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Historic Route 66, the most famous road in America, meets The Driveby Tourist! You are reading a travelog of one man’s experiences on Route 66. As well as including my own experiences, I’ve included recommendations for attractions I didn’t see but wish I would have seen. (I’m rewriting all the posts and many don’t have those recommendations as I write this but I’ll keep you updated.) I took 17 days from Chicago to Los Angeles in California. Without a doubt, I wish I had taken more time. This post contains an introduction to my trip, history of Route 66, links to each day on the trip, and other pertinent information. And an explanation of why the post is called Rock’n’Roll and Route 66 Pilgrimage!
BY THE WAY, Below Click or Tap on the pictures or links below the pictures to take you to more detail.
- History of Route 66
- Preservation Efforts for Historic Route 66
- Day 0 – Planning and driving to Chicago
- Route 66 “The Mother Road”
- Day 1 – Chicago to Pontiac IL
- Day 2 – Pontiac to Troy IL
- Day 3 – Troy IL to Troy IL!
- Day 4 – Illinois to Rolla MO
- Day 5 – Rolla MO to Springfield MO
- Day 6 – Springfield MO to Claremore OK
- Day 7 – Claremore OK to Oklahoma City OK
- Day 8 – Oklahoma City OK to Sayre OK
- Day 9 – Sayre OK to Amarillo TX
- Day 10 – Amarillo TX to Santa Fe NM
- Day 11 – Santa Fe NM to Albuquerque NM
- Day 12 – Albuquerque to Holbrook AZ
- Day 13 – Holbrook AZ to Winslow AZ
- Day 14 – Winslow AZ to Kingman AZ
- Day 15 – Kingman AZ to Barstow CA
- Day 16 – Barstow CA to Pasadena CA
- Day 17 – Pasadena CA to Santa Monica Pier!
- Day after Day 17 – Route 66 Postmortem
- Day after the Day following Route 66 trip! Wrap up
- Route 66 Wrap up – Part 1
- Route 66 Wrap up – Part 2
- Route 66 and return – Random Thoughts and Ramblings
- Route 66 – The Long Road Home
- Day 1 – Long Road – Anaheim CA to Joshua Tree CA
- Day 2 – Long Road Home – Joshua Tree CA to Death Valley CA
- Day 3 – Long Road – Death Valley to Las Vegas NV
- Day 4 – Long Road – Las Vegas NV to Page AZ
- Day 5 – Long Road Home – Monument Valley AZ
- Day 6 – Long Road – Green River UT to Greeley CO
- Day 7 – Long Road – Greeley into Kansas
- Day 8 – Full day Break – Visit Family in Kansas
- Day 9 – Long Road Home into Kansas City MO
- Day 10 – Home!
- Route 66 Final Wrap up – By the Numbers
How did Rock and Roll get into it?
Rock & Roll was born as Route 66 was facing its yet unknown decline. However, Route 66 lives on both physically and emotionally to many who sing its praises and support the continued maintenance and celebration of the road as a part of Americana. While the full original road isn’t there in many places, the spirit lives on in the hearts and minds of many people. Of course, the focus is on Original Route 66 but I also love classic rock music. So, in most of the posts in The Driveby Tourist, I tend to include lyrics from a classic rock song (or even several on some posts) that fit the subject of the day’s trip. I’m not sure if this really makes the trip become Rock’n’Roll and Route 66 Pilgrimage!
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I continue to read about Route 66 nearly every day on my Facebook groups! I encourage you to see at least part of it. I’m reading from visitors outside the US, that they are appalled that we don’t have more vacation time. Many European countries start people at four and five weeks. Here, two weeks is common and some only get a week!
Why Route 66?
My first thoughts about actually traveling Route 66 were an evolution from really liking solo road trip travel with no particular destinations in mind. As a result, I had the opportunity to drive a large section of the Great River Road in 2017 (link) . I followed the Great River Road from Minneapolis to Natchez MS. And during that trip, the idea of actually driving Route 66 nagged at my brain. When I returned, I started planning for the drive. Of course, immediately bought some books and did a lot of internet research.
Planning and getting ready
And went from there. Surprisingly, or actually, not surprisingly, there are many, many books and articles written about Original Route 66. Actually, my trip was delayed by taking on my last consulting gig before finally retiring from my career in information technology. While I then committed to the trip, it seemed like a daunting task. Where to begin? What to see? When to go? Significantly, how to memorialize my trip? But, getting ahead of myself, much more detailed information about the actual planning appears in the post Day 0 – Positioning to Chicago. Remember, I want to make this series of posts helpful to others traveling Route 66.
History of Route 66
Route 66 created by federal law
Route 66 became law November 11, 1926. During the law-making process, the highway number was hotly debated. Initially, US Highway 60 was proposed as the number. US Highway 62 briefly entered the mix of names. After further negotiation, US Highway 66 became the number. The first “official” distance became 2,448 miles (3,940 km). Although re-routing took place many times and in many different places, that number still remains quoted as the official distance. Today, nobody really knows the full distance because of alternative routes in many places. Here is a link to a great history of Route 66.
And to step back in the evolution of the US Highway system, likely the first federal highway was the Lincoln Highway conceived in 1912 and formally dedicated October 31, 1913. The Lincoln Highway started in Times Square in New York and ended in Lincoln Park in San Francisco. Although much of the route remains, the Lincoln Highway designation officially ended with the establishment of the U. S. Numbered Highway System in 1926. The original route mostly follows US 30 from New York into Wyoming. Although, today, I-80 nearly traces much of it’s route, the closest US highways to the original route from Wyoming west to San Francisco follow US 40 and US 50.
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Leading up to the Numbered Highway System, the federal government created several laws. In 1916, the “Federal Aid Road Act” mandated improvement of any rural road over which U.S. mail was carried. It also required the states to have highway departments to design, build and upkeep the roads. The federal government funds Interstate highway building and maintenance at between 90 and 95%. They also fund much of the US designated highways but the formulas change regularly.
The Federal Highway Act of 1921 set up a multiyear plan of federal funding for the program. The 1925 Federal-Aid Highway Act extended funding and created the national highway system. The American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO), established in 1914, defined highway standards and planned a “numbered” highway system. After the 1925 Act, this group finally agreed to call these highways “U.S. Highway” and defined the logo and numbering system. The AASHO included Cyrus Avery, a Tulsa OK entrepreneur who became known as the “Father of Route 66” for his tireless efforts to create the historic highway.
U.S. Highway Numbering System
The number system created by AASHO included the following rules: North and South highways would be assigned odd numbers starting with 1 on the East Coast and ending with 91 on the West Coast. Later, that became the famous west coast highway, 101. (Not to be confused with California 1, the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway.) The East and West roads would be even numbered, starting with Highway 2 near the Canadian border and ending with 90 in the south. Main transcontinental highways would end in 0.
Interestingly, if that system followed the rules to the letter, U.S. Highway 2 becomes U.S. Highway 0! That highway starts in Houlton ME and ends in Everett WA. Admittedly, the Great Lakes interrupt it’s route, ending in Rouses Point in NY and picking up again in St. Ignace MI. From there, it transits the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, northern Wisconsin, northern Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington.
Back to Original Route 66
The “Mother Road” sprang from the need of an expanding US population to move about for trade, work, and leisure. In 1926 John Thomas Woodruff and Cyrus Avery founded the Route 66 Association. Of course, as we know by now, the original Route 66 links Chicago to Los Angeles. It links many small farming towns in the Midwest and ranch towns in the Southwest to the major markets at each end of the road. And the large markets along the road.
As most of you know, Los Angeles and Chicago became the 2nd and 3rd largest cities in the US. However, while not nearly as large as those two cities, other large cities host sections of Route 66 as well. each of them, plus medium size cities, serve as “hubs” and marketplaces on Route 66 as well. Route 66 major cities include: St. Louis, 2.8 Million; Oklahoma City, 1.4 Million; Tulsa, 1.0 Million; Albuquerque, 900,000 Springfield MO, 460,000; Amarillo, 300,000. (Those populations include their affiliated metropolitan area, not just the cities.) While a few other cities with over 100 thousand residents, like Flagstaff AZ and Santa Fe NM, populate the route, most cities on the route remained small. Many of them 5,000 or less. And from Oklahoma to San Bernadino, lots of empty spaces.
Missouri and Oklahoma obtain the “juice”
Due to the influences of Mr. Woodruff and Mr. Avery, Missouri and Oklahoma obtained much of the “juice” to steer the route through towns and near attractions they wanted. In fact, Oklahoma contains more miles of original Route 66 than any state but New Mexico. And, New Mexico’s mileage stems from the 1937 re-routing of the highway to bypass Santa Fe, thus saving miles and driving on easier terrain. But, the “official” numbers consider the pre-1937 route as part of the mileage in New Mexico as well as the post-1937 route.
Additional names for Route 66
In 1952, the U. S. Highway 66 Association unofficially named it the Will Rogers Highway. Actually, the name appeared in the John Ford film, “The Grapes of Wrath” 12 years prior. And “The Grapes of Wrath” novel gave the road the name “The Mother Road”.
After it’s designation as US 66 in 1926, the original Route 66 merely turned county roads and state highways in original Route 66. At that time, only 800 miles were paved. By 1938, the federal government’s funding completed Route 66 paving. During the Great Depression and the “Dust Bowl” in Oklahoma, Route 66 became the way to “The Promised Land” of California. During this time, Route 66 acquired the name “America’s Main Street”.
Initial Major Uses
Original Route 66’s creation grew from the need to move people and products between Chicago and Los Angeles and all the cities and towns in between. After Chicago and Los Angeles, the major cities on the route include (as previously mentioned) St. Louis, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, Springfield MO, Amarillo, and probably Flagstaff. However, hundreds of small towns occupied it’s route as well. In fact, for many of them, Route 66 became their Main Street. Hence, the unofficial name “America’s Main Street”. Route 66, became the best route between the Great Lakes and the Pacific Coast. And a great many scenic areas “jumped up along the route”, passing through the Ozarks, the Texas Panhandle, near the Grand Canyon, and, in the earlier routing, through the scenic area around Santa Fe NM.
Industry and the Great Depression
The rapidly growing trucking industry increased traffic dramatically, especially in Illinois and Missouri. The mining area in the “Tri-state” corner of Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma also demanded roads of this type. During the 1930s Great Depression and the “Dust Bowl” days in the Midwest, the road became both a path to better times and a symbol of hope. The New Deal Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Project Administration created a silver lining behind the dark cloud of the Great Depression with massive federal spending on infrastructure. Thousands of unemployed men worked on the road gangs between 1933 and 1938. Thanks to these programs, Route 66 became the first highway in America to be completely paved. (Note: I did find other sources that stated the Lincoln Highway between New York and San Francisco was the first. I obtained this information from theroute-66.com web site.)
Heyday of Route 66
Recovery from the Great Depression
While the height of traffic and commerce on and related to Route 66 didn’t happen until World War II, the mass migration west spurred growth. Trucking, while decreased with the Great Depression, still continued to make the road a major thoroughfare. And for those who could afford to travel, it also started pleasure traveling to Arizona and Southern California.
As America emerged from the Great Depression, John Steinbeck’s book, “The Grapes of Wrath” coined the name “Mother Road”. Thanks to the book and the 1940 movie, Route 66 remained seared in the American memory. Many viewed the highway as the “Road to Opportunity”.
End of World War II
As World War II ramped up the US (and world) economy, the southwestern US started unprecedented growth. Many wartime industries started up in the states along Route 66. The highway became a major player in the war effort with Fort Leonard Wood in MO, Fort Wingate Ordinance Depot in NM, Edwards Air Force Base in CA and others all built near original Route 66. Even a Prisoner of War camp was built in McLean TX.
Larger trucks built during the war soon found major usage to transport military supplies and troops on the highway. The heavy traffic required upgrades and many parts of original Route 66 became four lane highways. New industries in Arizona and California drew thousands of workers from across the nation.
When the war ended, the real golden years for Route 66 began. Truck traffic increased with the economy humming along. The industries in the southwestern states brought many people into the area. The scenery, National Parks, and the thrill of road trips continued to grow the traffic on Route 66. Restaurants, museums, hotels, historical attractions, and kitschy tourist stops all competed for attention.
Begin Route 66 Decline
Route 66’s decline began in 1956 when President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. This law created the US Interstate system and very soon the Interstate began to cover the nation. These highways, patterned after the German Autobahn, carried much heavier traffic with divided lanes including on- and off-ramps to allow quick, safe access. In fact, Williams AZ was the last town on original Route 66 to be bypassed in 1984. The federal government decommissioned Route 66 as a US highway on June 26, 1985. With the passage of time, many sections of the road fell into gradual deterioration. Was The Mother Road slipping into oblivion?
Preservation Efforts for Historic Route 66
The Need for Preservation
Many small towns dwindled in size and some slowly became totally abandoned. Only ghost towns left. But the significance of the decline was not only economic but also social and historic. Route 66 must not be forgotten! Route 66 needed to live on, albeit in a different format. In 1987, a group of history minded people formed The Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona. Many other groups were founded to protect, preserve and promote Historic Route 66. All eight states with a presence on original Route 66 have associations dedicated to preserving it’s memory and legacy. Interestingly, Canada, Australia and Japan as well six European countries have Route 66 associations. The US National Park Service also maintains the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program.
Along with various preservation groups, numerous landmarks and historic buildings are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Route 66 obtained a declaration in some states as a National or State Scenic Byway. Law 101-400 enacted by Congress in 1990 recognized that U.S. Route 66 had “become a symbol of the American people’s heritage of travel and their legacy of seeking a better life.”
Over the last 30 years, many groups came to life to preserve the legacy. Two of those groups merged in 2015. The National Historic Route 66 Association and the Route 66 Alliance merged into one group as the previously disbanded U.S. 66 Highway Association. The mission of “Preservation, Promotion, and Education” mantras of the Alliance and Federation have segued to remain the U.S. 66 Highway Association’s main mission, but added focuses on economic development, as well as a specific emphasis on building a cohesive network of the eight states across original Route 66.
As noted, each of the eight states on Route 66 have their own associations. Many communities have associations as well that promote their particular part of original Route 66. As Ian Bowen, photographer and a leader in the California Historic Route 66 Association, says; “Route 66 is America’s longest small town!” (or words to that effect).
Following are links to each of the posts about the trip. The first one appears as “Day 0” and discusses the planning referenced at the top of this post. For the remainder of the trip, there is a post for each day along Route 66. Posts for the return trip also “magically appear” … or not! Again, click or tap on the pictures or the links below the pictures to see more detail about the day.
Day 0 – Planning and driving to Chicago
By the way, you can click or tap on the link or the picture to take you to “Day 0” which contains information about planning and preparing for the trip. The post lists Route 66 books and materials used for planning. The most important source of information was “The EZ66 Guide for Travelers” by Jerry McClanahan. Other sources popped up as well. I strongly encourage you to spend as much time as you can on planning before taking on this trip. Go ahead and click or tap. Certainly, this post will help you plan!
Route 66 “The Mother Road”
Day 1 – Chicago to Pontiac IL
Finally, got started on a cold Chicago morning on Easter Sunday! Original Route 66 starts it’s winding way to Santa Monica CA. Obviously, the iconic Lou Mitchell’s cafe on the Route makes the list as my first stop! After all, it pre-dates Route 66, having opened in 1923. Today’s trip takes me through Joliet, McCook and several other towns into Pontiac IL for the night. From city to rural area. Of course, the old Joliet prison made famous by “Joliet Jake” in the Blues Brothers movie makes an appearance! (Oh, and click or tap on the link or picture above to see more details.) And, I’ll see you on the route!
Day 2 – Pontiac to Troy IL
Great Route 66 museum in Pontiac. (Of course, I’m going to over-use the word “Great”!) Upstairs is another museum; representing a tribute to all veterans living or passed from this county who served in the military. (Click or tap on the link or picture above for the full post.) One of the pictures shows mannequins in uniform crowded into a room. All branches of men and women in the military with a wide variety of uniforms. Of course, the post has other descriptions and pictures as well. An intriguing sight is the brick portion of original Route 66, regularly maintained over the years.
Day 3 – Troy IL to Troy IL!
On Day 3, The Driveby Tourist underestimated the time needed for Day 2. He booked a hotel too far ahead and had to back track. Back in the late 1920s when the road was being paved, a turkey walked through wet concrete and the tracks remain preserved today. Near this spot, stands the small town of Carlinville IL. Interestingly, the town contains the largest collection of Sears kit homes of any place in the US. And, this day includes visits to a number of Route 66 Giants as well as the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. More on all of that in the post. (Click or tap on the link or picture above for more details and recommendations.)
Day 4 – Illinois to Rolla MO
Day 4 found The Driveby Tourist leaving Illinois and arriving in St. Louis MO. The first stop was the St. Louis Arch but the “featured attraction” was Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. Been a fixture on Route 66 since 1941. All in all, a great day with other attractions including Bob’s Gasoline Alley and “the largest rocking chair on Route 66”, and many others. And you can see more by clicking or taping on the link or picture above.
Day 5 – Rolla MO to Springfield MO
Day 5 brings many different types of experiences. (Click or tap on the link or the picture above to see more details.) From the high tech creation of a Stonehenge replica of cut stone. Especially, to the heartbreaking Trail of Tears Memorial along Route 66. And the hysterical Uranus MO “town”. This day leads through the Ozarks with beautiful scenery as well as Route 66 attractions. Many Army veterans will recognize the area as Fort Leonard Wood army base is located in the area.
Day 6 – Springfield MO to Claremore OK
Springfield MO receives recognition of the birthplace of original Route 66. Because, a telegram sent from the Colonial Hotel in Springfield to the US Highway administration proposed the Route 66 number. (Of course, Click or tap on the link above to take you to more information about this section of Route 66.) From Springfield MO to Claremore OK, I’ll report on a car museum; Gary’s Gay Parita, a fantastic restored Route 66 gas station; a “museum town, Red Oak II; and Mickey Mantle’s home town. And more. But you gotta click or tap….
Day 7 – Claremore OK to Oklahoma City OK
Claremore OK honors Will Rogers with a museum/memorial and pays homage to his birthplace in nearby Oologah OK. Tulsa is home to several museums memorializing Route 66. Oral Roberts University also calls Tulsa home. I’ve included some pictures because I was here in 1986 visiting City of Faith hospital on a work related trip to see some software in action. The Blue Whale of Catoosa is a must see as well, especially for kids. Or grownup kids. Of course, Chandler OK is a must stop as well for the museum and for McJerry’s Route 66 Gallery. Then, if you call ahead, you may be able to meet Jerry. (Click or tap on picture or link above to go there.)
Day 8 – Oklahoma City OK to Sayre OK
The Oklahoma City National Memorial tells the story of an American Tragedy brought about by an American Terrorist. A memorial on the former site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. It honors the 168 people who died in the bombing. Other sites and attractions also appear in the post. For example, a great museum in Clinton OK and the Oklahoma State Capital in Oklahoma City. Just click or tap on the picture or link above.
Day 9 – Sayre OK to Amarillo TX
While there are a few places after Sayre, there isn’t much to see from here to the Texas line. When I rewrite the post, you’ll know who grew up in Erick, OK! (Click or tap on the link or picture above for much more detail.) I did see a mural of Route 66 in Shamrock TX and interesting sights in Texola TX. There’s a Barbed Wire museum! There is a giant christian cross in Groom TX. Of course, The Big Texan restaurant in Amarillo! And Cadillac Ranch just west of Amarillo.
Day 10 – Amarillo TX to Santa Fe NM
The Midpoint Cafe is a definite highlight. Great food, great museum/store. And, of course, the sign and stripe across the highway to indicate the “half-way point”. Again, click or tap on the picture or the link to see more detail. You will see something about the ghost town of Glenrio TX/NM. There’s a great little museum in a gas station/truck stop just over the New Mexico border. You will also see the famous Blue Swallow motel and another car museum.
Day 11 – Santa Fe NM to Albuquerque NM
I took the pre-1937 track for original Route 66 through Santa Fe NM. A highlight in Santa Fe is the Miraculous Staircase. (As I have noted, to read more about it, click or tap on the picture or the link above.) Also in the post is the one side trip off Route 66 I did take. To Los Alamos NM. Information about the Manhattan project is in the detailed post for the day. Also drove the scenic highway into Albuquerque and back tracked a bit to see (and hear) the “musical highway” on the post-1937 Route 66.
Day 12 – Albuquerque to Holbrook AZ
Started the day in Albuquerque NM. Saw some unique signs on original Route 66 where it runs through downtown. Also visited several landmarks in Albuquerque. The “Madonna of the Trail” is a string of 12 statues throughout the western US honoring the pioneer women who accompanied their husbands and took their children to new promises in the west. Later very strong winds hit the area, making picture taking difficult. Click or tap on the image above or the link to read an interesting story about Earnest Hemingway.
Day 13 – Holbrook AZ to Winslow AZ
And, my day ended here. The corner made famous by the Eagles song, “Take it Easy”. But, before that, in the morning, had to backtrack from Holbrook to see the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest National Park before heading this way. Of course, Standin’ on the Corner is one of the “kitschy” attractions along the way as well. Winslow is a railroad town which brought in a Fred Harvey House. Click or tap on the picture or link above to read more about Winslow, the Fred Harvey House, and the adventures of the day. Some great pictures of the Painted Desert will be even better when I rewrite this post! So, come back and see it again. (Winslow is a good example of Rock’n’Roll and Route 66 Pilgrimage!)
Day 14 – Winslow AZ to Kingman AZ
Just another view of Route 66 on the trip west. This one is in Arizona west of Flagstaff. But, my first stop today was Meteor Crater just west of Winslow. It’s privately owned and the expense (especially for a family or large group) stops some visitors. After that, Flagstaff; beautiful little city. College town as well as commerce center for northern Arizona. West of Flagstaff is nearly 160 miles of original Route 66, with no Interstate 40 to interfere. (Click or tap on the link or picture above to see more details.) Don’t miss Seligman, especially the Snowcap Drive-In!
Day 15 – Kingman AZ to Barstow CA
Original Route 66 runs through Kingman. If you are old enough or a fan of old western movies, you might remember Andy Devine, the namesake for the in-town section of original Route 66. Since this is his hometown, they did something to honor him and called it Andy Devine Avenue. I had breakfast at Mr. D’z. Great little historic diner. A wonderful Route 66 museum stands along the road near the diner. This post includes some of the museum’s pictures and information. Of course, click or tap on the link or the picture above to see more about it. You will also find information on a separate railroad museum and western scenery. Further along, we find Oatman AZ, known as a “living ghost town”. Find out why by following the link. The day ends in Barstow CA. And there is more information about eastern California as well!
Day 16 – Barstow CA to Pasadena CA
All of a sudden, I’m approaching the end of Route 66! At any rate, need to see another museum. I loved the Route 66 museum along the road in Victorville CA. It’s a small town again, but the museum is well worth the stop. You’ll even see a “flower power” VW micro-bus! We are approaching the west coast so scenery is getting somewhat greener. Of course, it’s still spring. I stopped to see the Wigwam Motel and, of course, ran into LA traffic. Be sure to check out the post for the day. Just click or tap on the link or the picture above.
Day 17 – Pasadena CA to Santa Monica Pier!
I find some other sights as well before reaching Santa Monica pier. I had to visit the famous Rose Bowl and to see other sights in Pasadena. Now, my goal was to reach Santa Monica pier by about 2 PM. Then I can hang around the pier until near the end of evening rush hour. After 17 days, I expected a ticker tape parade, a large band, and a cheering crowd to greet me! Again, click or tap to see the post.
Day after Day 17 – Route 66 Postmortem
Other than obtaining the “Road Scholar” certificate, this post is about numbers and highlights. Miles traveled, total days on the road, states visited, etc. I also list highlights of the trip from various days. I do write more about those in other wrap up posts as well. Again, click or tap… As I rewrite all the posts, I’ll provide more information in many of them and update some of the pictures as well. When I did the blog posts during the trip, I just used images from the phone with no or very little editing. I also used a Nikon D5200 and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and the pictures on this post benefit from editing (cropping, straightening, exposure corrections, etc.). I will do the same on some of the pictures on the rewrites.
Day after the Day following Route 66 trip! Wrap up
This post contains more followup information and observations about the trip. Of course, I settled into a rhythm of daily posts and couldn’t break the habit! Thought about combining some posts when I do a rewrite but I’ll probably just give more information along with the existing theme of the post.
Route 66 Wrap up – Part 1
Wrap up Part I summarizes and makes comments on the early part of the trip. When I rewrite, that will remain. I haven’t even decided what I’m going to do with this post as much depends on inclusions in the “By the day Posts”. This post ties in closely with the next post.
Route 66 Wrap up – Part 2
Wrap up Part II continues summarizing where Part I left off. I’ll continue this pattern when rewriting. The post will contain more information than it does now. (I need to remember to update this post when I update the individual ones as well!) Remember, click or tap…..
Route 66 and return – Random Thoughts and Ramblings
Some rambling on about the trip. I’ll work on making more sense in the re-write! I’ve also included in the post, a link to each of the Day Posts while returning from California. Without a doubt, this rewriting is great as it lets me relive the trip! Couple of other rambling thoughts. If you go on this trip, don’t forget to stop and see any friends, family or acquaintances who live an easy drive off the road. For most of you, that’s unlikely, but good to remember. Especially at the beginning and end and the larger cities in between. Again, click or tap….. (Hey, shameless plug here! Sign up for my mailing list (top of right sidebar) and get notifications when I publish a new post or do a major update to an existing post.)
Route 66 – The Long Road Home
After my journey on Route 66, I could have turned in the rental car in LA and flown back home. However, as The Driveby Tourist, why miss other attractions along the road back? So, I took 10 days to drive back. I saw some great scenery as well as just enjoyed the drive. Of course, I did stop to visit my niece and her family and my wife’s sister and her husband. But, after 30 days on the road, it was great to get home! But… again…. I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ve got ten more days!
Day 1 – Long Road – Anaheim CA to Joshua Tree CA
The Salton Sea is below sea level. It “began life”, so to speak, as a freshwater lake. However, there is no outlet and the run off from the irrigation and fertilization causes high pollution levels. Experts say the lake is becoming a dry lake bed. And it smells bad as well! Currently, the salinity level is 4.5%, about 25% higher than the oceans. Anyway, you might want to bypass this one! With my pictures and descriptions, you likely won’t need anything else. Unless you are like me and just “want to see it” as long as you’re close.
Day 2 – Long Road Home – Joshua Tree CA to Death Valley CA
Joshua Tree National Forest provides a home to protect a group of Joshua trees. These trees are known to grow in only two areas on earth. They grow here in the Mojave Desert of California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona, at elevations from 2,000 to 6,000 feet. They also grow near Jerusalem in Israel. Most of the day was seeing this park and driving to Death Valley. I did cross a section of original Route 66 bypassed earlier due to road construction. I did see an iconic abandoned Motel and Cafe. Again, click or tap….I know, you’ve heard that litany already!
Day 3 – Long Road – Death Valley to Las Vegas NV
Surprisingly, to me anyway, Death Valley is beautiful! I never expected this. However, the mountains, the muted colors of the rocks in the cliffs and boulders, and the stark beauty of the desert make it unlike very many places I’ve seen. Mostly, came here to say I was at the lowest point in the western hemisphere. You will see remains of borax mining from many years ago. Dry lake beds also appear over the valley. The five mile road called Artist’s Drive goes through much of the area of beautiful muted coloring in the rocks and cliffs. If you are up for it, there are also ghost towns to see. One of them is a 5 mile hike from the road. When I was here in April it was already 100 degrees F. So, be prepared! Again, click or tap…..
Day 4 – Long Road – Las Vegas NV to Page AZ
After seeing Death Valley, I drove into Las Vegas to spend the night. Of course, stayed on The Strip but didn’t spend a penny on gambling. Leaving Las Vegas that day, I did go through St. George, Utah, and passed by Zion National park. I didn’t stop because we are planning a trip to the Utah National parks soon. (This cornerstone post is initially being written in May of 2020 so not sure what COVID-19 will do for our travel plans.) Again, if you click or tap on above link or picture, you will see pictures from this day’s trip.
Day 5 – Long Road Home – Monument Valley AZ
While driving from Page AZ to Green River UT consumed much of the time, I also spent time in and around Monument Valley. One of the pictures is above and if you click or tap… (you know the drill by now) you will see more. The Navajo Nation owns Monument Valley. It’s a tribal park fully within the Nation and in both Utah and Arizona and well worth the time to visit. Beware! The road through the park is awful. Be very careful or you could damage your vehicle. It’s OK to drive, just be careful but if you have a four wheel drive, it goes better. Since there is so much scenery near the road, trying to upgrade the road could destroy the beauty of some of the rock formations.
Day 6 – Long Road – Green River UT to Greeley CO
From Green River to Greeley is all I-70. Great scenery along the road. Have some pictures of the Rocky Mountain views. The Rockies are one of my favorite areas to visit. Snow capped peaks most of the year. And, valleys and rivers and great places for stopping. Of course, known for skiing in winter. I remember being in Aspen CO many years ago on a restaurant patio overlooking a ski run. The server told us that one year they were skiing on the Fourth of July! (That’s Independence Day for Americans!) That evening, I visited my niece and her husband and two sons. Had a great visit. Thanks Jen and Derek! (Side note: I did see them again in 2019 and, so far in 2020, COVID-19 has prevented me from getting there.)
Day 7 – Long Road – Greeley into Kansas
Quiet day. Just a drive to Scott City to visit my wife’s sister and her husband. Small town in western Kansas but an interesting historical attraction, if you are interested. Just click or tap…..
Day 8 – Full day Break – Visit Family in Kansas
I spoke out of turn above and already mentioned this one. A bit of nostalgia and already reminiscing about Route 66. This post certainly needs rewriting. You’ll get a message when I do update it, if you sign up for my email list! (Shameless plug!) And, I promise not to sell your information or bombard you with annoying email messages. In fact, just a newsletter (currently it’s bi-weekly) and notifications of each new post. And you can unsubscribe anytime, of course.
Day 9 – Long Road Home into Kansas City MO
The picture above (click or tap, remember?) is from Route 66 where the highway passes through a small corner of Kansas. Kansas City became my stopping point for the night. And, if you do click or tap you’ll see information about my car “incident” for the trip!
Day 10 – Home!
I’ll bet you don’t know how to jump over and see the post! Or do I have to say click or tap above. Again, just a quick post. Of course, I had to say I actually arrived at home! And, I had to follow up with my “incident” from Day 9. And how Enterprise mixed up my bill.
Route 66 Final Wrap up – By the Numbers
A “By the Numbers” summary. Total miles driven from start to back home, for example. When I rewrite, I’ll see about adding some additional explanations to the post. After all, I’m reliving the trip! Again, awesome trip. I hope you can make the trip some day. And with that, I’ll wrap up with my Classic Rock recollection. Oh, remember to click or tap…..
“Get Your Kicks on Route 66” by many artists
If you ever plan to motor west
Travel my way
Take the highway that’s best
Get your kicks on Route 66
It winds from Chicago to LA
More than two thousand miles all the way
Get your kicks on Route 66
Now you go through St. Louis
And Oklahoma City looks mighty pretty
You’ll see Amarillo
Gallup, New Mexico
Don’t forget Winona
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino
Written by: Bobby Troup in 1946
(I know it’s not generally considered a Rock and Roll song but the following artists did a cover of it, so… Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers, Aerosmith, Depeche Mode and more. If “The Stones” recorded it, that would definitely by Rock and Roll! Aren’t they the self-proclaimed Greatest Rock and Roll band in the world? So now you know why I call this Rock’n’Roll and Route 66 Pilgrimage!)