There’s something reminiscent about watching Everybody Loves Raymond on a box TV in 2017….Quite a few of the motels we have stayed in have had these old models with a high pitched noise to go with that pierces your eardrums for the duration the TV is on. When we arrived at the motel, one I chose for laundry service, we were greeted by a cheery chap behind the desk. He informed us where our room was so we could park near it so Nathan moved the car. When we were walking to our room I turned to Nathan and said I didn’t see the laundry on the map. He went and asked and a couple of minutes later I went back to the desk because I hadn’t been given my card or license back! Good job I checked. 

He had informed Nathan the washing machines weren’t working, but he put all our washing in the big machine by reception! I was so glad because I was getting frustrated with this ‘laundry service’ not being a laundry service. About half an hour later our phone rings and it’s the man at the desk making sure there’s no delicates that can’t be tumble dried! I tell him just to chuck it all in as there’s nothing delicate and we will come and collect it in half an hour. 

Upon collection of the freshly washed and dried clothes, I start sorting out the socks. Two odd ones. We had lost two socks. One of mine one of Nathan’s. It is officially true that washing machines eat socks!!!!

Or so we thought. About an hour or so later the phone rings again. There are two odd wet socks in front of the washing machine! There is something so satisfying about odd socks being reunited ❤️. 

This morning began with a leisurely stroll to Abraham Lincolns National Historic Site which consisted of houses dating back to when he lived in Springfield, Illinois. 

The houses were beautiful and belonged to different people. Above is the Dubois house, Beedle house and Arnold house. Abraham Lincoln’s home, pictured above, was where he lived from 1844 to 1861 and was the only home he ever owned. It was a beautiful neighbourhood that has been preserved. We even saw an opossum hanging out in the garden. We did think it was an anteater to begin with but they don’t live in America!

We strolled back towards the motel and decided to walk a few blocks further. It was still hot but the breeze was strong and cooler than it has been. We stumbled across the State Capitol which had some guy on the steps out front campaigning for alcoholism to be recognised as a disease and alcohol banned. I mean they had even shut roads off for this and there were all of about 15 people listening to him preach! The building was impressive though! 

We would be driving from Springfield up to Chicago later on along the Historic Route 66. It isn’t an actual highway anymore but there’s lots of places to stop along it to see things from the past. 

Next stop was Abraham Lincolns tomb. 

Situated 2 miles away from the neighbourhood in Oak Ridge Cemetery. The memorial was huge and you could go inside  too. They had statues at every corner and then at the back was a huge marble block where his remains are buried 10 feet under. He is buried in the crypt with his wife and three of his children. Edward died aged four of tuberculosis, William died aged twelve of a fever, Thomas died aged eighteen of heart failure and Robert was the only one to survive adulthood. Mary struggled with losing her children and Abraham so Robert had her committed to a mental asylum for a short while. Robert went on to attend Harvard university and served on Ulysses S Grant’s staff during the civil war as captain. He went on to build a successful law firm. he died in 1926 aged 85 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The last descendent of the Lincoln family, his great-grandson died in 1985. 

And then began our journey up to Chicago. It was a 3 hour journey and about an hour and a half in, we saw a sign for Route 66 welcome centre so we pulled in. We were in Dwight. 

The gentleman in there was very helpful and knowledgeable and gave us a booklet on ‘Illinois 66’ which showed us all the stops from St Louis to Chicago. We had missed the Pontiac museum but this cute little gas station houses the last pumps to be used on Route 66 from Chicago to Illinois. 

It also houses a fire truck and the cards that everyone in the town had for ‘credit’ which would get crossed off as they paid as well as a map which showed all the texaco garages along the route. 

One thing which we liked was the map on the wall which shows where everyone is visiting from. We added our pin to the map. 

The pin marks from last year showed that they had visitors from every place! Onwards we continued to Chicago. Now…we have visited some big cities on our trip so here’s a few things we should have learnt. 

  1. Always enter with enough fuel to get out as fuel prices are much more expensive in the city as opposed to the outskirts
  2. Pretty much all the streets are one way so it can take a while to get to where you need to go if you miss a turning 
  3. Parking is extortionate
  4. Never enter a big city after 10am if you think you’ll find somewhere to park

We made the mistake of, having 17 miles left in the tank, missing several turnings, driving in and reversing out of parking garages once we saw the prices and we had arrived at about three in the afternoon. So everything we should have learnt, we clearly ignored. We had planned on Hard Rock Cafe for dinner and there were ample parking garages nearby. 

However, they cost $9 for the first 20 minutes, and then $33 for three hours to which we wanted a lot longer than that so would have cost in the region of $50. Clearly we weren’t going to pay that but we needed to find fuel before we left. We stuck $10 in the tank and headed out of Chicago, heading north. Our plan was to hit Chicago before 9am tomorrow for the early bird special at $15.

That meant we had this evening to play with. Why not a trip up to Wisconsin? 

We ended up at the Jelly Belly factory! Due to the insane amount of traffic leaving Chicago we missed the last tour by 7 minutes but the shop had information and all sorts of goodies. 

Nathan made his own creation..

Full of all different flavours 🍬🍬. We needed to get some dinner so I tasked Nathan with finding somewhere. Somewhere we hadn’t eaten. He came up with Texas Roadhouse, about ten miles away from where we were. We walked inand it looked really cool. It kinda had a Hooters feel to it but without the girls. We were shown to our booth and told about the Roadhouse. Emily gave us nuts, which she said we could either throw on the floor or put in the bucket provided. I thought she was joking about throwing the shells on the floor but she wasn’t!! We were then given the most delicious bread with honey cinnamon butterand every time we finished it, we got given more!! It was like an endless supply of bread. We weren’t complaining!! Logan was our waiter and as usual we had the whole “where are you guys from?” We explained that we’re from England and we’re travelling across the states after taking time off work. This seemed like a massively foreign concept to Logan who had passed up a trip to Barcelona with his family this summer! He’s never left his home town!

The thought of that just astounded me! I couldn’t think of anything worse than being confined to one place!! We had tasty cheesy fries to start, then Nathan ordered ribs and I ordered roadkill without onions and mushrooms with a sweet potato and pot of chilli. 

While we were merrily munching away watching the games of the day our mains arrived. I have no idea what on earth came out for me! I had what looked like a beef patty (roadkill was meant to be chopped steak but appeared to just be a burger without a bun), no chilli and then thisMarshmallow!!!!! On a sweet baked potato!! I relooked back through the menu to see if I ordered wrong or what was actually meant to be in the potato but couldn’t find anything! And it tasted so cinnamony! 😩 I had been looking forward to this as the place was great, the atmosphere was great and the service was fantastic. Nathan’s ribs were tasty, I stole his sweet corn, picked out the potato that I could and left half the ‘roadkill.’ 

Aside from that incredibly weird experience, it was a great place! Next time I’ll stick to steak 😂

Until tomorrow Chicago….