My Kind of Town, Chicago Is!

My Kind of Town, Chicago Is!
From Pontiac, IL to Chicago, IL
Este artigo em breve estará disponível em Português.

Stretch between Pontiac, IL and Chicago, IL

Stretch between Pontiac, IL and Chicago, IL

So I finally got to Pontiac, IL and despite doing my research ahead, I confess that I really didn’t get the real the picture until my arrival in town. I was definitively surprised, when I found myself driving through Pontiac’s old town and among dozens of nicely hand painted murals. Part of a major interpretive master plan throughout Route 66 Associations in America, the creation or enhancement of these “streetscapes” – it actually represents all of the elements that make up the overall appearance of the byway corridor, creating a positive impact on its visitors. So, they enforce that each byway community, should consider ways of enhancing their corridors that connect travelers to Route 66. So, for that reason, it made me a lot of sense to see all those nice and colorful murals! Murals are a cost effective method for attracting attention and communicating with travelers, since their size is proportional to the architectural environment of cities and are easily viewed from vehicles. Most small towns have available “rough” walls that can be visually improved with painted murals and I could really see that in many small towns, since my departure in Santa Monica, CA days before.

Pontiac Mural. Pontiac, IL

Pontiac Mural. Pontiac, IL

After taking pictures of some of these murals, I invested some time visiting the Route 66 Hall of Fame Museum. It features thousands of artifacts and memorabilia related to the Mother Road and exhibits the portraits of all those who contributed to the construction of America’s Main Street through the eight states. One interesting fact is that I was glad to locate another Disney Cars character: Filmore! It was based on the life of Bob Waldmire, a Route 66 travelling artist and cartographer, on whom the character was based. Bob died in 2009 at the age of 64 years old. His trademark VW van and bus are displayed there. Thank you for all you did, Bob! To find more pictures of Bob Waldmire and the murals of Pontiac, please check my photo album!

Pontiac, IL Mural

Pontiac, IL Mural

A few hours later, I was able to pick a hotel through my phone app, take a shower, have a nice dinner and crash until the next morning and my last drive towards my final destination – Chicago!

Pontiac, IL Mural

Pontiac, IL Mural

Old filling station near Dwight, IL

Old filling station near Dwight, IL

It was so great to drive through all those little towns in IL – Towanda, Pontiac, Dwight, Braidwood and actually see their pride of living just along the the Mother Road and placing their Route 66 shields on their porches and driveways and the pride for the U.S. flag, always there next to it. What a lesson to the people of my home country – Brazil, who mostly show their pride and sing their national anthem in almost every four years, when the World Cup of soccer is played. Route 66 is a lesson of national pride, my fellows. Yes, it is.

Old filling station near Dwight, IL

Old filling station near Dwight, IL

Over the last miles, I was able to stop at some old filling stations and take pictures, because dozens of miles later, my journey came to and end at the “End Sign” on East Jackson Blvd., in Chicago downtown. The “Begin sign” is very close, located on West Adams St. Both are almost in front of the Art Institute of Chicago, across S. Michigan Ave. Like the song says, “My Kind of Town, Chicago Is”!

“You’ll never understand America until you’ve driven Route 66 – that’s old Route 66 – all the way”… SO TRUE! This was once said by a truck driver in California to author Rick Antonson – writer of the book – Route 66 Still Kicks: Driving America’s Main Street.

Route 66 "end" sign. Chicago, IL

Route 66 “end sign”. Chicago, IL

Don’t rush, because Route 66 it’s not about the trip, it’s about the journey… Those were “my kicks on Route 66”, folks… Mission accomplished! Can’t wait ‘til the next one!

Route 66 Map

Route 66 Map

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