Travel Route 66-A Guide to the History, Sights and Destinations Along the Main Street of America
Along with your adventurous spirit and this guide, I recommend that you bring on your Route 66 odyssey two essentials for such a trip: the Route 66 Dining and Lodging Guide and Jerry McClanahan’s EZ 66 Guide for Travelers, both published by the nonprofit National Historic Route 66 Federation.
Updated often to ensure accuracy, the dining and lodging guide is a handy resource to help you find fresh apple pie in a six stool diner and many other delights at the end of a long day exploring the wonders of Route 66. The EZ 66 Guide is a simple flipbook atlas. It will help you find and follow the various alignments of Route 66 that are now signed as county or state highways, graded as gravel farm roads, or truncated. Also, it is an excellent resource for deciphering the evolutionary realignments of Route 66 between 1926 and 1984.
If this is your first journey on America’s longest attraction, cast aside your preconceived ideas. Yes, Route 66 is a dusty repository of physical artifacts from more than a century of societal evolution. But it is also a living icon where myth and reality collide, offering a sensory kaleidoscope that starkly contrasts with the modern generic world.
If you are a seasoned Route 66 explorer, you know that no two journeys are the same. This asphalt string signed with two sixes knits together endless opportunities for adventure. You also know that Route 66 is a community filled with old friends and friends yet to be made.
In either case, thank you for choosing me as your guide. I promise you will have an unforgettable adventure, as any exploration of Route 66 is more than a mere drive across America.
Ready to roll?
Travel route 66 – A guide to the history sights and destinations along the main street of america.
Shortly after the last community on Route 66 was bypassed by the interstate highway on October 13, 1984, a groundswell of interest in the old road and the places that made it special arose. Soon there were Route 66 associations in each of the eight states through which the highway passed and in more than a dozen countries.
Illinois was one of the first states to grasp the tourism potential of the resurgent interest in Route 66. Illinois has been a leader in developing innovative, cooperative projects that preserve and promote the many facets of this American icon. As a result of Illinois’ leadership, ample signage makes it easy to follow the various alignments of Route 66 from
the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago to the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Missouri, a rive of about 300 miles.
Following Route 66 across the Show Me state can be a truly delightful adventure, especially during late October when the fall colors transform the Ozark Mountains into a sea of bright red, yellow, and orange. Attractions along the highway in Missouri range from natural wonders to Civil War sites to the world’s tallest rocking chair, but you can’t see any of them until you make it through St. Louis.
Kansas has a unique relationship with US 66. The highway traverses just over thirteen miles in the Sunflower State, the shortest distance among all eight states through which it passes. Kansas was the only state bypassed entirely when the interstate highway system supplanted the Double Six. As a result, only in Kansas can you drive Route 66 from border to border and not encounter an interstate highway.
From border to border, US 66 stretched less than 180 miles across the Texas Panhandle. Only Kansas had a shorter segment of this legendary highway. Of this distance, approximately 150 miles of paved highway remain in the Lone Star State for cruising, exploring, and contemplation.
From Texola, Oklahoma, to Amarillo, Texas, with the exception of a short segment at McLean, Route 66 runs south of I-40. From Amarillo to a point near the ghost town of Glenrio on the New Mexico state line, its course lies on the north side of the interstate.
Route 66 in New Mexico is all about making choices, taking detours, following short loop drives, and creating memories. This theme begins at the New Mexico–Texas state line.here you have the option of following the pre 1950s alignment, now an occasionally graded county road through the ghost town of endee to San Jon, or the later alignment, a paved road accessed from exit 369 on I-40.
My suggestion depending on road conditions, type of vehicle, and time constraints is to take in the highlights with a loop drive. Start with a cruise along the empty four-lane segment of Route 66 in Glenrio, Texas, continue carefully west along the gravel segment to San Jon, pick up the later alignment north of I-40, backtrack on this to exit 369, and then take I-40 back to San Jon. The rewards of taking this little loop drive are numerous.
Except for the longest remaining uninterrupted section of Route 66 that flows into the desert at the western edge of the state, the course of the highway in Arizona runs broken and segmented, which means you will have to drive long distances on I-40 and get your kicks in small doses. even though this can make it difficult to maintain that Route 66 state of mind, the old highway in Arizona traverses some of the most spectacular landscapes in America, and the detours are some of the most amazing found between Chicago and Santa Monica.
Route 66 sweeps into the Grand Canyon State in the shadow of towering walls of stone and past trading posts like Chief Yellowhorse, which hark back to the glory days of the Double Six. All of this sets the stage for an adventure that culminates on the banks of the Colorado River, the border between Arizona and California.
Through stark deserts, small towns, and huge metropolises, Route 66 winds its way across California to the ocean. Truncated sections and multiple alignments are the order of the day in this state, but each holds surprises that will make the detour worth it. And when you finally reach the end (which may be one of several different locations, depending on who you ask), you’ll need another week to enjoy all that the coast has to offer.