Illinois green has given way to the autumn red and gold, and now we’re looking out the car windows at the winter grays and brown. The weather hasn’t been too bad, but cold is cold. Personally I hate it when its 4:00 P.M. and looks like midnight. However, each day is one day closer to Spring so we’ll make the best of it. Gives hot chocolate and hot tea its proper due. A jacket, gloves, a scarf, and we’re just about ready for the “off season.”
We’re working hard on Motor Tour 2015. The Motor Tour will be from north to south this year and we are incorporating the new Blue Carpet Corridor theme, “Miners, Mobsters, and the Mother Road,” into our tour as our second day (Sunday) will be supporting the towns of the Blue Carpet Corridor in its inaugural event. We will be starting in Berwyn, and discussing a possible crossing of the Chain of Rocks bridge late Sunday afternoon to end the tour! Next Motor Tour meeting is after our January quarterly meeting in Pontiac on January 18th. Come share your opinions and help us make the 2015 Motor Tour the best tour yet! If you can’t make the meeting, email your suggestions to me at email@example.com and I will forward them to this year’s chairmen – John Miller (North) and Jerry Law (South).
This has been another great year for tourism on the Mother Road! More communities are becoming aware of their Route 66 ties and are using their Mother Road connections to help their towns survive the current economy. The fact that someone from the south of France has saved for years to be able to drive through your town should inspire all of us to action. The travelers into the museum are fewer at this time of year, but their excitement never depends on the weather!
The Route 66 Summit in California (November 2013) discussed the future of Route 66 and how we could work together. A steering committee to forge the new organization has been formed. In Illinois we are lucky to have four great representatives, Jen Hoelzle, Director, Illinois Office of Tourism; Bill Kelly, Executive Director, Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway; Bill Thomas, Atlanta Community Organizer; and Bob Russell, Mayor of Pontiac. The goal of this new organization is economic development and tourism for the entire road and I am confident that we are well represented on this committee consisting of 18 members. This group will not replace any existing organization. The steering committee is under the auspices of the World Monument Foundation and the National Parks Service so as this new entity develops, we are in great hands.
Our efforts are about the Mother Road and the miles we have to take care of for the future generations of 66ers. We are losing our senior 66 people who did the hard work, who built the businesses and service industries that took care of the people on the road. That’s why the Hall of Fame and Museum is so important! We can continue to tell the stories of the men, women, and families who worked day in and day out, doing without, providing respect and service, sharing what they had. We need to tell the stories of our Hall of Fame people, and share their often greater than life personalities. Ernie Edwards was always a great storyteller, Bill Shea could sit for hours and share stories. It’s time to look around and see with fresh eyes the landscape of Route 66 in your community – and whose story you can share through our Hall of Fame so that future generations know of the time “when…”
We are looking forward to another great year with you. Our membership income provides us the means to provide a great newsletter and to have a website and Facebook page to share ideas and events. Our Board members give their time to attend meetings and help arrange the tour and take care of the Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac. We thank the City of Pontiac for all their help and providing staff so that our museum can be open and available and free to tourists who come to see us and the other museums in Pontiac. The Gilders Museum will be taking over the Walldogs museum and the Walldogs will be moving over by us in the City Hall Shoppes! Come spring it will be another reason to come home and visit the Hall of Fame! Red Carpet Corridor is the first weekend in May – the 2nd and 3rd!! Mark your calendars now!
On behalf of the Board of Directors, we wish you and your extended families a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season! May all your New Year resolutions (and wishes) come true!
See you on the road –
We welcome your Route 66 news, stories, photos and events for publication in our newsletter or on our web site!