April 25th, 2011 by David Knudson
What is your favorite Route 66 stretch?
Judy and I are very partial to the stretch from Crookton Road all the way west and then across the I-40 bridge and down to the sign. We get to see Angel and Frank (Historic Sundries) and we get to cruise through Kingman and up and over to Oatman.
And it’s only a few hours from home.
Top favorite: Miami to Arcadia, Okla. For Route 66 character and sheer density of attractions, this stretch is hard to beat — you’ve got the Coleman Theatre Beautiful, the Sidewalk Highway, Afton Station, Clanton’s Cafe, Totem Pole Park, the Blue Whale, the Blue Dome, downtown Red Fork, the Rock Creek Bridge, the Rock Cafe, the Chandler Armory, Seaba Station, and POPS, among many others.
Runner-up: Vega, Texas, to Tucumcari, N.M. There’s nothing like watching the Panhandle give way to the Land of Enchantment as you enter the Llano Estacado. Plus, y’know, pie at the Midpoint.
Great stretches, Emily.
Definitely one of my favorites, too.
The pics are very nice! Hope to see it again next year!!
Kind Regards from Germany Mathias – http://my-website-hosting.info/
The stretch from Mesita to Grants, NM A lot of it is far removed from I-40 so it’s easier to reminisce about how it was driving Route 66 in years past. You have red rocks, Indian reservations and small towns, just the thing to “get your kicks”.
Thanks for the compliments, Mathias.
Good choice, Mike.
thanks for the compliment
OH!!!! I remember another time I was on a hound and we were pulling into a station on the lower level, and as we were creaping down the entrance ramp, this ole cat was walking down the ramp ahead of us–apperantly it didnt know we were behind it-dont know if it was a she or a he-anyway,the driver looks over to me and sez, “Watch this.” and he hit the airhorn and that ole cat done jump straight up in the air about even level with us in the bus and as he’s(whatever) starting to go down, he’s already starting to run in the air! About the time he hit the ground that ole cat was doing bout 90 mph!!! Well,let me tell ya,we saw that and that was the end of us,cause we ALL cracked up!! The driver had to stop right were we was at cause he was laughing so hard along with the rest of us..Even the passingers waiting in the station that saw what was going on,they were all cracking up!! Gad allmighty,are you bringing ole memorries I thought I had forgoten…Aaaah! your making me kinda sad..I miss the ole times,I reckon,sniff,sniff….
All of the old unimproved road between Seligman AZ and Bagdad, CA. I find it almost magical.
The stretch from the Missouri border to Edmond, Ok is hard to beat. There is so much to see and great people to visit with along the way. It’s not close to the interstate so your not driving right beside it.The Round Barn in Arcadia is also a must see. We also love the stretch from Springfield, Mo to Carthage. Its always peaceful and just great top down cruising in the GTO.
Hi, Im shipping my motorcylce to San Diego in July and riding back to Illinois. What stretchs should i ride on around Flagstaff and Albuquerque,I will be on I 40 most of the time. Thanks Mark Kerber, Chatsworth IL
55 years ago a group of 7 Explorer Scouts traveled from IL > NM on Route 66. I am planning a trip, or trips, to enjoy the people & places of this preserved historic route. Any suggestion; other than to just start driving ? JpD
Your trip will be very enjoyable if you do a little preplanning. The road is not on ordinary maps and there are very few road signs.
We recommend you go to our website http://www.national66.org and order one of the Route 66 Kits.
The kit will allow you to plan your trip in advance by giving you the materials necessary to find and enjoy the legendary road.
You’ll want to get the EZ66 GUIDE For Travelers in order to find the Route, the Route 66 Dining & Lodging Guide to find the best places to stay and eat and the Route 66 Adventure Hand book to find the important sites.
When I was a about 5 my dad was driving us across the old Chain of Rocks Bridge. It is the one in the picture crossing the Mississippi with the angle in it. Tractor trailers going from Chicago west had to use it. One, trying to make the turn, forced us to brush up against the angle portion. No one was hurt and there was no serious damage from the incident. I hit the floor in the backseat and for years after was afraid to cross major bridges. I’ve recovered – been over Sunshine Parkway and Seven Mile – but I’ll never forget that trip on Rte 66!!!
Yes, I remember it too – driving over it in the middle of the night passing semis at that bend. A bit hair raising.
My favorite Rte 66 road is betwwen Seligman and Kingman AZ. My favorite eating place is the “Road Kill Cafe”.
Just out of town, there are the familiar “Burma Shave” signs.
My last trip included an event with my 1967 Convertible. The wind from an oncomming truck lifted the driver’s corner of the converitible top. Took out the hinge, bent the frame, and scared the dickens out of me. Drove the rest of the way home with the top down, except for nights at motels. Insurance covered the whole thing.
Why go on a trip, if you don’t have an adventure?
Drove from Boston to Los Angeles in a 15-foot moving truck… Along the way, my brother and I decided to get off the I-40 and do some of the original Route 66. No research – just randomly chose a route that eventually looped back to the I-40 again per the map. It was entirely at night, pitch black but for our headlights. Then the cliff-side switchbacks started. Some of the hairpins were so sharp that our big moving truck couldn’t cut a turn through them… so we were making 3-point turns just to follow this road! With one side of the road always yielding a black abyss beyond its edge (who knows what’s down there???), we were both on edge ourselves. Along the way we started seeing bats and desert foxes quickly flash in and out of our headlights. And two free-roaming mules who were using the road themselves; they didn’t seem to notice our truck going by. But no other drivers… Anywhere. This is when the Twilight Zone paranoia started to creep in and we wondered if we’d made a mistake and were about to start seeing hitchhiker-ghosts. Eventually we reached a small settlement but it seemed awfully quiet with very few lights on, so we just kept going on through. We didn’t know that was Oatman at the time. Thankfully the road started to straighten out and we finally settled in at a motel in Needles, CA. Route 66 is awesome. But at night, on a lonely stretch, it can be creepy as heck!
Well Phil, I think your story holds the record for the worst way to see Route 66. You went up Sitgreaves pass, probably the most treacherous stretch on the Route, in the night, in a semi, no less and saw virtually nothing.
I hope one day, you’ll have a chance to really see and enjoy Route 66.
@ David K – Haha, you may be right. Believe me I’m not complaining… In retrospect it was an awesome, spooky, otherworldly experience. But yes I look forward to some daytime cruising.
My top three favorite stretches:
1) Bagdad – getting married there was an absolutely wonderful experience!
2) Los Angeles County – with nearly 60 National Register of Historic Places landmarks within the Route 66 corridor in LA County, what’s not to love. And with all of those food and culture options as well, it’s a dream waiting to be explored.
3) Whichever stretch I am currently on!
You certainly would know—the undeniable authority on the LA County Route 66 corridor.
looks a great road to drive.from start to finish and one day hopefuly be able to drive along it for myself.dont think this road will ever be forgottern
Hey — when are y’all going to post something else here? :)
How about Emily Priddy is mighty pretty.
I rode the Kingman to Seligman stretch last spring on a CanAm Spyder and it was awesome. I’m riding a Goldwing from Vegas to Dallas in late October and plan on doing that stretch again and adding as much of 66 to my trip as possible. It’s great, especially the sections of road less travelled.
Hi Stan- An excellent way to see Route 66. Have fun.
Hi, My son , my sister and I are going on 4th June 2013 for a fly drive holiday to Route 66. Have you any tips or are there any national parks nearby.? Grateful for any help or suggestions.
Hi Sheil- Thank you for contacting the National Historic Route 66 Federation.
Your trip will be very enjoyable if you do a little preplanning. Route 66 is not on ordinary maps and there are very few road signs.
The kit will allow you to plan your trip in advance by giving you the materials necessary to find and enjoy the legendary road. Plus you will save money and get free trip consultation 7 days a week.
You will discover quite a few national parks along or near Route 66. Not the least of which is the Grand Canyon.
My Mother was from Santa Barbara, CA and Father from Indiana. They met and married in August, 1940. I was born in Indiana in September, 1941. My first trip to California had to have been around 3 year of age, I’m guessing. It was during the War. Dad was stationed at the Naval base in southern California. We took Route 66, Mom driving all the way, with 3 other Navy wives from Indiana with us. Only remember one thing on the trip out, we were in the desert and I wet on one of the Lady’s lap, lol! Mom was embarrased…lol.
Then we made another trip out in 1949, Mother had family still living in California. This was my most memorable trip on Route 66, I was almost 8 yr old. Dad driving, Mom, her sister (who also had moved to Indiana), my younger brother and I. “Both” my parents were fast, good drivers, 65 mph was just a number on our speedometer.
I can remember reading the Burma Shave signs along the road in the Southwest, the endless desert road which looked like a ribbon, sometimes small lumps in the road which looked like water as you looked far ahead of you. I remember my parents pointing out to me where the Painted Desert was and the Petrified Forrest as we drove close to them, but never stopped.
My last trip on Route 66 was just before Christmas 1952, our trip home from California. My Mother, Brother and I had, in October of that year, taken the Santa Fe Chieftain train from Chicago to LA, to go to my Mother’s oldest sisters home in Whittier, CA. Man, was that ever an expierence and a half. What a thrill for both my brother and I being on that train trip. I have never forgotten it.
My most rememberable moment of the trip home on Route 66 in December, 1952 was as we were leaving LA, climbing the Mountains out of the valley below, the moon was shining so bright. I leaned down and looked out the back door window to look up the Mountain side to see the beautiful moon. That was my last trip to California. Sixty years ago. And on Route 66. For some reason that night as I looked up at the moon I had then and remember it still as being a very sad moment for me.
I remember California before all the super highways, no smog, just clear, fresh ocean smell of the breeze, especially of the morning, as I left to go to school.
I have never had the chance to go back to California since.
So, my trips on old Route 66 were really happier times in my life. I remember special moments and events as we traveled that old Super Highway. I still love to travel. Once more I would like to travel down that road, what I could of it. And see once again America, as I remembered it.
Today, if I ever get a chance to travel somewhere, I go, and enjoy taking the back roads of this Beautiful Country, instead of the Interstate roads.
Thank you, each of you for bringing back the timeless memories of my youth, and sharing them with others. I have enjoyed reading your thoughts and experiences of this memorable highway….Route 66.
Hi Jo Ann-
Thank you for the nostalgic commentary. California beckons you back.
How can I get the EZ66 Guide? We have four oldies doing the trip in Sept 2013 from Chicago back to Chicago. We have allowed 24 days. Problem is we are from Australia and th EZ66 Guide is not available.It would obviously be a great benefit to us.
That’s easy. Just order it at our website store at http://www.national66.org. But I suggest you look over and consider one of our Route 66 travel kits.
My sister, brother and I (I am the baby at 59) are planning a trip from Jamestown NY to take the whole route to Cal and back. I contacted AAA and they basically laughed at me!!! But it is a trip my sister (who now has Stage 4 cancer) and I have always wanted to do. Brother decided to tag alone so it will be a great adventure. We plan a Sept 2013 trip. I will check out website above for your kit. Actually AAA did recommend getting info from Arizona (just happens that my daughter and son-in-law winter there) so I am headed there in March to see what I can find.
Yes, definitely get one of the Route 66 travel kits available at our website store on this site.
My wife and I are going to be leaving from Chicago on April 23rd to do the whole route. We went on the route from Holbrook to
Topock and loved it. So we decided to take our 19641/2 mustang and do the whole trip. I remember traveling on rt 66 in the mid to late 50′s between long beach Ca. and Mississippi As a child. Can’t wait to do it again so many years later. I can still remember asking to stay at the wigwam motels, go to the Grand Canyon,etc, sometimes we did, sometimes we didn’t. I have already picked up the 3rd edition of EZ66. Got any advice?
Hi Terry. You’ll have a great time. You might want to get the Route 66 Dining & Lodging Guide.
Hi, Guys my husband and I & 4 kids are traveling from new york to niagrra falls and then on to LA & san diego.. in an RV… has anyone got any ideas of good spots to stop at for the day or overnight, things to see with the kids, campgrounds etc..?
You’ll want to get a Route 66 Explorers Kit at our website http://www.national66.org . It will guide you along the original Route 66 and give you over 300 reviews of dining & logding establishments along it.
Thanks david I will.. its going to be amazing.
I bought your “Ultimate Kit” this week, and would like to know about the digital booklets mentioned in the description, because I didn’t receive the email with the instructions to how to download them yet.
We did the whole Route in 2003, from Chicago to Santa Monica, we have traveled our favorite stretch many times since. Seligman to Oatman and beyond is the best stretch for the open road feeling. We have great memories from the Blue Whale, Blue Swallow Motel, and many other points, but Seligman is our favorite town. We road in the jalopy with Juan in 2003 and gave our condolences to his son a few years later. Very excited to be celebrating a 50th birthday by flying out to AZ for the 2013 Fun Run next weekend! Can’t wait to run the Route with all the classic cars and fellow enthusiasts! Ready to get my Kicks….
Thanks Marge. A nice report.
My wife Loretta & I are heading to Missouri from Indiana to catch Rt. 66 there and heading west on our Harley. We can’t wait!!
Have fun Charlie and Loretta.
Sitgreaves Pass is definitely my favorite Stretch!
Mat, Switzerland – http://www.route-66.tv
For me it has to be Sitgreaves Pass and the entire Oatman Highway. Its amazing how much that road has been untouched since 1953 when it was bypassed in favor of Yucca. I was fortunate in my last job that I had a territory that included every from Santa Monica to Santa Fe. I loved to Travel from Kingman to Bullhead city via Oatman. Its amazing to see how things were at Ed’s Camp, Goldroad, Old Trails and OF COURSE Oatman. Sitgreaves Pass itself is an absolute beast of a road, its wild and challenging which is why I love it. I would take a trip over Sitgreaves any day as opposed to something like the Coronado Trail on US 191 or even The Dragon on US 129.
We are a French family (2 adults & 2 teenagers) and spent three weeks in the western USA from California to Nevada through Arizona and Utah from 19 June to 11 July 2013.
During the first days of our vacation we went onto Santa Monica pier (End of the trail sign)
Later, on the way to the Grand Canyon, we only took Route 66 between Barstow (CA) and Williams (AZ)
Bagdad Café, Oatman, Hackberry, Kingman, Seligman, Williams, Whaouuuu! it was awesome I could finally realize my dream child.
I love your country
Fred and his family
PS:sorry for my bad English
Thank you for the compliments. Your English is fine.
I love the stretch between Kingman and Oatman AZ. That’s a blast to drive. Just keep your eyes open for the donkey’s in the area. They have the right of way out there.
The few miles off I40 X117 at Mesita NM to Laguna NM, X114.
The 3 mile portion of 66 between Mesita NM, I40 X117 and Laguna X114. So close to I40, yet so far.
Two years ago I flew into LV and rented a car to drive to Phoenx, just cause I love to drive. But decided to stop overnight in Kingman so I could take a side trip from Kingman to Seligman on old 66. I loved every inch stopping at every town, building and dirt road. I joined the large lineup at the hamburger stand in Seligman, fueled up and retraced my route back. Had so much fun I declared next years vacation a road trip on Route 66 in my 66 fastback mustang with my childhood friend as we celebrate our 66th birthdays.
Can’t think I a better trip.
I live in Sedalia,Mo and have thought many times about riding my motorcycle on Route 66. I know there is part of Route 66 somewhere around Springfield,Mo which is only two hours from where I live. I’m wondering how many miles of good riding there might be on Route 66 from that point.Thanks for any information that might be helpful.
We don’t know where you want to go on the Route. But MO is one of the best states for it.
I am living in Belgium and have just decided to do a nostalgic-romantic route 66 trip with two friends of mine. Will be a party of three 50 odd year old ladies for a fortnight… just don’t know which part – state to pick. The plan is to do the journey next september. Looking for authenticity, reasonable warm weather – not around Boston, not in California (been there) – suggestions?
Hi Dorine- Get our Basic Route 66 Travel Kit so you can make an informed decision. Better that than me trying to tell you without knowing your interests.
Favorite section is from Oklahoma City west. We especially like New Mexico, Arizona, and California (Colorado River to
want to take route 66 drive with teenage daughter any suggestions we both love the old stuff. we are from ohio
Yes Helen- You will definitely want to get one of our Route 66 travel kits—whichever one fits your budget. They are available at our website store http://www.national66.org.
Your site is superb and very well documented.
In 1.5 years I’ll come to Route 66 for my birthday, it’s a dream I’ve had since a very long time.
Rider, 30 years, I’d take the road on a motorcycle, but not too many people because I want to experience the spirit of this American liberty and fraternity.
The documents you provide are only in English?
Sorry for my english (Switzerland)
Thank you and Happy Christmas and New year
Hi Route Sixty Sixers. I plan to bring my 1968 Morris Minor Traveller over to your East Coast. Can anyone suggest a suitable Port of Entry, and a practical route I could take to pick up Route 66 at St Louis?
Thank you for the compliments on our website, Serge. Yes, our materials are only in English.
Hi Eric- No, not really. I suggest you do research on the internet.
Route 66 has been in my dreams also. Having said that, is it really worth travelling the whole distance from Santa Monica to Chicago on 66(other than getting the bragging rights) ?
I intend to do this trip on a motorcycle this summer-fall from San Francisco to Chicago, and on the way back intend to check out the other roads.
Can I solicit some opinions from those of you who have traveled the whole way from end to end?
Thanks in advance for answering.
The stretch between Clinton, Oklahoma, and Flagstaff, Arizona. I met an Austrailian girl at that Clinton motel where Elvis used to stay. We travelled together from Clinton to Flagstaff over the next five days. It was magic. From Flagstaff she went on to Vegas and then back overseas. I was heartbroken. But for five days, I lived the Route 66 dream.
Second choice: the section from Joliet to Elwood in Illinois. You’re just starting on your journey, and you know you have 2,000 miles of adventure ahead of you. What a feeling.
Nice stories. Thank you Joe.
My favorite stretch of route 66 begins on Adams st in Chicago, Il and runs all the way to Santa Monica, Ca.
I drive a tour coach for Tri-State Travel. in Galena,Il.
and the route 66 tour has become my favorite tour. I have always been intrigued with route 66, and with the opportunity to drive the tours I look forward to each trip. Every trip I take I see something new (or old) and the trip is always an adventure.
The next time you see a Tri-State Travel coach on route 66 wave and say hello-chances are its me!
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