Monday, June 30, 2008

Land of Lincoln

Ned and Joe, Meet the Gemini Giant

After breakfast with Matt and Sharon we said our goodbyes and headed down Ogden Avenue on old Route 66. As we passed through the southwestern part of Chicagoland the towns got smaller and the road less congested.

Our main stop for the day was Springfield, IL and the Lincoln tour. Springfield was the home of our 16th president when he was elected to the presidency. After his assassination his body was returned home and buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery. His tomb is an impressive 117 feet tall. He is interred inside with his wife, Mary Todd, and three of his four children.

The Outside of Lincoln's Tomb

Lincoln's Headstone

From the cemetery we went to Lincoln's home. It is not an impressive home like Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and I thought it was small. Still, Lincoln's home has proved irresistible to visitors since it opened to the public. Beautifully restored to its 1860 appearance, the Greek Revival house was Abraham and Mary Lincoln's home for 17 years.

The home is run by the National Park Service along with the surrounding four blocks that are being restored to the way it would have been when the Lincolns lived there. From there we went to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. It has exhibits and films chronicling the life of Lincoln from his early years in a log cabin to his death. The museum is interesting but I think the boys were a little bored.

The Lincoln Home

Ned and Joe on the Tour

Joe and Ned Visiting the Lincolns

Also in Springfield is the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Dana-Thomas house. Unfortunately it was closed for tours but the exterior was beautiful. We stopped at the Cozy Dog Drive In on the way of out town for an original Cozy Dog or corn dog a Route 66 tradition.

The Dana-Thomas House

We continued on through Illinois reaching the Chain of Rocks Bridge by early evening. This bridge used to carry Route 66 traffic across the Mississippi and is now a pedestrian and bike trail. It features a 22 degree bend in the middle of the crossing. We walked across and viewed St Louis downriver.

Our campsite destination for the night was Pere Marquette state park in Grafton, IL. It took a bit longer to get there than I had planned. The river road was flooded from Alton, IL upriver meaning a big detour. I was worried that the campground would be closed but it was open though the marina was underwater.

Old Campbell's "66" Express Featuring Snorting Norton

Joe and Ned Walking the Chain of Rocks

The Arch and St Louis on the Horizon

In Missouri by Foot

Ned Makes His Way Across the Wide Mississippi

The Campground Marina Underwater

Chicago, IL to Pere Marquette State Park, IL, 343 miles 9 hrs 40 min

Sunday, June 29, 2008

We Start for Chicago

Ned and Joe at the Start of Route 66

Our first leg is to Chicago, IL and the beginning of Route 66. We are staying overnight with our friends Matt and Sharon. We started off the morning with a stop at Zingerman's Deli for breakfast with Mom and to pick up goodies for Matt and Sharon. After saying, "Goodbye!" to mom we headed west.

Ned and Joe Ready to Roll

The Family Outside of Zingerman's Deli After Our Farewell Breakfast

It rained most of the way through Michigan though it was dry when we reached Indiana. We made a quick stop for a new hat for Joe and arrived at Matt and Sharon's. After unloading their packages we headed out for a great Mexican meal and then took the El into the loop to walk around Millennium Park and the Taste of Chicago. After hopping the El back we were pretty tired and quickly found ourselves asleep.

Our First State Welcome Sign

Waiting for the El

Ned, Matt and Sharon Napping Under the Bean

Joe and Ned in Front of Buckingham Fountain

The Sign of the Beginning

Ypsilanti, MI to Chicago, IL, 244 miles 4 hrs 32 min

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Great Summer Road Trip 2008

Ypsilanti to Santa Monica, Yosemite NP, Denver, Mount Rushmore and Home, 6927 miles, 124 hours driving time (estimate)

This year we are traveling to the Western United States. There will be a lot to see. We are stopping in to see Mary's brother and aunt, and travel one of the iconic highways of US history.

From Chicago to LA we are driving Route 66. As the song says, "If you ever plan to motor west, Travel my way, take the highway that is best. Get your kicks on Route Sixty-Six." We are driving through "Saint Looey, Joplin, Missouri, and Oklahoma City." We are going to see "Amarillo, Gallup, New Mexico, Flagstaff, Arizona." We won't "forget Winona, Kingman, Barstow, or San Bernandino." We are hip to the timely tip: "When you make that California trip Get your kicks on Route Sixty-Six."

Mary will join us in Santa Fe where her brother lives and then she will travel with us to Los Angeles. Then my father will join us for us a week through California.

On the way home we will zigzag through Arizona, Utah, and Colorado and then across the Great Plains.

Along the way we will be visiting a number of national parks. The Lincoln Home in Illinois, Gateway Arch in Missouri and Bandelier in New Mexico. In Arizona are stopping at Petrified Forest and both the south and north rims of the Grand Canyon. In California there is Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, and Death Valley. Bryce, Zion, and Arches beckon from Utah and Mesa Verde and Rocky Mountain from Colorado. Then up to Devil's Tower in Wyoming and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

Like last year there are not many firm dates only the destinations.