Category: Illinois-October2015

A Strange Encounter on Route 6 in Ohio

A Strange Encounter on Route 6 in Ohio

While riding through a fairly residential section of Route 6 in Ohio, as I approached the intersection of a side street, a big silvery fish fell out of the sky. Thick and long, it’s 18 inches met the pavement with an unceremonious, vaguely moist sounding splat. It was a sound that transcended the noise filtering of my earplugs. If you’ve never heard a big fat fish shake hands with the ground from 40 feet up well, let me tell you – it’s surprisingly loud.

My guess is that a mighty big bird must’ve be working pretty hard to carry its feast to high ground. It’s straining claws just couldn’t hang on anymore and it let the fish go. Or… you know, aliens.

The whole episode reminded me of my pancake encounter. Life is mysterious.

My mom calls me Ray 🙂 Somewhere along Route 6 in Ohio.

More Posts from this Road Trip

Lorain Lighthouse – Banana at East Beach

Lorain Lighthouse – Banana at East Beach

With my belly grumbling, I decided to stop for a spell at Lakeview Park along Lake Erie to eat my electric banana. I didn’t know anything about the park, I just happened to see that it had a waterview.

Though my morning ride was just little over a hundred miles since leaving Napoleon, Ohio where I’d spent the night, with everything I’d seen so far, it felt like I’d already been riding for a long time. The park was a perfect place to take a breather.

After parking myself on the steps I looked out to the infinite horizon, marveling at the size of the lake. I was pleasantly surprised to find a lighthouse bracing against the wind off to the east.

The Lorain Lighthouse – Lorain, Ohio

Ghost Ad in Chenoa, Illinois: Selz Royal Blue Shoes

Ghost Ad in Chenoa, Illinois: Selz Royal Blue Shoes

Pontiac, Ill – Illinois State Police motorcycle patrol exhibit

While riding Historic Route 66 in Illinois, I tried to take a turn through the towns that seemed to pop up like an oasis after a stretch of nothin’ much. Often my ride would be like road, road, road, TOWN, road, road road…

These places that punctuate the route seemed to hold the most lovely treasures, if you’re the Americana-lovin’ sort. This Selz Royal Blue Shoes ad is in the town of Chenoa, Illinois.

Before the trip, I’d never heard of Selz Royal Blue Shoes. But like so many other things, once my eyes were opened to it and I began looking for information I had myself another rabbit hole to fall down. There are many lovely Selz ads across the midwest.

Passing Through Lincoln, Illinois

Passing Through Lincoln, Illinois

During my ride through Illinois in the fall of 2015, I followed Route 66 north from Springfield and passed through the town of Lincoln, Illinois. Prior to leaving home, I did almost no research about the areas I might ride through. I was just sort of floating on the wind and letting the ride unfold on it’s own in between a few punctation marks. And so, as I passed through Lincoln I wasn’t really looking to see anything in particular.

My knowledge of Route 66 is pretty limited in the grand scheme of things. I think that worked in my favor. When you don’t know what to expect, everything is a surprise and quite often, exciting.

When I pulled in to Lincoln, it felt like the type of America you see on tv. That may sound funny to you if you’re from an area that looks like Lincoln. But to people who exist in the bland, homogenized suburbs of a major city like New York, places like these look special.

In the middle of town there’s a square with green grass and a grand courthouse. Also a firehouse with a telephone booth on the roof. Brick buildings line the streets that spider away from the square. The whole place felt like it was covered in lovely nostalgia dust.

Figuring I may never pass that way again, I took a turn around the town, riding up and down the side streets around the town square. Along Pulaski Street, I spied a lovely ghost ad.

“Smoke Greenback Tobacco – Purest and Best(?)”

The ad is for Greenback Smoking Tobacco, a brand I’d never heard of before. A quick Google turned up this article: ‘Ghost’ turns up in Lincoln alley from The Lincoln Courier discussing the mural. The article from 2009 mentions the hope of findinf out about its history but my Google searches haven’t turned up anything more posted since then.

Greenback Smoking Tobacco Ghost Ad
Side of 414 Pulaski Street
Lincoln, Illinois
Google Streetview

Before continuing on, I snapped a shot in front of the big penny mural. A perfect way to say goodbye to Lincoln.

Petrol-Love: Olde Tyme Service Stations in Illinois

Petrol-Love: Olde Tyme Service Stations in Illinois

Last fall after finishing a stint at the Void Rally 10 in Virginia, I set off on a road trip around Illinois. My plan was to just bum around and look at stuff. As an Americana-lover, Illinois and it’s section of Route 66 have a lot to offer.

One thing that always catches my attention is old service stations. It must have something to do with my affinity for what petrol-powered vehicles represent to me: freedom, possibility, motion, the open road.

These were some of the lovely old stations that I saw in Illinois:

Dwight, Illinois:

Dwight, Illinois:

Dwight, Illinois:

Odell, Illinois:

Odell, Illinois:

Odell, Illinois:

I previously posted about this lovely old skeleton in Vienna, Illinois:

Quirky Roadside Attractions from Illinois

Quirky Roadside Attractions from Illinois

This morning when I saw the Daily Page prompt: What’s the quirkiest thing about you? I had to smirk. Personally, I don’t think I’m exceptionally quirky but then, who does? It’s other people who find your you-ness quirky and comment on it.  I don’t think I dare ask my husband what he thinks it is.

But since we’re on the subject, I will go ahead and share some actual quirky roadside stuff that I saw in Illinois.

Pink elephant towing a trailer? Sure, why not?

pink elephant antique mall

Boyfriend might want to think about a spray tan. Just sayin’…

Doesn’t he look like he might bust out signing into that ice cream one? “I love you, baby and if it’s quite all right I need you, baby… thank you, thank you, very much! Thanks for having me on the Merv Griffin Show!”

beach dude pink elephant antique mall

Big John. Not big Johnson. Two very different things. Although he looks pretty freakin’ chipper and has a strategically placed apron so maybe he’s got a secret we don’t know about.

It might be best to just move along here…

big john metropolis illnois

“Hi, Billy Mays, here. Do you like Muffler Men and motorcycles?”

harley davidson shrimpy muffler man

muffler man boot

The awesome green futuro house. I saw one of these on Milton, Delaware a few years back. I think they’re so great looking. They have that “this is what the future will look like in the year 2000,” flying car, spandex space-suit clothing vibe. Can you imagine living in one?

futuro house in Illinois at pinkelephant

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A Twistee Treat ice cream cone-shaped building. There was a time when I just wanted to see one. Now I’ve got two under my belt after seeing this one in Illinois.

twistee treat ice cream building in illinois

Maybe when I’ve finally had enough of corporate America I’ll get myself a big ice cream cone and start slingin’ sprinkles. What can I getcha, honey?

One of the downsides to traveling alone is that often there is no one around to take your picture through one of these face-hole cutout things. I might’ve looked like a real motorcyclist. Oh, what could have been.

The well-groomed, much loved Lauterback muffler man of Springfield, Illinois:

lauterbach mufflerman

Vigilantly surveying his domain with beady eyes.

lauterback mufflerman

 

 

Route 66 – A Leap of Faith

Route 66 – A Leap of Faith

When the calendar rolled over to 2015 and the Northeast was frozen in the icy grip of a polar vortex, I didn’t really expect to see any part of Route 66. I mean, sure I’ve always fancifully thought about it but never in a real “I should do this now!” sort of way. But here you have it – my motorcycle boots on Route 66 in Illinois.

Life is mysterious and full of possibility. Gotta take a leap of faith now and then.

route 66 santa monica pier

Not only did I see the part of the eastern leg of Route 66, but I found myself standing next to the sign at the western terminus on the Santa Monica pier in the springtime. Again, when January showed its face I didn’t expect to be in the warm California sun during the year either.

Being impulsive has its perks.

illinois route 66 sign

Route 66 holds mythical sway over my imagination. Now that I’ve traveled a small length of it, I want to know more. The road seems to hold the ghosts and dreams of the people who went before you, the people searching for something, searching for themselves. There are images burned in to our collective consciousness that I need to see with my own eyes. I need to know the Mother Road.

 

In the Shadow of the World’s Largest Ketchup Bottle

In the Shadow of the World’s Largest Ketchup Bottle

When I pulled into the parking lot below the world’s largest ketchup bottle there was a man talking on his cellphone. I snapped a few photos and scribbled some notes on the hotel pad I keep in my tankbag.

worlds largest ketchup bottle

During the few minutes I was there fussing around, the man finished up his call and began walking towards me. With a toothy grin, he said a quick hello and asked if I’d like him to take a picture of me with the ketchup bottle. He said he gets that request a lot. The big ketchup bottle is a big draw to the town of Collinsville, Illinois.

worlds largest ketchup bottle

The man also asked where I was from and if I was doing “the Route 66 thing.” Apparently he’s lived in Collinsville his whole life, there in the shadow of the big ketchup bottle and seemed pretty content with that.

  • The World’s Largest Ketchup Bottle
    Just how big is the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle?
    It’s 170 ft tall. That’s a 70 ft tall riveted steel bottle on top of 100 ft tall steel legs. The diameter at the base of the bottle is 25 ft and the diameter of the cap is 8 ft. It has a capacity of 100,000 gallons.

I first learned of the big ketchup bottle in a documentary on PBS called “A Program About Big Things and Unusual Roadside Stuff.” The video is available on YouTube (with terrible misspellings in the subtitles) 😀 :

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