I got my new glasses today! I have to say I like them a lot. They look very similar to my old glasses, but of course, these are bifocals. I got progressives, and I don't seem to be having too hard a hard time adjusting. I'm learning to find the "spot," and I'm only feeling a tiny bit of vertigo, and only a wee smidgen of nausea! I'm learning to turn my head more, rather than glance to the side. I'll adjust quickly. Going down the stairs the first time was the worst part! One thing I'm a little disappointed in is that although they definitely get quite dark in the sun, it's still not dark enough for me. I was unable to read in the sun, because it was just too bright. I think it has something to do with the fact that my eyes are sort of a pale green, and that makes them more sensitive to the sunlight. I guess I'll have to get some of those dorky clipons, but that's better than walking outside and not being able to open my eyes!
Today I'm going to write about Art's Motel and Restaurant. It's in Farmersville, Illinois, and Art's place--and sign--is a Route 66 fixture, and a member of the Route 66 Hall of Fame. When I saw it in 2001, it was severely rusted and in bad shape, so I was delighted to see it from the highway on the way to Springfield. I said, "It's still there, Honey!"
On the way back, we were looking for a place to eat, and as I was going through an Illinois Route 66 pamphlet I got at a rest stop, I was even more delighted to see that Art's had been refurbished and reopened in 2006. (I don't believe the restaurant ever shut down, but apparently there was new management and they took the time to spruce it up a bit.) AND they fixed up the sign! Here's what it looked like before (picture from the Route 66 Association of Illinois web site).
According to their web site, Art's Motel and Restaurant "dates back to 1920 when it was known as Hendrick's Brothers Service Station. This unique eatery was rebuilt in 1952 after a fire destroyed the original building." They also state that, "The rooms inside Art's are clean and well kept with a Las Vegas Motif. Prices are reasonable at $35.00 for a single and $40.00 for a double occupancy overnight stay. A sign that sat idle for over 50 years rusting away with many rains now can boast a very bright, clean, warm, flashing advertisement to weary travelers looking for a great place to stay." Way to go, Route 66 Association of Illinois--you have helped to preserve this sign, and the neon on "Art's" is even back! This is a wonderful lesson that things CAN be preserved and are WORTH preserving.
So we decided we'd stop at Art's for lunch. They were open, we sat down at a nice wide booth (the vinyl seats were a little torn up, but that's no big deal to me), and I was trying to decide if I wanted a tuna melt or what, when Ken overheard someone talking to the gal behind the counter and said to me, "I think they don't have power." I said, "Huh? That clock is going...and so is that ceiling fan." Well, the gal came over and apologized--a transformer was out and they wouldn't have power until 4 PM or so. (Apparently the clock ran on batteries, and there was enough of a breeze to stir the overhead fan.) Of all the darned luck! I get a chance to eat at a Route 66 icon and they have a power outage! Ah well. I said, "We'll try to catch you next time!" and we headed on down the road.
Here's the back side of the sign (a picture that I took yesterday), which makes me wonder if they'll try to restore the entire thing at some point.
We ended up at a place called the Star 66 Cafe, attached to a truck stop. While not an original 66 establishment, it was carrying on the fine tradition of roadside diners! We sat at a booth, and we both ordered club sandwiches and coleslaw and fries. The sandwiches were huge, with plenty of bacon, and the platter was heaped with crinkle-cut fries. The place was packed with locals (always a good sign), and our sweetheart of a waitress was joking around with all the regulars. I wished I would have had room for dessert, because they had one of those lit refrigerated dessert stands, with all kinds of pies and cakes, and even baklava! (I think the owners were Greek. Some of the workers had that sort of accent.) The place was very clean and comfortable, and a guy was even sweeping the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.
This, my friends, is the appeal of such places to me. While we didn't linger there, we didn't feel rushed, we had a great lunch, and we got to soak up a little color. It's also a fond reminder of trips with my parents when I was a kid, when these kinds of places were the norm rather than a rarity. It doesn't always have to be fast food and superfast highways. Slowing down can bring some unexpected and worthwhile experiences.