Day 1: October 18, 2017
Just in Casey

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Route 66 is the subject of the conference I'm attending so you might think that's the road I'd drive to get there. I could but the conference is very near the end of the highway that is closest to me so I wouldn't get in many miles of the historic road if I did. In fact, since those miles would mostly be within the city of Chicago, it might be more trouble than it's worth. Instead, I've decided to pass through an Illinois town that has been popping up on my radar lately and to drive a bit of another historic route to get there. The town is named Casey and it lies on US-40/National Road.

I used the fastest route to reach Indianapolis, then picked up US-40 at the west edge of the city. The town of Plainfield is just down the road, and I targeted a restored diner there. Like many Indiana restaurants, the Oasis Diner brags about its tenderloin sandwich. I've had it before and will probably have it again, but I've heard good things about their hamburgers and that's what I wanted to try today. It was as tasty as I'd heard.

Less than a mile beyond Plainfield, I paused at an abandoned bridge visible from the four-lane US-40. A gravel pull-out provides a safe place to stop. The other two bridges are on bypassed but not abandoned segments of the old road. Both segments are paved in concrete but the first, near Putnamville, has a center seam which the second, near Reelsville, does not. The Reelsville section was probably paved first before it was understood that leaving a little expansion space in the middle of a road could head off some of the cracking caused by freezing and thawing.

At Terre Haute, I grabbed a drive-by shot of the Clabber Girl sign.

Abandoned roadway that appears to have been stripped of its pavement can be seen just beyond the Illinois border. Approaching Marshall, sections with brick paving intact begin to appear.

I'd been to Casey several times before but this was my first visit since all the big things started appearing there. I'm not sure of either sequence or dates but I believe the wind chime was the first of Casey's World's Largest collection to appear. The only one I've found an actual date for is the rocking chair which was completed in the last half of 2015. The chimes, needles, and golf tee preceded the chair.

At present, Casey has seven items that Guinness has certified as the World's Largest. Five are in a very walkable two-block area of downtown. They are: 56.5 foot rocking chair, 56 foot wind chime, 32.5 foot mailbox, 11.5 foot wooden shoes, and 13 foot knitting needles. More information here.

The other two record holders are nearer the edge of town. The 30 foot golf tee is about a mile from the chime & chair, and the 60 foot pitch fork is about a half-mile beyond that.

Casey is also home to some things that are really big but not quite big enough to take the title. I spotted a bird cage, pencil, top, ruler, and coin.

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