We left LA and took a side trip to Yuma, AZ to see my aunt and uncle. I didn't get to spend much time with them at all so I decided that I will just have to go back! It was interstate all the way home but we did stop to see some things that we had missed on the way out. The Petrified Forest and Painted Desert were definitely on the list. At one time Route 66 went through the Painted Desert but this ended when the interstate came through. We saw a couple of more museums and made it back to the Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, Texas for a good meal. The 3 days driving home were the longest 3 days of the entire trip. Click here to see a few pictures on the way home. I've planned this trip for 10 years and now I can check it off my bucket list. Would I do it again? Start packing.
I left Barstow knowing that I will reach my destination by the of the day. After passing through a couple of towns and an odd bottle garden we entered the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. We traveled along with the mountains to our right as if they were escorting us all the way into Los Angeles. The temperature dropped to almost 40 degrees less than it was the day before. Then it warmed up and was a perfect 70 something degree day. We cruised through Beverly Hills with our mouths dropped open acting like were the Beverly Hillbillys. We finally came to a stop at Santa Monica Pier, the pavement ended and then there was the Pacific Ocean. After 17 days, 11 states (add 2 more on the return), 4 time zones, a lot of interesting places and people, museums, good meals (mostly) and bad meals (rarely), no problems, no speeding tickets, no mishaps, perfect weather with the exception of a welcome rain 2 or 3 times, countless memories, 1000's of pictures, 1000's of miles, deadends, turnarounds, do-agains, 1 sickness, minimal interstate, mostly two-lane blacktop, a few gravel roads, a few dirt roads, and a few undrivable paths and my Route 66 journey ends. California photos are here.
Today's drive was very remote with few people on the road. No gas stations, no restaurants...nothing but scenery. Kingman, Cool Springs, Ed's Camp, Sitgreaves Pass, Oatman, Topock, cross the Colorado River and then we are in Needles, California. It was kind of sad knowing that not only is this the final state of Route 66 but once we cross the Mojave Desert we will once again join civilization. With it comes the traffic and crowds. As we drive through the desert we see Amboy Crater, Roy's Cafe (the ONLY food and gas around) then through the ghost towns of Bagdad, Siberia, Klondike (odd names for desert towns!) and Newberry Springs where the movie Bagdad Cafe was filmed. We didn't get to take the side trip to Calico Ghost Town but it seemed interesting with all the archeological sites. Made it to Barstow and prepared myself for the drive in to LA the next day. Arizona pics here and California pics here.
This is a 1931-1941 alignment of '66 west of Flagstaff. Today consisted of a lot of backtracking. We traveled a lot of miles but covered only a little distance. Back to Williams for sightseeing and then on to Seligman which is a treat all by itself. Then on to Hackberry and the Hackberry General Store. It's great to see all of these places restored and carrying on in the flavor of the old Route 66 completely oblivious to the interstate just a few miles away. A lot of things to see today and a lot of pictures too. Arizona pictures are here. The end of the day finds us in Kingman, AZ.
Today we left Sedona and then backtracked a few miles east on 66 to visit Meteor Crater where a meteor left a well preserved HUGE HOLE in the desert. We had to pass it by on the way in due to time constraints but it was well worth the time to go back for. Another side trip that we took off Route 66 was the Grand Canyon. I just couldn't be this close and not see it. We took an alternate route and traveled north and then entered the canyon from the eastern side. This part of the country is a very desolate and lonely place and it is awesome. After taking the day exploring the canyon we finally reached our destination for the night well after dark! Click here for a whole lot of pictures.
Yes! Today is much better. A shot that worked wonders and a good nights sleep and I feel as if nothing had been wrong. I wish I hadn't lost a day though. We did a lot to try to make up for it. I rented a jeep and with my trail maps we went exploring. Afterwards we visited the famous Sedona vortex. Or 2 or 3 of them. I left unaffected but wanted to at least say that I went. Native Americans could be found selling there unique handmade jewelry. Back on 66 tomorrow and head west. As if they can't be found, click here for Arizona pictures.
There's not much to tell about for this day. I woke up anxious to see the sights but very quickly I realized it wasn't going to happen. By afternoon I was at urgent care with 104 fever. I will blame it on Canyon Diablo from the day before. Needless to say I was not happy with having wasted a whole day in this beautiful place.
A side trip to Sedona which will take us off of Route 66 for a few days. We are here for a little R &R and for the scenery.
A few short miles after leaving Gallup we are finally out of New Mexico and then enter another wondrous state, Arizona. We passed through the Painted Desert and decided to explore it on the return visit. There is much to see and many miles to cover before making it to Sedona where we will stay for the next 4 days. We continued on through Holbrook, home of the famous Wigwam Motel. It wouldn't be right to pass through Winslow, Arizona without finding a corner to stand on. The Arizona page is loaded with pictures. Click here to start browsing. :)
Morning finds us leaving Albuquerque and crossing the Rio Grande. Today we made a side trip to Acoma Pueblo ("sky city"). This was one of the many, many highlights of my journey. On this day we also cross the Continental Divide. After a full day of sights we settle in at the El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, New Mexico. I'm beginning to think I will never make it out of this state! Not complaining, just don't have enough time to spend here. El Rancho is an old historic hotel where all the movie stars stayed while filming the western movies nearby. A very good night sleep was waiting for me here. Be sure to see the pictures of Acoma Pueblo that can be found with the other New Mexico pictures here.
There's not enough space here to tell all there is to tell about New Mexico. It's call 'Land of Enchantment' and it is very deserving of that title. It would be no problem to spend a month here and still not see it all. The history, the Native Americans, the culture, and most of all the scenery, it's all amazing. We stopped in Santa Fe for lunch and discovered that this town is yet another place that I must visit again. We climbed most of the way up La Bajada Hill. At one time this was the only road between the Rio Grande valley and Santa Fe. I just cannot imagine how it was possible that cars once traveled this road. New Mexico is bigger than it looks on maps (haha) so we didn't get as far as I had planned. I'm beginning to be concerned that I'm not going to have enough time to finish Route 66! It was dark when we finally settled in for the night in Albuquerque. Click here to see New Mexico pictures. There's a lot of them but take a look please if you like.
The route through Texas is desolate and is dotted with abandoned cars and houses. Even so, it was beautiful. Sad, too, that the these places had seen better times before the days of the interstate. There were some filling stations along the way that have been restored. Speaking of 'filling stations' we stopped in Amarillo for a very filling meal at the Big Texan. It's not directly on the route but it's a tradition for those traveling the road. Well worth the visit. In Adrian we passed the halfway point between Chicago and Santa Monica. We also saw the famous Cadillac Ranch. If you don't know what that is then click here for more Texas pictures. The day ends in Tucumcari, New Mexico.
Stayed the night in Shamrock. Click here for more Texas photos.
To my surprise Oklahoma was one of the highlights of the trip. I had no idea this state was so interesting and had so much to see. Beautiful too! I could spend several days here too. We passed through the hometowns of Mickey Mantle, Will Rogers, Roger Miller (King of the Road) and Sheb Wooley (Purple People Eater). We left a donation on the 'Shoe Tree' and saw neat 66 museums. There were more vintage cars here than anywhere else. Not just in the museums but on the road too. We visited the world's largest McDonald's and saw a Sears mail order house from 1913. Oklahoma has more of the original Route 66 (road and pavement) than any of the other states. There are several miles of 8 and 9 foot wide sections and we drove them all. Bridges, old cars, murals, perfect weather, good food, scenes from the Grapes of Wrath movie, scenes from the Cars movie, ghost towns, oil derricks, deserted roads, home to The Devil's Rope museum (world's largest collection of barbed wire and a variety of other things), dirt roads, cows, great scenery.....Oklahoma has it all. I want to go back! Please click here for more Oklahoma photos.
At this point I have lost all track of my mileage it's just a guess. Too many other things to do.
The Blue Whale, a popular swimming hole in Catoosa, Oklahoma. Click here for more Oklahoma pictures.
Today was rainy, foggy, and chilly and it was perfect for our drive. This is the 1923 bridge crossing the Big Piney River. The area is called Devil's Elbow named for the bend in the river that caused logjams. Click here to see more photos of the day. Found a tick on my face today. Yuck.
Today's miles: 309.3
Route 66 miles: 719.8
Total miles: 1433.6
Today didn't begin very well. I suppose the lack of sleep and adjusting to being on the road all day caught up with me. I didn't wake up until 10:50. Want to know what time checkout is? !!! Had to get going but we decided to take a side trip and visit some historic Abraham Lincoln sites. The pic above is of the only home Lincoln ever owned. I could easily spend at least 2 days in Springfield but again we had to put it off until another visit. Neat town. Click here for more photos of the day. Springfield, Il to just west of St. Louis. Click here for St. Louis photos.
Today's miles: 180.2
Total Route 66 miles: 410.0
Total miles: 1123.8
Today's miles: 180.2
Total Route 66 miles: 410.0
Total miles: 1123.8
I woke up to rain this morning but I wasn't going to let it stop us from finding our way to the very beginning of Route 66 on the shore of Lake Michigan. Not even the morning rush hour! I was pleasantly surprised that downtown Chicago was nothing like I had imagined. It's a beautiful place with SO much to do. It's definately a do again trip. A lot of museums, etc. After leaving Chicago we traveled through many little towns, each unique. There are so many things to see, 66 museums, places to go, older or newer 66 alignments that we had to miss. There is just not enough time!
Route 66 miles: 229.8
Total miles: 943.6
Click here to see photos from the first day on Route 66, Chicago to Springfield.
Today's miles: 256.8
Route 66 miles: 229.8
Total miles: 943.6