Route 66 in the News
Tips for Planning That 66 Trip
Route 66 is as American as apple pie, Roy Rogers, and the bald eagle so it is no wonder that many people decide to plan a trip that leads them through some part of the “Mother Road”. Unfortunately, Route 66 was removed from maps in 1985 but signs, markers, and guides can point enthusiasts in the right direction. The following tips will help you plan your trip through the "Main Street of America".
All vs. Some
Route 66 is a 2,451 miles long highway that crosses eight states, so before you leave decide if you want to see certain parts of Route 66 or most of it. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to travel the entire route interrupted as it has became private roads, highways, state roads, local roads, and some parts have been completely abandoned. Keep in mind that some parts of Route 66 are in bad shape and are recommended for four wheel drive vehicles only.
You will need a map of the road, but because Route 66 was decommissioned in 1985 it no longer appears as “Route 66” on any modern maps. The website www.historic66.com has turn by turn directions and visual maps for every state that can be viewed and used for free.
It takes approximately 37 hours to travel the length of Route 66, but that doesn’t allow for any stops. If you want to see all of it, allow yourself at least 10 days. For shorter excursions, plan out what you want to see and schedule accordingly.
Some attractions can be seen on any vacation such as the Sears Tower in Chicago or the beach in Santa Monica but others can only be found on a “Main Street of America”.
Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis, MO
This narrow bridge with a 22 degree bend was quite possibly the most famous crossing of Route 66 over the Mississippi River. Today it is closed to traffic but pedestrians can walk across it where the Gateway Arch can be seen.
Meramec Caverns near Stanton, MO
Nicknamed “The Jesse James Hideout,” advertisements were painted on barns all across Route 66 during its heyday. Today it is a vacation destination with cavern tours, riverboat rides, zip-lines, panning for gold, a restaurant, camping, and a motel. For more information go to http://www.americascave.com/in dex.php.
Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park near Foyil, OK
This 9-acre parks features unique totem poles created by the late Ed Galloway in the early 1900s. After his death in 1962 the park fell into disrepair but was restored in the 1990s and is now owned and operated by the Rogers County Historical Society. To learn more about this Route 66 icon go to http://www.rchs1.org/.
Big Texan in Amarillo, TX
This unabashedly fun and over the top cowboy themed entertainment complex treats guests to The Big Texan Singers, live rattlesnakes, a Texas shaped pool, rides in a Longhorn Limousine, and unusual food like fried rattlesnake, mountain oysters, and a free 72 oz steak (if you can eat it in one hour!). To learn more go to http://www.bigtexan.com/.
Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo, TX
If looking at Cadillacs shoved nose down in a cornfield sounds like a fun adventure, Cadillac Ranch is a don’t miss destination. Although this attraction isn’t very old, it has the roadside kitsch that helped make Route 66 what it was and to an extent still is today. To learn more go to http://www.libertysoftware.be/ cml/cadillacranch/crmain.htm.
Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook, AZ
This National Park has one of the world’s largest concentrations of petrified wood, the beautiful hues of the painted desert, over 200 million year old fossil, as well as other natural treasures. For more information go to http://www.nps.gov/pefo/index.htm.
Meteor Crater between Flagstaff and Winslow, AZ
This 550 feet deep and 2.4 miles in circumference crater was created when an asteroid hit earth about 50,000 years ago. Visitors can take a short walk to see it or view it from the indoor viewing area located at the visitor’s center. To learn more check their website at http://www.meteorcrater.com/.
No matter what you do, your Route 66 getaway is sure to be an adventure. Just don’t forget your maps, a full tank, and your camera!
~Lisa Putnam, Helium.com
- Chain of Rocks Bridge postcards: 1 | 2
- Meramec Caverns: postcard | information page
- Ed Galloway, creator of Totem Pole Park
- Big Texan Steak Ranch
- Cadillac Ranch
- Petrified Forest postcards: 1 | 2
- Meteor Crater postcard
- Full List of Route 66 In The News Articles