Route 66 - America's Mother Road!

Old Aug 2nd, 2016, 07:57 AM
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Route 66 - America's Mother Road!

I would appreciate your advice as I complete planning my trip along Route 66 in early Sept. I’ve gathered lots of info on the internet and books (“Road Trip USA/Route 66” by Jamie Jensen, “EZ66 Guide for Travelers” & Maps by Jerry McClanahan, “Dining & Lodging Guide/Rt. 66” by Nat’l Historic Rt. 66 Federation) and checked out AAA itinerary along the route. Thank you NOW to everyone who has written books/maps, maintain websites, and posted info about the Mother Road for people like me!

I will be a solo traveler so won’t have a navigator w/ me. I’m also not a purist; I don’t need to travel on every foot of the route. I realize that much of the road has been “re-aligned” &/or paved over. I have approximately 19 days before returning to the east coast for another trip/reunion, and I’m OK not finishing the route. However, I want to maximize my time, take lots of pictures, explore, and enjoy!

I will be flying into Chicago and renting a car. Since I’ve spent a week on a previous trip exploring the Windy City, I will be getting out of town fast. I’m a huge history and Abraham Lincoln fan so Springfield is a major site for me. I also hope to spend time w/ a college roommate in St. Louis along w/ a few days on a detour to Branson. I’ve been on multiple trips to AZ to the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, etc. so I won’t be continuing on this part of the route. Although, as a fan of the Eagles and of a certain age, I will miss “standing on the corner in Winslow, AZ”! I’ve also been to Las Vegas several times, and the portion of the road through Nevada and California gives this small-town girl the “bee-gees”, but maybe I will follow it another time. I’ve chosen Albuquerque as my final destination to have a major airport located there.

My itinerary is detailed since I will be solo and can be “directional challenged”! I will have my maps and info books along w/ a GPS as a last resort. W/ your help, I hope to start booking hotel reservations and flights. However, I can’t stay in every hotel/motel, eat in every restaurant, nor visit every museum. I need your advice on the BEST…”Do not miss this!”…and which ones I can see maybe another time. I also need suggestions to my day itineraries…too much or too little. I don’t want to be speeding to my next stop because I didn’t allow enough time to explore nor whittle my time away in a motel because I have a reservation, had to stop, but plenty of time to continue. I realize no plan is perfect, but I’m trying!

I’m turning to my fellow travelers for advice since you have helped me in the past. Appreciate your wisdom helping to make this trip another one to remember! Thank you!

DAY 1 –
Fly into Chicago, pick up rental car (by noon), and head on trip!
** Superdawg Drive-In (6363 N. Milwaukee Av)….OR
Willowbrook - **Dell Rhea Chicken Basket – Exit 274 off Hwy 83 N of I-55 (645 Joliet Rd)
Joliet – (32 miles) Rt. 66 Welcome Center @ Joliet Museum (old Rt.66 now Hwy 53)
(Hwy 53 runs along SE side of I-55)
Wilmington – (17 miles) Gemini Giant (810 E. Baltimore St.)
Braidwood – **Polk-a-Dot Drive-In (222 N. Front St)
Dwight – Ambler Texaco Station… now Welcome Center
Odell – Standard Oil Gas Station (S. West St & Deer St)
Pontiac – (90 miles from Chicago)
Rt. 66 Assoc. Hall of Fame Museum (110 W. Howard St)
NIGHT 1*Log Cabin Inn (18700 Old Rt 66…north of town)

DAY 2 - 3
Lexington – “Memory Lane” – 1 mile walk
Normal – (39 miles from Pontiac) Sprague Super Service Station
Shirley - Funks Grove – (on old Rt 66 along west side freeway 4 miles)…maple trees & syrup
McLean – (47 miles from Springfield)….Dixie Truck Stop
Atlanta – (61 miles from Normal)
Bunyan Giant (103 SW Arch St)
Hawes Grain Elevator Museum
Rt. 66 Memories Museum, Smiley Face H2O Tower
** Palms Grille Café
Lincoln – (11 miles) The Mill on 66
World’s Largest Covered Wagon (1750 5th St)

SPRINGFIELD – (33 miles from Lincoln) 3+ hrs from Chicago
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (212 N. 6th St)
Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Office, Grave – Oak Ridge Cemetery
Dana-Thomas House – Frank Lloyd Wright house (301 E.Lawrence Av)
Shea’s Gas Station – oldest on route…(2075 Peoria Rd)
** Cozy Dog Drive-In – corn dog birthplace…(2935 S. 6th St)
Rt. 66 Twin Drive-In (1700 Recreation Dr)
NIGHTS 2 & 3 *Recommended Statehouse Inn, Rt. 66 Hotel, Madison View Inn

??Alburn – Red Brick Road
Raymond – Our Lady of the Highways (I-55 exit 63)….Use I-55 between Springfield & Litchfield
Litchfield (96 miles from Springfield) to Mount Olive – Rt. 66 along east side of freeway ~ 12 miles
** Ariston Café (413 N. Old Rt 66)
Sky View Drive-In Theater
Rt. 66 Welcome Center
Collinsville (76 miles from Mt. Olive) - Cahokia Mounds State Historical Site
Interpretive Center (off I-55/70 freeway exit 6)
World’s Largest Catsup Bottle (800 S. Morrison Av)
Chain of Rocks Bridge – (18 miles) - 1 mile hike….Chain of Rocks Rd/Spur 66 West from IL 3 2 miles & backtrack
Mitchell – **85 yr old Luna Café (201 E. Chain of Rocks Rd)

MISSOURI………(I-44 replaced Rt. 66)
Visit w/ College Friends
NIGHT 4 *Hampton Inn @ Gateway Arch (333 Washington Av) or w/ friends

DAY 5 – Continue St. Louis
Gateway Arch & Tram (Old Courthouse at 11 N. 4th Street)
Museum of Westward Expansion (riverfront ft of Market St) - CLOSED
** Ted Drewes Frozen Concrete (6726 Chippewa Av)
** Eat-Rite Diner
** Donut Drive-In
Stanton - Meramec Caverns – 1 hr west of St. Louis (3 miles S of I-44 exit 230)
Cuba – Mural City
** Missouri Hicks BBQ
NIGHT 5* Wagon Wheel Motel (901 E. Washington St)

DAY 6 -
Fanning – World’s Largest Rocker
Jerome – Trail of Tears Memorial
Devil’s Elbow (west of Rolla towards Springfield I-44 built on top of Rt. 66)
Lebanan – * Munger Moss Hotel (1336 E. Rt. 66)
Route 66 Museum (915 S. Jefferson St)
Detour - Laura Ingalls Wilder Home & Museum – 1 hr detour south via Hwy 5 (3068 Hwy A)
Springfield – Shrine Mosque Theater (601 E. Saint Louis St)
* Rt. 66 Rail Haven (203 S Glenstone Av)
** Original Steak & Shake (1158 St Louis St)
Hwy 96 – 50 miles between Springfield & Carthage north side I-44)

Detour – BRANSON (43 miles from Springfield)
NIGHT 6 – Branson
DAYS 7-8
NIGHTS 6, 7, 8 at Timeshare *Timeshare & Shows (Spend 3 nts, see 2 -3+ shows)

DAY 9 -
* Boots Motel (107 S. Garrison St)…..Is this too good to miss?
66 Drive-In Theater (old 66 Blvd)

KANSAS………13.2 miles (Drive on Front Street)
Galena – Kan-O-Tex Service Station (119 N. Main St)
Riverton – (Old Riverton) Eislers Store (7109 SE Hwy. 66)
Brush Creek Bridge (Rainbow Bridge)

OKLAHOMA……….Rt. 66 Number 1 State!
Quapaw – murals
Commerce – Mickey Mantle Home & Statue
Conoco Station
Miami to Afton – “Sidewalk Highway”…parallel to US-69 (Turn west @ NE Tech Center & look for 66 Shields)
Marathon Oil Company Service Station
Vinita (Old Rt 66 crosses Will Rogers Turnpike)
Will Rodgers memorial Rodeo
Eastern Trails Museum (215 W. Illinois St) – about Cherokee Trail of Tears
** Clanton’s Café – “OK oldest family-owned & -operated restaurant” (319 E. Illlinois Av)
Between Vinita & Claremore, old Rt. 66 is “free road” alternative to I-44
Totem Pole Park (4 miles east on Hwy-28A)
Claremore…20 miles NE of Tulsa)
Will Rogers Memorial & Museum
** Hammett House Restaurant (1616 W. Will Rogers next to Memorial)
Catoosa – Blue Whale (NE of Tulsa on I-44 exit 240)
Admiral Twin Drive-In (7355 E. Easton St)
** New Atlas Grill (415 S. Boston Av)
** Tally’s Café (1102 S Yale Av)
NIGHT 9* Recommended - Campbell Hotel….NO Desert Hills Motel! (Is this too much in 1 day??)

DAY 10 & 11-
Between Sapulpa & Chandler - Rock Creek Bridge
Stroud – Rt 66 alignment south of hwy for 40 miles
** Rock Café (114 W Main St)
* Lincoln Motel (740 E 1st St)…..(Is this OK to miss????)
Rt. 66 Interpretive Center (400 E Rt 66/1st St)
Warwick – “free road” – 30 miles north of turnpipe…best surviving stretches
The Round Barn

OKLAHOMA CITY – **lots of steakhouses & bbq
Brickhouse Warehouse District
National Memorial Park & Museum (between capital & Bricktown)
** Ann’s Chicken Fry House
Milk Bottle Grocery– Classen Blvd
NIGHTS 10-11 * (? Hotel)

DAY 12
Yukon – “Best Flour” sign
El Reno – **”Hamburger City” – Robert’s Grill, Sid’s Diner, Johnnie’s Grill
Hydro – old Rt. 66 runs along north side I-40 exit 89
** Lucille’s Roadhouse
Weatherford - ** Lucille’s Roadhouse
OK Rt. 66 Museum (2229 W, Gary Blvd)
Elk City
Old Town Museum
** Country Dove Tea Room (610 W. 3rd St)
Erick – true western looking town….buildings w/ chamfered corners
Texola – Ghost town

TEXAS……….200 miles flat plains
NIGHT 12 Shamrock – * U-Drop Inn
Tower Conoco Station
* Also recommended – Sleep Inn

DAY 13 -
Devil’s Rope Museum (100 S Kingsley St) Closed Sundays
* Cactus Inn (101 Pine St) (Is this too good to miss???)
Britten leaning water tower (40 miles east of Amarillo north side I-40 exit 113)
Giant stainless steel cross
Palo Duro Canyon State Park – (25 miles SE of Amarillo, east of town of Canyon off I-27)
** Golden Light Café (2906 SW 6th Av)
** Big Texan Steak Ranch (7701 I-40 East)
NIGHT 13 * Big Texan Motel & Steak House

DAY 14 -
Cadillac Ranch - (200 yds S of I-40 between Hope Rd & Arnot Rd exits (62 & 60) 6-miles west Amarillo where old US-66 rejoins Interstate)
** Boot Hill Saloon & Grill
Magnolia Gas Station
** Midpoint Café
***Time zones change from Central to Mountain

Tee Pee Curios (924 E Rt 66)
Rt 66 Sculpture
Mesalands Dinosaur Museum (222 E. Laughlin St)
NIGHT 14 *Blue Swallow Motel (815 E. Rt 66)…”last, best, and friendliest of the old-time motels”
* Also recommended – Motel Safari…(Other suggested spots if these not available)

DAY 15
Santa Rosa
** Club Café – “Original Rt 66 Restaurant since 1935”

SANTA FE – 1 hr north of Albuquerque via I-25
** Plaza Café (54 Lincoln Av)
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (217 Johnson St)
Old Pecos Trail
Chapel San Miquel
Palace of Governors
NIGHT 15 *Recommended – Silver Saddle Motel, El Ray Inn

Bypass Albuquerque for now

DAY 16
Rio Puerco Bridge (between Albuquerque & Acoma Pueblo)
Acoma Pueblo: Sky City – guided tour & San Esteban del Rey
NM Mining Museum (Santa Fe Av)
** Uranium Café
(S of I-40 & Rt-66, Hwy-53 loops between Gallup & Grants across Indian reservations)
El Malpais lava flow & Ice Cave
El Morro Nat’l Monument – Inscription Rock
Wild Spirit Wolf Santuary (Closed Mondays)
Gallup – great strip neon signs
NIGHT 16 *El Rancho Hotel – feels like Nat’l Park lodge (1000 E. Rt 66)

DAYS 17-18
Backtrack to Albuquerque
ALBUQUERQUE – 18 miles of diners, motels, & neon signs
Old Town
National Atomic Museum
Sandia Peak Tram
San Felipe de Neri – 300 yo church
American International Rattlesnake Museum (202 San Felipe St)
Best section along Nob Hill, east of downtown near Univ. of NM
** 66 Diner (1405 NE Central Av)
** Garcia’s Kitchen (1736 SW Central Av)
NIGHT 17-18 *Non-Smokers Motel, Sandia Crest Inn, Hiway House Motel (3200 SE Central Av)
** Range Café (925 S Camino del Pueblo)
** Red Ball Café
** 66 Diner

If time,
Tinkertown (I-40 exit 175 6 miles E Albuqerque & follow Hwy-14 6 miles…Hwy-536, 1.5 miles W Hwy-14))
Sandia Crest (12 miles uphill @ end Hwy-536 Nat’l Scenic Byway)

Fly home on Day 19
Momof3boys is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2016, 08:22 AM
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Can I come too? LOL--what a fabulous itinerary you have mapped out!

My only comments at this point are for:

(1) Erick, Oklahoma, where there's a great Roger Miller Museum -- after all what song is more appropriate for this trip than "King of the Road?"

(2) Santa Rosa, New Mexico-- you might find Club Cafe closed down or gone by now. If so, eat at Joseph's, which is also iconic and really good, especially it you get some Mexican food. They are old school--no website.

Hope you will post a trip report upon return. I still need to do the Missouri and Illinois legs of The Mother Road so would love to hear it all.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2016, 08:23 AM
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Any way you can be in ABQ on Oct 1 or 2?? International Balloon Fiesta is then and it really is a must see in my book.

Heading out now, will post more later...
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Old Aug 2nd, 2016, 08:59 AM
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Looks great! I'll save your itinerary off for future trips of our own.

I presume you know about the Roadside America site. They may have some quirky stops that you have missed:

Big Texan Steak Ranch is lots of fun. This coming from a vegetarian. Please bring me some of their pecan porter!

Sadly, Cadillac Ranch is an eyesore. It might have been cool a long time ago, before they allowed everyone free rein with cans of spray paint. Now it looks like a dump. But you may was well stop.

Also great is El Rancho hotel. You can spend a long time looking at the photos on the walls. We had an enjoyable meal and drinks there.

Nice choices you've made.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2016, 10:16 AM
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Great replies and suggestions already! I thought about the Roger Miller Museum, but wasn't sure if it was worth the trip, jayne1973. Now, I'll add it to the itinerary, and you are right, it's ionic! Good suggestion also for an alternate restaurant in Santa Rosa. I've cked websites for some of the stops, but not everything. And, I will try to post a Trip Report when I return. Sometimes I think they are like Christmas letters....which I ALWAYS enjoy...but some people hate!

I wish I could postpone or extend the trip for the Balloon Fiesta in ABQ, debitNM. I've read about it and seen pics; looks amazing! Unfortunately, I'm already wedged between other commitments. I was in Cody, WY 1x for their festival on much smaller scale, and I took my boys on a sunrise flight in Sedona. I hope you get to enjoy it though.

Nelson, I didn't know about the site; how did I miss that! Now I'll be looking up new and interesting stuff everywhere! You just added to my travel log! I had heard mixed reviews about Cadillac Ranch and wasn't expecting much except wonder at who would do this! Good to know about Big Texan Steak Ranch & El Rancho hotel. I've tried to include what others recommended pertinent to Rt. 66 rather than just looking at tripadvisor. Appreciate the advice.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2016, 10:21 AM
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BTW, in Shamrock, Texas is the cafe that inspired the design of Flo's V8 Cafe in the movie Cars.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2016, 10:30 AM
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I saw that listed and probably need to add that to my itinerary, but 1st, I need to watch the movie Cars before my trip!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2016, 10:37 AM
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"DAY 2 - 3
.....maple trees & syrup"

Yeah, there's probably a shop selling syrup and candy and such, but the sap only runs in the early spring, with warm days and cold nights, so I doubt you'd be able to see the making of syrup (collecting or boil).

Look for rodeos along the way. There are websites with schedules. And PowWows.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2016, 10:56 AM
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Start off at Dell Rhea's since it is on the original Route 66.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2016, 12:49 PM
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Club Cafe in Santa Rosa is closed, but I *think* the sign is still there.

Lee Ann
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Old Aug 2nd, 2016, 01:22 PM
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You are probably right, SambaChula, about Funks Grove. Good idea to look for rodeos, PowWows, and hopefully, other events along the way. I've cked a few calendars, but need to have some un-planned surprises along the way.

Thanks, Weekender, for the suggestion of Dell Rhea's. I was leaning that way but needed a confirmation. Also, thanks, ElendiPickle, about Club Cafe; I can remove from the restaurant list.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2016, 07:39 AM
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Watching "Cars" is a great idea! Most of the characters are based on real people (see link to article below.) I randomly met Harley Russell, the "Tow Mater" guy, at a museum in Oklahoma--he really can turn his leg backwards!
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Old Aug 3rd, 2016, 11:59 AM
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The Kansas stretch is short, but has an amazing concentration of cool places.

I see that you have three of the best already, but would add Schermerhorn Park, a few miles away as a change of pace.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2016, 12:43 PM
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Momo, please excuse this jump into your thread but this is a topic dear to my heart!

Keith, that is some great info on Kansas 66. Wow--the original "tow mater" vehicle -- so very cool.

Are there Ghost Lights in Kansas?
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Old Aug 3rd, 2016, 01:39 PM
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Thank you for some more great suggestions. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the video of the Rock Cafe, jayne1973, and cking out the menu. It's info like that which makes a place become a BEST, & I don't want to miss it!

Keith, also good info about Kansas. Rt. 66 may only be 13 miles through the state, but never having been to Kansas, I don't want to just breeze through and bypass cool sights. Schermerhorn Park looks like a great place for a picnic and a little rest!
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Old Aug 4th, 2016, 05:45 AM
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There has been talk of Ghost Lights in that corner of Kansas for many years, but I've never talked to anyone who has seen them.

One thing I didn't mention about exploring the Mother Road, you will encounter the same people who are also following the Route at multiple stops and it is a good chance to get to know strangers and hear what they have most enjoyed. A lot of people from outside the US follow the route.
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Old Aug 4th, 2016, 05:51 AM
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Good advice, Keith. I've been amazed on different message boards all the people from Europe/Australia driving Rt. 66. I do look fw to meeting them! Sounds like fun to see the same people at different pts along the rt; similar to my boys hiking around Europe, making friends in hostels, exchanging stories, and meeting again a few towns later.
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