Today we drove from Bloomington, IL to Maryville, IL. Now Maryville is not actually on Route 66, but it’s close and we needed somewhere to stop for the night. We got an early start this morning (9:30 am!), but had to make an early pit stop to have our tire repaired. But, we finally got going.
Our first stop was the tiny town of Funks Grove. The Funk family has a maple syrup plant there, along with a little store. We checked it out, picked up some of their famous maple syrup, and headed on down the road.
When we got to Springfield, IL, we stopped at the Cozy Dog Drive In for lunch. The corn dogs, or cozy dogs as they call them, were yummy! Max & Ava didn’t exactly agree, but whatever.
Down the road, we got a little lost looking for the red brick road section of an older alignment of Route 66. We finally found it and I’m so glad we did! It was really cool. But don’t let anyone fool you, it is NOT right on Route 4. It’s NEAR Route 4. If you ever want to find this stretch of old road, head for Becky’s Barn at 5029 Snell Road Auburn, IL 62615.
After the red brick road, we headed into Litchfield, IL for dinner at the Ariston Cafe. This is another place that I’m glad we stopped. After dinner, we stopped in Staunton at Henry’s Rabbit Ranch. They were already closed up for the night, but the rabbits were still out. And there were lots of cool things to take pictures of.
Tomorrow we are going to try to make it to Springfield, MO.
Things I learned today:
1. My kids will do almost anything for a dollar. Money trumps every other kind of bribe.
2. No matter how cool anything is, my kids are the happiest if we can just find a playground.
3. Lia isn’t used to having an audience at bedtime. This translates to her talking, talking, talking at bedtime. And she keeps yelling, “Mama!” to try and get my attention.
4. It’s hard to remember to take video AND photos.
5. Ee needs to make a lot more chocolate chip cookies if they are ever going to last to the end of a trip. It’s day 2 and I think they are all gone. All 200 of them.
6. We have 2 Route 66 guidebooks and 1 map set and we still managed to get off track several times today. AND, the road is well-marked here in Illinois. I guess it’s hard to be a good navigator AND tend to 3 demanding kids.
7. Ava always has to go potty at the most inopportune times. But she is totally cool with just “squirting in the grass”.
Neal’s Tire, Bloomington, IL – 5 stars. We had to make an emergency stop to get one of our tires repaired. We just happened to drive past Neal’s as we were discussing the need for repair. I am so glad that we found Neal’s! They squeezed us in and we were back on the road in less than 30 minutes. The waiting area was clean with toys for the kids and free WiFi. They were super nice and the bill was only $21.
Funk’s Grove Sirup Plant – 5 stars. They say that the Funks have been making the best maple syrup since the 1800’s. I don’t even like maple syrup, but I thought it was great! They have a cute little store with Route 66 memorabilia for sale and their famous maple ‘sirup’ as they call it. Apparently the original spelling of the word syrup in Webster’s dictionary was ‘sirup’ and the Funks prefer the original spelling.
Cozy Dog Drive In – 5 stars. The guy who originally opened the Cozy Dog invented the corn dog. That’s the specialty at the drive in and they were yummy! The whole place was decked out in Route 66 memorabilia and they even had a shelf full of Route 66 guidebooks that you could look at while enjoying your cozy dog.
Ariston Cafe – 5 stars. Every bit as good as everyone says. It’s another family owned and operated business and has been around since 1924. The service and food was great and it has that hometown atmosphere.
Maryville, IL Econolodge – 4 stars. Its clean and it’s fairly nice. That’s enough to get four stars in my book. And they have free WiFi & breakfast. Sidenote: Unfortunately, they are doing work on the highway entrance ramp right next to this hotel. I can’t blame the EconoLodge, but it sucks that it’s so loud.


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