Day 3: July 27, 2012
Museums and Pie
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The Braidwood Motel was satisfactory when I stayed there several years ago but I feared it might have slid since then. No need to fear. The place seems to have been well maintained and even improved in a spot or two. Here is this year's room.

I think that the streetcar diner that used to sit behind the Riviera Roadhouse may have been improved a little, too. When the Riviera burned, owners Bob and Peggy Kraft donated the diner to the town of Gardner. The town moved it to a spot near its two-cell jail and erected a nice marker. The orange circle in the first picture is not some strange lawn disease. It's lens flare (or whatever you call that stuff) from the sun.

This was the longest running service station on Route 66. Ambler's Station in Dwight, Illinois, dispensed gas from 1933 to 1999. I was surprised and pleased to see the card operated EV charging post sitting beside it. I don't know when the charger was installed but it seems the station has started a new streak in dispensing automobile fuel.

The faux station at the other end of Dwight is kind of special to me. It's one of the first places I stopped on my initial Route 66 trip. It has changed ever so slightly since 1999. The filled in tunnel is in the center of Odell, Illinois, and was necessary for students to safely cross the busy US-66 in the thirties. A picture of the tunnel in use is displayed on the post. I also stopped at Odell's Standard Station on that first trip and it has changed considerably since 1999. A very nice memory from that first stop is the family that had waved to me just a couple of blocks earlier.

I knew the Old Log Cabin in Pontiac was a good place to eat when I saw the full parking lot. Actually I knew it because I've eaten here before. The last time I was here I had a 'burger & beer for my first meal of the day and called it the "breakfast of champions". Today's meal was a lot more "breakfasty" but not all that easy to find. fried mush & smoked sausage.

I was unaware that Pontiac had swinging bridges until Don Hatch mentioned it in Chicago. There are three of them and I had to check them all out as soon as I saw the first sign pointing to one.

Two of Bob Waldmire's vehicles are permanently on display at the Route 66 Hall of Fame & Museum in Pontiac. This is his motor home, a.k.a., "road yacht". This was my main interest since I had never been inside the "yacht" before today. An Australian family climbed aboard just ahead of me then I've included pictures of Bob's kitchen, "word processor", and cockpit.

I visited all four Pontiac museums and this is a very abbreviated overview. Bob's microbus is displayed inside. This vehicle I've seen several times but I doubt the surprises will ever run out. Upstairs from the Hall of Fame is a "Life in the '40s" exhibit that is called temporary but could turn into its own museum. I believe I did once visit the military museum that shares the building but it didn't contain anywhere near what it does now. Each uniform, from WWI to Iraq, came from a local soldier and the its story is attached for easy reading. Four veterans were also on hand today and, though I chatted with them for awhile, I know I could have learned a lot with just a few more prompts. The Pontiac Oakland Museum is rather new as is the Walldog Mural Museum. They are a couple of blocks from the Hall of Fame and War Museums and a couple of doors from each other. Oakland was a car brand that turned into Pontiac and some beautiful examples of both are on display. I picked a car from Pontiac's first year, 1926, to represent the museum. Since almost by definition, the Walldog's art is part of a building, the Walldog museum isn't filled with examples but rather with thestory of how it is created. The photo shows part of a temporary display on gilding.

I had visited the Palms Grill in Atlanta, Illinois, when the restoration project was nearing completion but this was my first chance to try it out. Note the GE Monitor Top refrigerator on the right of the interior photo. That's where my waitress got my iced tea. Putting the compressor on top allowed the heat to escape more easily but was considered unattractive. My waitress did not know the exact age of this specimen. GE stopped making them in 1936 so this one has been cooling food for at least three quarters of a century. And to go with that iced tea I had some killer rhubarb pie. The free Memories museum is just a few steps from the Grill and contains some very interesting items. It was also new to me. Tall Paul and the 1906 library are more familiar Atlanta attractions.

In Lincoln, Illinois, the Logan County courthouse is unusual in not being blocked by overhead wire or trees. Across the street, city hall is unusual in having a telephone booth on its roof. It was used in the late 1960 as a severe weather look out post. It's now used to attract tourists. No phone though.

At Becky's Barn I did get to say hi to Rick but just barely as he was pretty busy showing furniture. I chatted with Becky and got a picture of her in front of a sign she has just sold with proceeds going to the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byways program.

The first picture is one I've taken on previous drives on the bricks near Auburn. You really have to squint hard to make that look like a Corvette, though. The other pictures are of the original 1920s concrete pavement around Nilwood where the famous turkey tracks are located. For some reason, the old concrete looks even more special when it curves.

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