Travel Guide to Historic Route 66: The Mother Road
Map of Route 66, The Main Street of America, seen in this vintage postcard
Route 66 was one of the United State's first continuous stretches of paved highway, and served as a major path for those who migrated west.
"The Mother Road" was established on November 11, 1926, and ultimately stretched 2,448 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles.
From its beginning in Chicago, Route 66 headed south through Illinois and Missouri, and a small section of Kansas.
From there it turned in a more westward direction through Oklahoma and Texas, with the final stretches in New Mexico and Arizona before its termination point in Los Angeles.
The Lore of Route 66: The Main Street of America
Route 66 became one of the most famous roads in the United States, outdistancing others such as the Lincoln Highway.
It is popular lore in movies, songs, books, and TV shows. And the road was known far and wide for its variety of "mom and pop" motels, neon lights, drive-ins, flat tires, cars with no air conditioning, dangerous curves, steep hills, narrow lanes. The popularity stuck, and grew!
We've had the pleasure of driving the entire length of Route 66 through all eight states, The Main Street of America!
Visit our new website www.Route66RoadTrip.com for photographs, personal experiences, and commentary on the various segments of the Mother Road.
Route 66 Map from Chicago to Santa Monica
Map of Historic Route 66 from Illinois to California
Road Trip Travel Guides for the States Along Route 66
Planning a road trip on Route 66? Here are the travel guides and reviews by state ... at our new website www.Route66RoadTrip.com.
Road Trip Travel Guides for Route 66 Segments
Route 66 Road Trips in Oklahoma
Route 66 Road Trips in Texas
Route 66 Road Trips in New Mexico
Route 66 Road Trips in Arizona
List of Route 66 Mileage by State (1926 Alignment)
State - Miles
Illinois - 301
Missouri - 317
Kansas - 13
Oklahoma - 432
Texas - 186
New Mexico - 487
Arizona - 401
California - 314
TOTAL - 2,448
|The Aztec Hotel and Gift Shop on Historic Route 66 in Seligman, Arizona
Route 66: The TV Show
Buz and Tod
(By CBS, or Screen Gems)
A popular television show during the early 1960s bore the road's name: "Route 66". Starring George Maharis as Buz, and Martin Milner as Tod, the two young adventurers drove the road in their Corvette for 116 episodes.
Despite the name of the series, most episodes did NOT take place on the historic road, but in 25 different U.S. states.
The show was filmed mostly on location, and became known for its cinematography.
The show ran from October, 1960, through March, 1964, and created a huge following.
The interest in the show continues today by "Baby Boomers" who remember the original showings, and new generations of viewers fascinated by the show who watch it on DVD.
The Demise of Route 66
Route 66 underwent many improvements and realignments during its lifetime.
The passage of the Federal High Act of 1956 sounded the death knell for the old road, and gradually segments were replaced with new, safer superhighways.
Its final demise was the completion of the Interstate Highway System, and Route 66 was officially removed from the United States Highway System on June 27, 1985.
Route 66 was replaced by five Interstates: I-55 from Chicago, I-44, I-40, I-15 and finally I-10 into Los Angeles.
Route 66 Today
|Standin on a Corner, in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see ... on Route 66|
Today, several states recognize the historical significance of the road, and have it marked with "66" in the state highway number.
The road is also a major tourist attraction, so many states openly market attractions and lodging along the old route.
The old road still traverses dozens of small towns with vintage gas stations, quirky tourist attractions, diners, "Mop & Pop" motels, historic sites, stunning vistas, and gift shops.
Route 66 Attractions and Cities
Along the length of Route 66, there are hundreds, probably thousands of attractions. And there are dozens of cities and towns.
Different travelers have different interests, so we can't list everything. But here are a few favorites! Let's get on the Road westbound ... starting in Chicago, Illinois.
|Attraction||City & State|
|Shea's Gas Station Museum||Springfield, Illinois|
|Chain of Rocks Bridge||Madison, Illinois to St. Louis|
|Big Chief Hotel||Wildwood, Missouri|
|The murals||Rolla, Missouri|
|66 Drive-In Theater||Carthage, Missouri|
|Historic District||Galena, Kansas|
|Conoco Hole in the Wall||Commerce, OK|
|The Blue Whale||Catoosa, OK|
|Route 66 Interpretive Center||Chandler, OK|
|Arcadia Round Barn||Arcadia, OK|
|National Route 66 Museum||Clinton, OK|
|Conoco Tower Station||Shamrock, TX|
|Route 66 - 6th Street Historic District||Amarillo, TX|
|Cadillac Ranch||Just west of Amarillo, TX|
|Midpoint of Route 66||Adrian, TX|
|Ghost town||Glenrio, Texas, on the NM border|
|Route 66 Monument||Tucumcari, NM|
|Blue Swallow Motel||Tucumcari, NM|
|Ghost town||Cuervo, NM|
|Route 66 Auto Museum||Santa Rosa, NM|
|LaFonda on the Plaza||Santa Fe, NM|
|Historic Central Avenue||Albuquerque, NM|
|El Rancho Hotel||Gallup, NM|
|Wigwam Village Motel #6||Holbrook, AZ|
|Twin Arrows Trading Post||Twin Arrows, AZ|
|Standing on the Corner & the LaPosada Historic District||Winslow, AZ|
|Route 66 Visitor Center||Flagstaff, AZ|
|Angel & Vilma Delgadillo's Route 66 Gift Shop & Visitor's Center, downtown shops, motels||Seligman, AZ|
|Powerhouse Route 66 Museum and Visitors Center||Kingman, AZ|
|Feeding the donkeys downtown||Oatman, AZ|
|Roy's Cafe & Motel||Amboy, CA|
|Harvey House Railroad Depot||Barstow, CA|
|Bagdad Cafe||Newberry Springs, CA|
|Wigwam Village #7||San Bernardino, CA|
|End of the Trail ... the westward end of Route 66||Santa Monica, California|
The Blue Whale in Catoosa, Oklahoma on Historic Route 66
Touring Route 66 by RV or Automobile
Different people choose different modes of transportation to tour the Mother Road. While some elect guided bus tours, or drive their own vehicles, others seek new destinations in their RV or motor home.
And for those that don't own an RV yet, companies like Cruise America, El Monte RV Rentals, Road Bear RV Rentals, and Camping World offer a variety of RV sizes and rental plans.
The Cadillac Ranch, just west of Amarillo, on present-day I-40. Access is from the service road on the south side of the interstate. Park and walk across the field ... free admission!
Touring Route 66 by Motorcycle
Get your motor running! Get out on the highway!
Many travelers on Route 66 ride their own cycles or rent motorcycles to seek new open-air adventures on their USA road trip!
|Motorcycles at the Classy Ass, Oatman, Arizona, on Route 66|
A variety of motorcycle rental plans are available, such as those from Eaglerider Motorcycle Rentals.
Out West, your motorcycle can be picked up at a number of rental locations in Nevada, California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. If you are starting your Route 66 trip further north, motorcycle pickup locations in Illinois are available.
Model options are plentiful, and cycles from manufacturers such as Harley-Davidson and Indian are available. Trikes can also be rented.
If you don't want to ride independently, choose from one of many guided motorcycle tours. Self-drive tours often include rental of the motorcycle, hotel reservations and detailed tour route information.
Some companies offer one-way rentals, hotel pickups, luggage storage, helmets and other amenities.
Route 66: The Song
|Angel & Vilma's visitor center and shop in Seligman, Arizona, on Route 66|
The song "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" was composed by songwriter Bobby Troup in 1946.
It was first recorded by year by Nat King Cole, and sung by other singers over the years including Chuck Berry, Perry Como, and the Rolling Stones.
If you ever plan to motor west,
travel my way, take the highway that is best.
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.
It winds from Chicago to LA,
more than two thousand miles all the way.
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.
Now you go through Saint Looey
and Oklahoma City is mighty pretty.
You see Amarillo,
Gallup, New Mexico,
Don't forget Winona,
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernandino.
Won't you get hip to this timely tip:
when you make that California trip
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.
Lodging Options Along Route 66
Photo Highlights from Road Trips Along Route 66
Included here is a small sampling of the original photographs taken by our staff on our Route 66 road trips. We are working to post more photographs and reviews from our road trip archives to this website over time.
Greetings from Galena, Kansas, on Historic Route 66
The Gateway to Route 66 in Miami, Oklahoma
Route 66 road trip stop in downtown, Joplin, Missouri ... the mural and the red corvette!
Abandoned Little Juarez Cafe in Glenrio, Texas, on the New Mexico border on Route 66
Elvis and friend take a break along Route 66 in Seligman, Arizona
Roy's Motel and Cafe in Amboy, California
Travel Guides for the States Along Route 66
Planning a Road Trip on Route 66? Here are travel guides for the major segments ...