Our Illinois trip

Our Illinois Trip

We disqualified Illinois from consideration as our new home state due to our experience at the State Capitol in Springfield. Please see the blog post entitled “This was a deal breaker” for further explanation. We also decided not to visit Chicago due to a sudden spree of gun violence in the city and Lori’s pneumonia which you can read about here. Nonetheless, the following is a review of our trip in Illinois.

According to Google Maps, we traveled 464 miles, and drove for 11 hours and 8 minutes during our week in Illinois while avoiding highways. Each state we visit, we will choose at least one point of interest from each of the following categories: Famous Person, Famous Food, Roadside Attraction, State Capitol & State Museum, National Park, Historic Location, Can't Miss Attraction, and Made in the USA Tour. Some of the categories may have more than one selection, and sometimes a category will be vacant due to the lack of a candidate. Please click on the links below for the corresponding blog related our experiences in Illinois over the past week.

Famous Person: Robert Waldmire

Famous Food: None

Roadside Attraction: World's Largest Catsup Bottle

State Capitol/Museum: Springfield

National Park: Shawnee National Forest

Historic Location: Lincoln Presidential Library/Museum/Home/Grave

Can't miss attraction: Rte 66 Saint Louis to Springfield Rte 66 Springfield to Chicago

Made in the USA tour: Caterpillar

A breakdown of our expenses of the past week are as follows:

Gas $102.00


$ 1.99 gal. in Peoria, IL was the lowest price paid.

$ 2.05 gal. in Atlanta , IL was highest price paid.

Groceries: $77

Walmart $27

Costco $50

Comments: This was the week we spent more at Costco than Walmart. Great job!

Dining out $ 83

Luna Café $10 (Budgeted)

Road House Café $ 8 (Unbudgeted)

Hospital Food $52 (Unbudgeted, but had nowhere else to eat)

Dairy Queen $ 4 (Unbudgeted 2 soft serve cones)

Polkadot Drive-In $ 9 (Budgeted)

Comments: We would have come in under budget, but I had to eat hospital food while staying at Lori's bedside for 4 days)

Entertainment: $ 20

Red box $2 (Budgeted)

Caterpillar Tour Admission X2 $12 (Budgeted)

Lincoln Museum Admission x2 $ 6 (Budgeted)

Comments: We did great in this category again!

Lodging: $ 68

Road Side Inn $68 (Budgeted)

Comments: We are budgeted a hotel once every 6 weeks.

Miscellaneous $0

Comments: Obviously we did great in this category

Illinois Expenses Grand Total: $350

(Our expense list does not include re-occurring expenses such as insurance and cellphone etc. )

Is Illinois Our New Home State?

Here are the rules:

Below are the 5 categories that are important to us in choosing our new home state. Each category is rated from 1 to 10 based on our personal experience in no particular order. 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest for each category. Each category will receive 2 scores; 1 from Lori and 1 from Nate. The average of these two scores will determine the final score for each category. To determine a state’s final score, we will average the total score of each category. If a state’s final score is less than 8, then that state is eliminated from consideration. At the end of our yearlong cross country trip, the states that scored 8 or higher will be subject to further consideration. In addition, Lori and I each have 1 wild card option, which allows a state that otherwise would have been eliminated, to be considered as our new home state.


Nate: 1

“The state has not passed as budget in over 3 years”

Lori: 1

“After watching the house in session, they clearly have no ambition to pass a budget”

Economy score: 1

Cost of Living:

Nate: 1

“Since the state has not passed a budget in 3 years, a steep tax hike is likely to come very soon on top of already high state taxes ”

Lori: 3

“If I wanted tax increases, I could stay in Connecticut”

Cost of living score: 2

Quality of life:

Nate: 1

“There were 100 shootings during the 4th of July weekend in Chicago”

Lori: 5

“The weather seamed moderate and comfortable”

Quality of life score: 3


Nate: 1

“The state was not very progressive, and most people seemed to be worrying about making ends meet”

Lori: 2

“Social outlets outside of the major cities tend to be limited”

Culture Score: 1.5


Nate: 1

“The roads were not properly maintained and were signed extremely poorly”

Lori: 3

“This was one of the few states that tried to preserve Route 66”

Environment Score: 2

The verdict is in:

The final score for Illinois was 1.9 , and Illinois will NOT be our new home state. Neither Lori nor I opted to use our Wild Card Option on this state.

Below are the current standings:

Virginia 6.6

Pennsylvania 6.5

West Virginia 6.0

Kentucky 4.9

Missouri 3.5

Illinois 1.9