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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.