Saturday, May 25, 2013

Route 66 - part two

Here I am in Chicago.

Now an admission. It's possible to parallel much of Route 66 by Greyhound, largely by interstate highways. It's not possible - by Greyhound - to follow the road. Route 66 is now incomplete and much in bad or minimal repair. To do so takes busses, taxis, rental cars, sightseeing tours and even, I hope, a little walking. As I want to do this in approximately two weeks, I will not be able to say this trip was entirely done by Greyhound. 

I won't overly bore you with transport details, nor inundate you with Route 66 facts and trivia. Scores of much more informative sites are devoted to the road. Innumerable blogs are written. They've provided many ideas. 

For those who’ve done a Route 66 internet search and ended up here, I suggest you turn elsewhere. This will not, by any stretch, be a definitive account; it is a cursory look at Route 66. 

Old style luxury at Chicago's historic Palmer House where U.S. presidents and the Dalai Lama stay. I jettison thrift and go for a room down a corridor decorated with pictures of those who've performed here - Liberace, Maurice Chevalier, Jimmy Durante, Eartha Kitt and many more.

The hotel's a block from old Route 66's start (going west) and two blocks from the end (coming from Los Angeles). Dedicated - as opposed to onetime - 66 travellers constantly leave fresh evidence of passages.

This is just yards from the 'L' (pronounced ‘el’ as in elevated railway) in the 'Loop,’ where the railway loops and Chicago's historic centre.

Although opened in 1897, there is still local controversy over whether it’s the ‘L’ or ‘El.’ The Chicago Tribune stylebook goes for ‘L.' However, it seems to be sacrilege to write ‘el.’

Route 66 is also not far from the Conrad Hilton Hotel (the substantial pile at far left in this picture) where my mother and I stayed in the early Sixties. I remember it well as Mum claimed she saw a mouse in our fourteenth floor room.

I'm leaving Chicago tomorrow. Gotta do some last minute washing in my expensive sink. Am sure there are no mice at the Palmer House.