Your Guide to Odell
It seems like nobody really enjoys going to a small town. It's understandable that going from a town like Bloomington to a town like Odell would leave a lot to be desired. Of course just because Odell may not have a large movie theater or a huge downtown doesn't mean there is absolutely nothing to do, just very little. More than likely if you're in a small town you're probably there to see friends who are unfortunate enough to be stuck. Odell is much better with friends, and with people to hang with the town suddenly has a lot more options. That is if you're creative anyways. If you ever find yourself stuck in Odell here's a small guide that may just help you survive.
A Little Bit of History
This Wikipedia article probably has a lot more about Odell's History than you would ever want to know. Although if you're at all curious feel free to check it out, the information seems to be pretty accurate and the "Highway Town" section is pretty much dead-on. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odell,_Illinois
Route 66 History
You can find some good information about Route 66 and the Historic Gas Station in Odell on http://fromthegonzo.wordpress.com/2008/01/18/us-route-66-odell-illinois/. The Bloomington Normal Wiki even has a small article written about Route 66. http://bn.wikispot.org/Route_66
Some Need to Know Places
Baseball Diamond & Attached Park
-This one is obvious; You can play some baseball or visit the park. If you really want there's a pasture with some cows behind the field, now that isn't to say you should play in it...but you probably should go play in it.
-This gas station is located on Route 66, you also can’t miss it. Especially when coming in to town from the interstate. It's a decent station, a bit out of the way if you're walking around. Then again dodging the traffic to get there can be fun.
The Country Side
-Sure that is quite vague, it can be quite entertaining exploring the country on a bike, quad, or even vehicle. There are quite a few creeks to hike through if you enjoy that, dirt roads that are very creepy at night when the corn is up, and of course abandoned buildings and small dense clusters of trees around the area. Those wind tower roads are a lot of fun to follow, and a close up view of the tower is really neat. You'll just have to find out yourself. Don’t get lost, avoid farmers with shotguns, and crazy farmers who chase you down in trucks. (No seriously they're total buzz kills, not even kidding. Good advice is to go fast.)
-Odell's downtown, and that's an overstatement, is where most of the businesses are located. There's the town hall/auction house, Food Mart, Odell Bank, Cutting Edge Hair salon, grain elevators, fire station, resturaunts, and some storage buildings. That's about it seeing as most of the others are in disuse.
The Pool Park
-The pool park is located near Route 66. The whole park includes the tennis courts, the park itself, and of course the pool. There are two full courts. They are not the best condition, but still are playable. The park itself includes a good sized play set for younger kids, and bored teens alike. The set has a chain bridge, tube, monkey bars, slide and stairs. Nearby are a few sets of swings, a big slide, rocking horses, and of course large amounts of open area for whatever you could want to do.
-If you're bored, hungry, or both, simply walk out there with some friends. Sure beats sitting in the house. It has good gas, sells diesel, usually at better gas prices than BP, and a friendly owner.
Odell Grade School
-It would only be recommended coming here if you want to play games with grade-schoolers, you're a mom, you go to the school, or you drive a big van. Either way if you're a college student it is probably best to skip this part of the town unless you bring a bunch of friends to use the field or basketball court. As tempting as it may be, don’t climb on top of the school. For some reason the school officials frown upon that behavior.
Pour Richard's and Rentz Tap
-These are two separate restaurants, but they are more or less the same. Both have nice family friendly dining areas, both have similar sized bars, both have similar food selections, and overall both have the same size restaurant. Rentz Tap does have a pool table in the bar area, but on busier days it tends to get taken over. They both offer food from your basic chicken strips and other breaded foods to pasta, steak, seafood, and just about everything else you'd find at your typical restaurant including supper specials.
Route 66 Standard Oil Station
-If you like Route 66 and enjoy history this is the place to go in Odell. Not saying a lot there, but still. It is interesting if you compare the old pictures to how it is now. It was a total transformation from how it was. Of course many kids who grew up here can agree the run down building was much more fun to explore.
St. Paul Church
-This is a very nice old Roman Catholic Church. It has some beautiful brick architecture and friendly people. Worth a visit if you're religious, if not it's an obvious miss.
The Wishing Well Cafe
-The Wishing Well is a more cafe, old style dinner type environment. Almost reminiscent of 60's establishments the way the interior is decorated. In the past it had really good food. Especially the beef rolls. Of course that isn't all they serve. The establishment has everything you'd expect at a typical afternoon restaurant, with a few extras thrown in that you'll have to find out for yourself. They have some really good milkshakes too. Although they are only open for breakfast and lunch.
Bored? Here's Some Quick Ideas for Time Wasters
- Visit any of the four parks.
- Throw random garage parties.
- Pick a sport you like, then pick a field you like. Bam instant fun.
- Nostalgia it up by going on some fun playground equipment with friends, the Grade School park and the pool park both have very good sets.
- How about some more nostalgia? There are some really fun trees to climb in all four of the parks.
- Go swimming at the public pool, it even has a small diving board so you can impress your friends.
- If you're daring there is always pool hoping as many Odell residents have private pools.
- If you're even more daring try evading the cops after curfew, of course this is only fun when you're young enough to have curfew. You could always pretend. Either way for awhile Odell had many, 'not so nice' cops. They certainly wouldn't find this amusing.
- Go play basketball or football at the grade school park if you have enough people.
- Tennis matches at the pool park, tiny tournaments are possible with the two courts.
- Start up some baseball or softball.
- Go eat at Rentz, Pour Richards, or Wishing Well.
- Play some billiards at Rentz.
- Make a BP or Fast Stop run just because.
- There is always playing tag in the town square. That is a very good place for it as it has a lot of buildings, things to climb, fences, and alleys. As a bonus a cop or two will usually show up so they start playing too. (Hint: They actually are not playing, avoid them if possible).
- Visit the restored Standard Oil Station if you're into history or want some Route 66 Root Beer, which is tasty.
- If you're more into a relaxing day get on your bike and go riding on country roads, it is very calming, scenic, and the worst traffic you'll encounter is a tractor.
- Feel free to jog around town, there is little traffic and many nice flat stretches of road and decent sized hills for variety. Plus you'll get to know the town better too. *http://bn.wikispot.org/Running_Guide This may help.
- Many people enjoy to run, bike, or four-wheel on the abandoned Route 66 between Odell and Pontiac.
- If you want to feel young again go on a little adventure to any of the creeks. If you really want to feel like a kid pack water and snacks and hike a couple miles through the creek into the country toward the water facility. There's a bunch of broken concrete slabs in that creek and you can have a small campfire on the huge concrete slab overhanging the water underneath some trees. Quite nice.
- Go sledding down the overpass. Watch out for those trees and especially that barbed wire. Ouch.
- Ice skate at a local pond or lake.
- Every other nostalgic, stereotypical, and expected activity you'd do in winter like snowball wars, forts, snow angles, and so on.
- Go drifting in your vehicle though any large open spaces or especially around corners. It's fun but don’t get too cocky unless you have a friend with a big truck.
- When the plow trucks finally make it through town they leave behind big piles of snow everywhere, especially in parking lots by the church, school, and funeral home. You can play king of the hill, sled, and even tunnel through them.
- When it ices over really bad try going to the top of any hills and then slide down the iced over road. You'll get going very fast, hopefully you don't flip. Watch for traffic last thing you need is a sliding truck missing a stop sign.
- If you’re looking for a more dangerous activity feel free to rope a sled or snowboard to a car and go road sledding at 20mph. It is very fun and all your padded clothes should probably protect you. Bonus points if you rope a car hood to the hitch of a truck.
- With the fields plowed and covered in snow it’s a perfect time to get some snowmobiles or four-wheelers and have some fun in the fields. As said before tying a sled to the back instantly makes it at least twice as fun. It would be a good idea to check with the farmer before doing this, unless you’re with a local friend who already knows it is okay.
- As of lately Odell only has two cops in the town. They really enjoy sitting out on Route 66 by BP as you enter the outskirts of Odell. Some very common places they like to wait is across the road from BP to watch people coming into town from 66 and mostly from 55, or on the right side of 66 in the little parking lot with their lights shining on the stop sign at the intersection, or even at the small storage units as you enter Odell. You really need to watch out here because they leave their lights off and it is very hard to see the car until you are passing it. The cops even started sitting half way between Pontiac and Odell on the old Route 66 with their lights off so don't expect to speed on 66 and only slow down when you see headlights in the distance. Those are the main places they love to sit and wait, usually starting around dark, and usually just till 1a.m. sometimes later though.
- Less common places they like to sit, which happens to be during the day, are mostly the downtown area. Over near the grain elevator near town square, or the fire station on the opposite side of town square.
- The roads in Odell tend to remain unplowed for a little longer than some other towns so be careful after a big snowstorm and expect to stay there a little while. Another big issue is when it gets icy. Trying to get to the upper part of Odell will be a hassle if you have anything rear wheel and light. The hills have stopped many vehicles in their tracks and the corners have ditched plenty S10s. Also be careful when going out of town as the roads have sharp drop-offs and little guardrails for the creeks.
- While some might think small town means little crime don’t just leave your doors unlocked because of that. The problem hasn't been as bad lately but for awhile people were going around car hopping and snatching anything they could out of cars and garages.
- It is a terrible infliction that many teens and young adults face in Odell. In fact it's a common complaint among everyone there. You can relieve the symptoms by reading the Time Waster Section, but if that does not help your condition or it gets worse there is only one possible cure. Gather your friends, your pets, your family and your things and get out of Odell before you burn down the town. (From boredom of course, well there’s some pyro issues there too).
- Some of you may be saying wow this guy is an idiot, that is impossible. Well it is a very common thing with out of town people who are not very familiar with Odell. It's easily solved by a GPS, but do you really want to know you had to use a GPS to get around a 1 square mile village? It is called a village afterall, and some would even argue that.