This morning we got up and headed to downtown Chicago this morning to start our Route 66 road trip. Much to our dismay, there is not an actual sign that marks the beginning of the infamous road. We did manage to get off to a good start though with a late breakfast at Lou Mitchell’s. I’ve seen this diner mentioned in many different Route 66 travel guides, so I figured it must be good. I was SO wrong… this place was was amazing!! After our meal, we headed down 66. We were hoping to make it to Springfield, IL today, but it just wasn’t in the cards for us. We had a bit of a rough day after getting into Chicago so late last night. But we saw a bunch of cool (mostly closed up) old roadside attractions. And just so you know, it was super easy to follow the old road. All of the books I’ve been reading make it sound like you will be lucky to even find it, but so far we’ve had no problems. There are road markers all over the place bearing the 66. The guidebooks we are using are Route 66 Traveler’s Guide & Companion and Route 66 Adventure Handbook. We’ve also got the official Route 66 map set.
Things I learned today:
1. It’s not a good idea to drive from KC to Chicago in one day with 3 little kids, especially when you don’t leave until 10:30 am.
2. Driving in downtown Chicago is ridiculous! It’s all one way streets with buses and other cars trying to run you off the road. Then you’re driving and next thing you know you’re in some tunnel driving I don’t know where.
3. My idea of what makes an omelet amazing is proportionate to how much cheese is in said omelet.
4. Max misses Banana more than I thought he would. He was crying about wanting to go home tonight so he could see her.
5. I always thought those microwaveable bowls of mac n cheese were stupid. Now I realize that they are brilliant for road trips. Just stop at a gas station that has a microwave, add water, cook for 3 1/2 minutes, and BOOM, mac n cheese for dinner. And 3 happy kids.
6. When Lia says “one” as in “I want one cookie” what she actually me and is “I want one cookie. Then I want another cookie. I’d like another now.”
7. Lia has a new favorite game: anytime she sees a cow, she say “horse!” and then giggles while we argue about the fact that it’s a cow (because she SO knows it’s a cow!)
Lou Mitchell’s in Chicago, IL: 5 stars. The food was amazing! I was a little nervous when my bacon & cheese omelet came out because I couldn’t see any cheese. Little did I know they were hiding all that yummy goodness inside. The kids got pancakes and they devoured them. And Josh had a tasty Belgian waffle. And get this, they brought us out tiny little bowls of ice cream after our meal. Yes, ice cream! In case they hadn’t already won our hearts, that was definitely the clincher. And, our waitress and the hostess were great too!
EconoLodge in Bloomington, IL: 4 stars. It’s clean and its quiet. And for $50/night it’s pretty nice, they have Wi-Fi, and there’s breakfast in the morning. Oh, and the internet is pretty fast.


  • It gets a little harder to follow once you get out of Illinois, but the Illinois Route 66 Association has been amazing about putting up signs to mark not just the “common” alignments, but other alignments only used by road nerds like me. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Glad to hear your first day went well… also, there actually IS a sign — at the corner of Michigan and Jackson.

  • I love your guys’ road trip updates, they are always so fun to read ๐Ÿ™‚
    We actually JUST took our own route 66 road trip not too long ago…but we didn’t do the whole thing like you. We hopped on it in Oklahoma and then hopped off to head to Vegas (like the day after you guys were there…crazy!)
    Hope you guys have fun, can’t wait to read more!

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  • What a great family trip! I do hope you can stop by my little Welcome Center right on Old Route 66 in Afton, Oklahoma. We have Route 66 memorabilia and lots of interesting vintage cars. Free of charge. We just love to meet the travelers.
    Laurel Kane

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