Hello again, fellow roadies! Most of you think the ‘official’ Route 66 related events begin every year in May. Those of you who are hipper than that already started looking for things to do/see along the route in April. Good for you! But the truth is, you can travel this iconic American road trip at any time, during any season, and find things and people to see, places to visit, and yes, great things to eat (!) along the route all year long – even in Chicago in winter. You might not be able to leave the top down on the convertible during the winter, but honestly: how many of us these days travel the entire route in a classic ragtop, let alone without sunscreen? Right: most of us just see it and travel it however we can, even if that means taking a tour bus.
It isn’t the vehicles we use on historic Route 66 that matter; that’s the frosting. It’s the road trip itself, what we experience, and whom we meet along the way – that’s the cake. Our job here on the CuriousTraveler66 blog is to give you ideas and keep you informed of what’s along the way between the eastern terminus in downtown Chicago and the south end of Joliet (before you hit the sticks), sometimes even downstate, and what may have changed recently. Therefore, the full 2016 events calendar (well, as complete as we can make it at this point in the year) is at the end of this post. Bookmark this page for further reference, but know that we’ll be updating the calendar later on as we get additions, deletions and corrections. Of course, all information is subject to change, so stay tuned right here in case something does change.
Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! At Santa Fe Speedway! Remember that radio and TV commercial? It’s timely. We mentioned earlier that the Santa Fe Speedway ‘rock’ marker commemorating the former racetrack will be dedicated this coming Sunday, Oct. 13th. Well, barring any adverse weather (rain? hail? tornadoes??), it’s expected to be on schedule for 2:30 p.m. at 91st Street and Wolf Road in Willow Springs. That’s where the entrance of the former auto racetrack – and before that, the pastoral Santa Fe Park – was located. If we’re very lucky, we’ll run into autosport historian and racing photographer Stan Kalwasinski there. Stan told my erstwhile co-author Joe Kubal that he’d try to make it. Stan’s the man who authored the brief history of the track that is inscribed on the back of the stone marker, which is located on the SW corner of 91st and Wolf, right in front of the subdivision that now stands there.
Hey there, car fans – we forgot to tell you about one event. Hodgkins, IL is having its Quarry Days 2013 festival on Friday and Saturday, September 6-7. The fest will be at the park in the heart of town, along East Avenue a few blocks south of Joliet Road. The real treat for roadies, however, is the post-car-show car cruise from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (that’s right – right after the Berwyn Route 66 Car Show, 6.5 miles and 15 minutes away, ends). YES!!! One last cruise of the summer. Let’s hope for a dry day and evening.
On that Saturday, the Hodgkins Historical Society will have an open house from 10 a.m. to noon at 6511 Kane Ave. That’s just down the block from Buck’s Pit Stop, the racing fan’s eatery, 6501 Kane Ave. at the corner of Lyons Street and kitty-corner from the park. Both Buck’s and the historical society have racing memorabilia from the heydays of the local racetracks. There will also be fireworks at the end of the day at 9 p.m.
Phil Buralli, Mance Park Speedway, La Grange Road, Hodgkins, IL; photo courtesy of Sue Cappa.