We just returned from a spring break roadtrip, mostly along the old Lincoln Highway going west, and I-80 returning home. We were gone March 22nd to April 2nd.
We picked up the Lincoln Highway just south of Elburn, Illinois. Most of L-H (Lincoln Highway) through this part of the state is Illinois 38. We used Bruce Butko's new book (see RTA's review) which we found to be excellent as far as what to see, but sometimes had problems following the directions around cities.
Drove through beautiful downtown Dekalb, an Illinois Main Street Community, and saw the lagoon and Altgeld Hall, the original building of Northern Illinois University. About six miles west is Malta, location of the first seedling mile (where a mile of pavement was laid to show the public how good paved roads were). For almost the whole time we were on L-H, the road paralleled railroad tracks, and judging from the numerous trains, business is good.
Farther west is Rochelle, the Hub City, with its restored old gas station. If you're a railroad fan, they have a park just for observing the many trains that roll through town.
We stopped at the Lincoln Building in Franklin Grove where we visited the headquarters of the Lincoln Highway Association. Part of the famous fence with mileages listed was blown down by the storms that crashed through Illinois several weeks ago. This is a good place to get information and souvenirs. I also joined the L-H Association which costs $30 a year. Bought a hat, teeshirt, and magnetic sign for the car. We wanted to eat at the Lincoln Cafe across the street, but they are closed on Mondays.
Then, it was on to President Ronald Reagan's hometown of Dixon. The arch across Lincoln Highway is quite a sight. You can also visit Reagan's boyhood home. This is part of a Reagan Trail you can drive in Illinois.
I have found with both Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway, that Illinois has the best signage I've seen. You can practically drive them without a map, they are that good.
We continued on to Fulton and saw the magnificent Dutch windmill right on the Mississippi River. From there, we dropped a few blocks south to the bridge and crossed over into Clinton, Iowa, home of baseball's Class A Lumber Barons, nothing like some good old minor league baseball. Too bad it's not the season yet. You can also gamble on a riverboat.
A favorite place to eat in Clinton is J & D Steakhouse right on 2nd Street, the old Lincoln Highway. This opened back in 1968 and serves up some great food at reasonable prices. We had the double porkchops, salad, soup, vegetables, and baked potato for $5.99. You didn't even need a knife to cut it.
I'll have to get back to you on the rest of the trip which included 31 new NTN sites, storms, old road, and a trip to North America's largest round barn in Red Cloud, Nebraska. We visited the cities of Cedar Rapids and Carroll in Iowa; Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa, and the Quad Cities.
Keep on Down that Lincoln Highway. --RoadDog