SwitchSwitch to white text on black.Switch to black text on white.
Draplin Design Co., North America


Grisly Bastards, Floundering, Honest Abe, Mr. Shea, Anger, Big Shoulders, The End Of The Line For Us

Woke up at the Country Inn, had a meal with a grisly group of locals at the adjacent Country Caf� and were on our way. Man, lots of interesting characters, all over this Mother Road. Smoking�s death grip has gotten many of them, contributing to their raspy, throaty sand paper voices. It�s amazing. The scary part is how young some of these folks are, with that raspy smoker�s death drawl. Heavy duty shit. Only for the dedicated.

- - - -

We followed 66 up towards Chicago, paralleling the road through farm country for the rest of the day. We�d come to a little �blip on the map� town, slow down, cruise the gut and then pick up speed to the next one. This went on for some time, hitting antique shops and interesting roadside attractions.

We weren�t making the best of time in the initial stretch out of Mt. Olive. At one point, after a considerably long pitstop at a vintage car lot, we �did the math� concerning our progress. Let�s see, we pushed off outta Mt. Olive a little after 10am. It�s 3:45 in the p.m. now. We�ve gone a total of 87 miles. Ha, that�s about 13 miles an hour.� Assholes.

So it goes when �seeing everything� is the road policy.

- - - -

Springfield, Illinois is the home of Abe Lincoln. He was actually born in Kentucky, where he spent his first 28 years, moving to Springfield to become the most successful lawyer in town, and maybe, in all of Illinois. We took a tour of his house, seeing the period furniture and fixtures. Love that shit. Just to think of him playing the boys, or coaching Mary Todd Lincoln through one of her �spells of depression� is enough to send my mind whirling off. High ceilings.

An outhouse with three thrones got dad�s imagination going. Dad saw the outhouse and pondered, �Eh, we could climb down there and get a turd from Honest Abe.� A master of timing, he always knows how to size up the moment. Due to our timeframe we had to keep moving, sans a turd from 1861.

- - - -

The best stop of the day, grubby hands down, was �Shea�s Texaco Station� on the outskirts of North Springfield. Mr. Shea has owned a Texaco station for some 63 years. And he hasn�t thrown a thing out from that time either. His station, no longer operational, serves as a time capsule of his career. The best. Vintage everything. Oil cans, pumps, clothing, maps, Route 66 trinkets�it was endless. Old man Shea was 83, a little slow in his tour, but nevertheless sharp as a tack with the firmest handshake this side of the Mississippi. Beautiful. Best stop of in the Illinois stretch.

- - - -

Dad�s a little pissed off at the trinket selection the Route has offered. He�s had one goal for the whole ordeal, to �Get mom something nice.� Well, stormin�out of store after store, pissed off at Chinese-built trinkets, is no way to come home bearing gifts. It drove the man nuts. I think we may show up back home empty-handed as far as gifts are concerned, but, we do come bearing a wealth of adventure stories.

- - - -

And on up into Chicago we went, all the way into the �City of Big Shoulders� at a little after 9 in the p.m. We braved Interstate 55 all the way in, down to Lake Shore Drive and up to Michigan Ave. We found where Adams met Michigan Avenue and turned off to park. This was the official beginning of Route 66, but for us, the end. P.J. �Hoss� Chmiel and Vanessa were gracious enough to come downtown to greet us. We enjoyed some small talk and shared a couple of tall tales. Good shit. I�ll see that bastard in a couple weeks the next time I pass through.

- - - -

So that was the end of it. What a journey. I am forever thankful for the opportunity to share the experience with my dad. The best co-pilot a guy could have. Many more adventures ahead of us, you bet.

Special thanks to dad for being there with me.

- - - -

As I type this, I�m proud to say these words are being transferred to this small laptop inside the Michigan state line.

There Are 2 Comments

Really really nice to see you and your Ojciec yesterday, thanks for sticking around as long as you did. In less time than it takes to watch a terrible sitcom, we walked away with memories, wisdom and jokes to last a lifetime. Great job on the little Triptik cards too…good reading and sharp design. Looking forward to seeing you (and hopefully Ryno) in a few weeks. Happy trails til then, thanks for all the updates.

Posted by: pj chmiel on 09/29/04 at 5:11 PM

Blah Blah.

Posted by: Kurty on 09/29/04 at 6:54 PM