Many significant historical events have occurred along Route 66 over its long history, and the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics is particularly noteworthy: although the Games were put on during the Great Depression of the ‘30s, they functioned as a beacon, highlighting Route 66 in America and placing Los Angeles on the global map.
With its neon signs, rustic truck stops, and scenes of classic Americana, no other road captures the imagination quite like Route 66. Driving this highway through the heart of the country is the quintessential American road trip, and it deserves a rocking soundtrack to match. So, gas up the vehicle, roll down the windows, and press play on this collection of 12 perfect songs selected for your next trip on the Mother Road!
Elvis Presley is arguably the most “American” icon of all time. The classic rags to riches story of a poor country boy from Tennessee who became one of the biggest stars on the planet resonates with so many as the embodiment of the American dream.
A drive down fabled Route 66 is considered by many to be the ultimate road trip experience. This one single stretch of highway has seized the imagination of many an artist, musician, writer, photographer, filmmaker, and everybody else who has had the privilege of journeying across America down this scenic road. At ROUTE we know that a comfortable place to rest your head at the end of each day is paramount to enjoying the full intimate experience of this iconic highway. So, we have rounded up 19 venues with interesting backstories, unique heritage and undeniable charm. This ROUTE’s hotlist.
Food brings people together, and there is an incredible network of eateries along Route 66 - from home-style grilling to upscale fusion - that make every pit stop more inviting and unforgettable than the last. In The Mother Road Odyssey Part One, we brought you the most iconic and memorable places to stay along Route 66, now, we present some of our favorite places to dine along Route 66: the historic, the high-end, the famous, and the infamous.
America is a land full of tremendous natural beauty, and for anyone who loves to throw on a pair of boots or sturdy sneakers and set out to experience nature in its perfect setting, Route 66 offers a large number of choice spots that will have you in your element.
Planning a trip down Route 66 can be as easy or as stressful as you make it out to be. For many sightseers, putting locations into your smartphone and hitting the road is all the planning you think you need. But there’s more to road travel than just not getting lost.
Route 66 often conjures up images of friendly small towns, hospitable diners, and famous landmarks. But what about the quiet places in between? During the Mother Road's heyday, there was almost a limitless amount of towns and roadside stops popping up to serve the traveling public. However, when Route 66 died out, decommissioned and supplanted by interstates, many of these small towns died with it. These hollow shells of past prosperity provide a haunting melancholic vibe and are tangible remnants of the boom and bust history of the great American road. While venturing along Route 66, take some time out to appreciate these long lost and forgotten communities and experience their ghostly aura.
The state of Arizona is packed with picturesque places to stop and stretch your legs while on a road trip or a longer visit. ROUTE offers some suggestions on a few of our favorite.
On a lonely stretch of Route 95, cast haphazardly against the sagebrush of Central Nevada, is the tiny ghost town of Goldfield. Home to only 268 people, its main industries are tourism and gold. To the south of town the “International Car Forest” is the main draw for travelers. But this is a recent attraction, for most of the town’s history, its showpiece was the legendary Goldfield Hotel. A four-story classical revival building built in 1908. The yawning façade still dominates the town’s main square. It caused a sensation upon its opening, as it was one of the first hotels in the west to use electric lights and supply running water to every room.
While the majority of people tackle Route 66 via private vehicle or RV, there are many different ways to cross the country and to experience a jaunt down the Main Street of America.
The iconic Route 66 landmark known for its giant roadside dream catcher and its geodesic dome design is getting a new lease on life.
With a history almost as colorful and interesting as the actual interior of the vintage venue, Flagstaff’s Monte Vista has a fascinating story to tell.
Few sports are as American as baseball, and few roads are as quintessentially American as the Mother Road. But it is fascinating to better understand the actual connection between baseball and Route 66 over the years.
There’s so much literature out there about Route 66 that it can be hard to pick the very best ones to build your Route 66 library, so we’ve tried to help. In this list, you’ll find history books to help you understand the context of the road and guidebooks to help you plan your travels. You’ll also find books focused on a specific part of 66, like ghost towns or photos of the highway. So before you set out on your trip of a lifetime, and get to see the best of America, grab these books. And when you get back home, you’ll be glad to relive your trip through your 66 book collection.
In a town noted for its otherworldliness, the International Car Forest of the Last Church stands out in Goldfield. Once the biggest town in Nevada, Goldfield is now a place people pass through, although not too quickly. The local police force is noted for its enthusiasm in enforcing the speed limit.
Tulsa is inching closer to being a major attraction on the red-hot revival of Route 66, perhaps just months away from construction of the much-anticipated Route 66 Experience and an explosion of growth along the 24 miles of Route 66 in our city.
There is perhaps no better, no more powerful metaphor of human progress than that of the windshield. That wide piece of glass is our eyes not only to what lays ahead, but also what lays within. It took a harried Pixar executive loading up his family for a cross-country road trip to figure this out and share the undeniable truth with the rest of us: life is a highway. Hot on the heels of blockbuster hits like Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Toy Story 2, Director John Lasseter found himself in need of a new tale to tell. It took the stress of overlapping release and production schedules to cause his wife, Nancy, to insist that John slow down and enjoy his kids, before he woke-up one day and found them all grown.
More than perhaps any other highway in the US, Route 66 has always been a road of opportunity. Whether they were escaping drought or boredom, the Mother Road has always fostered an “anything is possible” mentality amongst its pilgrims. Maybe it is the dramatic and diverse geography that paints the eight states that make up this iconic highway, or perhaps the mystery or opportunity that waits just around the next bend.
From the day construction was completed until the day the wrecking ball cast it asunder fifty- four years later, the Coral Court Motel stood as both an architectural masterpiece and a place of mystery and nefarious activities. Its reputation was brought to bear by the shadowy John Carr, who owned and operated it for forty-three of those years.
ROUTE Magazine caught up with bestselling author and Route 66 ambassador, Michael Wallis, who shared on his enviable career as a writer, his famous book Route 66: The Mother Road, and his favorite places and people along the iconic highway. A well-respected and known persona on the Route, Wallis reveals some things that even those who know him best may be surprised to learn.
In today’s hectic, busy world, where we are inundated with emails and phone calls, text messages, Facebook messages, FaceTime requests and a myriad of other stimuli, it is hard to take a break and simply check out, even on a road trip. But when life has worn you down and you decide to hit the open road, especially when that road is Route 66 and you are on your way, heading west to the Windy City, where The Mother Road traditionally begins, there is a gem of a stopover that welcomes everyone.
A former band member of a garage punk band called The Scarred, now turned YouTube Vlogger, Justin Scarred has amassed over 100,000 subscribers with his highly entertaining videos of his trips to Disneyland, the Old West, and more recently Route 66, where he traveled the entire Route, documenting his travels on his channel. His boisterous, goofy and witty nature infused with informative narrative, has captured and brought a whole new audience of road warriors, of all ages, to Route 66. In this interview, Scarred talks about his approach to his positive YouTube videos, his experiences filming on the Mother Road, and his adventures along Route 66.
While skilled in many disciplines, from painting to sculpture to metal work, artist Lowell Davis is perhaps best known for his farm animal figurines, distributed to thousands of gift shops across North America. His collectors and fans regularly make the trip to visit the “Norman Rockwell of Rural Art” at his home in Red Oak II, just outside of Carthage, Missouri.
The humidity hangs thin over southwest Missouri, near where the land starts to open up to the west, and things begin to dry out. It is lush and green most years, and always hot in the summer. It is the place of small quaint towns every few miles, with buildings constructed in the vernacular style of native stone and rocks. Families sit on front porches after supper, swatting flies and reflecting on the day’s events.
Anyone who recalls traveling on Route 66 in the 50s will fondly reminisce that one of the highlights that they remember the most were the mysterious Jack Rabbit signs that dotted the old road — huge billboards strategically placed all along the route that featured a black, almost sinister, jackrabbit silhouette over a bright yellow background, with the remaining mileage to the advertised ‘destination’. Travelers were intrigued. The destination was the Jack Rabbit Trading Post, an iconic stop on Route 66 in Arizona, that has become a living part of Route 66 history, and one that continues to capture the imagination and instill the thrill of traveling the Main Street of America.
The history of the Mother Road can, ironically, often seem to be dominated by male protagonists and male storytellers. However, while less prominent in literature, women have certainly played an integral and fascinating role in the life and development of Route 66.
The first thing you see when driving down a special section of Route 66 in Oklahoma is hints of blue through the trees. When you get a little closer, an image begins to take shape: the sharp lines of a whale's tail, a large gregarious smile, and a bright-blue rounded body topped with an adorable little hat. You are looking at one of Route 66's most famous attractions, the Blue Whale of Catoosa, a Mother Road icon that evokes childhood nostalgia and was born out of one man's love for his wife and his community.
Tonopah's Clown Motel sits midway between Las Vegas and Reno, eerily cheerful against its muted desert backdrop. Clowns wave and smile strangely from the road; they line the lobby walls; they hang above the beds. An elephantine Ronald McDonald welcomes you at the check-in desk. Oh, and there's a cemetery next door that's home to 300 long-deceased miners.
Even in its heyday, Route 66 was not the continuous benign bright ribbon that some might imagine. Almost without exception, life was as hard as anywhere else – sometimes harder – and highway traffic was comprised not only of the military, the commercial traveller and the tourist, but of darker elements. Some places seemed to attract sadness and tragedy more than others, and one such place was Toonerville in Arizona.
California’s 314 mile section of Route 66 is home to some of the old road’s most vivid scenery and unique attractions. There is something about the moody desert atmosphere, with its numerous fading ghost towns and lost in time venues, that leaves a deep etch in the heart of intrepid travelers. Every dilapidated structure seems to have its own story, and it is not difficult if one closes their eyes and listens carefully, to hear the ghosts of yesterday. The desert has a way of opening the mind and nudging the spirit. Yet, perhaps even more memorable and captivating are the people of California’s Route 66. In many cases, true to Old West stereotypes, these are pioneers and dreamers, each with a destiny to fulfill and a heavy helping of true grit.
“In 1962 my father got an old Willys Jeep. That was our ticket to going far out into the desert. We started collecting quickly on these camping trips. It was just an accident. We started bringing stuff home. One day he found a bottle, and that was it.” Most serious collectors have a genesis story like this. Hobbies seldom start out of volition. They just happen. Elmer Long, 72, is no exception. He did not find a hobby; it found him.
For a growing number of savvy travelers looking for a more authentic hotel experience, a restored historic hotel may be just the answer. And the restoration of La Castañeda — the Queen of Las Vegas — is poised to be just that. The venue’s restoration by the Winslow Arts Trust is set to put the classic venue back on top.
One of the things that makes Route 66 so special is its uniqueness: there’s nothing else quite like it in the world, and its magic cannot be replicated. One of the key driving factors that formed the persona of the Mother Road was, as Oklahoma Route 66 Association member Rhys Martin put it, “the advent of station-wagon tourism.” The creation of the route coincided with the new wave of automobile culture. With the development of more affordable cars, beginning with Ford’s Model T in 1908, and the rise of expendable income after WWII, family road trips became the norm, and every business along the route was vying for these potential customers’ attention.
You might not believe Joy’s full name the first time she tells it to you. When you initially ask her, she’ll say something like, “If I told you my name, you’d just die laughing.” You’ll probably think she’s making it up, but honestly, her full name is Joy A. Weed.