This morning is very cloudy so check out the weather on the TV. Seems there are still thunderstorms around this area so might be another wet one… 😥
The local news reports a jack-knifed truck in the middle of Chicago so traffic is almost at a standstill… Well that confirms it, no Chicago for me. I look on the map and the best route is straight across Indianna into Illinois to pick up Route 66 at Joliet.. The 66 maps can come out of the bag now… Yippee
It’s only 176 miles so will save a lot of time… I am disappointed not to start at the sign on Adams and Michigan Avenue, the start proper, but it will just be humongous traffic.
As I leave the sky is brightening up in the west so I might get away with it. I stop for a coffee and see that there is a Harley dealer just down the road, so am going to pop in and get my dealer pin.
I feel much better having made this decision, I can now enjoy today without feeling desperate to ride hundreds of miles. I have also crossed into another time zone and gained an hour… Things are definitely looking up.
I arrive in Joliet and head straight for the Route 66 Welcome Centre:
Once inside I am greeted by an older woman who appears to be a meet and greet volunteer. She is very nice and tells me to take my time looking at the exhibits and not to forget to visit the souvenier shop… ahem.
It’s quite an exhibit and really gets one in the mood for the adventure.
I get my first route 66 pin here, for the State of Illinois and then I ask the volunteer lady where I can find route 66 to get started. She says ‘It’s right outside the door… you’re parked on it’… well I never.
Back on the bike and I feel like my holiday is really starting now… this is great. I take it easy on the bike cos I don’t want to miss anything. Up ahead I see a car on a stick… ooooh my first photo op..
After taking the photo I pull away and pick up speed, suddenly the bag which is attached to my belt, flys up and I see my international drivers permit almost fall out of the unopen zip, (I opened the zip to get some money out for the pin). I stop the bike to check everything and believe it or not my passport is gone.. it has fallen out. I am devastated.
I immediately turn around and look for it. Up and down the road but nothing. I even go all the way back to the Route 66 welcome centre and retrace my route searching both sides of the road, but still nothing. I spot a police car at the traffic lights so pull alongside and tell him, he hasn’t heard anything on his radio to say it has been handed in so I ask him for directions to the police station.
I am seen almost immediately and make a formal report of the lost passport. The woman on the desk very kindly offers to find the Irish Embassy number for me so that I can inform them.
I then take another look on route 66 to see if I can find it but no luck. I decide there’s nothing more I can do so continue along on my journey.
Here are a few of the things I see that Route 66 is famous for…
I stop for dinner in Braidwood at an iconic retaurant.. the Polk-A-Dot…
It is basically a fast food burger joint these days, but I bet it was so much more in its heyday. It is dark now and the bugs are out in full force.. get off me!!
It’s time to find somewhere to stay, I get chatting to a local couple who tell me there used to be a hotel in Braidwood but a tornado tore the roof off and it never re-opened. They tell me of another hotel over by the interstate, its called the Sun Motel and they should be open.
I follow their directions and find the motel and they have a room available. Just when I thought there was nothing worse than the Super 8 in Williamsburg… this is filthy, although the bed looks clean. At least it doesn’t smell of cat pee, but it is awful… better than nothing I suppose.
Well a good day overall, but am absolutely gutted about my passport… what a pain.. I need to contact the Irish Embassy tomorrow.
Honestly, what else can possibly go wrong….