Epic Route 66: Day 1

Gemini Giant, Wilmington, IL

Goal: Tulsa, OK

If you ask my son what his favorite part of our road trip was, he would say the Gemini Giant. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why he always names this stop as his favorite. This was our very first stop along the way in Wilmington, IL, only about 60 miles from Chicago. The only thing I can figure is that this is where our kid prep started to pay off. As mentioned in a previous post (see Preparing Kids for an Epic Family Trip), the kids and I visited websites and downloaded coloring pages of sites that we would see along our route. And one of those sites was the Gemini Giant.

What is the Gemini Giant, you may ask? Well, it’s just a little bit of that kitschy America that’s sprinkled along Route 66. It’s a monumental ex-Muffler Man (more info here http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/37422) geared up like an astronaut that accompanies the (now defunct?) Launching Pad Restaurant right next door.

Looking back at the road we traveled, Wilmington, IL
Reflecting on why we actually took this trip?!?! Launching Pad Restaurant, Wilmington, IL

After snapping few pics and exchanging a few puzzled looks with my husband, silently asking each other what the actual goal of this trip was and why we pulled over and got out of the car to experience such a weird, side-of-the-road garage sale moment, we piled the family back in the car and went back on our way through the rest of Illinois and on to St. Louis, MO where we stopped for lunch in the pouring rain.

The Arch in the pouring rain. Did you get a pic? Good, let’s go! I’m soaked!!! St. Louis, MO

St. Louis was pretty anti-climactic (and adversely climatic), so after some pizza, we got back on the road again.

Route 66 traverses 8 states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. As you exit Missouri, the main highway goes straight to Oklahoma, but Route 66 travels through the slightest little corner of Kansas. And, in order to keep the kids happy, so did we. To find the inspiration for the movie Cars.

The weather started to turn and packed us a wallop on the way out of Kansas.

We found ourselves in a comfy hotel room in Tulsa, OK way after the sun went down.

Day one goal: Accomplished


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