Ten Reasons Why Everyone Should Drive Route 66

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Dan and I can now honestly say that we’ve traveled Historic Route 66 at least one time in our lives from end to end…. even our boys, ages 9 and 4, have the memories of an incredible road trip together. Route 66 is a destination that noone should miss out on. It’s the Mother Road, a road less traveled now, but lacking absolutely nothing in history, amazing stories, and a legacy worth preserving.I’m going to be doing a lot more writing about Route 66 now and in the future…. in fact, I’d like to become an advocate for this road. It’s not a road we should just throw away for highways and byways. You know…. after everything we’ve had the opportunity to see and do, I can safely say that if you’re just speeding along on the highway (and this could pertain to life, as well), you have no idea what you’re missing out on. The movie Cars, even though a children’s movie, definitely has new meaning for me now.

So, I give you…. ten reasons why everyone should drive Route 66 at least once in their lifetime:

10. Literally, hundreds to thousands of places to get the kids out, to explore with your family, to leave your mark. There were so many places to stop and get out, and stop a lot we did. It was great; it wasn’t like a normal road trip where you’re driving for hours on end. There were things to see and do all along the way, and it made the trip seem timeless. Everywhere you looked, there were places to leave your mark, whether signing a bunch of Cadillacs stuck end up in the Texas dirt or even leaving a rock sculpture in the desert along the side of the road.9. Awesome souvenirs. From Route 66 magnets to stickers to postcards to t-shirts to pure maple syrup to volcanic rock…. you name it, Route 66 has it.

8. Beautiful architecture and colorful murals. When it comes to architecture, Route 66 has some of the most beautiful older buildings and bridges, just to name a couple that were quite impressive, the State Capitol and the Macoupin County Courthouse in Illinois. Many small towns also have old-time murals painted on the sides of buildings, on business signs, and more.7. Nostalgia and History. If you’re into history and feel that you could have lived in that 1920-1940’s era…. Route 66 gives you the ability to step back in time. It’s a chance to take a deep breath and just be in the moment.6. A chance to drive the backroads, to take a trip off the beaten path. Contrary to what most people think, the Mother Road doesn’t just wind along the side of the highway. Sure, it does in some spots…. but for the most part, we found ourselves way off the beaten path, whether on a paved or gravel or even a brick road, winding through the mountains, through farmland and ranches, through small towns we didn’t even know existed. There is so much to see that, sadly, most people will miss because they don’t realize it’s there.

5. The people you’ll meet, the guest books you’ll sign. Our first day out, we ran into a couple from France. We signed guest books at different stops along the way, and it was always interesting to see names written from all over the U.S., from Germany, Australia, Austria, and many, many more. Even when we stopped for a hotel in Litchfield, IL, we heard tell of a man that’d been through 2 weeks before us; he was walking the Mother Road on stilts. It’s amazing that this famous highway unites so many travelers from around the world. Not only that, but the people you meet who work in businesses along the way…. oh, the stories they can tell. If you’re driving through Chandler, OK, be sure to stop and see Jerry McClanahan, a Route 66 expert and artist (we used his awesome books to navigate the entire trip).4. Family Time. It may be like National Lampoon’s whenever we go somewhere, but I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than in the car with the family, spending time together, discovering new places. Route 66 has a way of bringing family together.3. A chance to feed the burros. Winding down a mountain road, you may just come upon a pack of burros that’ll eat all your trailmix and maybe even take a nip at you.


2. Amazing food! I can’t even say enough about the food on Route 66. You definitely don’t want to miss the Mid-Point Cafe in Texas (if you blink, you’ll miss the town)…. and of course, the Palms Grill Cafe in Atlanta, Illinois. If you’re a foodie, Route 66 is a destination highway…. it’s full of delicious, scrumptious foods, from juicy burgers to homemade pies to steak and potatoes to frozen custard. The food is reason enough to travel the Mother Road.1. Finally, amazing photo opps from end to end. Where else can your family get a picture sitting on a giant jackrabbit or standing beside the signs that mark the beginning and end of Route 66? The photo opps are too many to count…. you won’t be disappointed.In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be filling my Route 66 section to the brim…. be sure to stay tuned. This road has given me so much inspiration; it’s an amazing ride that I can’t wait to share with you.

(Disclosure: This post is not sponsored in any way. All photos were taken by us.)

7 thoughts on “Ten Reasons Why Everyone Should Drive Route 66”

    • Carolyn, the burros were such a riot.:) It was a blast. I can’t wait to do it again, only next time, I’d love to do it in an old car, top down with a scarf flying off my head (dreaming, but I’m allowed to, right?)…. LOL.

  1. This is awesome!! We just returned from a 3 week road trip. I thought I wanted to be home a bit before I headed back out but now I want to hit the road and drive Route 66. I’m going to have to get a book and map. I have no idea where it starts and ends, but it sounds like a perfect journey. Looking forward to more posts.

    • Deb, you should definitely make it a point to purchase Jerry McClanahan’s spiral bound guide, the EZ66 Guide for Travelers; it gives turn by turn directions the whole way, with options for pre-1930 road, as well. Also, get the companion to go with it, the Dining & Lodging Guide (gives authentic places to eat and stay). These books were our constant companions, awesome resources that we couldn’t have done it without.:) Plus, the Historic Route 66 website has a great forum.:) I can’t wait to read about your adventures! I can’t wait to do it again…. Dan and I are both kinda obssessed with it now.:)

  2. Hi. My husband and I and 2 boys, 12 & 10 are driving route 66. We have 2 weeks ending in CA. Please give me a certain must see spots. Keep in mind I am trying to not only entertain my husband and I but 2 boys!!!! Any info is much appreicated.
    Thank you :-)

    • Debbie, if you don’t have them already, I definitely recommend purchasing Jerry McClanahan’s book, EZ66 Guide for Travelers. It takes you section by section of the route and gives you a lot of great places and recommendations. You can find it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Route-66-GUIDE-Travelers-EDITION/dp/0970995199/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372805230&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=jerry+mclanahan. We used that every single step of the way. We also got the Dining & Lodging Guide, so many great places to eat. Here are a few of my must see spots, though I’m probably missing some….:)

      Illinois- the Palms Grill Cafe in Atlanta, IL has a wonderful breakfast. The Macoupin County Courthouse is a great photo opp. We also enjoyed walking around in the Capitol building in Springfield, IL.

      Missouri- Gay Parita Sinclair Gas Station & Garage. The owner’s daughter is full of stories and info. Also watch for bridges in Missouri, great photo opps. Ted Drewes in St. Louis is a great ice cream stop.

      Kansas- I would like to have gone into 4 Women on the Route, but they were closed.

      Oklahoma- McJerry’s Route 66 Art Gallery in Chandler, OK. He’s traveled the route so many times and is so interesting to talk to. So many more places in OK, including Pops, Round Barn, etc.

      Texas- Red River Steakhouse in McLean, TX is a great place to get dinner. Cadillac Ranch.:) Midpoint Cafe in Midpoint, TX (best burgers ever). Drive some of the backroads in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. We took several gravel roads, and it’s just a chance to see areas you wouldn’t otherwise get to see. Those old roads are amazing.

      New Mexico- The Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, NM is so historic and wonderful. Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe. Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano.

      Arizona- The JackRabbit (photo opp). The town of Williams, AZ is really neat. Before we left Williams, we took a back road up through the mountains outside of Williams that brought us back into town (lots of secluded, wilderness camping spots). Must stop place to eat is Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive In at Seligman, AZ, such a cool place. Side trip to Grand Canyon, well worth the trip. Take Sitsgreaves Pass through Oatman, where you’re likely to find mules on the road. This road has lots of switchbacks, but just take it slow and easy.

      California- Leave your sculpture alongside the road in the desert (we did not do this, but hoping to go back and do the trip all over again). Bottle Tree Ranch. Santa Monica Beach, Hollywood, etc.

      You’ll have to tell me how your trip goes. I love Route 66 so much and am always excited to hear other travelers’ stories and adventures.:)

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