Alps' Roads Special - Joliet Road Meet
Joliet Road Meet, April 21, 2012
I flew into Chicago the morning before the meet, leaving enough time to poke around Chicago and environs. I looped through the airport to clinch I-190, then headed east on I-90 to some Chicago streets (Lawrence, Ashland, Hollywood). This took me up to the beginning of Lake Shore Drive, which I followed south past the end onto US 41 and into Indiana. I criss-crossed under the closed portions of Cline Ave., SR 912, which were since demolished over Lake George Canal, and onto the open section south to I-80. I came back into Illinois and followed I-94 through I-90/I-94 to the US 41 exit. From there, I took Lake Cook Rd. across to IL 83 and down IL 53 to Joliet, making sure to clinch the freeway spur in Palatine/Arlington Heights.
The morning of the meet, I went on a morning excursion with A.J. Bertin. We took US 30 west to IL 126, then north on IL 47 to US 34 east and back into Oswego. We headed up IL 25 to Aurora, paying a visit to the interesting Stolp Island bridges. We then took the old Lincoln Highway out of town (Galena Blvd. and Hill Ave.) back to US 34, continuing east to IL 83 and south to I-55. We drove the newly opened section of I-355 south to I-80, and then headed west to the meet via US 30.
The meet used local roads (Essington, Caton Farm, Drauden) to head west and a little north to the first stop, Renwick Rd., with a one-lane truss bridge and a wider replacement under construction. We then headed up River Rd. to the tornado monument outside Plainfield Central High School, back south to Renwick Rd. along IL 59, then all the way east to IL 7/IL 53. We turned south for our next stop at the closed Division St. Bridge over the Des Plaines River, and the meet photo:
Obscuring this historic bridge: Michael Koerner, Brandon Gorte, Mike Saldivar, Chris Lokken, H.B. Elkins, Scott Onson, Sam Scholtens, Sean Lyons (SEND HELP), Brian Rawson-Ketchum, A.J. Bertin, me (HELP), Eric Stuve's hair, Chris Tarr, Doug Kerr, Jason Ilyes, Jeff Carlyle, and David Feryance. We then continued south for some dessert at Rich & Creamy in Joliet, on old US 66 and featured in the Blues Brothers movie. From there, we poked around downtown Joliet, coming to Bicentennial Park to explore the Jefferson Street Bridge on US 30 EB. We continued east to IL 53, south to I-80, and across the Des Plaines River to US 6 WB, which took us to the Brandon Rd. Lock and Dam. From that stop, the meet followed Brandon Rd. to Laraway Rd., back to IL 53, and south to Manhattan Rd., which becomes Arsenal Rd., which has an interchange with I-55 that was under construction, which led to a meet stop to explore it. After which, we circled around to I-55 NB to Exit 247 (Bluff Rd.), west to US 6 WB, and stopped at Brisbin Rd. for construction of its new I-80 interchange. That was almost our last stop, but we headed west to get on I-80 through the construction, and decided to stop at the next rest area. This is what happens when you put enough road enthusiasts in a rest area:
Where's I-80? Found it!
The meet then drove the new I-355 northbound, complementing my morning SB drive, up to I-55, and back south to the meet restaurant. After a great time with everyone, this kicked off my vacation, which headed out toward Elgin, up to Green Bay, down through Minneapolis to the Quad Cities, and explored Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas, before coming to Tulsa for the last leg of my Route 66 journey. That took me back up to Joliet, where I coincidentally spent another night. From there, my route picks up along I-80, east to Kedzie Ave., and across to IL 1 via 183rd St. and Dixie Highway. I then came up IL 394, east on I-80 into Indiana, and north on SR 152 to US 20. After picking up US 12 and US 41, I crossed into Illinois and spent the rest of my day exploring the truss bridges of Chicago, starting with US 41 and the US 12/US 20 Blues Brothers bridge (95th St.). There were bridges across the Calumet and Little Calumet Rivers, Cal-Sag Channel, Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, Chicago River, and North Branch Chicago River. There were bridges along Wacker Drive and on LaSalle St., Western Ave., and Division St.. There were even state highway bridges on IL 1, IL 83, IL 43, and a bonus US highway on US 45. Once I was done downtown, I found myself on Diversey Ave., which I took to California Ave. to get on I-90, to I-190, to drop off my rental car and return home.
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