We drove to Peoria to spend two nights there. Why Peoria, you ask? Well, back in the summer we bought tickets to see Keith Urban in concert in, of all places, Peoria, and to some extent built the schedule of our travels around that. We've seen Keith live about 8 times and this show was among the best. He is an amazing guitar player and singer and performer and after two warm-up acts (Dustin Lynch and Little Big Town), Keith played for 2-1/4 hours and as usual brought down the house. The only other experience I can compare a Keith Urban concert to (and I hope my Boston friends will forgive me this one) is seeing the Red Sox play the Yankees at Fenway in a close game where the Red Sox come from behind in the ninth to win. The crowd was that fired up! I was playing Keith songs all night in my head.
As we drove south from Peoria yesterday, we kept seeing signs about "Route 66 Historic Byway", so Lynnae read out loud the Wikipedia entry for Route 66 and we stopped at the Route 66 State Park visitor center in Missouri. So it turned out to be fitting that the next leg of our trip, after visiting Canada and spending time with Lucas, when we turn westward toward California, that we are travelling along the route of the first Federal highway to be completely paved from the East, specifically Chicago, to California. Started in 1926 and all segments finally paved in the 50's, Route 66 is the quintessential symbol for post-war America. Newly-mobile, newly affluent, optimistic, obsessed with cars and rock 'n roll music, America hit the road and Route 66, sometimes called the "Mother Road" was the place to do it. Much of Route 66 is gone completely and all of it has been bypassed by Interstates, often starving the towns that lived off the travelers on the old Route. Some of the best preserved remnants of Route 66 are in Missouri and Oklahoma and we will report on what we see over the next week or so. Stay tuned!