What a GREAT day today was. It was all Illinois, all day (we are in Mitchell tonight, 10-20 miles outside of St. Louis).
We started out by heading to Funk's Grove, where we saw a train depot, a general store, and a church all circa 1864. It was fascinating to see how two local families built a community.
Then it was on to the Sugar Shack, where it was interesting to learn of how sirup was discovered by accident. I learned the sirup is the cooked down pure form, and it only becomes syrup after sugar and such is added.
Next up was Atlanta, where we say the local library, an octagon shape, with a clock tower out front (manual wind with an eight day run time). Paul Bunyon with the hot dog, another Giant, was also at this location. It was recently restored and looked great.
The highlight of the day had to be our adventure in Lincoln. First was driving over some original brick road, leading to where the original road was routed between two cemeteries. Here the road went down between two embankments. It was very cool, with original concrete including curbs were visible. As we made our way down, there was some original bricks visible again. Further in, we came to the Ghost Bridge, where the original pilings were still visible. It was a pretty good hike. Then the big score of the day occurred --- an original brick was recovered. We had tried to dig one up, but it was cemented in place, so I initially recovered a half brick and we were happy. But while at the Ghost Bridge, we came across some discarded metal, and taking that back, I was able to dig up a dual brick section and break them apart, resulting in a piece of the road coming home with us. It was very cool!!! We then back-tracked a bit and had a wonderful lunch at Fat Boy's BBQ. The owner was a hoot and we had a great time talking to him (I had to get a T-Shirt).
Then it was a sad stop, where the Pig Hip Restaurant used to be in Broadwell. The place was operated from 1937 - 1991 by Mr. Ernest L. Edwards, Jr. and family. It burned down after that, and recently Ernie passed away. Alas, his house is empty and not being cared for. You can see the flag at half mast...
We headed into Springfield and I was able to get this shot of the capital building. We were very disappointed that the Cozy Drive In was closed for the holiday weekend. Guess they need a break just like the rest of us.
The next stop was the Sugar Creek Covered Bridge, originally constructed in 1880 and wonderfully restored and maintained.
After the Covered Bridge, we back-tracked a bit and headed to another spur between Chatham and Auburn, where we were able to drive a 1.4 mile stretch of brick that had been laid over the original Portland Cement in 1932. This stretch and its two bridges are part of the national registry.
We then took multiple side trips on original concrete sections of the Mother Road, all 16 feet in width, with many "S" curves. It was interesting that these types of curves resulted in many accidents back in the day, giving the route the moniker "Bloody 66".
A day on Route 66 would not be complete without a restored gas station, and that is what we found in Mt. Olive in the Soulsby Shell Station, built in 1926 and run continuously as a Shell station through 1991.
As dusk was starting to make an appearance, we made it to the Luna Cafe, the only bar on the Route that has maintained the same name. Built in 1927, it is iconic, and a local favorite. When I checked in on FourSquare the message was "your first Dive Bar". We had a beer and then searched for a place to stay.
I think tomorrow might require fewer pictures :o)