So, a little background first: in April and May earlier this year, a research project I’m involved with took me to an area of the country I wouldn’t have otherwise gone: Route 66 in Illinois.  This portion of Route 66 was originally Route 4 in Illinois, started in 1922, but it joined the rest of Route 66 on the National Register in 1926.  This portion of the road extends from Chicago through Springfield and finally ends up in St. Louis.

One of the best things I found along the way was a map where the visitors of Route 66 have marked where they’re from.  This was on display at Weezy’s in Hamel, IL.

Most of my sightseeing happened between Springfield and St. Louis, but before I got there, I found this little place called Funk’s Maple Grove.  Here’s the sign:

Next, I went to a place called the Cozy Dog.  They make a type of food that looks like corn dogs, but they’re actually cozy dogs (say that it’s a corn dog and they’ll bite your ear clean off).  This was the adorable sign that the first owner’s wife designed back in the 50’s:

Cute, right?  Ok, next we have the Ariston, a nice diner in Litchfield, IL where I got a very lovely turkey club and some great stories about how the place was passed down to the current owner by his father.  Someone in Germany made a book about Route 66 in the 90’s and this was one of the first pages, taken of a prominently displayed sign inside the diner:

People traveling down Route 66 used to sign the book, saying where they were from and a little message.  However, it got so filled up that nowadays they just have a guest book (which I also signed).

Finally, we have the famous Brooks Collinsville Catsup Bottle, the biggest catchup bottle in the world.

There’s not much of a story behind this, just that there used to be a Brooks catchup factory here.

Anyway, those are the major sights from that trip.  Next time, I’m going to go into my favorite part of any trip: the food!  Get ready for some unhealthy, cheese-covered deliciousness…

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