
Friday, October 2nd. We left our hotel and headed for "Atlanta" and stopped to the Paul Bunyan Giant. We then stopped at the Rt 66 Dream car Museum in Williamsville. The owner Phil Hawley and his wife Pat are very lovely people. She told me that he had been diagnosed with a rare stomach cancer and he was given six months to live and that was eight years ago. He said he was in the Lord's hands now. What a pleasure to meet them.

Our next stop was the "Cozy Dog Drive In. (My favorite). We had cozy dogs, fries and orange sodas. Dirk and Gretel never had corn dogs before. They went back for seconds. We would depart and hours later we found ourselves in Litchfield - The Aniston Cafe , (since 1924). We met Paul Adam, the Father, who came outside when he saw us shooting pictures and invited us in to talk and take photos.

In Staunton we found "Henrys Rabbit Ranch." We also found "600 Cars For Sale" My goodness, Dirk and Anthony were in heaven. Several buildings full, hundreds outside. In Edwarsville was the "Chain of Rocks Bridge" at the Mississippi River. We crossed the bridge. Lovely photos, roaring water.
Forbidden Caverns  
Monday, October 6, 2009. Dirk purchased a blue Mercedes off of a friend. The car will come to Wild and Wonderful. Dirk's friend owns 3/4 of a town and they made him put in his own fire station.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009. We made it to "Forbidden Caverns." near Sevierville, TN at about noon. We all enjoyed the tour very much. Next, we were in Pigeon Forge, TN at Mel's Diner. We would go to an Elvis show around 7:00 P.M.

Next 2011: GrossGlockner & Hungary...