Route 66 news:  events calendar update & Lollapalooza in Chicago this weekend


Hello again, fellow roadies!  Instead of the ghastly Chicago summer humidity of the last two weeks, we had a nice, dry sunny day on Friday.  Excellent weather for starting a weekend road trip!  But there is one good thing about warm weather, even with a bit of humidity:  eating and listening to music al fresco, whether it’s at your favorite grill or tavern, neighborhood street fest/art fair, or a downtown extravaganza like the gargantuan music fest descending upon Chicago this weekend.

I mean Lolla, of course – short for Lollapalooza, the event that will be monopolizing a good chunk of Grant Park, starting immediately south of Jackson Drive/Route 66 and centering on Congress Plaza and Buckingham Fountain (with all the stages, scaffolding and speakers, you’ll be lucky if you get so much as a teensy glimpse of that fountain before next Monday or Tuesday).

We recommend that route-roadies heading for Chicago this weekend bunk down north of the river or perhaps further down the route (like on Jackson or Adams in the financial district, or in the West Loop/IMD – there’s a Marriott on the medical campus, for example), or even in suburban Countryside or Willowbrook (it might be worth it just this once to sleep outside the Loop, if you want to get any sleep at all: those Lolla folks party hearty, no matter where they’re staying).  On the other hand, if you don’t intend to sleep, by all means: hang around.  But expect to pay for the privilege – all too many hotels, restaurants and bars downtown will be capitalizing on the event and charging up the wazoo for whatever.  Don’t even dream about street parking.

Buckingham Fountain:  get a good look at it now, because you won’t see much of it behind all the stages, steel lighting scaffolds and thousands of sweaty, overindulging bodies surrounding it for three days.  (Photo courtesy of Alanscottwalker via Wikimedia Commons)

Buckingham Fountain:  Get a good look at it now, because you won’t see much of it during the 3-day Lollapalooza bash behind the stages, steel lighting scaffolds and thousands of sweaty, overindulging bodies surrounding it.  (Photo by Alanscottwalker via Wikimedia Commons)

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Route 66 calendar update:  Rivet Motors’ land jet takes off, car shows, cruise nights & more


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.

Rivet Motors land jet, made in Aurora, IL  for a Route 66 road trip with William Shatner (no, seriously).

Rivet Motors land jet, made in Aurora, IL for a Route 66 road trip to be undertaken by William Shatner (no, seriously). (Illustration courtesy of Rivet Motors and American Wrench)

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Route 66 news: new events calendar update, and photos!


Hello again, fellow roadies!  Have you shaken off the dust of winter yet?  It’s Memorial Day weekend, when the Route 66 cruising season here in Illinois begins in earnest, and we have an updated events calendar for you below.  Bring out those convertibles and dust off those bikes, because it’s time to hit the road! Even if you only warm up locally to start.  Which can be fun.  Just remember to buckle up wherever you go, because the Smokies will be out in force this weekend on all the major highways across the nation, making sure you use your seat belts and handing out stiff fines if you don’t.  Better safe than sorry, right?   Right.

picnic 1 - classic Rt.66 rides - a bike, a 'Vette & a ragtop Mustang - blog (MRTraska)

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Route 66 events:  Halloween Week events at Cigars & Stripes in Berwyn!


Ronnie Lottz, the happy proprietor of one of our favorite barbecue places – Cigars & Stripes BBQ Lounge in Berwyn, IL – likes to have fun most of the year. At Halloween, however, he pulls out all the stops.  Once again this year, Ronnie is hosting Halloween Week.  If you plan to trick or treat on Route 66 in Chicagoland, make sure you stop by his beer, ’cue and cigar emporium at some point next week.  With a week-long spooktacular that will last through dinnertime on All Saints Day (for those late risers with truly monstrous hangovers from the night before), there’ll be plenty of opportunity to check out the events if you visit or live in the area.  Address and phone are listed at the bottom of this post.

The boo-dacious bash starts at noon on Sunday, October 26, 2014 and runs through 6pm Sunday, October 26, 2014.  On Sunday the 26th, Ronnie kicks off the week with the Chicago Bears football game on the big screen and Bloody Mary specials all day long, followed by whatever specials he has on the smoker and the latest episode of The Walking Dead at 8pm.  Nothing like spooky group appointment TV to get the blood going!

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Route 66 Song Of The Week:  OMG, it’s Cadillac Ranch & Berwyn Rt.66 Car Show news!


Well, blush – we’re just overwhelmed by all the attention we’ve gotten lately!  This could turn a gal’s head, fellas.  Thanks heaps to Hertz NeverLost’s Tweet and mention of me, complete with a pix from last year’s Berwyn Route 66 Car Show, in their “Route 66 Road Trips” blog post and on their Twitter feed.  With this year’s car show coming up soon on Sept. 6th (the weekend after next), we here are getting in the carmania mood.  Come to think of it, this just seems to be a day for all things automotive.

Which just happens to be timely, because our fellow 66 blogger, Ron Warnick of Route 66 News, just passed along a Hertz NeverLost Tweet about Texas Monthly’s recent article on Amarillo’s famous Cadillac Ranch.  If you’ve never seen it, the Cadillac Ranch is a kind of linear vehicular Stonehenge and celebration of automobilia, smack in the middle of a field just off Route 66, that is both a pop-art installation by the 1970s artists’ collective known as Ant Farm and a form of performance art, in that it invites participatory graffiti from its visitors.  The 10 Cadillacs are all of tail-fin vintage, had to be relocated once due to the city’s expansion, and the whole thing is 40 years old now.  Whoa.

Cadillac Ranch - distance shot (via Wikipedia)

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Route 66 updates:  Berwyn’s Cigars & Stripes gets a new sign; some local Route 66 history


Surprise, surprise — while keeping up with our Route 66 tweets last week, we noticed via Ron Warnick’s Twitter feed that one of our fave Mother Road barbecue spots in the metro area, Cigars & Stripes BBQ Lounge in Berwyn, IL, got new signage.  Have to say this:  When Ronnie Lottz does something, he really goes BIG.  So of course, yours truly had to stop by and take a gander.

I caught it on a rainy day (sigh …), but the shot still worked, thank heavens.  It seems lately that any time I want to shoot something in the ‘burbs and try to schedule it in advance, hoping for sunshine, it rains or clouds over.  You’d think Chicago had suddenly become Seattle or something (much rain in May and June here, but no flooding and better than drought, eh?).  Nevertheless, Ronnie’s stuff stands out — and together with his Route 66-themed mural on the side of the building, it’s sure to be a hit.

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Route 66 song of the week video plus Berwyn car show update, miscellany, Santa Fe Speedway


Okay, we’ve been telling you for weeks now that the Berwyn Route 66 Car Show and the EAA’s B-17 visit to Lewis University Airport are this coming weekend, along with Quarry Days in Hodgkins.   And Saturday evening in Hodgkins is the last car cruise of the summer.  So:  in honor of all that car culture, it only seems fair that this week’s Route 66 song of the week video is composer and arranger Nelson Riddle’s theme from the Route 66 TV show – in this case, supporting a video parade of classic cars, with emphasis on (wait for it) Corvettes.  I love that guy; he was so good with arrangements, but also that’s a damned fine theme.  Our thanks to Tom Bower for posting this clip on YouTube.

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