• Credit Jackie Appleton

Route 66

A journey along route 66.

Summary

Route 66

It was in 1926 in Springfield, Missouri that the idea of a highway connecting Chicago with Los Angeles was born, but it is perhaps most famous as the route taken by many families suffering hardship during the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s when agricultural workers headed west in search of employment.  Today, much of the original road has now been by-passed, but stretches are still driveable.  Many of the businesses along the way have been renovated to reflect the era when this road was considered the Great Mother Road.

Day 1: Chicago
Day 2: Springfield, Illinois (205 miles)
Day 3: St Louis, Missouri (105 miles)
Day 4: Springfield, Missouri (210 miles)
Day 5: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (290 miles)
Day 6: Amarillo, Texas (260 miles)
Day 7: Albuquerque (290 miles)
Day 8: Holbrook (230 miles)
Day 9: Flagstaff (90 miles)
Day 10: Grand Canyon South Rim (90 miles via Williams)
Day 11: Kingman (185 miles)
Day 12: Santa Monico, California
Day 14: Return to London or continue elsewhere.

Description

Description

Here we give one suggestion for a 2 week trip following Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles. No matter how long you take, this journey involves a lot of driving – if you can stretch to 3 weeks then you will only enhance your experience and give yourself the opportunity to explore more of the amazing diversity of landscapes and places you are passing through. We have included some suggestions as to where you might add some extra time. Or why not just do part of the route and combine with some of the stunning National Parks of Western USA. We can help you plan the perfect trip …

Day 1: Chicago
Arrive in Chicago then pick up your hire car before heading to your downtown hotel for an overnight stay. Chicago is known as America’s favourite city. Situated on Lake Michigan it boasts sandy beaches, cycle paths, superb architecture, authentic blues music, great restaurants, shops, museums and art galleries. If time allows, an extra night here would be highly recommended.

Day 2: Springfield, Illinois (205 miles)
Your advernture begins with a drive through the farmlands of Illinois. First stop, the State Capitol, Springfield. Long time home and final resting place of Lincoln, the city has maintained many of the original Route 66 sites.

Day 3: St Louis, Missouri (105 miles)
Continue to St Louis, located on the banks of the Mississippi and home to the Gateway Arch, which reflects St Louis’ role in the Westward expansion of the United States during the 19th Century. Ride the tram to the top for magnificent views of the city and river.

Day 4: Springfield, Missouri (210 miles)
Today’s journey takes you through the Ozark Highlands of Southern Missouri. The original route has been replaced by the I44 freeway but many of the signs of the route can be seen near each exit. One of the most famous attractions are the Meramec Caverns, a set of limestone caves once used as a hide-out by Jesse James and widely advertised on barns and buildings all over the Midwest.

Day 5: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (290 miles)
Into Oklahoma which boast more self-driveable miles of the original Route 66 than any other State. Once known as Indian Territory the state is home to more Native American Tribes than any other. During the Dust Bowl of the 30s thousands of Oklahomans headed west along Route 66 to escape poverty – the Oklahoma Museum of History reflects on this period of the States History in addition to special collections relating to the Native American presence. Take time to see the moving and powerful memorial to those killed or affected by the 1995 bombing.

Day 6: Amarillo, Texas (260 miles)
Continue west into Texas, passing through McLean, the headquarters of Texas’s Historic Route 66 Association. Much is being done to try to preserve the town in its original condition. Visit the Devil’s Rope Museum where you will learn everything you need to know about barbed wire.

Day 7: Albuquerque (290 miles)
Depart Amarillo and take time to visit the famous Cadillac Ranch where bizarrely 10 classic Cadillacs lie nose down in the ground. Cross the mid-point of Route 66 before heading into New Mexico – for many this is their favourite section of the trip. With stunning mountain scenery, breathtaking views, ranches, reservations and Pueblo communities along the route you will find many motels, trading posts and gas stations that have been restored and preserved. Spend a couple of nights in Albuquerque to give you plenty of time to explore this historic city and the nearby State Capital, Santa Fe – the original Route 66 passed through here.

Day 8: Holbrook (230 miles)
Cross into Arizona, taking time to visit the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert National Parks before staying overnight in the town of Holbrook. Visit the Navajo County Museum, located in the Historic Navajo County Courthouse.
If you have an extra day or two then we would highly recommend taking a detour from the route here to visit the Canyon de Chelly National Monument and Monument Valley.

Day 9: Flagstaff (90 miles)
Short drive today, past Winslow and the massive Meteor Crater to the lively and vibrant town of Flagstaff. If time allows, a detour or a night or two in nearby Sedona is highly recommended.

Day 10: Grand Canyon South Rim (90 miles via Williams)
Not strictly on Route 66 but a detour to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is well worth it. Make sure you see the Canyon when the light is at its best at sunrise or sunset. Or for a truly spectacular view take an early morning flight by helicopter or fixed wing aircraft over the Canyon.

Day 11: Kingman (185 miles)
This stretch of the route through Arizona has some of the best surviving stretches of the original route – many of the old cafes and motels are still flourishing. Overnight stop in Kingman.
At this point you may not be able to resist a night or two in Las Vegas

Day 12: Santa Monico, California
And finally into California (first passing London Bridge at Lake Havasu), crossing the State Border at Needles. Cross the Mohave Desert to Santa Monica; this marks the end of Route 66 where the road meets the Pacific Ocean. End your trip here with a couple of nights relaxation by the beach.

Day 14: Almost a full day before heading to the airport to drop off the car and your direct overnight flight pack to the UK

Cadillac Ranch

Credit Helen Wibley

CanyonDeChelly comp

Credit Helen Wibley

Museum_Club_Flagstaff comp

Credit Helen Wibley

Painted Desert Arizona

Credit Helen Wibley

Petrified Forest Arizonan

Credit Helen Wibley

Little Gems

Little Gems

If you can only afford the time to do a section of Route 66, do the section between Amarillo and the Grand Canyon.  It is here that you will see the Cadillac Ranch and cross the midway point.  You’ll see renovated gas stations, diners and trading posts, to say nothing of the scenery!

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