Going to Normal
This is a continuation of day 2 as we’re going to Normal. Today I kept thinking about the scene in Young Doctor Frankenstein when Doctor Frankenstein asks Igor about the brain Igor brought him. “Abby… Abby Normal.”
I’m sure people in Normal, Illinois, hear all sorts of jokes about their town.
One thing is for sure… Don’t stay at the Motel 6. Yeah, I’m sure people are thinking… don’t stay at Motel 6 at all, but their are good ones… but not this one.
You see these blue Roadside Attraction signs along the way. They are useful because they tell you what you’re looking at. In this case, an old restored barn. You can’t drive there off Route 66, you have to park and walk through the cornfields. We passed as it was starting to get dark.
In several places old alignments of Route 66 are visible from today’s driveable road. Standing on them tells a story in itself. The new road looks and feels new, but the old road has many stories locked inside.
Old, but not Abandoned
Some of these places look old, but when you stop to check them out, they are not abandoned. It is an interesting mix of dilapidation and restoration. Here’s a new Mobil sign on a very weathered building.
Something we don’t see often — phone booths. However, this one obviously is a newer, TouchTone variety, yet, like much of Route 66 – obsolete.
People decorate their place with old pumps.
They also decorate their place with old cars. Some haven’t been moved in decades, while others are driveable. I think this one is just there for the looks.
I used one of these often when I owned my Corvairs. Another relic of the past along Route 66.
Finding Your Way on Route 66
Finding your way on Route 66 isn’t always easy. In this case, the road is called, “S. Old Route 66”, and it is marked. As mentioned before, such signs are a target for poaching. Sad, but true. (Editorial Note: This has given French tourists a very bad reputation along Route 66. While I have no evidence they are the thieves, many locals we met have a disdain for our friends from France. Perhaps they have witnessed the theft, I don’t know. I’ve personally had shop owners walk up to me and ask, “Are you French?”, and when I’ve told them I was American, a sigh of relief came over them. So, if you are French, and reading this, please share with your countrymen the need to repair this relationship. More will be said about this in future posts.)
Sometimes, finding your way means searching for known landmarks. For example, search for Route 66 businesses. Most of them are on Route 66 (but not all). In the below example, you can see the Route 66 Family Restaurant along with a brown & white Historic Route 66 sign (next to the stop sign).
Also watch for stenciled Route 66 shields on the pavement. That’s something they can’t steal. However, be careful taking pictures of them. Have a friend be a spotter who can yell, “Car coming.”
Watch for Old Alignments
As you drive Route 66, watch for old Alignments. They are sometimes visible from today’s driveable roads.
It’s kind of cool to get out of the car and walk these old alignments. Here you can see what’s left of the old yellow line. Weeds grew through the sections revealing how the road was laid.
We rolled in to Pontiac, Illinois, around dinner time. To my dismay, the Pontiac Museum was closed. Being one of those Poor Old Nuts Thinks It’s A Cadillac (PONTIAC – get it?), I was disappointed. My Grand Prix can’t find out about this.
A couple coming out of a restaurant told us about this old bus where the artist who painted many of these murals lived. Funny thing is, I’ve been in this bus, but not here. I met the owner on one of my few Route 66 trips.
While there we met a lady from Greece who is here on business. Paul snapped this picture of me standing by the sign with our friend from Greece. (For the life of me, I can’t remember her name.)
And, here’s a cool Illinois 66 marker. These are just plain cool.
Pontiac also has a tie with Abe Lincoln. Here’s a young Abe standing against the fence. (Click on his picture to learn more.)
We found our first Burma Shave signs along Route 66. “For a Davenport” is the punchline. You’ll have to wait for the rest of the joke.
Burma Shave signs always had a message about safety. They addressed things like not watching for trains, falling asleep at the wheel, drinking and driving, driving distracted (for which, they were ahead of their times). The razor company became known for the public service messages which always ended with “Burma Shave”.
We have a beautiful sunset tonight. We’ll be rolling in to Normal after dark.
A very special thanks to Republic Wireless today. Our data connection worked well everywhere we went today. Also, I must add, using my Republic Wireless phone as a WiFi hotspot is working better than the WiFi at these hotels and motels. It is faster and more reliable!!! Plus, I love my Republic Wireless rates.
Another thanks to Bay Photo. We hand out Bay press printed bookmarks and cards everywhere we go, and to everyone carrying a camera. Some mention certain competitors, but I follow it with, “You owe it to yourself to give Bay Photo a try.”