Day 1 – Downtown Chicago

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Day 1 – Downtown Chicago

Downtown Chicago

Now that we’re home, it is time to show you more details of our Route 66 Tour.  This will be done in order.  You will see more photos and commentary.  I hope you enjoy it. We are starting in downtown Chicago.

If you want to filter these, click on “Recap” under categories.  This will show the after-the-trip recaps beginning with this one.  Make sure you read the captions to the photos too.

The Eastern Terminus

The eastern terminus of Route 66 is in downtown Chicago.  Originally, Route 66 began on Jackson Blvd. at Michigan Ave. in 1926.  Later it was moved a block over to Adams Street.  Today, Adams is one way heading west, while Michigan is one way heading east.  As a result, there is a “Start” and an “End” in Chicago.

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The Chicago “Begin”

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The Chicago “End”

If you are in Chicago, and looking for the start, find the Art Institute.  It is across the street on the corner at Adams Street.

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Chicago Art Institute

Walking Downtown

It will cost you about $25 to park downtown, but if you really want to see Route 66, you will do a lot of walking.  As a result, I recommend you park and head down Adams Street and then cut over to Jackson Blvd. and walk back.

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Another Begin Sign Near the “L” (Elevated tracks)

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Indoor Parking Near Adams Street

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A Panoramic View Looking Down Adams Street

Some Old, Some New

You will see both old and new downtown.  Sears (now Willis) Tower is on Route 66, as well as buildings that were around in the 1920s.  Because of this mixture of old and new, you have to look for the nostalgic stuff.

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Retro Neon Signs Dot Route 66 from Here (Beginning) to There (the end)

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Old Fire Escapes (They don’t build high rise buildings wit these anymore.)

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Old (right) and New (left)

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Remnants of a Newspaper Stand

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Lots of Old Brick Buildings

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A Mixture of Old and Newer Highrise Buildings

The People

All along Route 66 we met people who were friendly and supportive of our adventure.  Street photography is all about capturing the candid expressions of everyday street life.  A form of art in itself, street photography isn’t posed.  As a result, it’s voyeuristic nature shows what really happens.

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A Congested City Street

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Painting the Iron Work

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Eating Lunch

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Texting, Hiking, Going to Work

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A Girl with Purple Hair Heading to Class

Two Soldiers Walking Down Adams Street

Art Created and Accidental

I love the visuals of big cities, as well as Route 66.  In big cities you have artwork someone created, and you have artwork that’s accidental.  Here’s both in downtown Chicago.

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Created

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Accident – Jackson Pollack, Eat Your Heart Out

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More Structured Accidental Art

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Accident but More Structured (Sorry Jackson Pollock)

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The “L” – Accidental

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Created – An Art Deco Style Fountain at the Trade Building

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Accidental – Chicago Transit Authority (My favorite band bears the same name.)

Special Thanks

A special thanks to Warner 5 Color and Bay Photo on this part of our trip.


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The Journey Begins

The Journey Begins

Today the journey begins.  We left South Bend, Indiana, and headed to Chicago.  Our GPS led us right to the start of Route 66.  I was wondering where we would find parking, but there it was — Parking Straight Ahead.

We learned quickly Route 66 has two roads at the start Adams Street (heading west), and Jackson Street (heading east).  Walking to Adams Street we found the historic marker for the START of Route 66.  It’s right across the street from the Chicago Art Institute.

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Start of Route 66 (Willis Tower in the background)

Because Chicago is a big city, there is a mix of the old and the new.  Without some research, you may not know what was there when Route 66 was a U.S. Highway, and what was built after its decommissioning.

Along our way, a friendly lady stopped to chat.  She was excited for us.  I presented her with one of our Route 66 mirrors.

We came to a plaza with a farmers market.  I’m a sucker for cheese we bought some brie with apricot and almonds and a baguette of bread.  That was lunch today.

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Baguette and Brie

We continued down to what used to be called Sear’s Tower, but now Willis Tower.  That’s when we cut over the Jackson Street and began our walk back to the car.  Jackson is the east-bound portion of Route 66 in downtown Chicago.

There at the end of Jackson Street is the sign marking the END of Route 66.

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Even Bicycles Have Character on Route 66

It was very easy finding the parking lot, but it wasn’t so easy finding how to get back in to the underground parking log.  Jokingly I told Paul, “We passed through a one-way portal.”

We found a door, opened it, and it was the stairs down to the parking lot.  They hide it well.

Leaving Chicago

The drive leaving Chicago is interesting.  Part of the road has a frontage road.  That’s the only way to stop to take pictures.

We found this bicycle strapped to a lamp post.  Because of the sign, it is deserving of a photo…

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Bicycle Memorial

On the other side of the bicycle was a collection of silverware.  There was nobody around to ask the story behind the bicycle and its decorations.  Thus, there’s definitely a story there.

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Decorating the Bike

Castle Carwash

We found what used to be the Castle Carwash.  A man named Nathan was walking by and told us the man who owned the place was killed here.  Well, I don’t know if that’s true, but the building stands unused.

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Castle Carwash

As we were talking to Nathan, two L.D.S. Missionaries walked by.  I called out, “Elders!  ELDERS!”, before they turned around.  I asked to take their pictures and share them online.  They gladly posed with the Fire House Church in the Background.

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Two Elders We Met Along Route 66

Henry’s

As soon as I spotted Henry’s, I knew we had to stop.  This iconic hotdog diner dons a huge hotdog above a neon sign.  As a result, we stopped and ate dinner.

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Henry’s – Cicero, IL

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Polish Dog and a Malt

Randy

I was checking out a 1960 Coupe DeVille when this guy came out and asked if we had questions.  I noticed his tattoos.  Now, I’m not a tattoo guy, but this guy has Route 66 tattooed on his arm.

Randy agreed to let me photograph him.  (And, Bay Photo Labs will be sending Randy an 8×10 he can hang in his shop.)

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Randy

Randy is working on other cars.  He gave us a quick tour.  His shop is located in McCook, Illinois .  He is right next door to Steak n’ Egger.

White Fence Farm

These two cows are at a HUGE restaurant, petting zoo, and take-out place named after… none else… than the white fences.  The place is worth the visit inside.  They have old cars, motorcycles, appliances, toys, dolls, as well as big restaurant that specializes in chicken.

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White Fence Farm

Joliet, Illinois

Our destination tonight is Joliet.  We entered town and saw this ice cream shop — Kicks on 66.  We stopped.

Two sweet young ladies gave us a map of the area, and asked where we were from.  I ran to the car and got a couple of Route 66 Mirrors created for us by Warner 5 Color.

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Ice Cream Shop in Joliet

On the top of the ice cream shop are none other than Jake and Elwood — the Blues Brothers.  What a kick!

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Blues Brothers

Next to Kicks on 66 is a park with several kiosks about Route 66.  We didn’t wander the park because it was starting to get dark.  However, we did go across the street and took pictures of Dick’s on 66.  (Dick’s… Kicks… on 66…)

Besides, I couldn’t resist when I saw Car 54.  Ooo!  Ooo!

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Car 54, where are you?

As we entered downtown Joliet we cross this old draw bridge.  The river and lights were too much to resist.  What a nice ending for a long day.

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Joliet, IL – Drawbridge

Special Thanks

Special thanks today to…

Warner 5 Color — the mirrors are a HIT.  I think I gave away 3 today.

Bay Photo — Randy is very deserving of the 8×10, and we’ve handed out several cards and a couple of Route 66 pins.

ACDsee — all images in the blog today were processed using ACDsee Ultimate 10.  I had a LOT of images to sort through and ACDsee was fast and efficient.  (Readers, if you don’t know what ACDsee is, it is like Adobe Lightroom… only better in many ways.)

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