July 16, 2001—Day 12, Route 66-Amarillo, Texas to Albuquerque, New Mexico

July 16, 2001.

July 16, 2001.

 

Our distance today was pre-planned—287 miles from Amarillo, Texas, to Albuquerque, New Mexico.  This part of the trip started a fire under both Kyle and I to get to the west coast as quick as possible. Albuquerque’s fire also burned me.

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July 15, 2001—Day 11, Route 66-Weatherford, Oklahoma to Amarillo, Texas

July 15, 2001.

July 15, 2001.

 

Kyle and I arrived 45 minutes too early for the opening of The National Route 66 Museum in Elk City, Oklahoma, so I walked around taking photos while Kyle typed in his journal. The museum was O.K.—more of a museum to motor travel on the Mother Road than a museum about Rt. 66. It was underwhelming compared to what awaited us in Shamrock, Texas.

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July 11, 2001—Day 7, Route 66-Chicago, Illinois to Lincoln, Illinois

July 11, 2001.

July 11, 2001.

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.

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July 9, 2001—Day 5, Chicago, Illinois

No matter how early I woke up, Kyle was always awake and ready to go before me. He scooted out of the hotel around 8 a.m. to explore Chicago on his own. I was going to spend some of the day with my friend Chris, who would take me all over the city on a photograph safari, but before I could leave, I had to get my clothes out of the dryer, which meant I didn’t get out of the hotel until 10:30 a.m.

ChiMap

July 9, 2001.

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Cuddling Up With A Hot Dog

The Cozy Dog is one of the many constants on Route 66. Located on your way out of Springfield, Illinois, The Cozy Dog has been serving their signature “corn dog” (but don’t call it that! It’s a Cozy Dog!) on The Mother Road since 1949. The originator, Ed Waldmire Jr., invented his Cozy Dog in 1946 while still in the Air Force, stationed in Amarillo, Texas. The original building was rebuilt years ago, but The Cozy Dog has never left its home as one of the founding businesses of Route 66.

Interior of The Cozy Dog

Interior of The Cozy Dog

I’m a big fan of their chili dogs, and the french fries are some of the best you’ll ever have. The interior is unique—spiced up with icons and images from Rt. 66 and from the history of the Cozy Dog restaurant. It’s the kind of place where the pieces of art and objects on the walls were not placed there by some interior designers who decide that bling on the walls are good conversation starters for people sitting waiting for pre-packaged food. No, The Cozy Dog is where the chain places like T.G.I. Friday’s and Ruby Tuesday’s took that idea from. Continue reading

Sunset In The Tropics

The building has been abandoned for over seven years.  The Tropics used to be the area’s hottest tiki bar, built by a post-WWII vet who served double-pattied burgers, but the fad of the Atomic Era-inspired South Pacific craze quickly came and went and The Tropics went from a simple coffee shop/diner to a diner to closed.

The Tropics, Lincoln, Illinois. Continue reading

The Ebb and Flow of Dixie Trucker’s Home

When I stopped at the Dixie’s Trucker’s Home in 2011, I wrote the following:

Dixie Truckers Home, a gas station and diner where drivers of all sorts found a cup of coffee strong enough to punch you in the face and food like momma made, was started in 1928 by J.P. Walters and his son-in-law John Geske. In 1967, John’s daughter C.J. and her husband Chuck Beeler took over the place. As C.J. recalled in the Illinois Times, “Dixie was not really much when it started. My dad and grandfather bought this old mechanic’s garage right on 66. Only used about a quarter of the space, and there wasn’t really a restaurant then–just six counter stools for people to sit while they got something to eat…. The very early years were the Depression years, from ’29 to ’33. I don’t really remember much about those times, except I know beggars would come to the back door of the kitchen to get something to eat. Hobos got off the train that went close by, and they knew they could always get something. My mother would never turn them away.”

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