Route 66 Day 2: Coming Home

Where we love is home- home where our feet may leave, but not our hearts

Oliver Wendall Holmes

This morning we woke early at 5 AM to begin our travels on Route 66. Our first stop was the “Begin” sign in Chicago. We got up so early to avoid the worst traffic. That at least was our plan, and there was still a bunch of traffic, impressive even by Northern Virginia standards! We arrived at the beginning of Route 66 as the sun rose over the city. 

Driving through Chicago brought back so many great memories….Second City Theater, Seeing Blue Man Group, Watching the Blue Angels fly between the buildings when they were still able to do that, and listening to Art Blakey play at the Blackstone, among others. 

It also brought back wonderful family memories with Aunt Rose, Uncle Ed, cousins Adele, Judy and Robin. It felt like coming home. We left Chicago and headed south. We soon became adept at spotting all the Route 66 signs along the way. 

It really made us think about how we never appreciated having lived in this area where Route 66 begins. In fact, our first home was in Romeoville, Illinois, right off 66. We turned into our old neighborhood to see our first home, and Aaron’s first home , a townhouse.

Did you ever have the opportunity to go back to your elementary school as an adult? I did, and everything seemed miniature to me as a grown up! Well, this is exactly how we felt about our town home! It seemed so much smaller to us! It was fun to see the old neighborhood, where I took Aaron for his first stroller rides, where we remember the snow storms and the cold of an Illinois winter. The corn fields that surrounded our neighborhood are now planted with homes and industrial parks. 

From Romeoville we travelled on through Joliet and enjoyed seeing some sights.

One of the fun things about taking photos is having a vintage car roll into your shot at just the right time!

One of our favorite stops of the day was…..wait for it…..

Rich and Creamy Ice Cream. Let’s be clear, there WILL be ice cream on this trip!!

Our next stop was Shorewood, to visit our second home. It looked exactly as it did when we left it over 30 years ago, evidence of the great care given it by the families who made it their home after us. I could picture Aaron, having just learned to walk, toddling up the curved front walk. We really enjoyed that house. We were so fortunate to meet John, a current neighbor of the Shorewood house, who gave us an update on the neighborhood and house. (Thanks John!) 

As we continued on our journey, we thought about all the other places that made Illinois our home, Joliet, Plainfield, Lockport, and Naperville. The airport where Art took me flying for the first time; going to our first Bears game, and White Fence Farm.

Oh….White Fence Farm! One of the most memorable places to get fried chicken! It looks exactly the same! The carry out part of the restaurant is still the same, the boxes the meals come in…still the same! What fun!

Illinois captured our hearts while we made it our home. The people and places may leave and change, but our hearts hold dear the memories. 

At the end of our first day on Route 66, we travelled 260 miles, while Joliet is only about 45 miles from Chicago. It’s safe to say we took the scenic route!

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