Would you like a new idea for a trip? This is one that I would love to take someday. I'd love to take a trip down The Mother Road, old Route 66, and take it at least as far south as Springfield, Illinois.
The drive from the start in downtown Chicago to Springfield would take the day if you stop along the way. Like at the prison featured in Blues Brothers. And the factory that makes the world supply of beer nuts (including a products store).
Maybe hit a couple of county seats, like Litchfield which was built on coal wealth over 100 years ago and has sort of frozen in surprisingly good repair.
It has a basically untouched Carnegie Library. Not far out of town on a farm road is the real grave of the real Mother Jones, the encouraging angel in the late 19th century armed warfare between unionizing miners and other workers vrs company owners and the Pinkertons & federal troops. The next day at Springfield visit the only house Abe Lincoln owned. And eat lunch at the shop which invented the Corn Dog.
On the way back I'd visit the Illinois and Michigan Canal to see the reason Chicago first existed.
- Route 66 = the first federal transcontinental road running West from Chicago to Santa Monica Pier on the Pacific. There are several web sites with maps and information. No one link is best. Hunt around. The best part of the deal is that all routes sort of parallel Interstates so a fast Plan B is easy to find.
- The Blues Brothers prison
- Beer Nuts bakery and store
- Litchfield, a classic Midwest county seat
- Carnegie Libraries/ background
- Mother Jones A fierce defender of miners and other workers against armed government violence. Her grave in a donated farmer's field near Mt Olive, IL. Ask for directions at the Litchfield Carnegie library
- Honest Abe's house – set in his restored residential neighborhood.
- Corn Dog
- Illinois Michigan canal