Day 2: March 3, 2012
Clear & Cool
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The cruise collection point was the White Hen restaurant near Mitchell. Some came a little early and ate breakfast while others arrived nearer the planned 8:30 departure. A total of eight cars rolled out under some beautiful blue backed clouds.

The need to reach Shea's Museum before the noon closing kept our stop at Henry's Rabbit Ranch brief but it was still a lot of fun. I got a shot of most of our caravan and of Natalie with Big Red, the ranch's official greeter rabbit.

Those time constraints also prompted our choice of the quicker 1930s alignment for the northbound trip with plans to return on the older one. Like the stretch of US-40 I drove yesterday, abandoned pavement can often be seen next to this stretch of the former US-66. However, none of it is brick and it has been retired rather than replaced. In the days before I-55, most of this section had progressed to divided four-lane. After the interstate grabbed enough traffic to make all four lanes unnecessary, two were retired and are no longer maintained.

I have been by Bill Shea's Museum a few times but never when it was open. I assumed I was alone in that but learned that our group contained several others who were seeing the collection of petro -- and other -- belia for the first time. Bill may look a little extra sharp today because he was part of some filming for an Illinois tourism commercial before we arrived. His son, grandson, and great-granddaughter were all on hand meaning that four generations of Sheas were "in the house" today. Quote filled cards like the one in the last picture are spread about the place and include a signed one concerning Bill's "day on the beach".

Approximately half the population of Springfield arrived at the Cozy Dog just before we did but tables eventually cleared and the fast service kept anyone from being too hungry too long.

When Lake Springfield was created in 1933, part of US-66 disappeared under water. The first three pictures are from the north end of the submerged section and the last three are from the south. The road went through the railroad overpass seen in the second and sixth pictures. Raised curb is evident on the north section. Right of way markers exist on both sides. Here is one on the south side to go with the north side one shown. The size of rocks in the pavement seems to support the theory that the size of the aggregate indicates the age of the paving.

Another place I had seen but never been in is Becky's Barn. Actually, I'd never even seen the outside of this particular "barn" since it was still a dream when I was here in 2009. It's not quite as full as Shea's with more room to walk and most things for sale.

Becky identifies her place as "Off the Bricks on Route 66" and so it is. We continued down the rest of the brick section when we left.

Kip's day was complete once he had seen -- and sat on -- the Nilwood turkey tracks. The sign and paint now make them pretty hard to miss.

Another car, the Bremers from Indianapolis, had joined us at Shea's so there were now nine cars in our little caravan. One car headed home before dinner but a couple of locals, including Rich Henry, joined us so I think the dinner group was around twenty. Good food and great conversation to end a really nice cruise. It was a tad cold but it was dry and, considering what could happen in early March, no one seriously complained about the temperature.

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