Illinois Attractions & Towns

Illinois Attractions & Towns

Visit these attractions and towns along Route 66 in Illinois for a nostalgic family fun!

Another Exciting Motor Tour!

Another Exciting Motor Tour!

Our 2014, "Making Memories" Motor Tour, commemorating our 25th Anniversary, was a fun celebration of the Mother Road, with some new and exciting activities and stops for participants to enjoy. Read and see it here!

The Route 66 Association of Illinois

The Route 66 Association of Illinois

Our mission is to preserve, educate, promote and enjoy Route 66 in Illinois

A nostalgic trip through Americana

A nostalgic trip through Americana

Learn about this historic highway and why Route 66 is an American treasure worth preserving.



Please join our association's efforts to preserve, promote, educate and enjoy Route 66 in Illinois.

Here are some helpful and informative sources to help you along your Route 66 journey. We've assembled a collection of web sites and information that are sure to add to your knowledge and appreciation of the Mother Road.

Web Links
Historic Maps
Town Along The Road
Sign up for our Day Tripper email announcements
View the Day Tripper Archives

Preservation is one of our core missions. With our motto of 'we work for food' our members paint, build, repair, clean, and fight to preserve all that is Route 66.

What is Preservation?
Hall of Fame Inductees
Our Museum
Preservation Projects and Announcements

Association Events

Annual Museum Workday March 21, 2015 - 9:30am
Spring Quarterly Meeting April 19, 2015 - 10:00am
Motor Tour 2015 June 12, 2015 - 12:00am
Summer Quarterly Meeting July 19, 2015 - 10:00am
Association Picnic 2015 August 16, 2015 - 10:00am

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?"

“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.

Preservation - radio station 2.png

"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.

Rt. 66 Reinterpreted Art Project Winners Selected

Our thanks to Bill Thomas of the Atlanta Betterment Fund for providing this exciting press release.

A total of 32 wonderful and unique works of art were entered in the First Annual Rt. 66 Reinterpreted Art Project, sponsored by the Atlanta Betterment Group of Atlanta, Illinois.

Twelve finalists were selected in the project, and then the traveling public was invited to votes for five winners. Voting was held from May through the end of August, with the following five winners receiving the most votes.

 X-Ronald Douglas Frazier_0.JPG

Ronald Douglas Frazier, Bloomington, Illinois

Pontiac Calendar, September 2013

Thanks to Pontiac, IL Tourism Director, Ellie Alexander, for the city's latest calendar of events. There's lots going on in Pontiac!

Click to view Pontiac's Calendar of Events.

Geocaching, Route 66 Style

The following story comes to us from Pam Monson, Editor of Free Press Newspapers in Wilmington, IL.

Small Towns Hiding Treasures for Visitors to Find

geocaching-wilmington,-il_4566.jpgFour communities teamed up this year to bring something new and different, that the whole family can enjoy, to the Illinois Route 66 travel experience - geocaching.

Geocaching is a worldwide, free, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices, including smart phones and iPods. Cache (pronounced "cash") owners hide their treasure box and publish the exact coordinates so others can go on a "treasure hunt" to find it. Players try to find the hidden containers using longitude and latitude coordinates.

The only rules are:

  • If you take something from the cache, you must leave something, and you write about your visit in the logbook you'll find in the cache. You can also log your find online. The caches you'll find between Wilmington and Braceville are registered at - just search Red Carpet Corridor. (The Red Carpet Corridor is a partnership of Illinois communities who celebrate their heritage along the Mother Road the first weekend of each May.)
  • If you find an item with a code number stamped on it, chances are it's a "traveler," and its owner has selected a destination for it. If you take a traveler from the cache, you agree to move it along in its travels, and log your experience online.

Donna and Michael Orlowski Getting Their Kicks on Route 66!

Our sincere thanks to Donna and Michael Orlowski for sharing their own Route 66 story and a terrific photo taken in front of our museum mural in Pontiac, IL!

Michael writes:

We enjoy traveling the Mother road as often as we can and over the years have seen many changes, some good but also some bad especially when one of our Rt.66 friends or attractions is lost. We are hoping to travel the full route in about two more years after I retire. I think it will take us at maybe two months, we like to stop and see everything. Enjoy the road as it is meant to be seen.

Here are Donna and Michael Orlowski getting their kicks on Route 66!

Gail’s Pumpkin Patch Opens for the Fall Season

pumpkin patch.jpgGail’s Pumpkin Patch, Beason, IL will be opening for their 8th season on Sunday, September 1, 2013. The pumpkin patch will be open Sunday to Friday from 1:00 PM to 5:30 PM and Saturday 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM. The final day of the season is October 31, 2013.

The pumpkin patch has over 60 varieties of pumpkins and gourds, corn, Nate’s honey and donuts, straw, apples, cider, mums, barrel train, toddler maze, baked goods and lots of crafts. It is loaded with fall decorations and fun for the whole family. New this year is Grandpa’s Antique Tractor Porch and Toddler Corner! Free admission and U-Pick or We-pick pumpkins available.

Project Drive-In

Our thanks to David Kibitlewski of Round Lake Beach, IL, for making us aware of this issue that hits close to home and our sense of nostalgia.

Project Drive-In: Help Honda Save an American Icon.

Next year, drive-ins that aren't equipped with digital projectors will no longer be able to show movies. This upgrade could cost a drive-in upwards of $85,000 - an astounding expense for these small business operations. Only 365 drive-ins still exist in America - they're quickly becoming an extinct species whose demise will be hastened if they can't afford to convert their projection equipment to the digital format.

Here Come the Giants!

Tall Paul.jpgWe've got a few of these delightful Gentle Giants along our stretch of the Mother Road - here's a very interesting journal with videos from researchers who have discovered the history and lure of these larger-than-life roadside attractions!

Thanks to John Weiss, our Preservation Chairman, for making us aware of this fun and informative site!

Click to visit American Giants!

Got Content?

EditorWe welcome your Route 66 news, stories, photos and events for publication in our newsletter or on our web site!

Submit it here

Send us your change of address to:
110 W Howard St
Pontiac, IL, 61764
or use our handy contact form

Learning to use our calendar puts the fun and adventure of Route 66 at your fingertips. It's easy to discover the when, what and where of events along the road.

Here's How!

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.