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  • Writer's pictureGareth Owens

Route 66 - Day 3 - Chicago to Lincoln

Gemini Giant at The Launch Pad

Google mileage: 157

Actual mileage: 171

Total trip miles: 171

Today we picked up the bikes from the MCC Triumph dealership which is part of the EagleRider franchise in the west Chicago suburbs. Geoff, the rental agent, was really friendly and helpful and provided us with some tips, maps, chain lube and plenty of time to get ourselves settled before the ride. After a bit of packing and re-packing we managed to get all our kit in the panniers and the Tiger's top box. 

Picking up the bikes MCC Chicago

We finally hit the road at midday. The temperature was already in the high 80's so it wasn't long before we stopped for a breather and some water. After feedback from friends who have ridden Route 66 we chose to work our way out of Chicago and pick up the 66 on the edge of town, rather than try and follow its twists and turns through an unfamiliar city, on unfamiliar bikes, in traffic that we were not used to. We picked up the 66 in the suburbs and were able to follow the route pretty well.

Once the city fell behind us the 66 became easier to follow. We had decided to do the trip with maps rather than a sat nav, so a few wrong turns were to be expected. This proved to be the case. Being on holiday with no set daily destination means that there's no stress if you take a wrong turn or two.

From Chicago we rode to the town of Joliet, passing the prison from Blues Brothers, before stopping off at Joliet Park for a drink and our first photo opportunity.

Our next stop was the Gemini Giant muffler man at the Launching Pad Diner in Wilmington, Illinois. Here we chatted to some other Brits who had set off on the same trip as us that day in their rental car. We had great fun checking out the roadside attractions but do wonder if we can make it to LA if there is going to be this much to stop and see along the route.

We had lunch at the Polk-a-Dot Drive In, a retro 1950's diner in Braidwood. By now the heat appeared to be getting to the Triumph Sprint who's gearbox was getting really sticky, so much so that we had to swap bikes as Alisa couldn't change gear. Once the engine cooled down it improved, but it was clear that the gearbox or clutch had seen better days. Fingers crossed it doesn't let us down later in the trip.

Next was Pontiac, (another wrong turn) followed by Towanda where we had a nice chat with some locals and signed the route 66 guest register at the little park created by the community there.

By now we were riding on straight roads with big broad sky's. It's amazing to see a 360 degree horizon. It's something you just don't get in the UK. 

The towns of Normal and Funks Grove passed by in the setting sun as we headed for Lincoln. Having set off at midday and taken our time, we realised that riding to Springfield was a step too far. About 7 miles outside Lincoln we drove through Atlanta, a cute little town with an old style high street and another roadside muffler man called the Bunyan Giant. I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff, so more pics were taken.

We arrived in Lincoln about 7:30 pm. After riding around the town for a while we found a Comfort Inn for the night. It's 9:30 pm as I write this blog in the Steak n Shake across the road. It's been a good days ride and we've had fun (with the exception of the dodgy gearbox/clutch on the Sprint). 

Tomorrow will be an earlier start, to give us more time to explore the places we stop at along the way.

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