route66Sign.gif (1966 bytes)
route66Sign.gif (1961 bytes)Route 66 Trip '99        Alex, Baker, John, and Rachel
Black Dash.gif (275 bytes)
   e-mail us on our trip!
Day 1 - Illinois
Day 2 - Missouri
Day 3 - Kansas/ Oklahoma
Day 4 - Oklahoma
Day 5 - Oklahoma/Texas/New Mexico
Day 6 - New Mexico
Day 7 - New Mexico/Arizona
Day 8 - Arizona/California
Day 9 - California
Day 10 - California
Day 11 - California
Day 12 - California
Day 13 - California / Nevada / Utah / Wyoming
Day 14 - Wyoming / Colorado
Day 15 - Colorado / Nebraska / Iowa / Illinois

Day 15 [8/4/99]
From: Boulder, CO
To: Chicago, IL [yeah, that's right]
Total Miles: 1015
Sites Seen: Colorado, Nebraska, Corn, Iowa, Corn, Illinois, Corn, Chicago
Today's Entry By: John Raskin

route66Sign.gif (1961 bytes) We successfully operated on the very Franke theory that all emotions are better left unstated, and we all pretended that we didn’t care where Day 15 took us, as long as it was somewhere toward Chicago. Still, in the back of our mind from the beginning of the day was the idea that somehow, no matter how painful, or how boring, or how much corn we’d have to pass, we were going to make it to Chicago that day. Except for Rachel. Rachel didn’t want to drive that much, which is why we avoided the topic of destination until mid-Iowa.

We headed out from Boulder leisurely in the morning, took I-76 to I-80, and drove for hundreds and hundreds of miles. Sometimes we saw teenagers on the road.

Rachel went back and forth between crawling around the floor of the van, whining about how much distance existed between Boulder and our destination, which we refused to tell her, and driving hundreds of miles an hour in an effort to get wherever we were going much faster. She was genuinely bothered when cars didn’t move out of our way, which of course the stubborn Nebraska teenagers were reluctant to do. For those of you over 25 or so, it has been proven that placing groups of teenagers near each other is like sticking two magnets’ north ends together; there is a natural, inexplicable tension in the air and both sides become defensive. So we and the other teenagers eyed each other suspiciously for the majority of central Nebraska, until we ran out of gas and they didn’t, which gave us some separation.

Baker’s average interstate speed was a good 20 mph lower than his frontage road speed, which caused some of that good ol’ teenage tension between him and the rest of the car, except Alex who is immune because she is 45 years old. Baker was incredibly sure that there were police waiting specifically for him, so he followed speed laws religiously and made us stop taking shots off the dashboard.

Alex, when driving, continued her normal pattern of not really paying attention to the speedometer, assuming any speed matter would resolve itself. She also refused, for the duration of the trip, to use side view mirrors, which meant that for the half hour before switching lanes she would be turned about 150 degrees from forward, watching the road behind us.

I drove as I pleased, because I realized that as the writer of Day 15 I would be immune to criticism. So we hit Omaha, which was our original destination, around 4:00 p.m. and decided to keep going to Des Moines. We got there at 8:00, ate dinner and experienced teenage friction with a group of locals skateboarding around the drive-thru hamburger joint, and finally admitted out loud that we planned to go to Chicago. We drove over the Mississippi on the way, and we do consider ourselves bicoastal, if you consider the Mississippi a coast.

We pressed on eastward through Illinois, stopping at the Illinois welcome center to switch drivers on a deserted country road. We entered Chicago from the south and would have breathed a sigh of relief but construction on I-55 means that the highway is down to "two" lanes, which together are one-and-a-half car widths. So we had some frequent "truck-and-wall, truck-and-wall" incidents, but eventually we emerged safely onto Lake Shore Drive, which we exited at Jackson to take our photograph in front of the Art Institute at the beginning of Route 66. We parked on Adams (2:00 a.m. is one of the six hours per day in which you may legally park there), crossed Michigan Avenue and posed like tourists by the lions, which we realized were the first photographs we had taken since we touched the ocean in Santa Monica.

Exhilarated by our late-night arrival into Chicago, we drove happily to my house, unpacked nothing, threw ourselves a welcome-home party, ate a 4:00 a.m. snack at the Wiener Circle, went outside at 5:10, got thousands of mosquito bites, went inside at 5:17 and fell asleep as the sun rose.

<Previous Day
Next Day>