Dreaming of road tripping around the world? Don't miss Route 66
Posted by: Cal on 19/05/2014
There are a few globally-renowned road trips out there and Route 66 is one of the absolute best.
Its retro, old-worldly feel enchants people from all over the world. Here's what you need to know about driving this historic American route.
Where it goes
This famous drive begins in Chicago and runs right through the centre of the USA all the way to Los Angeles, California.
That means you get to experience the states of Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, so you get an amazing insight into all sorts of American destinations.
Much of the drive heads into sparsely-populated territory too, so you get to see some amazing natural wonders and experience that small-town feel.
One of the greatest aspects of Route 66 is its history. Early in the 1900s the route was used extensively by business people and those travelling around the country - there weren't any other roads to take. It was even referred to as 'The Mother Road' or 'Main Street' and was full of motels, cafes and other attractions.
As time went on and more highways were built, the practical usage of Route 66 declined, but it still remains a historical journey and glimpse into the USA's past. Now people flock to the destination for the kitchsy diners, natural features, old accommodation and small quirky shops.
Highlights of Route 66
There are plenty of amazing stop-offs along the way.
Illinois is home to Mount Olive, a sleepy old town that was once a coal-mining centre.
Then there's Missouri's beloved Meramec Caverns, a stunning set of limestone caves big enough to host events! Take a guided tour through the gloomy caverns and hear about how Jesse James allegedly hid from the law in their dark spaces.
Get a glimpse of the short drive through Kansas before arriving in Oklahoma, which is home to plenty of Route 66's vintage highlights. Visit Tulsa for a look at art deco buildings that remain from the 1920s, while Stroud, Chandler and Arcadia have plenty of old stretches of road, motels and eateries that date back to Route 66's operational heyday.
When you arrive in Texas you'll be greeted by its famous southern hospitality. Be sure to stop off at the Palo Duro Canyon State Park and gaze out in awe at the stunning cliffs and rock formations.
You'll then pass through New Mexico visiting cities such as Albuquerque, while Santa Fe and Bernalillo offer even more of Route 66's old-wordly appeal, with plenty of cowboy-themed destinations and decor, food and attractions on offer.
After this, you'll head through Arizona, which is one of Route 66's most famed destinations thanks to the Grand Canyon National Park. Visit this incredible feat of nature - whether you take a quick look, stay for a day or opt for a multi-day exploration or tour is up to you.
Then it's off to California. Head through Pasadena, across Los Angeles and to the final destination of Santa Monica. Make sure you visit the sign at Santa Monica Boulevard that marks the "end of the trail".
Things to remember
Like with any drive or road trip, it pays to be prepared. Make sure you know the route well and have planned your stops - and don't forget a map or GPS system. Know where you can fill up your car with petrol and grab a meal.
You will also need to be prepared for any misadventures with a spare tyre or two, plus the necessary tool equipment and extra food and water.
With all that covered you will be free to enjoy the wonders of Route 66.