America’s Historic Highway
From the late 1950s to the 1970s I can remember American cars donning Silver Streak travel trailers, and motorists behind the steering wheel of a Winnebago or two, for what promised to be an exciting family road trip across America! According to the self-proclaimed “oldest” Route 66 website The Mother Road: Historic Route 66 , the Historic United States Highway 66 was commissioned, along with many other highways in 1926, to connect the Great Lakes to the Pacific Ocean. Since its completion in 1937, families have been experiencing the great American, Route 66 road-trip together.
That is until 1984, when major highways finally bypassed the last of the original, Route 66 towns. With diners as well as rest stops popping up every few miles, travelers were promised a comfortable journey for 2,448 miles, as they ventured along the Americas from Chicago, Illinois’ Lake Michigan, all the way west to Los Angeles, California’s Santa Monica Pier.
GoNomad.com’s travel pictorial “Route 66: The Main Street of America” offers a historical account of circa 1950-style diners, and the Route 66 Museum in Clinton, Oklahoma, long with an actual scene used in the 1940s movie “The Grapes of Wrath”. This famous American highway has been the inspiration for television shows, and scores of music by the same name, from the “Nelson Riddle/Route 66” mix, to the rock song recording by the “Rolling Stones – Route 66”.
To get the most enjoyment from your road trip you will need to purchase a map before venturing along the Historic Route 66, to keep connected between the original roads, and the newer highways. The Mother Road website (linked above) offers maps, state-by-state downloads, and GPS directions making the road-trips of the past come alive today.
Beginning in Chicago, Illinois, the original U.S. Highway 66 will take you to St. Louis, Missouri, and into Tulsa, Oklahoma, passing through northern Texas, into Albuquerque, and Gallup, New Mexico. Experience more desert beauty while crossing through Arizona, by way of the Grand Canyon, and finally arriving in the state of California. Once you drive into Los Angeles County, the ocean pier at Santa Monica, seems just minutes away.
Road Trip Activities
Traveling along Route 66 used to mean radios, and road-trip songs to pass the time. Traveling with young children today, it is possible to recreate that fun by singing these “Top 10 Road Songs for Kids” and keep everyone occupied. Car games like “I Spy” and spelling bees can also keep your kids engaged over long stretches of highway, while enjoying the scenery.
There is a sense of freedom driving across the open country, which cannot be duplicated by plane, train, or bus. On the open road “majority-rules” when it comes to points of interest, rest stops, visitor sights, or restaurants.
End of the Line
When traveling to the Pacific Ocean, in Los Angeles County, you will be bombarded with historical landmarks, as well as every fast food drive-thru restaurant imaginable. For the most cost-effective places to eat while driving along Foothill Blvd. see “Route 66 Drive-Thru Family Burger Joints around Claremont, CA”.
Mass transit or public transportation simply cannot duplicate the peaceful driving experiences found along American highways. Road-trip traveling with one’s family, offers the ability to park the car, get out, and experience the sites together, at your own pace, and there is no need for awkward body scans or invasive privacy searches.