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September 2013

Vic Suhling Neon Sign to Shine Again!

We're so glad to hear the exciting news reported on Route 66 News about the Vic Suhling / Gas for Less neon sign.

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According to the story, the Vic Suhling sign will be relighted on Oct. 26:

The relighting of the soon-to-be-restored Vic Suhling / Gas for Less neon sign in Litchfield, Ill., will occur at dusk Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center, according to a release this week from the Neon Heritage Preservation Committee of the Route 66 Association of Missouri.

Route 66 International Festival in Joplin, Missouri

By Marcia Gascho

Several months ago, we heard that Joplin would be hosting the 2013 Route 66 International Festival on August 1-3. It had never been held in Missouri before. It was close enough for a long weekend trip so we decided to go! We made hotel reservations and I signed up for the Festival e-mail list. It was exciting to read about new events that were being announced. I was especially happy to hear that the Road Crew band would be performing. I love their Route 66 music.

The Friedrich Family’s 2013 Route 66 Travelogue

By Josh Friedrich

This summer we traveled extensively along the Mother Road. We criss-crossed from Chicago, Illinois to Catoosa, Oklahoma. Here are some of the highlights. Some of our exploits would be worthy of the Griswold family in National Lampoons Vacation. As always, we crammed in family fun, museums, roadside attractions, cool signs, diner food, and drive-in theaters.

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The Quintessential Route 66 Photo Op

According to a recent press release from Pontiac, Illinois Tourism Director, Ellie Alexander, the largest painted Route 66 Shield, located on the back of our Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac, Illinois, may be the most-photographed site in Pontiac.

Painted by Pontiac's own Diaz Sign Art, ours is but one of a multitude of stunning murals they've created for the delight of the city's visitors and residents alike. Groups and individuals from all over the world have proudly posed with our magnificent shield as a backdrop to their photographs. Are you among them?

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Photo courtesy Dave Sullivan

Motor Tour 2013 Highlights: The Friedrich Family

By Josh Friedrich

2 Just off 66 2.JPGThe Route 66 Association of Illinois Motor Tour kickoff celebration took place in Plainfield at "Just Off 66." This place is AWESOME! The walls are covered in vintage signage and vibrant neon lights. There were classic arcade machines and tons of 50s and 60s era artifacts from the heyday of Route 66. Cool classic cars sat outside and even a Red Radio Flyer Wagon convertible car for us to enjoy while eating our dinner. Charlie couldn't stay away from his best bud, Marty Blitstein, and helped out at the registration table. After a great evening with our fellow roadies, it was time to head to the hotel for a much-needed nights rest.

After a quick continental breakfast, we headed over to the Berwyn Historical Museum. While there, be sure to charge up at the E-car charging station out front. The place was packed with people and we missed out on getting the goodie bag by a few minutes. I liked the Route 66 history represented, especially the stuff about The Spindle art piece. We posed for the group photo, hopefully I didn't blink or have a goofy look on my face. After that we waited patiently for a spot to open up so we could join the caravan out of town, with an official police escort. We meandered our way past the Steak-N-Egger and onward to Saban's for a good view of the fenced-off section of Route 66 near the Vulcan Quarry that is unsafe to drive on due to mining and erosion near the road.

“WRT66” On the Air!

The antique radio station on the second floor of the museum was recently activated.This marks the first time that it was actually used to broadcast a live radio show. The award winning WRLR 98.3 radio station from Round Lake Heights, Illinois joined up with a UK “Fabulous 50s” station,Forest FM 92.3, who were touring and broadcasting live along Route 66 in Illinois.

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"Get Your Kicks on Route 66" Car Show Update

Thanks so much to our Preservation Chairman, John Weiss, for the following update:

On May 1, 2013 there was a, “Get your Kicks on Route 66,” car show in downtown Pontiac, IL. This event generated over $800.00 for local cancer programs.

Also during this time, two trees, complete with plaques, were dedicated in the historic town square to the memories of Betty Estes and Lenore Weiss.

Read the whole story of the: "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" Car Show celebrates dedication to the Mother Road.

Getting Our “Kicks” on Route 66: A Route 66 Trip Spanning 13 Years

Born and raised on the north side of Chicago we are two friends from the same neighborhood who share many childhood memories. After graduation from high school, we were college roommates. Of the many adventures we shared across the decades, college road trips, affectionately referred to as “Born Frees,” were particularly memorable. Attending Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, we would drive to various college campuses on weekends during the school year to find adventure (really looking for girls!). One summer during our college years we traveled round trip by car from Chicago to San Francisco on what we referred to as the “Western Born Free." As older adults (born in 1949 and 1950) we wanted to take another memorable “Born Free” and decided to become “Route 66 Roadies." The “Mother Road” certainly did not disappoint. We wanted to share our adventure with newsletter readers.

Mark & Bruce Chicago.pngIt took 13 years to complete our 2500-mile Route 66 adventure. We first set out on our “Mother Road” adventure in the second week of July 2000 when we traveled from Chicago (beginning in front of Lou Mitchell’s restaurant) and ended our first phase of our trip in Joplin Missouri. Two years later we flew into Joplin to begin the second phase which ended in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Due to some health challenges, it would be more than a decade until we were able to complete the final phase of our travels on Route 66. This past June (2013) we booked a flight from Chicago to Albuquerque to begin the final phase of our trip through New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Concluding our adventure at the Santa Monica Pier, we went on to meet up with our wives in the Los Angeles area.

During the three phases, we traversed Interstates and parts of the original road through seven states with the aid of three revisions of Tom Snyder’s Route 66 Traveler’s Guide and Companion.

To record our travels, we made our own documentary video entitled, “The Mother Road: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow." Armed with a video camera and an external microphone for the first two phases of our trip and our iPhones for the final phase, we interviewed many along the “Mother Road." Typical questions for those interviewed included “What is your connection to the Mother Road and how long have you had this connection?” “Do you have any childhood memories of Route 66?” “Can you tell us of any interesting visitors or celebrities that you have seen along Route 66?" “What changes, if any, over the years in have you seen in the Road?” What do you anticipate for the future along the Road?"

7th Annual Car Cruise-In at The Mill on 66

Our thanks to Geoff Ladd, Logan County Representative and chairman of the Rt. 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County for providing the following information for us to share:

7th Annual Car Cruise-In at The Mill on 66 in Lincoln IL, Saturday October 12th 11am-3pm


The public is welcome to check out The Mill Car Cruise-In Saturday, October 12th from 11am- 3pm as part of Illinois' National Scenic Byway Week activities at the old historic restaurant located at 738 S. Washington in Lincoln, IL. The annual meeting of the Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County, the group that owns the historic site, is also the final event of the season for, and co-sponsored by, The Railsplitter Antique Auto Club.

Admission for visitors is free and as always donations are welcome. Vehicle registration for the Cruise-In is $5.00, with all proceeds going to saving The Mill. There will also be a 50/50 drawing, live acoustic music from special guest performers, and a special lunch meal on sale by Hallie's Restaurant, which is owned by Brian Huffman, a descendant of the Huffman family who owned the restaurant in its heyday. Tours will also be available of the landmark.

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Historic Maps

Highway GuideWatch Route 66 evolve into The Mother Road  with maps and highway guides from 1917-1992 courtesty of the official Illinois Digital Archives.