2014 Great Circle Tour travel blog

Today's route

Highway Dept. carrying some road kill

Lincoln watermelon monument

Signs and murals in Lincoln

Tiny church in Lincoln, IL

Humongous ball of twine in Lincoln

Dutz's Paint store circa early 1960's

Lunch at the Blue Dog Inn

Lincoln County Courthouse

Telephone booth on the roof of Lincoln City Hall

Phone booth

Lincoln Theater is still showing movies

Sue waiting for me in the park

Stained glass at the Lincoln Train Depot

World's largest covered wagon

Abe Lincoln sitting in the driver's seat of the big covered wagon

The Mill on Route 66 - undergoing restoration by the Rt. 66...

Collection of old FMC motorhomes

Sign marking the location of the Pig Hip Restaurant on Route 66

Winnie and the Fit at Springfield KOA


We’re back on the road again after a restful stay at Kamp Komfort and headed toward Springfield on Route 66. When in the Land of Lincoln, you have to stop in Lincoln, IL and it’s on Route 66. Lincoln was named after Abraham Lincoln before he became President. It was officially named in 1853 in a ceremony that Lincoln attended. He had helped with the platting of the town and worked as the counsel for the railroad that led to its founding. At the ceremony he allegedly said that in his experience “Nothing bearing the name of Lincoln ever amounted to much." He purchased two watermelons that he carried to the ceremony under his arms. He sliced one open and poured the juice on the ground christening the new town. The event is commemorated with a 2-foot long steel watermelon slice in a small park at the train depot. Unfortunately the area is rather poorly maintained for the significance of the event.

After we parked Winnie, we started to walk toward the town center when we passed an old store front that appears to be a private residence now. In the window was a huge ball of twine, but there were no signs or explanations. Sue was especially curious about the ball because she used to love to read a book “A Big Ball of String” to the kids at school. Since it was lunch time, we stopped at the Blue Dog Inn to get something to eat. Sue asked someone there about the big ball of string and they thought it was related to the book. I’ve done some internet searching tonight and I think I have the story. The ball was created at the Dutz Paint Store which was located next to the Blue Dog Inn where we ate lunch. The ball is called the “Humongous Ball of String” and has been around since at least the early ‘60’s based on a picture I found. As of 2001, it weighed 400lbs. Dutz’s is gone now; it was leveled for a parking lot. I’m not sure how the ball of string got to it’s current location.

The Blue Dog served Horseshoes, so I had one. I wasn’t impressed with their version. It had way too much cheese sauce on it. I’m going to have to try a breakfast horseshoe before we leave the area. The Blue dog Inn has a dog motif with dog wallpaper, dog pictures, dog statues, etc. The place was jammed because there was a power outage in another part of town so people went to where the electric was on to eat lunch. After lunch I walked around the historic district while Sue waited by the watermelon in the park to rest the blister she has on her foot. I had to see the famous phone booth on the roof of City Hall. Why would they have a phone booth on the roof? It was used to look for tornadoes. In the late 1960s, the city decided it needed a spotter system when skies grew menacing, so it decided to use the roof as a vantage point. Someone would have to climb to the roof and during storms and tornados, the weather might get wet. The lookout would need protection. Somebody came up with the idea of a phone booth. It even had a phone in it that was direct wired downstairs to the public safety people. With the Weather Channel and the National Weather Service Doppler radars, the phone booth has outlived its usefulness, but remains in place because it is a major tourist attraction for those traveling Route 66. As a matter of fact for foreign visitors it’s more famous than the city’s namesake.

Leaving Lincoln, you pass the world’s largest covered wagon with a 12ft. Abe Lincoln driving. We headed south on old Rt. 66 and I missed the “Road Closed” sign and had to pull a U-turn to find a way around the closure. Luckily the road was wide enough and I didn’t have to unhook the Fit. There wasn’t a lot to see along Route 66 before you get to Springfield, so we decided to head to the Springfield KOA where we will be spending the next couple of days while we explore Springfield.

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