Route 66 with Charly

Entries of a fantasy trip with a fictional character named Charly, her photographer friend, and her muscle car.

May 29, 2019

Day 1 – Chicago Lunch Time

We were both getting hungry as we started heading back on the eastbound section of Route 66 in downtown Chicago. We should eat lunch soon. I spied this farmer’s market in a plaza in the shadow of Sears Tower. Well, not it is called Willis Tower. At one point, this 110 story building was the world’s tallest.

Walking around the farmer’s market I picked up some brie cheese, a baggett, grapes and a soda. Charly, on the other hand, went for the sweets and picked up some chocolate chip cookies, brownies and sticky buns.

You call that lunch?

Downtown Chicago

After eating, we headed straight back to the car. Of course, I stopped to take a few pictures along the way.

Once we got to the car, Charly was quick to change in to something more casual.

“Hey, you can’t change here?” I said trying not to attract attention to the fact she just slipped her dress off over her head.

“Nobody’s down here,” she said with disgust in her voice.

“I’m down here!” I snapped back.

“Then turn you head if you don’t want to see me undressed,” she chuckled, “it’s not like you haven’t seen a naked lady before.”

My first thought was of a couple of rent-a-cops watching the garage security monitors.

“Hey, Joey, get a load of this. This chick just took her dress off in level B1,” I could imagine them saying.

“Tell me when your decent!” I said firmly.

It seemed all to soon before she said, “Okay, you can turn around.”

We jumped in to the car with me beating her to the driver’s door.

“I’m driving,” I insisted.

She just shrugged.

It took us a while to drive just a few miles south. I wanted to stop at every unique photo opportunity. I soon found I was getting hungry again. Not wanting to eat just anywhere, I wanted to find something “Chicago.”

A Chicago Hot Dog

I love the pop of a Chicago style hot dog. I saw this place, Henry’s, and flipped a U-turn and parked in front.

“Can you do that?” Charly asked.

“Do what? Park here?” I replied.

“No, do a U-turn.” She responded.

“Hey, no sign saying I can’t. Besides, I think your car could outrun any police car.” smiling I said.

Charly in front of Henry's - on the South side of Chicago.
At Henry’s for a Hot Dog

Leaving Chicago

I thought we’d never get out of Chicago. Our destination tonight is… get this… Juliett, Illinois. There’s a Blues Brothers reference there.

May 27, 2019

Day 1 – Chicago L

We walked Route 66 west-bound and crossed under the Chicago L. L is short for the elevated train. There’s a good Wiki article here. Route 66 is Adams Street heading west. The L crosses overhead at S. Weller Street.

I’ve always heard about the Chicago “L” in cop shows in movies and TV, but here I was seeing it for the first time. I told Charly I wanted a picture of her under the L.

She made the sign of the “L”. I wasn’t sure if that was her telling me I’m a loser, or just that sign-language thing so many girls get in to. You know, learning how to finger-spell so they can “talk” to their girl friends at school.

I think there might be a double-entendre message here.

Is she signing the letter "L" because she's standing under the Chicago L?  Or, is she calling me a loser?
L for the Chicago L, or L for Loser?

Perhaps it is all of my camera gear around my neck. She should talk. She’s wearing a cocktail dress and I’m wearing jeans and my Route 66 Photographers shirt.

We continued on walking west on Adams St. down to the South Branch of the Chicago River. It was time to turn around and walk back on Jackson Boulevard (that’s Route 66 eastbound.) Charly is starting to complain about it being lunchtime, how hard it is walking in heels (hmmm… I said dress comfortably) and how hot her dress is.

Charly will just have to wait until we get back to the parking garage. As you can see, street parking is a premium downtown Chicago.

Start at the Beginning in Chicago

If this is your first visit, you can read about this fantasy trip with Charly. Click here to start, and use the menu Blog->Route66 with Charly to see all the posts.

May 26, 2019

Day 1 – Chicago

We arrived in Chicago early in the morning and Charly decided to dress up for breakfast. Donning a chiffon dress with a matching handbag, off we went to find breakfast.

Along the way, we met Paul. He was out taking pictures with his Nikon camera. I started humming Paul Simon’s Kodachrome. That went completely over Charly’s head, but she was happy to oblige him.

Something tells me Charly and I will see a lot of Paul on this trip. Chicago isn’t going to be our only encounter.

It was pretty easy finding Route 66 as the signs are clearly marked. I took time to explain to Charly why Route 66 is so popular. She’s young enough she doesn’t remember a day when there weren’t freeways. Heck, she’s young enough she doesn’t remember rotary phones, slide rules and payphones.

It’s going to be an interesting trip.

Charly and Paul

Eastern Terminus – Chicago

There we stood at the eastern terminus of Historic Route 66. Route 66 is two streets there – one the eastern start, the other the eastern finish. Both one-way streets, of course.

Following the song, Route 66, we took the direction mentioned in the song, “It winds from Chicago to L.A.”

Downtown Chicago isn’t as congested as New York City, San Francisco or Los Angeles. We walked the old Route 66 until we were starting to leave the high-rise portion of the city. We then crossed over a block and walked back heading east on the east-bound one-way Route 66.

May 26, 2019 Sticky

Charly – Route 66 with Charly

Route 66 with Charly is a fantasy trip on Route 66. Using photos from my Route 66 2017 Tour I have created this character, Charly, and added her to my photos.

Route 66 with Charly is a fantasy trip on Route 66. Using photos from my Route 66 2017 Tour I have created this character, Charly, and added her to my photos.

Route 66 with Charly is a fantasy trip on Route 66. Using photos from my Route 66 2017 Tour I have created this character, Charly, and added her to my photos.

June 26th, 2019 – UPDATE

I got a lot of ribbing about Charly looking like a man in drag. (I think that is a sad reflection on society in general.) I decided to work on Charly’s face. I gave her puffier cheeks, freckles, and a rounder head.

Back to Charly…

A few months after doing the 2017 tour I took ill. It started as the flu, but once the flu symptoms left, I was without strength, developing tremors, going cross-eyed, and having difficulty swallowing, breathing and talking. I searched the Internet for my symptoms several times. I kept coming back to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). For this reason I didn’t want to see the doctor. I figured ALS was a death sentence.

May rolled around and my wife convinced me to see the doctor. 48 blood tests, cameras being stuck down my throat, and some very painful EMG tests it was determined I had a disease that mimics ALS. While it isn’t a death sentence like ALS, it isn’t curable either.


To keep my sanity I took up 3D art on my computer. With help, we set up a workstation where I could rest my muscles and use my computer for art.


The other day I incorporated a female character in to one of my Route 66 photos. I liked the result so much I decided to start a fantasy story about taking a road trip with this beautiful girl – Charly. I chose the “y” ending to distinguish her name from the common nickname for Charles.

The name Charly was chosen because she’s somewhat of a Tomboy. She owns her own muscle car and does most of the work on it. When asked if her name is short for Charlotte or Charlene she will tell you it’s not short for anything. Her name is Charly, and that’s all there is to it.


The Trip

The trip is completely made up (well, except for the background photos). I’m not used to writing fiction, so I will apologize in advance. Characters are supposed to have consistency, and I will attempt to stick to their personalities.

Written in the first-person, I will be the narrator as well as Charly’s traveling companion. My relationship with Charly is that of a friend. In spite of her beauty, neither one of us can stand the thought of being romantic. Perhaps Charly sees me of a father-figure, I don’t know. But, I have no desire to have a romantic relationship with someone young enough to be my daughter.

The entries my jump around, but each entry will tell you the day of the trip.

The Art

The Girl

The art is created using various computer programs. Charly is a 3D model I created using various digital assets. In layman’s terms, her chassis was created by one artist, her skin by another, her eyes by another artist, and her hair by another. I took all these pieces and made a “new” character – Charly.

The Car

The car was a purchased digital asset by an artist named Serum at DAZ3d. It reminds me of a mix between a 1960s Pontiac (front) and a Dodge (rear). I’ll just call it a “muscle car”.


If you end up following the story, you can jump to the entries by selecting the category Route 66 with Charly.