Day 3, 1K Country Adventure: Illinois to Missouri

We made our way through rain and lots of green, flat farmland as we drove southwest through Illinois to our final destination for the day, St. Charles, Missouri. Suite Stops were quick this morning in Naperville at Fredenhagen Park and Joliet at the nifty Route 66 welcome center, since it was raining and we were told lunch was waiting for us at our third Suite Stop of the day: the giant Beardless Bunyan statue in Atlanta, Illinois.

What a random landmark! The massive Paul Bunyan holding a huge hot dog is just one of hundreds of signs and sculptures that once greeted travelers along Route 66 in the 1960s. It originally held an axe for the Paul Bunyan Café in Arizona, then a hot dog replaced it when the statue moved to Bunyon’s Restaurant in Illinois. Now it’s a great piece of memorabilia and photo op.

Right across the street in quiet Atlanta, Illinois, is the Palms Grill Café, a local institution since the 1930s. Ever heard of pony shoe? Yeah, me either. But Sharlene and my husband both ordered one – a piece of thick white bread covered in meat (chopped ham, turkey, chicken or beef) covered with French fries and smothered in cheese product. Verdict? Yummy, if artery clogging.

Next up the Soulsby’s Gas Station, a classic stop along Route 66 in Mt. Olive, and then, we were thrilled to reach Country Inn & Suites By Carlson St. Charles, just outside of St. Louis, at 7:30 p.m. today – a record for this family, arriving so early in the evening. Yay for us! Plenty of time to relax, unwind, and gear up for what promises to be a great day tomorrow: whether it’s on our Suite Stop schedule or not, this family is going to St. Louis’ famous Gateway Arch! I can’t wait!

Last night’s hotel: Country Inn & Suites By Carlson Naperville

This property just west of Chicago is in an industrial office park, sort of like the Denver Tech Center I’m familiar with. But, like the other Country Inn & Suites properties we’ve been at this week, it’s certainly cozy upon entry. I liked the big lobby with fireplace, television, pool table (which costs $1.50 per game), popcorn machine and tiny bar, where you can also order pizza. Just off the lobby is a little courtyard, with park benches and greenery – a nice little oasis for relaxation and reflection (which might be needed if, like me, you encounter dozens of friendly-yet-rambunctious church-group kids at the hotel).

We had a standard double room on the first floor, which was plenty spacious for the four of us. I had work to do, and I could have gone to the lobby – there’s free wi-fi throughout the hotel. But I just wanted to put my hair up, strip my face of make-up and relax in sweatpants, so I sat on the floor of the bathroom to work last night. All in a day’s work!

Gear Spotlight: Would You Rather…? Gross-Out

Would you rather swallow five live cockroaches or bathe for a week in a tub filled to the brim with octopuses? Would you rather night-crawler worms fly out of your nose every time you sneeze or step in dog poop every day of your life?

Yep, those are the types of scintillating questions my children asked me in the car today as we made our way through this book that tickles kids’ funny bones, by knowing exactly what makes them crack up: gross stuff.

This Would You Rather…? book is especially fun because some of the questions are illustrated with silly, silly cartoons. On other pages you fill in the blanks with your own ridiculous, hypothetical scenarios. Published by Seven Footer Press, other books in the series include Would you Rather…? Pop Culture and Would You Rather…? BFF. If your kids have a wacky sense of humor like mine do, they’ll love these silly titles.

Day 3 Suite Stops:

  • Fredenhagen Park, Naperville, Illinois
  • Route 66 Welcome Center, Joliet
  • Paul Bunyon statue, Atlanta
  • Palms Grill Cafe, Atlanta
  • Soulsby  Shell Station, Mt. Olive
  • Country Inn & Suites By Carlson St. Charles, Missouri

Previous posts:

Disclosure: A significant portion of the costs and resources for my family’s participation in the 1K Country Adventure was provided by Country Inns & Suites By Carlson.


14 Responses to “Day 3, 1K Country Adventure: Illinois to Missouri”

  1. 1
    Mom says:

    You’re heading in the right direction for my guess; can’t wait to discover your destination tomorrow.

  2. 2
    Emily says:

    Love love love it! I’m so glad you guys had a great day – I’m loving all the pictures from you all. Isn’t our St. Charles hotel gorgeous?



  3. 3
    SoCalGal says:

    Ha ha ha! My kids LOVE that “Would You Rather?” series. We had to ban the gross-out book from our kitchen during meals. :)

  4. 4
    Mary says:

    What Fun!! Sounds like a book for my kids! Had to get caught up on all your adventures!

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    StepanKalinin18 says:

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  7. 7

    I’d love to drive along Rt 66 sometime! And all those midwest roadside landmarks are wonderfully random! Did you know there’s a ‘Would you rather…’ iPhone app, too? My kids have lots of fun with it while waiting for food in restaurants!

  8. 8

    Would you rather…eat a 20 foot-long hot dog or a pony shoe? :)

    Love the book (totally getting it for my nephew, who will soon be 10) and love it when a hotel has a little park area. I don’t always want to sit inside when I’m taking a break from sightseeing. Nice!

    Can’t wait to see your Arch photos…

  9. 9
    Derek says:

    Didn’t even realize there was a Paul Bunyan statue outside of Minnesota. Like you said, “Who knew?” Great fun, glad you are having a good time! Good luck in your travels today!

  10. 10

    Would You Rather books could keep you grossed out for hours. :)

    I’ve loved following your roadtrip courtesy of Country Road & Suites. I’ll be honest: that part of the country has been interesting to me but you’ve really brought it to life. The rooms defy expectations, too!

  11. 11
    kristina says:

    Is it too late for you to pick me up some of that Route Beer? I can’t wait to stay at a Country Inn and Suites. How is the Ford Flex treating you? So many questions, so little time. Enjoy your trip…looking forward to more!

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