Steak N Egger on Route 66:  it’s tough being the former Snuffy’s

Terry Carr Sr. and his son and manager Terry Jr. of the Steak N Egger on Route 66 in McCook, IL were so proud of their newly renovated eatery this spring. The former Snuffy’s 24-Hour Grill, which had been closed for many months before the Carrs bought it a year ago, got a complete gut-and-remodeling that was showcased in an open house this past April.

So: you can imagine the heartbreak for the Carrs when a truck and a car in their parking lot had a little altercation a few weeks ago, and the truck went through the wall of the restaurant.  Ouch.  The Carrs have bravely posted several enlarged color photographs of the accident itself on the inside wall of the barrier covering the damaged wall.  They’re not pretty.  You can clearly see the wall buckled inside the restaurant in one of the shots. Continue reading

Berwyn Route 66 Car Show this weekend, Sept. 7-8

If you’ve never been to the annual Route 66 Car Show in Berwyn, IL, you’re in for a treat. It’s this coming weekend along Ogden Avenue and will be centered, as usual, at the intersection of Ogden and Ridgeland Avenue (6400 W). For several blocks along Ogden Avenue, you’ll see a display of classic, antique and custom cars, trucks and motorcycles. This is where ‘car people’ in the western suburbs come to see and be seen on Ogden for one weekend every September, from late in the morning until late at night. Even better, it’s free to the public.

The car show typically includes special appearances by hot rod, drag race and NASCAR racing stars, along with displays of some pretty amazing vehicles and live music to keep things jumping. Expected this year, for example, is a return visit from the beloved local rock and jive band, The Crown Vics. For a complete schedule and information for exhibitors, visit the show’s official web site here. And while you’re there, don’t forget to stop at the booth for the Berwyn Route 66 Museum and drop a dollar in the kitty to help fund some of the new displays the museum is planning. Continue reading

The Berwyn Route 66 Museum get its groove on

My colleague Joe Kubal and I were in Berwyn yesterday when we thought we’d stop by the Berwyn Route 66 Museum and see what’s up with Jon Fey and his staff. Glad we did.

WOW – what a difference inside from 10 months ago! Those folks have really made progress in organizing the materials and putting up displays. It really looks like a museum now. Someone’s been putting a lot of sweat equity into this and deserves credit.

Copyright 2012 by M.R. Traska; all rights reserved

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Ruby Street Bridge detour along Route 66 in Joliet, IL

[Today’s post comes courtesy of my friend and colleague Joe Kubal. Joe and our other co-author, Keith Yearman, are big bridge fans. I like interesting bridges, but my Mama was an architect, so you know where my bias lies. Which is why I generally let the guys write about big, macho metal engineering wonders, like bridges. Take it away, Joe!]

Ruby Street Bridge under reconstruction, looking west from Columbia St., August 2012; repairs should be done by mid-November. (Photo copyright 2012 by M.R. Traska; all rights reserved)

Well, the Ruby Street Bridge in Joliet, IL is finally closed. The bridge was overdue for repairs and is, at long last, undergoing refurbishing. The construction project, which began July 9th, should be completed by November 19, 2012. The bridge is located (appropriately) at Ruby Street just east of Broadway, aka Illinois 53 (Historic Route 66), on Joliet’s northern edge. It spans the Des Plaines River, connecting the downtown area and older east side of town with the Upper Bluff historic area on the west bank and the newer, more suburban-looking west side of town. Continue reading

You’re doing what?? (Or: that’s what my relatives asked before I explained and they said: Oh. Cool.)

Greetings, gentle readers and devotees of U.S. Route 66!

We are (most of us) low in profile but legion in number.  The historic highway, once the only winter-safe road between Chicago and Los Angeles, retains its reputation and its romance with freedom and the allure of the open road despite having been officially closed by the mid-1980s.  That both its myth and its appeal endure this long should tell you something of its importance, not just because it was one of two major cross-continental highways at the time (the other being U.S. 30, better known as the Lincoln Highway, now replaced by Interstate 80) but because of the indelible mark it left in the hearts and imagination of the American public.

The purpose of this blog is to introduce you to a new book on Route 66 that is being researched and written as you read this – namely, The Curious Traveler’s Guide to Route 66 in Metro Chicago – and to some of the interesting things being discovered in the process.  The blog is also a partial record of our progress on this project, which we consider a labor of love but one that also has to be useful to other travelers.  So this will be our way of keeping you up to date on our inquiries.  But I’m getting ahead of myself; gentle readers, please bear with me. Continue reading

Hello, Route 66 devotees around the world!

Welcome to CuriousTraveler66, the blog for the upcoming book The Curious Traveler’s Guide to Route 66 in Metro Chicago.  Please forgive us, but we’re not quite live yet – still making a few adjustments to our appearance.  But we’ll be up soon!

Meanwhile, feel free to leave us a note about what you like most on Route 66 in the greater Chicago area.  We’d like to know how many Route 66 fans are out there. ;D