The flat, sunny roads of Indiana and Illinois are dotted with rounded columns of silos, silver, sharp metal arms of windmills, and red barns. Bright green, corn-crunching farm monsters eat their way through browning fields.
We pick up the Mother Road at Henry’s Rabbit Ranch, an iconic Route 66 attraction. The caretaker shuffles his lunch out of the way as we open the door with a jingle. This neatly trimmed grey-haired man, pressed check shirt and mild air seems out of place among the rusty jumble of old tractor trailers, half buried muscle cars, and live rabbits.
“Well, first things first,” he slides a well-loved guest book for us to sign. “Where are you coming from? Travelling Route 66? Well, our rabbit-greeter, Destiny, is over there is taking a nap. He’s still young, so he doesn’t sit up here for long without running around.”
There’s a well-worn cushion on the counter, where the designated rabbit-greeter sits. The Rabbit Man chatters on in a frank Midwest accent, describing the lineage of Destiny and the other 13 rabbits.
“I don’t know if you knew this, but Destiny’s predecessor, Montana, once ran for president,” he says.
“Is that right?” I study the photo of Montana politely.
Rabbits don’t pay the bills, unfortunately. From the Rabbit Ranch, Rabbit Man also runs a title company, sells insurance, and assists Illinois residents in applying for gun permits.
We peruse the collection of Route 66 memorabilia and well-maintained rabbits, purchase a few items, and donate some pennies to the Montana Memorial Fund.
“Now, make sure you go around back and see the big jack rabbit,” he advises as we take our leave.