Hello again, fellow roadies! Well, we didn’t expect to be updating the calendar again so soon, but there have been more events added – and one change. As you may already know if you tried to attend (as we did), the Romeoville Route 66 Car and Bike Show a few weekends ago was postponed due to the rainy weather. Wow, there’s been so much of that here lately that Chicago is beginning to look like Seattle. We’re waiting to see if Showcase Classics, the organizer, will reschedule the Romeoville show within the foreseeable future, most likely at Romeoville High School again. Watch this blog for further details.
Also: Did you know that the irrepressible actor and motorcycle fan William Shatner (yeah, that William Shatner, the one from the original Star Trek TV series and films, The Practice, Boston Legal, etc.) will begin a cross-country tour on June 23rd down the length of Route 66 on a new vehicle dubbed the Rivet One ‘land jet’? Yes, indeed: it’s a kind of streamlined, steampunk-style trike, with a detachable cockpit cover for bad weather. Very different from anything he seemed to have piloted/helmed for the Star Trek franchise!
Apparently, all the futuristic stuff is under the hood this time. The three-wheeled bike, which has some serious power (a V8 engine) between the driver and the front wheel, was designed by the folks at Rivet Motors – with input from Shatner – and American Wrench, an Aurora, IL-based custom motorcycle firm. American Wrench has built bikes for others, including rock singers (e.g., Creed) and the guys on the Chopper cable TV program. American Wrench is, in turn, owned by Illinois Auto Electric Co. (founded 1915), for which American Wrench’s Kevin Sirotek is VP of marketing and a fourth-generation stakeholder (that tells us it’s probably a family firm). Their shop is located in an industrial area near IL 59 and Liberty Street, only a few blocks from Aurora’s Fox Valley shopping center.
Sirotek is partners in Rivet Motors with the 84-year-old Shatner, a longtime motorcycle aficionado. Their goal, according to the Rivet website, is to build a vehicle that represents “the best attributes found in high performance cars, hot rods and motorcycles.” Shatner, who spends a lot of time at his Kentucky horse farm these days with his fourth wife, Elizabeth, is quite enthusiastic about this latest ‘enterprise,’ if the video on Rivet’s website is any indicator. Unsurprisingly, Rivet Motors is an offshoot of American Wrench. And yes, the tour is partially a marketing effort: they hope to sell more of these new babies.
Shatner will be followed on the road by a supply-and-repair crew in another vehicle. The Rivet Motors tour will take them all the way to L.A., and possibly further. But will Shatner & crew be starting at the eastern terminus in Chicago, or somewhere outside of town? That’s still being determined … but we hope they start at Jackson Boulevard and Michigan Avenue, the Gateway to Route 66, as well they should. However, they may well copy the Mother Road Ride Rally folks – that group started off Wednesday from the venerable Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket in Willowbrook (owner Pat Rhea is a motorcycle fan himself) – and may start somewhere else on the route between Cicero and Joliet. Well, #!&??%!$@!!!
Our opinion: If you’re going to ride Route 66 through all eight states, you may as well travel the whole route. Eastern terminus to western terminus, downtown to downtown (at least, that’s how the route originally ran when it opened in November 1926). Starting this iconic American road trip outside Chicago because you’re afraid of a little weekday traffic is a sissy thing (what – you’re gonna skip downtown St. Louis, Tulsa and Albuquerque, too? Maybe L.A.?? Of course not!). Just saying: Start where the route starts. Amen.
And now for your updated calendar of events. PS – We just had to say it: Hawks win! Hawks win!!! Cheers!
Your own Route 66 historian and tour guide,
2015 Route 66 calendar
RESCHEDULED, date TBA – Romeoville Route 66 Car and Bike Show, 9am-4pm at Romeoville High School, 100 N. Independence Blvd., Romeoville, IL; for further information, call the park district at 815-886-6222 or visit http://www.romeoville.org/Parks/specialevents.aspx. Because of the postponement, it’s not too late to register a vehicle for the event; contact Showcase Classics at 866-4RSHOWS or see website at http://www.showcaseclassics.com/
June 21 – Lyons Father’s Day Car, Truck and Bike Show, 9am to noon along old Route 66 at 4200 Lawndale Ave. in Lyons; for further details, visit http://www.showcaseclassics.com/calendar/index.php.
June 23 – Start of Rivet Motors’ Route 66 cross-country land jet tour, with actor/motorcycle enthusiast William Shatner driving a new prototype 3-wheel vehicle; start location still TBA. For further information, contact Rivet Motors/American Wrench in Aurora at 1-888-967-7486 Mondays through Fridays between 8am and 4:30pm Central Time or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 27 – NEW LOCATION: 31st annual World’s Largest Block Party, sponsored by Old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church on Route 66 and co-sponsored by WKQX 101 FM; to be held this year at the UIC Festival Lot, 1145 S. Morgan St. near Roosevelt Road. Tickets went on sale Monday, May 18 at 10am; for further information, contact email@example.com.
July 6 – Schustek Pond dedication, 10am to noon on the grounds of the North American Spine Society, 7075 Veterans Blvd. in Burr Ridge, just NW of County Line Road and I-55 interchange; details TBA shortly. The pond was recently named by the U.S. Bureau for Geographic Names for hero of Route 66 Bruno Schustek; the dedication is taking place on the 85th anniversary of his death. To get to the dedication ceremony, exit I-55 at County Line Road – north, then take Veterans Boulevard west from County Line Road to the second stop sign and turn left, following Veterans to the NASS parking lot. More details later as we get them.
July 7 – Berwyn Cruise Night in Berwyn, 6-9pm along the Burlington railroad tracks at 6906 Windsor Ave.; for more info, see http://www.showcaseclassics.com/calendar/index.php
July 7 – Cruise Night in Downtown Riverside, 6-9pm along the Burlington railroad tracks at 17 E. Burlington St.; for more info, see http://www.showcaseclassics.com/calendar/index.php
July 12 – Eastland Disaster memorial dedication, Section 16, and Czech association picnic, Bohemian National Cemetery, 5255 N. Pulaski Rd., Chicago; for a map showing the location of section 16, see http://www.friendsofbnc.org/bncmap.htm and for more info about the event, contact Chuck Michalek at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://friendsofbnc.org/Eastland/index.html
July 16 – NEW: Cruise Night in Downtown Romeoville, at 55 Phelps Ave.; for more info, see http://www.showcaseclassics.com/calendar/index.php
July 18 – Abe Lincoln Festival, McLean County Historical Museum, Bloomington-Normal, IL; for details, visit http://www.mchistory.org/
July 21 – Berwyn Cruise Night in Berwyn, 6-9pm along the Burlington railroad tracks at 6906 Windsor Ave.; for more info, see http://www.showcaseclassics.com/calendar/index.php
July 24 – Eastland Disaster centennial anniversary; to visit the actual site of the disaster, go to the south bank of the Chicago River at LaSalle Street in downtown Chicago and look just east of the intersection near the railing to find the historical plaque (then look down at the river: that’s the spot where the Eastland turned over). For more info on the history of the disaster, see http://www.eastlanddisaster.org
July 25 – Route 66 Linear Music Festival; from Chicago to Santa Monica, it’s about live music along the route. See details at http://route66.rifftime.com/
July 25 – National Route 66 Day (maybe in Arizona … but in Illinois??) It’s the first we’ve heard of it. We would have thought November 11 would be the more logical date. Oh, well. If you know more about this event happening in other states, please send an e-mail with details or a link to email@example.com); for more info on the Arizona affair, see http://nationalroute66day.com/
July 31-August 2 – Lollapalooza in Grant Park, between Jackson Drive and Balbo Drive; the headliners this year include Paul McCartney, Metallica, and Florence and the Machine. It’s usually a zoo, but it’s one of a kind, too – and you can’t beat the venue near the lake and Route 66. Hours daily: 6am-11pm. Do yourself a favor and take public transportation to get there. For details and tickets, visit http://www.lollapalooza.com/
August 4 – Berwyn Cruise Night in Berwyn, 6-9pm along the Burlington railroad tracks at 6906 Windsor Ave.; for more info, see http://www.showcaseclassics.com/calendar/index.php
August 8 – Willowbrook Cruisin’ 66 Fest Car & Bike Show, Harvester Park, 15W400 Harvester Drive, Burr Ridge; sponsored by the Willowbrook/Burr Ridge Chamber of Commerce. Festivities will include live music and other entertainment, food, and children’s activities in addition to the custom and classic cars and motorcycles. For details, contact the C of C at 630-654-0909.
August 8 – RomeoFest 2015 Cruise-In, 1-4pm at 1050 W. Romeo Rd., Romeoville; for more info, see http://www.showcaseclassics.com/calendar/index.php
August 13 – Cruise Night in Downtown Riverside, 6-9pm along the Burlington railroad tracks at 17 E. Burlington St.; for more info, see http://www.showcaseclassics.com/calendar/index.php
August 16 – NEW: Cruise Night in Downtown Romeoville, at 55 Phelps Ave.; for more info, see http://www.showcaseclassics.com/calendar/index.php
August 18 – Berwyn Cruise Night in Berwyn, 6-9pm along the Burlington railroad tracks at 6906 Windsor Ave.; for more info, see http://www.showcaseclassics.com/calendar/index.php Please note: this is the last cruise night before the new date for the Berwyn Route 66 Car Show (see next item).
August 27 – Cruise Night in Downtown Romeoville, at 55 Phelps Ave.; for more info, see http://www.showcaseclassics.com/calendar/index.php
August 29 – NEW DATE: annual Berwyn Route 66 Car Show, on Ogden Avenue/Route 66 between Ridgeland Avenue and Oak Park Avenue, Berwyn, IL; for more info or to register your vehicle for the show, see the website at http://www.berwynrt66.com/
September 3-6 – Over Labor Day weekend as it always has been, it’s the 36th annual Chicago Jazz Festival, the largest free jazz festival in the world (and it’s FREE! Did we mention that?); mostly in Millennium Park, with Sept. 3 events at the Chicago Cultural Center across the street on Michigan Avenue. Main events will be in the evenings, but as with the BluesFest, there will be several side stages offering musical acts throughout the afternoon. Co-sponsored by the city of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Jazz Institute of Chicago. For a full schedule and other details, including special parking packages (you’ll want those if you’re driving, but it’s really better to park outside the Loop and use public transit), visit http://bit.ly/RH6umU
September 5 – Hodgkins Quarry Days, Hodgkins, IL; no details yet, but check the website later for details: http://www.villageofhodgkins.org/wp/events/
September 6 – Chicago Historic Route 66 Classic Car Show, on Ogden Avenue/Route 66 between Ridgeway Avenue and Springfield Avenue (east of Pulaski Road, about 3800S) in historic Lawndale, Chicago; for more information, contact Drew Goldsmith at: firstname.lastname@example.org or see website at: http://www.carsonroute66.com/.
September 25-27 – International Mother Road Festival and Car Show, Springfield, IL, probably the largest car show along Route 66 in the state; more than 1,000 classic, custom, souped-up and vintage cars on display, including the Monet of Cars collection, plus live music all weekend at the Hot Rod Stage. Friday night is the Route 66 City Nights Cruise, with a $5 donation to benefit Crime Stoppers. Hours: 6-10pm Friday, 11am-10pm Saturday, 11am-2pm Sunday. Free admission; convenient parking near the convention center. For details, see the fest’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Route66Fest or visit http://www.familyevents.com/event/296.