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My wife, Gwynne, and I started our first day on Route 66 in the rain and mist but it didn’t dampen our enthusiasm or spirit. The Begin sign was clumped in among the high-rises, barely noticeable. Because there is no parking in downtown Chicago, I jumped out at a bus stop into the wet to snap a pic and get a GPS spike, officially starting our journey, then we made our way out of the city while Gwynne zeroed the trip mileage counter.
Eventually finding the original Route 66 roads once we got off the freeways, we made a list of the places to go: first up, “Dick's” gas station with old cars on the roof; from then on, I knew this was going to be my kind of trip. Boy, did buy souvenirs, trying to limit the number of things to unique items because there were going to be a lot of gift shops along the way. Still, I couldn't help myself and bought anything with a pictures of Corvettes like mine: refrigerator magnets, post cards, hats, t-shirts, shot glasses; didn't want to take any chances that we wouldn't see any more of those.
There are lots & lots of museums, mostly ad hoc things, more interesting because of where they are and what they're in than the stuff on display, but the Route 66 Hall of Fame Museum had several rooms full of manikins wearing every possible WW2 uniform of every rank, donated from the estates of the original owners. Sometimes there was an old B&W picture of a young man or woman wearing the uniform. Gwynne said she thought it was creepy. The Pontiac-Oakland Car Museum in Pontiac had nothing but Pontiacs, likely someone's personal collection, but that didn't make it any less entertaining, plus we had a lot of traveling to do, and 1-room museums were about all that fit the schedule.
The bigger-the-better is our motto, so when the online guide said “Giant Abe Lincoln in a wagon,” we had to see that. It took some circling around to find; it was in the empty field in front of an American Legion hall. Lord knows why anyone would make the thing, or why they put it where then put it, which is nowhere? Still, totally worth it; that kind of kitsch is what we came to see, and we loved it.
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