I'm not sure what the state of planning for the September 19 drive is, but inasmuch as it is now less than a month away, I figure it's not too soon to bring this up. By happenstance, I learned of the following event on September 19: The Illinois Grape Growers & Vintner's Association will be hosting the Vintage Illinois Wine Festival on Saturday, September 18th from 11:00am-6:00pm through Sunday, September 19th from 12:00pm-5:00pm at Starved Rock State Park. The Illinois Grape Growers and Vintner's Association has invited Illinois wineries to join Starved Rock Lodge for an extraordinary wine tasting event, of which 18 Illinois wineries will take part. Besides a great wine selection, there will be a variety of food including breads and cheeses to select from. Unique wine accessories will be available for purchase from several of the winery booths. The event will also include two full days of musical entertainment. Guests are invited to purchase a commemorative wine glass for $10, which includes 5 tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets will be available to purchase. Tickets may be purchased in advance for a discounted rate by calling Starved Rock Lodge at 1-800-868-7625 or Prairie State Winery at (815) 784-4550. Free soda and bottled water will also be available for designated drivers. It is recommended that visitors bring blankets or lawn chairs. No reservations necessary. Now, it just so happens that I know a great driving route that connects Starved Rock State Park with old Route 66, which I understand is the theme of the Sept. 19 drive. It's about 45 miles of low-traffic, well-paved twisty roads following the Illinois River from Channahon (near the I-55/I-80 intersection) to Starved Rock. The Alfa Romeo club took a drive along this route earlier this year and it was a blast. This route would make a great drive in any event, and the conjunction with the wine festival and intersection with Route 66 made me think that it might make a nice final leg of the tour. If there is already a master plan for the Sept. 19 drive, I don't mean to interfere with that. I highly recommend this route for a drive, but it could be done any time. It might also make a good "fall colors" tour. In the absence of the wine festival, there is a drive-in in LaSalle/Peru with pretty good burger-genre food that makes its own root beer, which could also serve as a destination. Finally, a note about Illinois wines, for those of you who may be snickering at that concept: I acknowledge that it is unlikely that you will find that Cabernet for the ages from an Illinois winery, but I have had some very interesting and tasty fruit wines from Illinois vinters. For instance, White Owl Winery in southern Illinois makes a persimmon wine (!) that is truly outstanding. Keep an open mind, and you may be pleasantly surprised.