Road Trip Made in the USA
Don’t Scoot and Shoot – Soak it In
The “Mother Road” West
National Scenic Byway
Plan your trip without relying on GPS alone. Route 66 had all but vanished by the early 80’s due to the growth of interstate highways. Many portions of the highway are no longer around and road signs often go missing. Officially decommissioned in 1985, the few remaining sections have become a National Scenic Byway renamed the Historic Route 66. Guide books can help navigate you through the small towns and point out hidden treasures.
Shaping the Way America Travels
From the simple two-pump filling stations in front of old houses to the sleek, modern ones with service bays and tire dealers, Route 66 helps shape car travel in America. Early motorists sleep in their cars on the side of the road and after WWII, they drive up to a comfortable motor lodge or motel at the end of a trip. Truck stops also dot the landscape; one of the oldest in America, the Dixie Truckers Home in McLean, Illinois (est. 1928) is still pumping gas and serving a delicious buffet.
10 Most Excellent Stops Along Route 66
- Lou Mitchell’s Restaurant (Chicago, IL) – Established in 1923 this eatery often gives out fresh donut holes and Milk Duds to its patrons.
- Chain of Rocks Bridge (Illinois-Missouri border) – Now a footbridge, it is part of the original Route 66 that spans the Mississippi River.
- Cars on Route (Galena, KS) – Formerly the Four Girls on Route service station, this landmark’s 1951 tow truck is the inspiration for the “Tow Mater” character in the film Cars.
- Oklahoma Route 66 Museum (Clinton, OK) – Everything you ever want to know about the road and then some.
- Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo, TX) – This is classic car art at its finest. Ten graffiti-covered Cadillacs buried nose first in the Texas dirt.
- U Drop Inn (Shamrock, TX) – A piece of green-tiled art deco architecture that many classic car buffs will recognize.
- Blue Swallow Motel (Tucumcari, NM) – It’s landmark neon sign still lights up the night sky as it welcomes weary travelers.
- Hackberry General Store (Hackberry, AZ) – Gas, groceries and a trip down memory lane, all in one place.
- Wigwam Motel (Holbrook, AZ) – One of the last three concrete teepee motels left in America. Others are in California and Kentucky.
- Santa Monica Pier (Santa Monica, CA) – Though the route ends a few blocks away, this is the picture perfect spot to end your journey.