Located west of Indiana and east of the Mississippi in the U.S, Illinois (“The Prairie State” as it is commonly referred to), can be a great place for road trip enthusiasts to adventure in. Especially in cities such as Springfield (IL capital), Rockford, Galena, and Chicago, the beautiful state has a lot to offer when it comes to attraction sites, architecture, and rich in history. But first things first, if you are planning on having a road trip to Illinois, there’s something that you definitely need to learn. The ‘S’ in Illinois is silent! The Illinoisans will find it irritating when you pronounce Illinois with the ‘S’. Grammar lessons aside, here are five things you should know when having a road trip to Illinois.
1. Do Not Drink and Drive!
It’s taken you so many months planning for that road trip to Illinois. The car is clean and ready, you’ve packed all the essentials and everyone’s ready to leave. While on the road, you have this urge to squeeze in some liquor into your system. If you are headed to Illinois driving while drunk or under the influence, you’d better turn around before they catch up with you. It may not be among the US states with the strictest DUI laws, but you can rest assured that driving drunk in Illinois could mess up your entire road trip and even potentially result in a felony.
The state of Illinois has an implied consent law that states that anyone who’s in control of a moving vehicle should agree to provide urine, breath, or blood samples to the arresting officer if they arrest you with a probable cause or suspicion that you are under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol. This means that there is no way around it, and in case you ever get into such a situation during your IL road trip, your best option would be to lawyer up! Especially if the arrest occurred in Chicago (and there’s a high likelihood). This is when you should talk to a Naperville DUI attorney because once they have your DUI conviction on record, there is no easy way to getting it removed. A criminal defense attorney will help avoid a conviction or defend you in front of the judge and the jury in case the situation is severe enough to get to that.
2. Brace Yourself for Bad Weather
Road trips are fun as you get to experience beautiful views, pit stops, and adventurous. But nothing ruins a good road trip more than bad weather. The Illinois weather can change drastically in a matter of hours, and if you really need to go on a road trip to Illinois for your vacation or weekend off, you’ll want to brace up for the unexpected.
To be on the safe side, keep both of your warm and cold weather attires handy in your suitcase. From time to time, Illinois can experience harsh weather conditions including heat and cold waves, flooding, and tornados. The reason behind this is that the state lies geographically in between the Atlantic Ocean and the continental divide. This means that there’ll be fluctuations in temperatures, wind direction, and humidity. If you are planning a road trip, the best time of year should be during spring when it’s mostly temperate and pleasant. Other than that, it’s best to keep tabs with the weatherman for regular weather updates.
3. Appreciate the Local Festivities
Like we had earlier mentioned, Illinois has a rich culture and heritage. Most of the festivals hail from years back and are still the favorite of the locals. Just about every month of the year, enthusiastic locals put up something to celebrate, which comes along with good food, art, great music, and, of course, fashion. The Illinois festival list is endless, so here are the best and most probably, you’ll never find them anywhere else but Illinois.
- Superman festival – It was on 9th June 1972 when the Illinois House of Representatives proclaimed Metropolis, Illinois as the hometown of Superman. Years down the line, Illinoisans still celebrate it with celebrities from favorite comic shows, movies, and television gracing the occasion.
- Tug Fest festival – This is an intercity competition between Illinois and the city of Lowa. It includes 11 teams from each side battling it out on the tug of war. There are other tournaments, including Cornhole tournaments and arm wrestling. The most important part is that Illinois has won the most tournaments!
- The turkey testicle festival – You heard it right the first time! Locals call it TTF, running for over 35 years and drawing so many people on Wednesdays before Thanksgiving, it’s a festival you’ll not want to miss. Sample delicious meals, mingle with the friendly locals and listen to good music. But don’t leave without tasting the sweet deep-fried turkey testicles!
- Popeye picnic and parade – Last but not least is the Popeye festival. These are celebrations that mark the Elzie Crisler Segar’s birthday. Elzie was the creator of Popeye and was born in Chester, so every year, the locals celebrate one of their own with food, music, firework displays, dancing, and the crème de la crème, the Popeye parade!
As quirky as these festivals may sound, they are the favorites of the locals and they adore them. They are important to them because they help to bring them together. So, be nice and appreciate their hospitality.
4. You Need To Know Something about Honest Abe
As a young man, the 16th president of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln, was known as Honest Abe. After assuming the presidency, he spent most of his time in the fine state of Illinois. The state automatically assumed the name ‘land of Lincoln’. So do not be surprised if the Name Lincoln pops up in every corner you turn.
5. Always Have Your Quarters at Arm’s Length
If you plan on cruising the state of Illinois, it’s imperative to have your toll change at hand. There are over 294 mile systems of toll roads that operate in the state. Alternatively, an I-Pass will come in handy.
Cruising across any state in the US is interesting. But then, only the locals know about them and Illinois is no exception. Taking your time to meet new friends and being friendly to the locals is among the few things you can do while on a road trip, so you get to know all you can about a place. Luckily, the above few pointers provides you with the basic things you need to know about the place when planning a road trip to Illinois.