Route 66 Caravan

America's Biggest Road Trip!

Route 66 Caravan Road Log:
June 23 & 24, 2003


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Chicago: The End of the Road

Navy Pier

We started our caravan in Santa Monica on April 29, 2003 and that seems like a long, long time ago. Thinking back on it we've lived a lifetime since then. I think all of us on the Route 66 Caravan would agree that we packed a lot of living into the last two months. Originally the caravan was billed as a "pier to pier" adventure and when we pulled into Chicago we went straight to the Navy Pier. This was then the official end of our Route 66 Caravan. Both piers, the Santa Monica pier and the Navy Pier, are not the real end of Route 66. They are close enough to the terminus of the Mother Road, both east and west, to add finality to our road trip though. Both piers are more of a symbolic ending (or beginning) to our most celebrated highway, Route 66.

East Bound Route 66 Ends

Here it is! When the Route 66 Caravan passed this Historic Route 66 sign we all knew we had traveled the entire length of the Mother Road ~ an experience of a lifetime. We are so glad you could join us on this adventure -even if it was "cyber 66."

        

The Navy Pier in Chicago a symbolic end to a very real road. If there was any doubt in your mind, rest assured, Route 66 is still alive.

The Route 66 Caravan Went the Distance

     

Jim Conkle at the Navy Pier

Jim Conkle proudly stands in front of the Navy Pier. Sometimes during the trip this destination seemed like some mythical place.

     
There's a story behind this well traveled pair of boxer shorts you know. Early on in the trip Bill Hall asked Jim if he was wearing Route 66 underwear. Jim said no they didn't make any. Well folks they do. Bill found a pair and had everybody we met on the road sign them. We presented the underwear to a very surprised Jim Conkle at dinner last night. It was quite an emotional experience. :-)

Jim's Route 66 Underwear

         

Chicago's Downtown Hampton Inn & Suites

            
The Wonderful Hampton Employees

The Hampton Inn employees have gone the extra mile when it came to seeing to the caravan's needs, not only here in Chicago, but all along Route 66.

Thank you all for a job well done!

     

Hampton Chicago Executives

Mariano Escalona

Thomas Marshall - Assistant G.M., Bob Habeeb - owner, and Roger Young - G.M. pose by our R.V.
Mariano Escalona was our most excellent "Valet Guy"

 

Lou Mitchell's

Very early and not so bright this morning (24 June) we met at Lou Mitchell's Restaurant on Route 66 for our final media event. Phil Paleologos of the radio show "American Breakfast" was there to interview Jim about the Route 66 Caravan. Lou Mitchell's has been serving Chicago since 1923 and moved to this location on Route 66 fifty years ago. It is a Chicago and Route 66 icon. What pleased me the most about this early morning gathering was the plentiful and delicious coffee. Pour me another cup of coffee!

Lou Mitchell's Neon

It was still dark enough when we got to Lou Mitchell's to get this picture of their classic neon. She's a beauty isn't she?

     

The Route 66 Caravan RV on the downtown Chicago streets, After driving to 7th and Broadway in Los Angeles I figured Jim could go just about anywhere. Unfortunately he thinks the same thing too.

The Caravan at Lou Mitchell's

     
Jim and Melissa Enjoy Some Fine Coffee

Ah the coffee! I only have one suggestion for Lou Mitchell's. They need to get bigger coffee cups, I kept the poor waitress pretty busy getting my refills.

     

Melissa OBrien of Hampton Inns presents Jeff LaFollette with a check for the Illinois Route 66 Association. This will be earmarked for preservation on old Route 66 in Illinois.

Hampton Presents a Check to the Illinois Rt. 66 Association

 

The Route 66 Caravan Ends

Bill and Jaimie Hall

Dennis Karlstad

Kevin Hansel

Bill & Jaimie Hall

Dennis Karlstad

Kevin Hansel

         

Jim Conkle

We hope you've enjoyed the journey down Route 66 as much as we have!

Guy Randall

Jim Conkle

Guy Randall

        
This is the day we knew would eventually come, the end of our Route 66 Caravan. The Route 66 Caravan  has been a once-in-a-lifetime adventure from the very start! As we traveled down the Mother Road together something wonderful happened, we became the best of friends. The Mother Road bonded us together as only she can. I know that we will continue to have more adventures down the highway as a team in the future, but for now it was time to say goodbye. Suddenly we all started to go our own way. It is with a certain amount of sadness that I write this road log, my friends are going home. As we all have said on the trip, saying goodbye to friends is the hardest part. Kevin is already back in California, having caught a plane home this morning. Dennis is on his way back to Minneapolis. Bill and Jaimie left Chicago after the media event at Lou Mitchell's and are exploring Route 66 in Illinois. Jim's in bed asleep right now. He stayed up all night long with radio interviews; boy is he beat. I'm attempting to put together this page and my mind keeps wandering back over the road and all the special people we met and the cool things we did. I think it will take me a while to assimilate all the great memories from the trip. This Route 66 Caravan was a success only because of YOU - the great people all up and down the Mother Road and those that are with us in spirit.

We all want to thank you for making this trip the biggest thing to happen on Route 66 in a long, long time. We love you all!

       

The Mother Road Begins in Chicago

Now the return trip down Route 66 begins. Jim, Bill, Jaimie and I will be in St. Louis tomorrow (June 25, 2003) for the refurbishment project on the Eat-Rite Diner. Then we will continue on down the Road. Jim will end up back in California. Bill and Jaimie will return to Arizona. And I will go to Amarillo where I will leave Route 66 for Colorado. Be sure to watch these pages for our continuing saga ... the Eat-Rite Diner and our return trips. We will indeed have 66 days on Route 66!

 


West 66
Previous Log
Go West down the Mother Road

Road Log pages read like a book:

Follow the Route 66 Caravan
down the Mother Road ~
select the Route 66 direction
you would like to go.

West 66
Return to St. Louis
Go East on the Mother Road

 

 

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2003 Route 66 Caravan Schedule

       

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