Upon waking in Chicago to head west on Route 66, the weather was perfect. Not one cloud in the sky and a cool breeze broke through the 78 degree temperatures. It didn’t take long to hit our first Rt. 66 landmark—one that has since been moved. Bunyon’s Hotdogs in Cicero had a fiberglass roadside giant standing on the side of its joint. The square-jawed Paul was cradling a giant hotdog, paint faded and peeling in the heat. Bunyon’s closed down and the giant moved to Atlanta, Illinois, greeting Route 66ers in the quiet downtown where not much happens anymore. However, it’s a better home for him because he is well taken care of.
Kyle and I hit Odell, where the town has preserved an early 20th century gas station. Then, the road kept giving—The Gemini Giant, the well-worn streets of Joliet where the downtown was bustling (and where Kyle and I got some grub) Dixie’s Truckers Home, and more small towns with Main Streets no longer main. Kyle and I settled down for the night at The Redwood Motel in Lincoln, Illinois, right across the street from The Tropics, a tiki-themed restaurant that had become a run-of-the-mill diner… and one that would close a few years later. As for The Redwood—neither Kyle nor I thought we’d live past the night.