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2018 Route 66
          Miles of Possibility Conference

Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference Speakers

Deanna Demuzio
Mayor, Carlinville Illinois
Welcoming Remarks
Deanna Demuzio was elected mayor of Carlinville in 2013. She is is a former Democratic member of the Illinois Senate. She represented the 49th District from 2004 through 2010. In May 2004, she was appointed to the Illinois State Senate following the death of her husband, former Senate Majority Leader Vince Demuzio. She was born in Gillespie, Illinois.

Dr. Jennifer Braaten
Interim President at Blackburn College

Welcoming Remarks
Dr. Jennifer Braaten, interim president at Blackburn College, was most recently president of Ferrum College, in Ferrum, Virginia, for fifteen years. She has been successful in advancement work, completing two capital campaigns totaling $50 million, and led Ferrum in several building projects.  She was also involved in enhancing academic offerings and enrollment initiatives, as well as completing multiple economic development initiatives.

A native of Minnesota, Braaten received her Ed.D, With High Distinction, from Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL and amassed a successful career in education, first as a teacher and later in administration work. She was Academic Dean and Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida; and president of Midland Lutheran College, Fremont, Nebraska, before assuming her position at Ferrum College.

Brett Stawar
President and CEO at Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau

Keynote Speaker
Brett Stawar is president and CEO of the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau (formerly Alton Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau) since 2004, which works for the vested interests of hospitality partners in Madison, Jersey, Calhoun and Macoupin counties. Founded in 1985, the bureau was established to educate visitors about the many attractions the region has to offer by providing information regarding the area's history, unique landmarks, recreational opportunities, leisure attractions, special events and scenic marvels. Under Stawar's leadership, the bureau has won numerous marketing awards over the last several years. Stawar is also an adjunct professor at Lewis and Clark Community College.

Roamin' Rich Dinkela
Explorer, advocate, publicist, guide, businessman

Roamin' Rich
The Business of Saving Route 66
Roamin’ Rich has been a strong advocate and publicist for any and all things about the community of Route 66 and other old US highways. His mission is to appeal to as many people he can all over the world. He wants to expose the world to the iconic landmarks, people, buildings, historic infrastructure, and the diverse culture that reside along the old US highways all across this great country.

Roamin’ Rich has sponsored the creation of several Route 66 websites offering to serve tourists, explorers, and the community with a heightened, gratifying experience. Many of Roamin’ Rich’s works have been highlighted throughout local newspapers, TV news reports, written articles, books, and YouTube videos. More information can be found at

Jim Hinckley
The Main Street of America
140 Years of Adventure: With the introduction of Adventure Cycling Associations Route 66 maps and tours the legendary highway had come full circle. Bicycling, bicyclists, and bicycle enthusiasts are the foundation for iconic Route 66.

In this fast paced, fun and informative presentation author Jim Hinckley chronicles the origins, history and evolution of Route 66 from the bicycle mania of the late 19th century that spawned the good roads movement to the dawning of the American auto industry, headline grabbing adventures on the National Old Trails Road, the creation of the U.S. highway system, and the evolution of a highway into an internationally recognized icon. As with Route 66, this presentation is a grand adventure.

In this fun filled journey through time we meet the Wright Brothers and Albert Champion, bicyclists that changed the world, and watch the automobile evolve from circus side show curiosity to multimillion dollar business. We follow the exploits of Ezra Meeker, the pioneer that traveled the Oregon Trail by Ox cart and that helped build the first service station on the National Old Trails Road in the Cajon Pass. We travel west with Edsel Ford and Emily Post, watch marketing transform a highway into a destination, and experience the thrill of renaissance.  

Through the publication of 19 books, countless feature articles for various publications, and presentations made internationally, author Jim Hinckley has shared his passion for travel, the people met along the way that make the adventures memorable, automotive history, and a lifelong association with Route 66. With the launch of Jim Hinckley’s America, he began encouraging people to travel and explore through a multifaceted platform that includes books, interviews, a blog, a Facebook page and group, a YouTube channel, presentations, Facebook live programs, a travel planning service, podcast, and work as a tourism development consultant for businesses and communities. 

Nick Gerlich, PhD

Social Media and Route 66:  People, Places, Events, and Things
Nick Gerlich, PhD, is Hickman Professor of Marketing at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, where he has taught since 1989. His areas of expertise are e-commerce, crisis communication, and consumer behavior. He has been an avid Route 66 researcher for the last decade, photo-documenting the evolution of the road as well as the shrinking number of neon signs along its expanse. Nick is co-author of the forthcoming (2019) book "A Matter Of Time: Route 66 Through The Lens of Change" with Ellen Klinkel, and writes for ROUTE Magazine and New Mexico Route 66 Magazine. In 2018 he became part of the ownership group dedicated to preserving the historic Painted Desert Trading Post along Route 66 in Arizona, and recently launched his business offering prints of his extensive photographic collection. He wrote and appeared in four documentaries in the Unoccupied Route 66 series. Nick lives near Canyon Texas with his wife, Deanna, and his two daughters. He can be found on social media @nickgerlich and at

Jerry McClanahan
International Route 66
Route 66 has truly become an International Highway, connecting travelers from across the globe to its "more than two thousand" miles of small town and big city America.

Route 66 author and artist Jerry McClanahan has the honor of meeting hundreds of foreign tourists each year at his gallery just off 66 in Chandler, OK.  An often repeated comment is, "We can't believe how friendly the people we meet along 66 are!" They come to the USA with preconceived notions, and are blown away by the warm welcome they receive. The people that live and work along the Mother Road serve as ambassadors for the heartland of America to the world.

The road goes two ways. These visitors provide a vital source of life to the old highway and its people. Foreign guests make up a large percentage of Route 66 tourists each year, and are vital to its continued growth.

Jerry will draw from his personal experience with the international aspect of Route 66 to illustrate the road’s (and its people's) influence.As an example of cultural exchange enabled by Route 66, Jerry met and married Mariko Kusakabe, formerly of Fukuoka, Japan, who bought his EZ 66 Guidebook in 2010 on one of her many solo 66 trips.

Jerry McClanahan's fascination with Route 66 dates back to family summer vacations during the Sixties. The interstate highway system had all but taken over by 1981, when he began photographing and researching what was left of the old highway. Jerry began painting and writing about Route 66 full time in the early Nineties, and his award-winning work has been exhibited in shows across the country, both on and off the route, being found in private and corporate collections in this country and abroad.

Jerry has written extensively for the Route 66 Federation News, American Road and Route 66 Magazine. His articles uncovered many miles of “lost” and forgotten sections of Route 66, such as the Jericho Gap in Texas and the abandoned alignments of the Santa Fe Loop, as well as giving honor to many Route 66 personalities and businesses.

His acclaimed "EZ 66 Guide" (published by the National Historic Route 66 Federation,, since 2005 and now in the fourth edition) has helped thousands of travelers the world over discover the excitement of Route 66, as has the 8-state set of Route 66 maps co-created with Oklahoma Route 66 guru Jim Ross, in print (with revisions) since 1994.

2011 brought the publication of Route 66 Sightings, a photography tour-de-route with Jim Ross and Shellee Graham. Jerry’s Route 66 artwork and photos have appeared here and abroad in many books, and in periodicals as diverse as Historic Traveler, Popular Mechanics, and Playboy of Brazil.

Besides painting Route 66 scenes of his own choosing, Jerry also enjoys creating specially commissioned artwork featuring collectors’ cars in Route 66 settings. He has established an online gallery,, as well as McJerry’s Route 66 Gallery at 306 Manvel (a half block off 66) in Chandler, Oklahoma, where he and Mariko enjoy meeting with tourists from all over the world.

Cheryl Eichar Jett
Route 66 Author
Writing Women into Route 66 History
Cheryl will share stories of women who blazed trails in traditionally-male careers, “moms” in mom and pop businesses along the route, and female adventurers and entrepreneurs. She'll discuss how various women made their mark on Route 66, why it matters, and how Route 66 women's history is evolving.

Cheryl is the author of six books published by Arcadia Publishing and is currently working on two book projects for other publishers. A regular contributor to The Prairie Land Buzz, Show Me Route 66, and The 66 News, she has also been published in Illinois Heritage (Illinois State Historical Society), Forum Journal (National Trust for Historic Preservation), local newspapers, and online magazines. She has received several awards in the past year for her short fiction. Her one-act play about the lives and work of women along Historic Route 66 will premiere at this year's conference.
Cheryl has lived near Illinois Route 66 most of her life. She has worked as a bookkeeper, music teacher, musician, grant writer, and nonprofit executive director. She holds undergraduate and master's degrees in history from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). For her thesis, Southwestern Indian Women in World War II, she interviewed elders in the pueblos of New Mexico. She often presents programs in Illinois on Route 66, local history, and writing topics. In 2002, she was invited to present a program based on her thesis research for the Los Alamos (NM) Historical Society.

In 2000, Cheryl was a founding board member of the Illinois Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association. Currently, she serves on the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway board of directors, as President of the (Illinois Route 66) Blue Carpet Corridor Coalition, and on the advisory council for the Center for Spirituality and Sustainability (a Buckminster Fuller-designed geo-dome) at SIUE. In 2015, she served as director for the first Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference, and is back again this year playing a major role in the 4th Annual Conference.

Joe Sonderman
Route 66 Author

Route 66 Then & Now
Joe Sonderman's newest book, "Route 66: Then and Now," is a feast for the eyes with beautiful full-color “now” photographs contrasted with vintage shots of iconic Route 66 sites. Within the pages of the book, and in his presentation for this year's Miles of Possibility, Joe takes a look back at the history and evolution of dozens of Route 66 sites. This program offers a retrospective of some of the most iconic spots along the Mother Road, told through photos and stories.

Joe Sonderman is a Route 66 historian, collector, and author with more than a dozen books to his credit, most of them on Route 66 history. He is also editor of the Route 66 Association of Missouri's quarterly magazine, Show Me Route 66, for which he writes many articles, and is also a regular contributor to the international publication, Route 66 magazine. Joe is an avid collector of Route 66 postcards and photos, with thousands of his images available to view on his website

David Schwartz
Professional Photographer
Chasing the Light Down Route 66
David will discuss his creative process for making photographs on the Mother Road. Topics will include: light compositional guides, time of day, weather planning, speed of travel, helpful smartphone apps, and Q&A.

David is the owner of David Schwartz Photography and maintains a fine art photography gallery at the studio in the Little Italy section of Cleveland, Ohio. Fine artworks include a massive collection of documentation of Route 66 called "Pics On Route 66", which David has been actively pursuing for over 10 years. More information can be found on David's website at

Geoff Ladd
Assistant Director for the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway

Paranormal Evidence In Lincoln/Logan County, IL
Geoff formed a non-profit organization in 2006 to save and restore The Mill restaurant in Lincoln, Illinois, at the urging of Ernie Edwards of Pig Hip Restaurant fame. The Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County was able to save this historic landmark located along the original alignment of Route 66 in Lincoln, and in 2017, was opened as a Route 66 museum and souvenir shop.

Geoff has a background in professional videography and photography. He has been a journalist and radio personality. He has Bachelor of Science degrees in psychology and communications (broadcasting emphasis). His hobbies include being an aficionado of rock music and an amateur paranormal investigator. He will share some of his insights and personal experiences with the paranormal, particularly in Lincoln, Illinois where he resides. There will also be an update on The Mill Museum.

Anne M. Slanina
Children's Books Author
Exploring Route 66 With Kids and Annie Mouse
Anne M. Slanina, Ph.D. is the author of The Adventures of Annie Mouse series of children’s books and an early childhood professor at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.  As an avid Route 66 enthusiast, she “hits the road” during semester breaks and has traveled the route every year since 2006.  These annual trips have provided the inspiration for several of her children’s books including: Annie Mouse’s Second Route 66 Photo Journal: The Journey East, Annie Mouse’s Route 66 Adventure: A Photo Journal, Annie Mouse’s Route 66 Family Vacation, and The Adventures of Annie Mouse: The Coloring Book.  To see a complete list of Anne’s books, check out her web site at:

David Clark
Windy City Road Warrior
Ghost Roads of Illinois: Route 66 and More
Since 2006, David Clark, the Windy City Road Warrior, has presented PowerPoint programs on dozens of historic subjects, including Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, Chicago Railroad stations, the I&M Canal, Al Capone, and the Illinois legacy of infamous politicians. At the Carlinville Miles of Possibility conference, Dave will be taking us on a journey down the Ghost Roads of Illinois: Route 66 and More. In this Illinois Bicentennial year, we will discover the Spirit of the state’s history through some of its oldest pathways, where some of our most infamous forbears had their hideouts and haunts. We will examine legends of the paranormal and sightings of ghostly apparitions and the unexplained on back roads and city streets. And we will explore some true “ghost roads,” paths that once led travelers on their Illinois journeys, but are now near-forgotten roads to nowhere.

Dave is the author of "Exploring Route 66 in Chicagoland," the award-winning book “that remains the definitive work about the Windy City and Route 66” according to His book for Arcadia Publishing, Images of America: Route 66 in Chicago won first place in the Illinois Women’s Press Association (IWPA) communications contest. The IWPA also honored his book, The Roads that Lead to Lincoln, a guide to historic Lincoln sites located near three Illinois Scenic Byways: Route 66, the Great River Road, and the Lincoln Highway.

Dave has written dozens of articles for many publications including Route 66 Magazine, the National Historic Route 66 Federation News, and American Road. He is a co-author working on the soon-to-be-published Curious Traveler’s Guide to Route 66 in Metro Chicago. Also in the works is a memoir, Zeno’s Motel and Paradox: Quantum Leaps on the Journey to Recovery on Route 66. Serialized installments from the memoir are currently appearing in the Federation News under the title “A Detour Set in Stone.”

Dave is a member of the Chicago Tour Professionals Assocation (CTPA), and he guides Chicago visitors on walking tours that explore and examine the city’s rich history. Tour themes include the beginning of Route 66, Chicago architecture, railroads, public art, and mob haunts. As a step-on guide, Dave provides narration and interpretation on driving tours in partnership with InSites To Go. Join them on Sunday October 28th after the Miles of Possibility for a 3-hour tour starting and ending in Carlinville.

Andrea Duncan
Miners, Mobsters, and the Mother Road:  Macoupin County on Route 66
Andrea Duncan will share with conference attendees all that Macoupin County has to offer Route 66 visitors.  She has given this popular presentation at county and district-wide conferences.  The Blue Carpet Corridor slogan “Miners, Mobsters, and the Mother Road” highlights the history of Macoupin County.  Andrea has taken her passion for photography to develop a slide show which will give a glimpse into the history of the attractions along Route 66, starting in Virden and traveling south to Staunton.  From the labor movement to a million dollar scandal to quirky family fun, Macoupin County has something to offer every Route 66 traveler. 

Born and raised in Macoupin County, Andrea Duncan comes from coal mining and farming families, the county’s main industries.  After retiring from teaching in 2010, Andrea joined the Carlinville Tourism Committee where she was able to share her love of Macoupin County history with all who want to learn.  Her passion is the Macoupin County’s “Million Dollar Courthouse” and she has given numerous tours over the years.

Sharon Smith
Remembering the Exhibit – Route 66:  Main Street through St. Louis
This presentation will take a look back at the exhibition on Route 66 that was installed at the History Museum from June 2016 through July 2017. Before it was installed, the exhibit was named as one of the top 100 places to see in North America in 2016. The exhibit was the 2nd most visited exhibit in the museum’s history. It was recognized by Explore St. Louis and named one of the favorite exhibits in 2017 by the Riverfront Times.

Lisa Hicks Snell
Owning Identity: American Indian Tribes and Route 66 for the Cultural Traveler
More than half of Route 66 lies in Indian Country—roughly 1,372 miles. The American Indians & Route 66 project and book seeks to introduce the tribes living along the route. We seek to inform and to point the way to genuine cultural experiences all along Route 66—from Chicago to LA.

American Indians & Route 66 was written, photographed and designed by Lisa Hicks Snell, Cherokee. She is the publisher and editor of the Native American Times, an American Indian news and features website ( She also publishes and edits Native Oklahoma, a monthly arts and culture magazine devoted to Oklahoma tribal communities (

Over the course of her career, she has won numerous Native Media awards through the Native American Journalists Association for her work, including ‘Best Magazine’ for her debut of Native Oklahoma in 2011.

Bill Thomas
The Road Ahead Partnership Update
Join Bill Thomas, Chairman of the Rt. 66 Road Ahead Partnership, for an Update on the current goals and work of this organization. Information will be shared regarding efforts current efforts of the group's Preservation Working Group, Economic Development Working Group, Promotion Working Group, State Rt. 66 Advocacy Working Working Group, as well as an update on the recent "Preserve Rt. 66" cross-country caravan in support of the effort to designate Rt. 66 a National Historic Trail. Reports will also be given on work being done by the Road Ahead's International Advisory Group and its Tribal Advisory Group. Finally, two new Task Force groups will also be announced, one focusing on Rt. 66 vintage motels and one on the Green Book. Time will be allowed for Q/A.

Tom Emery
History of Illinois

Tom Emery is a freelance writer and historical researcher from Carlinville, Illinois, who has created twenty-eight book and booklet titles, including his most recent ones, The History of Illinois, which he released in December, and Notable Women of Illinois History, released in March.

Other notable works include his popular 2014 compilation,The Civil War in Illinois, as well as The Illinois State Library Heritage Project 1839-2013, which produced a coffee table book and user-friendly website on the history of the Illinois State Library in Springfield. His articles have appeared in over 100 newspapers, and he has appeared in libraries and civic groups around the region on his historical research.

His research interests are Lincoln, the Civil War in the Trans-Mississippi theater, and Midwestern history. Emery has won eleven awards from the Illinois State Historical Society and is continuing his work on a full-length anthology of the major Civil War battles of Missouri.

Macoupin County/Carlinville Local History
Dan Hauter

Carlinville on the Eve of the Civil War 

Dan Hauter is a life member of both the Macoupin County Historical Society and the Macoupin Agricultural Antique Association, having joined both organizations in 1998.  Dan's mother, Pat Hauter, is a charter member of the historical society.  Dan is in his 8th year as president of the historical society and is vice president of the "tractor club". 

Deb Young
President, Tourism - Carlinville Chamber of Commerce

As US Army Active Duty Veteran, earning the Humanitarian Service Medal and Three Army Commendation Medals, Deb Young understands the importance of attention-to-detail, service and sacrifice for our country and our communities. Bringing more than 20 years of television and multimedia management experience with a Masters Degree in Education specializing in human services management, and additional 15 years as professor of educational technologies with Doctoral Degree in Management and Administration, specializing in digital and electronic communication and education, Deb encourages young people to realize their dreams through knowledge, hands-on approaches, research, and reading. Deborah's background includes hosting a live television interview show broadcast throughout Europe during the 1980s, hanging from helicopters shooting videotape (without a harness!), publishing four-color press magazines on management best practices, and earning The Emmy for writing and production of a television documentary about Vietnam POWs.

Historic Carlinville Tour

Deborah Young, President, Carlinville Tourism, will present information about Carlinville Historical Sites and promoting Route 66 Tourism, including:

The Standard Addition—During a housing crisis in Carlinville in 1917, officials needed to find places for people to live.  The solution was found in the Sears and Roebuck catalog.  The town now has one of the largest collections of these Sears Homes in one neighborhood.  Out of the original 156 ordered and assembled homes, 152 are still standing today.

Carlinville Historic District—This district encompasses 340 acres of the town.  Built in 1825, the preserved downtown is an example of the architecture and the community.  The area is found between Oak, Mulberry, Morgan, and East Street within the city limits.

Picturesque Town Square—With buildings dating back to the early 1800s, the town square is the crown jewel of the large historic district that has been on the National Register of Historic Places in Illinois since 1976.  Dine and shop where Lincoln once walked, with brick-paved streets and Victorian cast-iron storefronts.  It is the only Town Square on Route 66 that allows you to drive completely around and today provides access to two major state highways.

Macoupin County Historical Museum—Located inside the old residence of John C. Anderson, built in 1883, this museum was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1992. 

Macoupin County Courthouse—This Carlinville landmark was once one of the largest courthouses in the United States.  Construction costs of more than $1,300,000 caused the work to be halted and stopped in 1867, before full construction was completed, due to this large sum of money at that time. 

Step-on Bus Tours—Tours of Carlinville, Courthouse, Sears Homes, and Historical Society Museum are available by contacting
More information at

Aprons Away:  Women's Work on the Mother Road

"Aprons Away:  Women's Work on the Mother Road," a new one-act play written and directed by Route 66 author/historian Cheryl Eichar Jett, will premiere Saturday, October 27, at 3:15 pm in Bothwell Auditorium on the Blackburn College campus. The 45-minute play will serve as the final session of the conference. If you are registered for the conference, your play ticket is included with your registration. If you're just attending the play or need extra tickets for friends or family, you can purchase tickets at $10 each on the registration link or at the door. Actors portraying women from the historic Route 66 era include:  Sarah Chapman-Wiser (Edwardsville), Cindy Conner (Gillespie), Darla Hoffmann (Edwardsville), Marilyn Kinsella (Fairview Heights), Kathy Metzger (Edwardsville), Elizabeth Olwig (St. Louis), and Casey Weeks (Edwardsville).

Sarah Chapman-Wiser will play the roles of Hazel Funk Holmes and Juli Lynn Charlot.

Sarah Chapman-Wiser teaches language arts in 8th grade at Coolidge Junior High in Granite City.  She is passionate about musicals and performing.  Sarah began her theatrical debut in 2013 and has continued to perform ever since that magical time.  Before Aprons Away, Sarah was in the God’s Favorite, a Neil Simon play, with Curtain’s Up Theater at the Alton Little Theater. She would like to Cheryl Eichar Jett for giving her this opportunity.  She would also like to thank her husband, John Wiser, for supporting her love for theater and her mother, Judy Chapman, as her inspiration.

Cindy Conner will be playing the roles of Florence Owens Thompson and Lucia Rodriguez.

My name is Cindy Conner. I am honored to be representing these wonderful, strong, and beautiful women. Being Part Cherokee myself and having my own struggles, it is important for me to honor my ancestors, not only through my DNA, but also in being a woman. My parents drove on Route 66 on their honeymoon in 1957. I have always been interested in finding out the back story to that stretch of road. Now being able to be a part of this storytelling, I hope to bring truth to the characters.

Kathy Metzger will be playing the roles of Lucille Hamons and Lillian Burton.

Kathy Metzger, of Edwardsville, is extremely proud to be portraying strong women of Route 66 in two roles in Aprons Away. She has been to a few landmarks on Route 66 but after doing this play, she knows that many future travels will be on this iconic road. She enjoys walking on the Madison County Trails and is very involved with the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Kathy has enjoyed playing several roles in various local productions, including:  a fighting fox in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe; the family maid in Cheaper by the Dozen; and a sister in Nunsense. She likes to depict strong women and acted in another women-empowering play, The Vagina Monologues, at McKendree University. Kathy would like to thank her co-actors for all the laughter and fun, and Cheryl Jett, the writer, for a wonderful script and for educating her about the magnificent women. She is extremely grateful to the real women of Route 66 (past and present) for all of their hard work that made the route what it is today.

Marilyn Kinsella will be playing the roles of Mary Colter and Marilyn Jorgensen Reece.

Since 1981, Marilyn Kinsella, from Fairview Heights, IL, has written and told stories to thousands at schools, libraries, after-dinner speaking, and special events. She loves telling folktales, personal and historical stories, and literary tales. She travels to where stories want to be told! For more information:

Cheryl Eichar Jett will be playing the roles of Dorothea Lange and Suzanne Vanderbilt.

Cheryl Eichar Jett has always had a love of theater; it might be in her blood, as her father spent many years as a theater musician and director. Despite the theater-love, she's always been the writer in the family, in addition to many years teaching music and playing occasional musical performances. A veteran of several Santa Fe Screen Writing conferences, she's written a couple screenplays, done the choreography and blocking for a few grade school musicals, and generally been an occasional behind-the-scenes theater person. But with the premiere performance of her play, Aprons Away:  Women's Work on the Mother Road, she's stepping out front to take on the monologues of photographer Dorothea Lange and automotive designer Suzanne Vanderbilt. Cheryl is excited to be combining her love of Route 66 with theater and women's history.

Casey Weeks will be playing the roles of Ray Eames and Joy Nevin.

Casey Weeks is from Edwardsville, IL. She and Cheryl Jett met while serving on the Edwardsville Historic Preservation Commission. Casey has a passion for history and historic preservation with formal studies in urban planning and preservation. Most recently, Casey worked as a historic preservation specialist for the Federal Emergency Management Agency for disasters in California. You can check out her exploits on her blog She is also working on a scavenger hunt for kids along the Route 66 Blue Carpet Corridor.

Elizabeth Olwig is playing the parts Cynthia Hare Troup and a historic Harvey Girl.

Elizabeth is a photographer living in St.Louis. She has always been interested in history but has a special passion for Route 66. She's traveled the route in it's entirety and revisited many locations on multiple occasions. Elizabeth was also a part of the effort to stabilize John's Modern Cabins, a historic site in Missouri, in May. She is honored to be a part of Cheryl Eichar Jett's production. Check out Elizabeth's work at

Sherry Meyer will playing the role of Cousin Sharon.

Sherry Meyer is a geographer. She founded InSites To Go to build moving celebrations of the places we call home, discovering Route 66’s international appeal creating a weekend tour for the Lincoln Funeral Commemoration (66 follows the tracks that carried him to Springfield). She grew up in LaGrange, IL not far from the Route 66 Drive-In, where at least once her parents snuck her in under blankets on the floor of their 1964 Chevy wagon. offers Chicago adventures, Illinois Bicentennial Road Trip get-aways, and weekly Route 66 tours.

Darla Hoffmann will be playing the role of Cousin Darlene.

My acting experience is somewhat limited to Christmas plays, school plays, and church plays, but my zest for life is an ongoing project. My Route 66 love started with a little spark of wonder about what it was all about, and my volunteer experience during the first Miles of Possibility Conference in Edwardsville fueled the flame. I have met 66 peeps during my limited travels and more on Facebook. I enjoy the scenery, history, cars, businesses, and the love of a time in history that brings back warm memories of days in the past. Thanks to Cheryl Eichar Jett and all the Roadies for enriching my life and the opportunity to spend time rehashing what makes Route 66 so special.

Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference Panel Discussions and Moderators

"How Do You Save a Legend?" "Alliances on 66" & "CVBs as Tourism Partners"  with Moderator Bill Kelly
William Kelly, Executive Director Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, first came to Central Illinois in 1974 to join the IBM Springfield office after graduating from the University of Illinois. After eighteen years with IBM, he became Vice-President of Marketing for Levi, Ray & Shoup, a software development and consulting company in 1992. Bill grew up next to Route 66 in LaGrange, Illinois and the opportunity to become involved with the same road where he got his first ticket led him to become Executive Director of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway in February, 2010.

Bill is moderating three sessions:
"How to Save a Legend" panelists include: Dr. Robert Navarro, President of Heritage Corridor Convention & Visitors Bureau, speaking on Collins Street Prison in Joliet and Gemini Giant/Launching Pad; Terri Ryburn, speaking on Sprague Service Station in Normal; Bill Thomas, Executive Director of Logan County Economic Development; speaking on the Tropics Sign; Anne Haaker, retired Historic Preservation Officer, speaking on the Nite Spot Cafe in Fairmont City; and Frank Butterfield, Downstate Director of Landmarks Illinois, speaking on Landmarks 10 Most Endangered List.

"Alliances on 66" panelists include: Sarah Watson, Executive Director of Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area;
Frank Butterfield, Downstate Director of Landmarks Illinois, speaking on Landmarks grant program (Macoupin County Jail); Sarah Waggoner, Tourism Director for City of Litchfield, speaking on Litchfield Pickers Market; Jeff Woodard, Marketing Director at McLean County Museum of History/Cruisin' with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center in Bloomington; and Michelle Silver, Tourism Coordinator for Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

"CVBs as Tourism Partners" panelists include: Dr. Robert Navarro, President of Heritage Corridor Convention & Visitors Bureau, Samantha Morehead, Bloomington-Normal Area CVB; Morgan Gleason, Executive Director of Logan County Tourism Bureau; Scott Dahl, Executive Director of of Springfield Area CVB; and Brett Stawar, President of Great Rivers and Routes CVB.

 “The Route 66 Hospitality Package” with Moderator Debyjo Ericksen
Debyjo Ericksen, Joliet, Route 66 tourism and preservation advocate and ambassador, will serve as our Moderator for "The Route 66 Hospitality Package," panel discussion.

Panelists include: Perry Brown, Mother Road Antique Mall in Carlinville and Board Member of Carlinville Tourism; Jean Bruner Jachino, Regional Sales Director at Hotel Ventures Management of Illinois; Will Law, new owner of the Ariston Cafe in Litchfield; and Geoff Ladd, Assistant Director of Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway.

“Route 66 Mayors” with Moderator Larry Bloemker
Larry Bloemker has served as the Mayor of the Village of Hamel for seven years. He also serves as an Executive Board member for the Route 66 Byway Authority and the Madison County Community Development Block Grant Advisory Board. A graduate of Illinois State University in Normal, Larry has an extensive background in communications and marketing. He traces his knowledge and support of Route 66 to his parents, small business owners in Hamel who were early advocates for Route 66.

Panelists include: John Hicks, Gillespie; Deanna Demuzio, Carlinville; and Steve Dougherty, Litchfield.

“Bicycling Route 66” with Moderator Nick Gerlich, Ph.D.

Nick Gerlich, PhD, is Hickman Professor of Marketing at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, where he has taught since 1989.

Panelists include: Andy Ritchie, who bicycled the length of Route 66 to raise money for the Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center; and Christian Hasselberg, Race Director of the Tour de Donut bicycle race in Macoupin County along Route 66.

  Register Online
2018 Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference | October 25-28, 2018 | Blackburn College | Carlinville, Illinois
Contact Carlinville Tourism Director Deb Young at for Carlinville Tours and local info and/or call Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau at 1-800-258-6645 for more information.


©2018 Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference.