April 25th, 2011 by David Knudson
When was your first Route 66 trip?
My family traveled Rt. 66 during Christmas vacation (December 1955) when we traveld in a station wagon from Chicago to Flagstaff, then on to Phoenix, AZ to visit the rest of the family. Still have photos of us at the TX-NM border on Rt 66. We stayed overnight in Joplin, MO & Armarillo,TX on Rt 66.
We plan on taking another trip from Chicago to LA following the Historic Rt 66 in the near future.
You will enjoy your second trip as much or even more.
I caught Rt. 66 outside of Chicago when I moved from N.J. to Upland, Ca. in 1970. I plan to make the trip again in the next couple of years.
Things have changed a bit since the 70s on 66. Mostly for the better.
Just surfing on Route 66 and landed on your site. My first time on Route 66 in the physical sense was in May, 1994 heeding a sign on I-40 the read “Historic Route 66 Turn Here”! There we found ourselves at the birthplace of Historic 66 in Seligman AZ greeted by Angel & Vilma Delgadillo; and the rest is history (or shall we say future)! As with most people who live far from Route 66, my first virtual contact with the Mother Road happened in October, 1960 via antenna feed from Bellingham, Washington directly to our living room in Vancouver, BC where the CBS TV series aired. My dream was to get a driver’s license, travel Route 66 and meet George Maharis & Martin Milner and live happily ever after (in a Corvette of course)… Well, for the most part, some of this dream has come true! See you again, David, “On the Road” and keep up your legendary efforts on America’s Main Street…
Nice to hear your story, Lorrie. Thank you.
as part of usa tour i am flying into dallas on 10 sept and am desperate to drive part of route66 from there for about 10 days,would appreciate any advice of places to visit,bruce australiaps maybe able to meet up with others doing likewise
You’ll have a wonderful time if you do a little preplanning. There are so many places to see and things to do, it would be impractical to type them here. We suggest you get the “Route 66 Explorers Kit” here at our website store. The EZ66 Guide is essential to find and follow the legendary road. The Dining & Lodging Guide will help you find the vintage motels/hotels an restaurants/diners. And the Explorers Handbook will tell you all about the interesting sites.
would love to know more.
would love to make this trip on route 66
There is a wealth of Route 66 information on our site. If you want to know more, you might want to get a book at our website store. Route 66 is fascinating.
I had travelled bits and pieces of Rte 66 often, growing up in California, and later, while driving longhaul. But I’d never TRAVELLED Rte 66 until earlier this year, from mid-March through early April.
I work as a live-in caregiver now, and lucky for me, my boss likes to travel. So when she said she’d like to go visit her family in California, and see the Grand Canyon along the way, I suggested we find a theme for the long drive from her home near Washington D.C.
The idea to take Rte 66 just came up as a random suggestion, but it didn’t take more than a minute or two to agree that it was a very good plan.
I hadn’t given much attention to The Road, or it’s history, until I began researching our route. We took a round about course to Chicago then headed West, unaware of what a profound journey we had begun.
It’s a treasure hunt, every day. Plotting the next stretch, still having to watch for signs along the way. But within a day or two, we both became enamored of this eccentric trail and the poignant story it tells of America.
I’ve travelled to every state now, and each has it’s own particular glory. But nothing else compares to the Mother Road. It is a National Treasure.
My first time on the legendary road was in 2008 when my mother and I hopped in a blue Mini Cooper Convertible and drove from Tulsa to Stroud. We had a wonderful time. Stopping once in Sapulpa and Stroud at the Rock Cafe for a yummy cheeseburger. Then we continued down the Route enjoying the warm Fall air, where we stopped at the Chandler Interpretive Center. That was very neat and we learned a lot there. They also pointed us in the direction of Round Barn in Arcadia and Pops. Both very unique places indeed.
I live in Oklahoma and have a lot of family in/near Baxter Springs, Kansas. Maybe this is why I am so fascinated by the Mother Road. Thank you for all you are doing to preserve it and make it the best it can be!
Nearly everyone is bitten by the Route 66 bug once they travel it. You’ll be back.
Thank you for the complement and story.
At my age that’s hard to remember but it would have to be either 1950 or 1951, traveling with my parents from Fort Lee, VA where my dad was stationed out to see friends and relatives in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. As I was either four or five at the time I don’t have a lot of memories of the trip.
C’mon Mike. You’re still a kid.
man im in new mexico traveling to phoenix and i see little specks of road and i ask my grand pa who is driving and he said” thats old 66 the first coast to coast hwy” we talked for about 2 hours and i cant get enough of it. im 15 now and its 2011 and i wish i was back when it was in its golden days, i would drive for days on end on tht gr8 road…..
No matter what age you are, you will really enjoy Route 66.
In three weeks time I will be flying to Chicago with my wife and we will be on Route 66 for the first time.
We are looking forward to the challenge.
Have a wonderful trip Martin.
I live in Cape Town, South Africa and would love to do route 66. I’ve heard so much about it and have read a lot of info on the net about it… looks like fun. :-)
A lot of South Africans travel the road each year. You’d love it.
I have always heard about Route 66 and have always wanted to take a road trip. Well the time has finally come and I taking that road trip. I am very excited to see what was and what is. Our trip will begin with Carlsbad Caverns, Roswell, NM and then up to Albuquerque,NM. On the way back to San Diego (I-40), I am hoping to fnd a few treasures of Route 66. Does anyone have any suggestions on special stops along my way back?
Renee- Sounds like fun but you’ll want to get the EZ66 GUIDE For Travelers to help you find the original Route.
I have heard about Route 66 for years being a big movie fan. I have always said i would love to travel it on a Harley and finally got round to doing the first part of my bike test this year at the ripe old age of 42. I intend to do the trip before i’m 50, hopefully well before and i can’t wait.
I live in England by the way so it will take some planning.
VISITED SELIGMAN,and shook hands with ANGEL DELGADILLO,at his famous barbers shop and i was so taken with this gentleman.
HE SHOOK HANDS WITH EVERY PERSON,on our coach trip,it was on my 65th birthday,i am now 72 years old but i have never forgotten that and he had time to talk to everyone,a great man indeed,i have actually visited his website tonight,and i live in NORTH WALES,in the UK.
Yes, he is an exceptional man. Would you please tell us what tour company you used and what you thought of them.
Would love to drive Route 66 next summer. Would 2 weeks vacation be enough to do the whole route? We live in Scotland UK
Of course so much depends on what you want to do. If you want to go up to Santa Fe, allow at least an extra day to see it. The same, if you want to go up to the Grand Canyon. We typically recommend at least 10 days one way without these two side trips. Route 66 is a relaxing and scenic road to drive, so allow enough time.
My wife and I made the trip from Chicago to Santa Monica two years ago with our best friend and my dad. I have been blessed to see a lot of the world and especially our country; I have never been so moved by anything as I was Route 66! As a 45 year with an obsessive love for history and anything American, I felt so in awe of the journey! We all felt as if we were on a path long set for us by so many! I took over 10,000 pictures on our trip and my most prized is one of me sitting in that barber’s chair with that wonderful man standing behind me! I told Mr. Angel Delgadillo that he was part of my reason for making the trip; that I had come looking for him! People no longer see the world the way he does! I could have listened to him tell his stories all day! He let me help him repair one of his stand-up posters in his shop… and offered to cut my hair! I should have let him, but I was so taken by the emotion of it all…
Thank you for helping to keep this precious piece of America alive! We are better as a nation when we hold onto the things that stand as monuments & landmarks and guide us forward as we remember from where we came!
Thank you so much for such a touching report. 10.000 photos! WOW!
Hi David. I have written 4 books for Arcadia Publishing, Images of America series (and have all the Route 66 ones).
I would love to write one on the Mother Road. I first traveled it in 1965 but did not realize how great it was at the time. I traveled it again as I-40 was being built along side of it in places. I am now retired and plan to travel it at a slower pace, maybe gathering info and photos for that book! Keep up the great work
Raymond. There are several Arcadia books that cover sections of the Route but I don’t think there is one that covers the entire Route. I suggest you check their list but you probably already have.
We’ve talked about it for years,finally,along with 4 high school friends(now 70), we will travel from our city of Chicago to Santa Monica in 2012. Anticipation and excitement are building as we check out information on the Mother Road. We may rival David’s 10,000 photos.
You’l have a great time. But make sure you get the right planning materials.
Hi my wife and I are planning to do the trip of a lifetimeon the mother road.Can you tell me in your experiace what would be the best time of the year.And any pointers as to the best stop offs with a winabego.
Jim- Yes, the best time of year, weatherwise, to travel Route 66 is Spring and Autumn. As far as pointers and stop offs for those who are traveling the first time, we always recommend the Route 66 Explorers Kit at our web store http://www.national66.org .
Hi, bucket-list trip for myself and must do trip for my son on motor cycles. What about June, what are pitfalls, ship our own bikes over or hire in US?
Barry Monkman, England
June should be fine. Just about any time in Spring and Autumn. Summers can get very hot in the deserts and Winters usually bring snow and ice in the Midwest and parts of Arizona.
Most people from other countries, rent. To compare details, return to our website http://www.national66.org, click “RESOURCES”, scroll down to “Rental Cars, Motorcycles & RVs”. Two of the most popular motorcycle rental agencies are listed there.
I just stumbled onto your site as I was browsing for Route 66 museums. I have always been interested in the Mother Road and took my first trip on it in the winter of 1946 when my parents moved from Plainfield, IL to Riverside, CA. We ended up in Phoenix in early 1947 and over the ensuing years made many trips back and forth to Illinois over Route 66. I eventually grew up and lived in Flagstaff, AZ where I was living when they by-passed Flagstaff with I-40 and when the very last piece of Route 66 was by-passed in Williams, AZ. I have some interesting information concerning Route 66, and the old road beds that parallel each other. I have some memorbilia collected along these old road beds that includes an original “ARIZONA US 66″ route marker from the old highway near Ashfork, AZ. My family has lots of stories of travels along route 66 over the years.
We’d love to see photos of your Route 66 memorabilia.
I travel with and plan trips for a group of active senior adults from Pascagoula MS. We spent a few minutes on Rt 66 somewhere out west last year and loved it! Would like to plan somthing for 2012 with more emphasis on Rt 66.
Is there a COMPANY OR INDIVIDUAL THAT does this? Group travel planning?
Yes, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org – David Knudson
The wife and I made the 66 trip this year. Started in St. Louis and ended up on the pier. We took 3 weeks and took every inch of 66 that we could. We researched the trip for about 2 months before we started. Bought many of your books and maps. We never hit a dead end because the info we had told us all the things we needed to know. When we drove through the desert the tem. was 66 degrees and raining. It was so neet. We left on the trip August 30,2011. We never ran into a lot of long lines or a lot of people. This is how we planned it. We were very luckly on the weather and took our time. I took 16,000 pictures of rt.66. Total of 21,250 for the total trip. It is easy to do that. I had to delete 50 or so because when we gave the camera back and forth we took a lot of pictures of the dash board. Our total trip was 7 weeks. We saw 20 states and had a ball. We met a man names River Pilot on the trip who really loves rt.66. He has a tour company. I bought a chip for my GPS from him that showed EVERY stop on rt.66 and would alarm you about a 1/4 in advance to getting there. We also bought a picture book that went along with the GPS info. This really helped the mood in the car if you know what I mean. Made it so easy to follow. I think we made over 50 U-Turns and need to put new brakes on the car now. Drove over 10,000 miles total. Want to take the trip again in 2 years and we will see alot more I hope. Had a great time. The road is really in good shape over all, so go for it.
It certainly seems you did your homework and did the trip right. This is so refreshing to read because a surprising amount of people don’t. The result is then an unhappy experience.
I live in Mosselbay, South Africa and in 2009, i was fortunate to work for a harvesting contractor in KS, TX, OK. I was so impressed with the country that i promised myself to be back, but this time on vacation. My wife and i now plan to do rt 66 but wants to do a bit of Harley and RV. Unfortunately we’ve only got 3-4 weeks in June/July. Are there any planned and guided tours available during this period because of the limited time we have available.
Welcome. There is a guided tour that you may want to check out at http://www.route66tours.com.au/ . But, if you have the right materials, it is easy to follow the Route on your own and see the sights. It is important to do a little preplanning. To this end, we suggest you get one of the Route 66 travel kits at our website http://www.national66.org .
Getting to make our first complete Rt 66 run this August. I know it’s the worst time of the year to make the run but it’s the only time I have off for that long. It’s our retirement gift to each other as we end our 34 year career in the Military. Looking for any tips, dos and dont for first timers and any good information anyones willing to pass along. We’ll be starting in Chicago and heading west, then up the west coast then across to Lake Tahao then on to Mount Rushmore then into Wis., take the car ferry across the lake, head on down to Detroit then and finally ending up in Indy. Taking 3 + weeks to make the entire trip. Looking forward to it. Thanks
Just read your posting Steve Hoehler, can you send me the info on the GPS chip. Thanks
We can only help you with Route 66. You’ll want to get one of the Route 66 travel kits at our website http://www.national66.org Then preplan as much as you can or want to.
There is not any gps we recommend.
hi david , my mate phil and i are coming to drive route 66 chicago to the pier in may, cant wait
You’ll have a GREAT time, Roy.
I took my first 66 trip back in 1997 after watching CBS’s 48 HRS special on Route 66 with Micheal Wallis, author of The Mother Road. He was taking a tour of 66 on a tour bus. I was so inspired by it, that the next summer I rented a mini van and took my own journey down the historic road. I looked at maps and books and of course Micheal’s book..I planned my trip like a real road warrior. I’m glad I took the trip that year because it was the last yr I saw the owner of the Blue Swallow motel in Tucumcari. She was sick at the time and died a yr later. I took her pix, got her autograph and chatted w/ her. She was a cutie! I’ve taken several other trips after that and never get tired of seeing or discovering new people, places and things. Someday I’ll make my own Route 66 picture book with pix and stories. I was sad when the Pop Hicks cafe burned down! The first person I thought of was Micheal! That was his favorite home away frm home. I felt for him! Thanks for all the memories and i’m sure I’ll go visit the road again! I recommend it to everybody who loves history and discovering how we used to travel! There’s a lot to see out there and many memories to share……from a 66 road warrior…..
Randy- What a nice story. Michael is a very good friend of mine and has done a lot for the Route.
My sister and I did Route 66 C – LA and back to Chicago starting on 06/06/06. Took us 2 1/2 weeks and we didn’t see even close to all there was to see. One thing we did see was the BOOTS Motel in Carthage, MO – the only Streamlined Moderne Motel still on the route. At the time it was being used as short term apartments so we didn’t get to stay there. We loved the way it looked though. When it came up for sale in 2011 we bought it. We are opening part of it to the public for the first time in 20 years, on May 8, 2012. Hope everyone will stop in and say “Hello” even if they can’t stay the night! We also hope to contact all the tours and try to get them to put us on their itineraries!
Congratulations, Priscilla. We wish you the best of luck with that wonderful landmark.
My buddy and I ride our motorcycles from Little Rock to Springfield to start our Rt 66 journey. We are currently in Winslow,AZ it’s been a great trip so far!
My wife and I will be doing rt. 66 starting in st. louis. We will be starting on july 13 ending in la. on the 27th.Will we be alright with the monsoons and the heat.
I have been in Albuquerque during what were called monsoons and they weren’t anything to worry about.
My first trip, believe it or not, was in the summer of 1950 when I was 7 years old. My parents, older brother and I left Benton, Illinois where we picked up my paternal grandparents for a summer-long road trip across the west. After picking up a bag of delicious Spudnut doughnuts, we joined Route 66 in St. Louis and drove all the way to Arizona before heading up into Utah and points beyond. That was a trip I’ll never forget and I have traveled The Mother Road at lot since then.
Thanks Ralph. A familiar story.
I’m planing my trip down 66 October 2013.I’m planing on starting fr Nashvlle(I live in So.Bend,In. )I have no desire to go to the windy city first. In 1979 I drove fr So.Bend to Oakland Ca. in a 1973 VW bug…. God bless the CB and the wonderful truck drivers that kept me safe all the way to Bakersfield Ca.this time however, I will be driving a Jag…..big difference.
I’m retiring July of 2013 after 27 yrs as a Police Officer and this is something I have always wanted to do.
Any advise u could provide I would love to hear.
Yes, get one of the travel kits at our store.
Hi, I first traveled on Route 66 in 1961- traveling from Conway, AR to Vallejo, CA. I moved to California in 1962 and made many trips back and forth on Route 66. My son and I were just discussing how neat it would be to take that route 66 trip again. We are planning to do this in early September. I really missed all the neat towns we used to visit on route 66 when I40 was built. Looking forward to traveling route 66 again.Modean
We are flying out to LA. next week and driving our daughter’r car back to the East. We went West last year this time and enjoyed traveling along rt 66, what a great time. We are going to Disneyland to check out Radiator Springs…that should get us inthe mood.
First trip on Rte 66 was 1960 when my family (Mom, Dad, and 2 sisters went from Ohio to Disneyland. Took 66 from St Louis thru AZ. Took prts of it when moving from Ind to AZ. More recently, road parts of it in Northern AZ on trips to CA and Utah. Soon will be flying back to the midwest and driving back to AZ. From St. Louis on will try lots of parts on old Rte 66. Am taking a whole week to get back. Already have resv at the Wigwam Motel for the last night of this trip. The rest will be improvised. Looking forward to the whole experience.
Me and my girl-friend (we live together from 1996) travelled the entire full lenght of 66 from Chicago to LA in May 2009. We are from Italy: Milano! That was the first time. But we did the same (insane!! :-) trip also in May 2010! Now we are planning to travel US again.
is november a good time to travel route 66or would spring be better ?now i want to go as soon as possible from nova scotia canada
November can be iffy with the possibility of snow in the midwest and higher elevations in the West. You’re better off choosing Spring or Autumn.
I’m a KIWI from NEW ZEALAND and are in the early stages of planning a self guided ROUTE 66 road trip on Harley Davidsons for about 6 or 7 friends (ALL GUYS!!!) It’s a guys trip to celebrate a few of us turning 40.
I have done a bit of research and in general are very suprised that a lot of Americans know very little about THE MOTHER ROAD. I guess they don’t really understand the fascination people from other countries have about what the silver screens portrays to people that don’t live in America with the good old road trip in classic American cars and Harleys. It’s just everyday stuff to them that they grow up with I guess. Alot of them have never even heard of it from alot of different websites I’ve looked at, big city slickers I suppose. Thats why I like this website and I plan to get the books that will help me plan the ULTIMATE ROAD TRIP for me and my MATES!!!!! I have a classic 1963 Ford Galaxie at home and a heap of friends that have classic American cars and bikes, we recently did a classic car cruise to a small town 2 hrs from where I live and had to limit it to 130 cars and 550 people, thats all the motels could hold!!!
We plan to do the trip in late july, early august over about 18 days. Hopefully this is enough time??? One of our mates is going to drive a support car so he can take all the gear.
I have read that the deserts can get very hot in August but this is really the only time we can go. I have heard that windscreens on the bikes is a necessity because of the hot breeze??? Is this true???
We are also planning to do a couple of swap meets in California and spend a few nights in Sin city(Vegas)….It is a boys trip :)
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
You will want to get one of our Route 66 travel kits at our website http://www.national66.org. Or one for each gentleman. Read about each so you can decide which best suits your needs.
Many Americans know about Route 66, yet many still don’t. We are working hard to educate them.
Yes August in the desert is hot. Many riders choose windscreens. The International Route 66 Festival will be in Victorville, CA starting August 10, so you may want to check it out too. http://www.route66festival2012.com
18 days one way is enough to see plenty, you could even do it in 10 if you had to.
Have a great time!!
My husband and I live in Sydney, Australia and absolutely LOVE long road trips and we have done quite a few throughout the world. Next year we will be doing the legendary 3938 km drive from Sydney to Perth (along the Nullarbor). However, we are really looking forward to doing the original Route 66 and would appreciate it if anyone could let us know the highlights along the way plus worthwhile detours (would love to see Monument Valley). What are the best places to stay? Cheers!
It will take books to answer your questions—namely the EZ66 GUIDE For Travelers, the Route 66 Adventure Handbook and the Route 66 Dining & Lodging Guide. They are available for a package price (the Route 66 Explorers Kit) at our website store http://www.national66.org.
In about 4 weeks! Flying over from the Uk on Oct 1st to do a solo ride. First time in USA too!
Hi Chris- You’ll have a great trip.
My first trip on Route 66 was in February 1970. I was in the Navy and was traveling from Indianapolis to San Diego. it was my first driving trip out West and my wife and I were awed! After 40 years I can still remember driving through Amarillo, Gallup, Winslow AZ etc.
I will be retiring next September and I plan to take a motorcycle trip on Route 66 starting in Chicago and ending in Santa Monica. I’ve been dreaming about it for a long time and I see fulfillment of my dream just around the corner.
You’ll have a wonderful time on Route 66. It has changed since 1970. We are working hard to restore properties along it. So today, it is packed full of interesting restored vintage motels, cafes and trading posts. A microcosm of early roadside Americana.
I do highly suggest you get the best Route 66 travel kit you can afford at our Route 66 store http://www.national66.org.
Please keep us posted.
Wanting to seeca part of Route 66, starting in Michigan. Is that scenic and ok, live close and always wanted to see 66?
Route 66 is not in Michigan. The closest is in Illinois.
Driving Kingman to Santa Fe in December! We’re from Australia and will be driving from San Fran to NY in all – but looking forward to it our time on Route 66! hope its not all snowed over!!!!
Well, December on Route 66 can be dicey. There could be snow in the midwestern states, and in the higher elevations in Arizona and California. If so, though, the scenery will be spectacular. Allow extra time just in case. You may need to cuddle up in a motel for a day or two.
Now, make sure you have the necessary guides to find the Route. They’re at the Route 66 Store at http://www.national66.org.
the first time we traveled 66 was in 1959… then again we traveled parts of 66 in 1972. Now we live in Colorado and go to New Mexico whenever possible :) just took Historic Route 66 from Romeroville to near Santa Fe and from Tiejeras canyon thru Albuquerque to Grants and from Gallup back to Grants
I traveled it around that time (in the early 60s), too. It was a 2,400 mile carnival back then. Hope your latest trip was as enjoyable.
Having grown up in Arizona, I was a frequent traveler on Rt.66, and from around 1958 on, we used to drive to Aspen,Colo. every year for Christmas vacation, and we would spend one night in a motel in Flagstaff, and one night in Gallup, NM before heading north through the four corners through Utah into Colorado. The road had a unique character, and I remember not only the quirky teepees and curious souvenir road side stops, but also the Burma Shave signs. My favorite meal on Rt.66 was always in Gallup and it was chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes. I think I read every comic book that existed in that time while riding in the car on Rt.66.
Ah, fond memories Pamela.
I travelled Route 66 for the first time in September of 1953. We took 10 days to drive from St. Louis to L.A. What a trip, I was 9 years old and loved all the roadside attractions. Oklahoma was particularly intersting because of all the Indians and their roadside sales. I remember staying at the Wigwam motel. As a kid, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. We took a side trip to the Grand Canyon, many, many fond memories. Over the years I’ve traveled bits and pieces of the Mother road, it never fails to remind me of that first trip. I now live in the Missouri Ozarks about 50 miles north of the
Arkansas border and every so often drive a little bit of that road, just for fun.
Ah, the good old days. But it’s time for you to take the entire route again.
I would love to take the entire route again but I own Dogwood Lane Horse Sanctuary, a horse rescue. That limits my trips to short ones. The horses take a huge amount of time. That’s why I like this site, I can read about everyone else’s experiences and enjoy them.
You might consider joining the Federation. Our magazine is FULL of Route 66 experiences. If you’re interested, just go to http://www.national66.org and click JOIN OR RENEW.
I did Route 66 in 2009,2010,2011 and I will be back on it in November this year ! I have thousands of pictures of the trip, I Love the place so much !!! Specialy in November when it’s very quiet.
I just can’t get enough of it !!!always the same pleasure to be there.
Best wishes to you all !
You should consider entering our photo contest at our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Historic-Route-66-Federation/114227098628685?ref=ts&fref=ts you might win $100.00
My dad was stationed at Ft. Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX when he got orders to Japan. The family, me, my two younger sisters, and mom and dad, traveled on Route 66 in 1962 to California, then flew to Japan. On our way back from Japan to the US, we once again hit Route 66 in 1965, ending back in San Antonio. No air conditioning in the old Chevy. Fresh air, the smell of oil rigs every now and then. Unique gas stations and motels along the way. I miss it. I’m glad I was able to travel on it, and when I read about it now, great memories revive from the trips.
Hey Valerie. Time to explore today’s Route 66.
My first experence with RTE 66 was in May 1957. I was in the Marines and stationed at 29 Palms. Back that there was not a lot of servicemen who did not have cars. So I had one of my buddies drive me up to Amboy Calif. From there I had my uniform on I started Hitchhiking. I did great until I was dropped off on the east side of Albuquerue. The sun started setting and all I had was a light raincoat. I was there most of the night and about froze. Anyhow just as the sun came up. I caught a ride all the way to St Louis. than ileft 66 because I was heading for southern Indiana. But it still only took little over 2 days. All in all it was a great experence. I did it again in 1958
Thank you for the memorable story. I used to hitchhike when I was in college, and got stranded like you did.
HI Dave it was a great highway and of all of the Hiways they had to get rid of, way the most famous one. I know that there are still parts of it around but its a shame. I still collect pictures and other stuff about it. After i got out of the marines and got married we still took trips to Calif and almost always took Rte 66. Anyhow it leaves a lot of great memories
Over 85% of the original road is still easily driveable. And thanks to us, as well as many others, many of the vintage businesses have been restored.
I traveled from Wisconsin to Chicago to L.A.in 1957 with my mother and my new 1956 Chev Bel Air convertible. My first destination was to vist relatives in L.A. Next we traveled to San Jose,Ca to visit my Aunt & Cousin. What started out to be a visit to San Jose in 1957 resulted in permanent residency for me & the rest of my family. I remember the cities and places we passed through and would like to do it again. Little did I know then that my 56 Chev & Route 66 would both become Classics.
What a nice story, Vincent. Of course you kept that Chevy which is now worth over $100,000. Right? Right?
I traveled much of 66 as a child in the 30′s on trips from California to visit relatives in Kansas and have only a few memories of it. Now, as an old and widowed man, my son in law and I are planning to travel it in April; starting at the terminus of Santa Monica Blvd. and Ocean Ave. and heading west. Expect to make it as far as St. Louis, then
hit the 70 freeway and cruise home. Who knows, we might even make it to Chicago.
Darrell- Make sure you get the guides so you’ll be able to find Route 66 and enjoy it.
My husband and I (from Aus) are in the middle of planning our first trip on Route 66 next April. This has been a dream for so long. Getting excited and having so much fun just doing the prep work for this 4 week trip. Can’t wait..
Hi Jenny- You’ll have a wonderful time. Just make sure you get the right materials.
My first trip on Route 66 was vom 3rd to 20th September 2012. I cruised down the Mother Road together with a guy I never had seen before in reality, but we knew each other because of a browsergame we play commonly.
Our whole stay in the U.S. was from 1st to 29th September 2012, the first 2 days we spent in Chicago, and our flight back home to Germany started from San Francisco. Our goal was to arrive at Santa Monica Pier on 24th September, but we really arrived on 20th September, so we made a spontanous additional trip to Honolulu, Hawaii before we traveled along the Pacific Coast from L.A. to San Francisco.
Viewing back I can say, that we could have taken more time to explore the attractions and the surroundings of the Mother Road more extensively than we did. Although I was sure, that we prepared the journey well, we did not know, that at the end of the journey (States NM, AZ, CA) the single attractions are more distant from each other than at the beginning (States IL, MO, TX, OK). Because of this fact we made about 120 to 160 miles per day in the first half of our trip, but about 200 to 310 miles per day in the second half of our trip. That´s we were so early on the Santa Monica Pier.
Nevertheless it was a VERY wonderful trip that realy yells for recurrence. As soon as I can, I WILL take the trip again, and I will explore all the things to see much more extensively.
Glad you enjoyed yourself on Route 66. Next time, I suggest you take the EZ66 GUIDE For Travelers, Route 66 Dining & Lodging Guide and the Route 66 Adventure Handbook.
I traveled 66 from Chicago to California in 1959 at age 17. I am now 71 and look forward to redoing my trip this year. By the way I lived in Lake Arrowhead from 1971 till 1977, when Santa road the fire truck into the OLD village at Christmas with the big bonfire. Miss it, now on Florida Gulf coast.
We miss you, Tom.
My first time on Route 66 was when my family (Mom, Dad, my sister and I)moved from MA to CA in 1957. We left MA in a January blizzard with only what we could carry in the old car,with my sister and I sitting on top of blankets in the backseat. My dad was seeking the American Dream and found it in the San Gabriel Vally. I remember spying the TeePee Motel and wanting to stay there, but never did. Now that my husband and I are retired a trip across Route 66 is on our “bucket list”.
Hi Carol- Time to take Route 66 out of the bucket.
I did the Route 66 in August 2003 in blistering heat. But it was an unforgettable trip right from Chicago to Santa Monica and it took me about 3 weeks.
I love the old mother road and I´m very proud to have been one of the “chosen few”.
Etty Fischer (Manavgat (Turkey)
I WAS BORN ON ROUTE 66 ON DECEMBER 24, 1948 BEHIND FAIR PLAY SCHOOLHOUSE NEAR MILLER, MISSOURI.
MY PARENTS WERE FRUIT PICKERS IN THE 1940′s AND 1950′s UNTIL 1954 WHEN WE SETTLED IN MILLER, MISSOURI.
WE WOULD GO BACK AND FORTH FROM MILLER, MISSOURI TO THE WEST COAST.
THE LAST TIME WE WENT BACK AND FORTH I WAS ABOUT 5 YEARS OLD AND SAT AND ATE A WOODEN CRATE OF FRESH PRUNES BETWEEN CALIFORNIA AND MISSOURI. BY THE TIME WE GOT TO MILLER THERE WASN’T MANY LEFT IN THE CRATE THANKS TO ME! MY BIG BROTHER GOT THE BLAME AND I GOT TO EAT THE PRUNES.
AFTER ALL WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU SAT IN THE MIDDLE OF MY 3 BROTHERS AND ONLY GOING 45 MILES PER HOUR FOR 2,000 MILES.
I LOVE MY MOTHER ROAD – ROUTE 66!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DAVID C. HENRY
I’m from Denmark – the first time we went through the mother road was in 1964 I was only 11yrs at the time and just cannot remember much of our trip only a lot of motels – but my husband and I have plans of taking this trip next year and hope to refresh my memory – I have always been dreaming of this since we left for Denmark. Have not been in the US for 48 years!! I have always seen the route 66 as the REAL Amerika!!
You are exactly right, Susanne. Route 66 is the real America.
My family and I, mother, father and 4 yr. old brother travelled on Rte. 66 in 1950! I was 10 yrs. old. We were from Pittsburgh and joined Rte. 66 in Springfield, Illinois.
We travelled all the way to Los Angeles, CA. It was a spectacular trip. There was no air conditioning in those days, and this was June. We did manage. And we saw the southwest and west, for the very first time. It was awesome! My 30 yr. old son, who is in the Air Force now, and I plan to travel old Rte. 66 again, very soon!!
You will have many memories of your first trip on Route 66 you will be able to relive because much of the original road is still there.
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.
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. Plus you will save money and get free trip consultation 7 days a week.
I am a ex patriot american living in New Zealand since 1971. I , and my two best friends and wife’s have Harleys down here, but always dreamn’t of riding the mother road. Last year, in 2012, we finally made it, starting in Richmond Va, traveling down the east coast, all the way to Key West, then following the coast around to New Orleans, from there shooting up to Tulsa, where we hoped on Rte 66. It was one of the greatest thrills of our trip!! It is exciting, and sad, as you come across many many deserted and broken down little townships suffering as the freeway has re-directed traffic. In these locations, you have to stop and dream of the parties and famous people who may have stayed in those motels, when they were in their hay day. You zig and zag under and over I40 all the way and its a real challenge to keep on track, but I’d highly recommend it to everyone, us Kiwi’s had a ball and will do it again one day. We ended up doing some 18500 KLMS around America and I must say, didn’t feel threatened or in danger at any point. We had a ball, we would like to thank all those who showed such kindness and friendship to foreigners a long way from home. The USA isn’t what is portrayed on TV, It’s an amazing place with so much beauty, and so many beautiful people, it takes more than a life time to take it all in. Thank you America
We appreciate your compliments and are glad you enjoyed your trip.
We founded the National Historic Route 66 Federation 19 years ago and have made great progress working with the Federal government to help restore properties along Route 66. These projects continue.
I’m from Pretoria,South Africa.This is my third visit to the USA.I bought a Harley Davidson and toured all 48 States including the 4 corners. It took me 6 months.(I did it in 2 trips)Now I’m going to do the Route 66, allowing 4 weeks.Leaving from Key West on the 11th June 2013 up to Chicago then to LA.From there up to Seattle,Vancouver,Anchorage Fairbanks(Alaska),Winnipeg,Sturges(5 August 13) then back to Key West where I leave my Harley.Just love your country.
Have a wonderful time Corrie.
I was 14 and my friend Bruce was 16. We hitched hiked from New York to L.A. in the late spring of 1953. Waling most of U.S. 40 through St Louis until we hit Route 66 on the outskirts, catching a couple of rides to Joplin where we bedded down that night in a vaccant field. Being cold yet, we had to gather fire wood (am old picket fence) to try and keep warm till daylight. It took us another day or so to reach Amarillo where Bruce’s father lived with his step mom. His dad had part of a plumbing company and we dug ditches for a day to get some “traveling money”; about $8 between us. Two days latter we arrived in Sunny California. Good old Route 66 – never expectng it to get so famous!
Four of us are planning to do the road next year and I have ordered your guide books. Is it necessary to book motels or can you just show up? We are coming from NZ
It is always best to reserve motels in advance, particularly those that are starred as special. It might not be necessary, yet…
The first time I traveled Route 66 was in 1945. I was 3 and my parents were moving back to Oklahoma after working in the shipyards in Portland, Oregon for five years before and during WWII.
In 1951 we moved to Long Beach, California and made the Route 66 trip once or twice a year between Long Beach and Cushing, Oklahoma.
I moved to Oklahoma in 1969 and in 1984 on a vacation trip to California my daughter and I drove on the last section of 66 in Williams, Arizona just days before it was bypassed. We went through Williams on old 66 one week and the next we bypassed Williams on I-40.
Check out my web site it has many Route 66 locations. I’ve enhance them to make the locations look more like they did in the past, http://locustgrovestudio.com/car-art.html.
An interesting story and an exceptional site. Thanks Bob.
I first travelled 66 in August of 1963. Now, 50 years later I plan to make the trip agin this August. I am sure there is a lot of changes. I have an abundance of photographs from ’63. Can’t wait to compare then to what I get this year.
I still remember the Texaco stations (no such thing as self serve back then), the diners and the road sidde attractions. Does anyone remember the Burma Shave signs?
I moved to California from Michigan in the mid 60s. Of course, I came out Route 66, too and remember it well. I’d love to see the photos you have.
my wife a i want to travel old route 66 on our motorcycle in just a couple of weeks. we will have about 10 days to see as much as possible.we live in the kansas city area. has anyone out there done this trip, if so any tips. thanks john and kim s.
In the Spring of 1944, my Mother and Father moved our family from our farm to a house about 4.3 miles north of Wilmington, IL on IL 53, so they could work in one of the ammunition plants in the vicinity. I was 11 years old. Seven years later, during the Korean war, I enlisted in the Air Force and never lived there again. It was in 2001, when I attended my 50th reunion of Wilmington High School class of 1951 that I learned about Historic Route 66 and was surprised to realize that I had lived on it for seven years. When my wife and I decided to spend a winter in Scottsdale, AZ we traveled many of the old parts that are still in use. We still have much to see although we did see many interesting things.
Do you have any early photos of your trip or of Route 66?
My first trip was a actually east bound a across the Chain of Rocks bridge, North St. Louis. We lived in St. Louis and my grand parents lived in Indiana & Kentucky. I was college age when I started exploring west bound 66. I’ve since driven the whole road from Chicago to Kingman. One of these days I’ll have to finish the drive through California. (Probably when my wife and I do the California Wine tour we keep saying we going to do.)
I was born and grew up in New Mexico. My dad’s family lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. My first, less than 1 year old, and subsequent trips on route 66 were from Clines Corners to Tulsa.
My first trip on Route 66 was in spring of 1966. My college roomie and I drank a case of beer apiece and made the wise decision to drop out of college. We took my old Ford Falcon and headed West from Cleveland, Ohio. Don’t recall exactly where we picked up 66, but I recall the trip and the wisdom of our decision. After brief stay in California, draft notice caught up with me & I enlisted in the Marine Corps before the Army took me.
Today I put on some old 33 records and got inspired — my wife (with whom I got together in California) and I are heading out next week again. We’re in Chicago, so we’ll be picking up the original & go from here :-) if there’s some way to keep a running diary, I’d like to know it. After we get to California, we’re heading down to Tiajuana & Encinadas, Mexico. Have some great memories of that……….
Have fun Chuck.
My wife and I did the R66 this spring. I was first time she has been to U.S.. I have visited IL several times.
We followed basically a book written in German by Conrad Stein.
As visitor we met really the American spirit.
Our impression is that it is time to experience R66 otherwise it will be too late to experience the ride.
We loved States OK, NM, and AZ. Unfortunately, the weather in MO not very good, but we enjoied to visit Garry Turner.
I find that I have to support the great work Route 66 Federation does, so I have now joined the federation
Johan Kirkebaek, Denmark
We are SO glad you wrote this because you didn’t have your full e-mail address on your new membership form. We were getting ready to mail you a letter to get it. Thanks for joining.
The first time I remember traveling Route 66 was in 1959 when my family drove from St. Louis, Missouri to California to visit my mother’s sister. Long, long time ago. Believe it or not, I still have many of the souvenirs that my mother picked up along the road and about a 30 pound piece of petrified wood that my father found along side the road just outside the monument.
Shortly after I got my drivers license in 1966, I had the (mis)fortune to drive across the old Chain of Rocks bridge just north of St. Louis over into Illinois. That was a hairy drive. I refused to drive back across it to go home. But the HAIRIEST section of Route 66 that I have ever driven was the section between Kingman and Oatman AZ. Terrifying and a real blast!! Just remember that the donkeys ALWAYS have the right of way!!
The last few years, I have been making trips to the Southwest traveling on Route 66 as much as possible. I love that old road. It’s sad to see how many places are fading into history but it’s so nice to see how many places are being restored and kept up.
My first ride on Route 66 was in June 2004, when we met us in Tulsa/ OK (Do you remember? the smart boy from Germany )
During two busrides with many nice members of the Federation I learned more about Rte. 66 and I remember on it very well! Later my next visits are in fall 2004 , and than in the years 2005 and in 2007 with my wife.In all the years I drove nearly the whole distance of the “Mother Road”.Unforgettable and countless pictures !Have a good time,David !!
Hi Wolfgang – Sure I well remember you and your lovely wife. And glad to hear you are fine. Thanks for checking in.
Hmm…first time? probably 1966 between OK City, Tulsa and Springfield. My Dad was a district mgr. for Massey Ferguson. I traveled with him and learned how to drive while not in school in the summers. I didn’t know about RT66 back then, but I do remember tractor dealerships in the small towns. In 2001, we started a dedicated tour of 66. In 2008 we finished the 2,44? miles, plus some pre and post 1930s routes except Chandler OK to Joplin MO. So, I guess I’ve really driven all of it, but I wonder what’s changed in the OK,KS,MO leg in 47 years?
Greg- Some of the OK-MO leg has changed but much is the same, some has been restored and some is under restoration. Try it again, you’ll like it.
First time about 2 weeks ago. Only got to travel Route 66 in Arizona from Holbrook to Oatman. Stayed at the Wigwam Hotel. After Oatman there was a detour and did not make it to Needles. Looking forward to traveling more of the Route 66 next year. This was a fly drive vacation in which I also drove the Lonliest Highway 50 across Nevada. Next year I hope to skip the flying and just drive it.
Thanks for letting us know Matt.
Route 66 captured my imagination long before I did my first 66 road trip in May 2000. I was living in DC, doing a story about aspects of 66 for a magazine, and so drove the route from St. Louis, MO to Gallup, NM. Saw some fantastic things, got some wonderful pix, and experienced America in an amazing way. Second time: I was in Santa Monica, and a friend took me to the pier, so that I could walk the very end of the route. Third time: when moving from Chicago to St. Louis, I drove a portion of 66. I’d still like to do the rest of the drive, from Gallup to L.A. Strange coincidence: now I actually LIVE on Route 66!
Actual first time was March 1963 we drove from Oklahoma City to Shamrock, Texas, then in 64 from OKC to Amarillo. I was hooked then. I did not get to take a long trip until
1970. I was in the Navy stationed on a ship in Long Beach. My family came out to pick me up for leave and we drove from California to Oklahoma. Next year when I was released from duty I made the trip again. Since that time we have made the trip many many times. I have always regretted that I did not get to take the trip before I-40 started replacing it.
My first ride was 2013 from 8 to 26th september.
Starting Chicago and ending at Santa Fe.
With a Harley-Davidson.
I Australian and planing to do 66 next March/ April in a motor home. Would appreciate all advise. Tedd
My wife, myself, and a couple plan to cross the route 66 for 2 weeks. Do you think it`s better do it from Chicago to LA, or the opposite direction?
Do GPS works well on the path?
Thank you very much, and a wonderful 2014!
Either way works as long as you have the EZ66 GUIDE For Travelers, although most prefer east to west.
We have not yet heard enough good reports on GPS.
If we cross Route 66 from Chicago to Las Vegas, so without continuing to Santa Monica we lose a lot? We plan to stay 2 days in Vegas before returning to our country, Brazil, and we know Santa Monica and LA.
We planned the trip from jul 26 to aug 8, when is hot, we know… Do you think it`s unbearably hot?
Thank you so much for your advices!!
You will miss the popular Route 66 town of Barstow but from there west, you won’t miss much that is interesting. I don’t know how heat tolerant you are but Vegas is furnace-like in the summer.
Travelled 66 many times from LA to about Tulsa in the 60s with my family. My father was stationed on the west coast and home was in the southeast. In 2009 my son interned out west so when he finished I flew out and we drove the Mother Road from Kingman to Chicago. Did some “power” sight seeing along the way and made the trip in 3 days. We’re going to do it again, this time east to west and take our time soon. Many pictures and memories!
1962 I traveld this old 66 with my two sisters and my brother what a road trip we had but the folks we met along the way where so kind they also took us into homes for over night stay 66 highway will always have a place in my heart Valerie j hicks2014
1951 …grade school…Joliet Il..Family trip to Phoenix…More memories than I have time to tell …Don’t Miss it !!!
A group of four of us Oregon ladies are planning a “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles Trip traveling 55 on 66 @ 77!” Well, actually only two of us will be 77 and the other two are just youngsters (71 and 40-something). We are planning our trip in July of 2015 – flying to LA, driving to Chicago and then boarding Amtrak back to Oregon. We are hoping to complete our trip in 3 1/2 weeks. Found that starting in LA would save us $1000 on our three-week car rental over starting out in Chicago. Our plan is to stop at anything we think looks interesting. I plan on purchasing the three books and the Travel Kit you recommended, Do we each need a copy? We need to preplan our train tickets so do you think that three weeks should give us plenty of road-trip time?? Thanks for your opinion!
It sounds like fun.
I’m glad you are saving so much on your car rental.
I imagine, you all will be traveling in the same car so there would be no need for 3 of everything. But we do highly recommend, at least, the Route 66 Explorer’s Kit so you will be able to make the most of your trip.
We typically suggest allowing, at least, 10 days on the Route one way. Of course, much depends on how many side trips you would like to take like Santa Fe of the Grand Canyon. Or maybe spend an extra day or so in Albuquerque or LA.
I love you all!
HI! My name is Josie and I literally want to let everyone know that I am only 10 years old but this was the greatest adventures ever!
Hi,my first trip was in the summer of ’69 in Illinois between Chicago and Springfield.The second,third, and fourth time I travelled whole 66 in ’91’92 and ’93.As a photographer I made thousends of pictures of 66
where manny historic items are vanished now.Specially the old Gasstations who where dismanteld by law by the Reagan administration in ’95.See my books at Facebook from R66.
Henry Witpeerd from the Netherlands.
Hi. I am planning a trip on route 66 from Santa Monica to Joplin with my brothers and my dad. We are from Minnesota, flying to cali to make the one way road trip back. I’m going to buy a convertible around LA, where we will drive it home in MPLS. From there we would like to stop at Winslow, AZ crater, then a quick detour to 4 corners monument, then on the route again to Joplin MO. just short to complete and go home.
Does your kit have detailed info about each city and landmarks to see/visit on Route 66?
Your trip sounds like fun. Get the “Route 66 Explorers Kit.”
Traveled Rt. 66 in 1955. Picked it up in Oklahoma and traveled it to the ocean in Santa Monica and LA. Have been back and traveled parts of it at different times from OK to the CA border. Plan on a trip this summer from Chicago all the way to Santa Monica. Please advise on what we will need to enjoy all the cities and landmarks and motels and hotels to stay at.
Your trip will be very enjoyable if you do a little planning. Route 66 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.
Route 66 has always been a part of my life, my Dad was born in Joplin, along Rt 66, and I grew up near Kingman/Oatman. All along the route, I have found traces of my family’s presence…from Lucille’s that sits at the corner of Route 66 & Coleman Street to the Coleman Theater in Oklahoma.
This year, my husband and I will finish our goal of driving every bit of what is left of the Mother Road. Can hardly wait to see everything!!!
Good. You’ll have a wonderful time if you have the right guides.
My first trip was 1966 as a 3 year old laying in the space under the back glass of our Starfire Oldsmobile. My how things have changed. My sister and I drove the entire rte starting in Chicago in 2004….and we are both ready to go again.
We will cross the Route 66 from Chicago to Las Vegas, so without continuing to Santa Monica. Witch is the last town of the route before diverting to Vegas?
Kingman, AZ. You’d better get an EZ66 GUIDE For Travelers though if you hope to find 66. It’s available at http://www.national66.org
My mom was from Alton, Ill., about 10 miles into Illinois from St. Louis, Mo. She and her mother moved to Tacoma, Wa. she was a junior in high school.
Married dad. Had kids.
In 1954 our family took a vacation to mom’s home town area to “show off” her kids to all the relatives. We took the northern route. About 120 people showed up. In the Missouri Ozarks.
I never knew that we were on Rt66 on the way home until about 7 years ago.
I was planning to do a trip on 66 with my ’55 Olds ( that was originally my Grampa’s,. Friends said they would like to make the trip with me, so I put it off for 3 years while they got themselves and their cars in a position to go. In the planning of that trip I discovered things about Rt66 that I had seen as an 8 year old. Then I knew I had done 66 from St. Louis to California before.
This was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for us. We planned for 2 years and finally left Tacoma for Chicago on Sept. 14th, 2010.
1955 Olds, 1951 Ford, 1956 Chevy P.U., 1952 Chevy hot rod P.U.
We reveled on the old road for 5 weeks, then spent a week getting back to Tacoma on the Pacific Coast Hwy.
Of course, we were still on a Rt66 high for many months afterwards as we answered all the questions put to us by our jealous friends and fellow car club members.
We are leaving this Sept.14th to do it all again. ONCE IS JUST NOT ENOUGH.
So far we have 8 cars from the car club going on this one. More than that gets cumbersome.
If you would like to follow us by our pictures that I will post day-to-day on the trip, Go to Gig Harbor Cruisers on the internet. You will see a picture on the right side of the page of a car hop on roller skates. Click on that pic and it will take you to our car club picture site. Have a look around and you will find the album of the trip.I am the club photographer.
On the last trip the others jabbed at me by saying that we could have done the trip in 2 weeks instead of 5 if I hadn’t had to stop every 300 feet to take a picture.
I personally don’t think 2 weeks is enough time to do the whole road – 3 to 4 is more like it. (personal opinion)
I DID get a haircut from Angel on the first trip, and am looking forward to it again this time.
Pics from last trip at-https//mrbillstripsnpics@shutterfly.
Have fun on the road !
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