Another hot day with temperatures int the 90s. Explored the centre of Springfield this morning – the Old Capitol Building and other historic landmarks; a large second hand bookshop (had to limit myself to one book because of the baggage allowance) and a vintage store with lots of musical stuff. Left town on the interstate for 5 miles and were then back on Old Route 66 through the corn and soya fields (the latter grown for biofuels). Not much else is grown around here. Had to get James’s sunglasses fixed and spotted a Walmart that had an optician inside who did the job for nothing. Resisted the temptation to add guns to the shopping trolley. On through various small communities and had lunch in the shade at park in Mount Olive. In Staunton we had to stop at Henry’s Rabbit Ranch – another eccentric along the road. He rescues abandoned rabbits, sells other R66 memorabilia and has his version of the Cadillac Ranch except his is old VW Golfs which were called rabbits in the US. Passed the most extensive scrap yard and car graveyard I have ever seen. Mid afternoon we crossed the Mississippi on the 1926 McKinley Bridge and found our hotel. I was looking forward to cooling off in the pool but it is shut because it is September despite the heat. The Illinois State map has now been put away and tomorrow we will explore St Louis.
We left Chicago this morning and have spent the day driving through Illinois farmlands with almost ripe corn and sunflowers by the road. Passed through numerous small villages and towns, spotted the Californian Zephyr at a rail crossing on its return trip to Chicago (we rode on it to SF three years ago) and lots of Route 66 memorabilia. The Illinois licence plate says ‘Land of Lincoln’ and his history is all around here, especially in Springfield. We will have a look around tomorrow before heading off to St Louis. We watched the film before we left. Now ensconced in a retro-themed hotel! Will take some photos tomorrow