Route 66 -- The Mother Road

Discussion in 'Regional Forums' started by WildernessJeep, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. WildernessJeep

    WildernessJeep 205

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    My dad is getting up in years, and actually talking about selling his motorcycle. I'm hoping to change his mind, but in case I don't I want to go on one last huraah with him. Neither of us have ever done Route 66, the mother road, and it looks promising as a simple trip. We cross it on the way to Colorado, and are planning on picking it up in Amarillo, and doing the southern half, except for the last part going into LA (neither of us wants to sit in traffic). We will only have about a week and a half, maybe two weeks, tops.

    He only likes to do about 250, maybe 400 miles in a day and takes a lot of naps. That's fine and it's his trip, but I'm concerned about time. We both agree that we have no problem superslabbing it back to Houston, although I'd like to wander up to Yosemite and across Nevada on the way back, if time allows.

    Anybody got any maps?? It looks like I'll be going along I-40 for the most part, and that Route 66 kinda loops along side the interstate. Most large maps don't show the old route at all, and even the local ones only show it in sections. He fears dirt, and I figure if he got this far in life without managing a motorcycle on dirt, he doesn't need to start now.

    Anyone got any local head-up information?? One of the websites I researched said that rampaging motorcycle gangs are to be feared, especially out west. I can't believe that, and assume that even if they were, on a BMW and a Honda we'd be fine. I only bring it up because its very difficult to discern decent information from the crap.

    Fuel is a concern, as his motorcycle only has about a 140 mile range. Of course, his "single stretch" range isn't a whole lot further.

    Thanks in advance.
    #1
  2. usgser

    usgser Long timer

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    It's a noble idea and bless your heart for thinking of it for dad's last ride but there is so little of 66 left you'll be backtracking/searching a lot.
    Just my opinion it's not worth the bother since most of your trip will be off 66 rather than on it. Still be fun just riding with dad for a week though no matter where or why. :thumb

    You might want to check out a couple other old time roads. One is US 50 that goes coast to coast known as The Loneliest Hwy. Or the very first ever cross country "route not hwy" the Lincoln Hwy. It was the first planned out xcountry route made up of various back highways. Some parts of it still have "L" or some such on the original telephone poles marking the route.

    Both routes have web info.

    Whatever you guys decide I betcha $10 the ol'man keeps his bike after a week ride with you. :super

    Have fun and you're a good son. :thumb
    #2
  3. Jim1960

    Jim1960 Adventurer

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    Get this book;

    "Route 66 Traveler's Guide and Roadside Companion"

    by Tom Snyder c. 2000 ISBN 0-312-25417-2

    It shows how you can most effectively travel the old road from Chicago to L.A. + it's small enough to easily pack along with you.

    My family and I just did a road trip from CA to IL. over the holidays, to visit my daughter at Scott AFB. We took I-40 & I-44 but used the book from time to time to get off the slab and and follow 66. I think you'll be amazed at how much of the road is left, and still in pretty decent shape.

    Have fun :evil

    ............. Jim
    #3
  4. Kbrick

    Kbrick ..the last open road...

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    #4
  5. kluts

    kluts The Lost Tourguide

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    66 will give you kicks but only if you do the road hunting tricks. I was lucky enough to do a large portion of it a few times between '68 and '71. There were portions of 40 then that were unfinished so we did the mother road like Kerouac. But that was then. You can do the book as suggested by jim 1960 and do the websites to plan. But there are, as suggested, more serene side roads on other itineraries. My dos centavos?

    I-40 old Hwy 40 and 20 and even 50 might be out. Why? You're in Houston, near loosiana. Way down there. Why go so far north to do roads that, well, haven't retained enough historical charm? If you have 10 days or so, and pops is up to 400 a day, sure you can make Yosemite Nat park. But here are some thoughts that are within the range of Houston in that 10 day period that might offer some respite. FIRST and FOREMOST, you are at sea level. You haven't told us how old Pops is or what shape he is in. Find out if your Da has high blood pressure and congestive heart disease. These can onset at about age 68. If he does, consider the lower altitude routes. You'd be surprised what dangerous things age and altitude above 7000-8000 feet can do to a flatlander with this problem. If it is a problem consider the low route below.

    Low route: Sure, follow 66 but consider Canyon de Chelly area, NM, Navajo country, the Four Corners Region, Mesa Verde cliff dwellings, and Telluride. There's Also Santa Fe. These destinations range at about 5000 feet or better, but are not bad for health. He could do Taos, 6000 ft. Lots to see there and it's drop dead gorgeous in NM. Durango and Silverton is a great diversion with a steam train ride, and he can spend the day in Silverton at 7000 without much distress. Some of 66 survives in the NM area. Lower down out of Los Alamos there are surprises too. Jerome Arizona is a good destination with nice 2 lane highways too, and the painted desert is unforgettable. Look at travel suggestions in those regions. Parks abound.

    High route: NM, Utah, and Colorado offer amazing sights, but even some sizeable towns are above 7000 feet. There's lots of National Parks, high passes (one at 12000+), but it is a dazzler if you can do it. Utah has the Moab region, Highway 12, Brice, Zion, (of course the Grand Cyn is right nearby), Western Colo has the Nat Monument near Grand Jct, there's the Black Cyn of the Gunnison (astounding), the Uncompaghre range, the San Juan range, the meadows around Purgatory (remember the movie City Slickers?) up NE is the Rockie Mt. Nat Pk, SE is the Cumbres and Toltec region (with another spectacular steam train ride), and there are the Sangre de Cristo mountains of NM with native residents that still speak a 16th Century Castillian dialect and you go back 300+ years.

    In all, these destinations could constitute 2 or 3 different tours, each doable in 10 days, just pick your highlights. Most of it can be off-slab. And as you can see you can hit some real destinations without causing health problems. Oh, yah, you'll also be hitting 66 several times if you're careful.
    #5
  6. vtwin

    vtwin Air cooled runnin' mon

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    This is a great thing to do for your dad. Since I've never done 66, I can't comment, but maybe dad would like to go to Monument Valley, Zion, Bryce, Sedona, Jerome and make your way up to Bodie. Check out Yosemite while there. Pretty cool places. It's a trip I'm thinking of doing this year as I make my way from CA to WI for the Buell 25th Anniversary Home Coming. On the way back, I plan on hitting Mt Rushmore, Glacier NP and Valley of the Moon(?). Have fun.
    #6
  7. DerViking

    DerViking Shred

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    Here each side of Flagstaff, there are a few sections of 66 that are intact and rideable on a streetbike. From Saligman to Kingman, the old route loops north and is pretty peaceful. Pretty much from Flagstaff East to New Mexico (the extent of my knowledge) old 66 is broken up by 40. I have used large segments, but, on a dirtbike and with fence pliers :evil
    #7
  8. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil

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    +1 on the Route 66 Traveler's Guide, by Tom Snyder. It has tidbits about the route and the old maps as well.

    To me, the best section of old 66 is from Seligman, Arizona, through Kingman, and then on through Oatman and into Needles. The road is in mostly good to fair shape, no big trucks. The section from Kingman to Oatman is twisty and scenic. We have yet to encounter any rampaging motorcycle gangs on it (unless you count 2 up on an R1200GS :lol3).

    Another book that I have found very useful for road trips is Road Trips USA: California and the Southwest, by Jamie Jensen. This book does not have detailed maps, but it has a lot of information about the routes, history of an area, and emphasizes local places to eat and stay (instead of chains).

    Have fun with the trip planning and good luck!
    #8
  9. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    #9
  10. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    If I were to do one last ride with my Dad (can't myself), I'd choose a really good run thru CO and UT.
    #10
  11. Ensey

    Ensey KLR Combat Touring

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    #11
  12. Scalzitti

    Scalzitti Adventure Driven

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    I rode with this group in 02 and had an excellent time.
    http://www.hhjm.com/rally/details.htm

    They do the ride every year. The dates this year are June 14 -21. You can run it either Ease or West. I ran with the big crowd from Chicago to Santa Monica, then rode home solo on a different route.

    They also sell the maps, so you could do it anytime yourself. Just click on the "products" link. I've loaned my maps out in the past to friends that have wanted to make the ride and those maps served all them very well.

    Good luck! Sounds like a great trip for you and your Dad. I'm looking forward to riding it with my sons one day.
    #12
  13. Zombie73

    Zombie73 Been here awhile

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    I was totally in the dark about this road other then the snipet of info here and there. A friend of mine who is a serious RT 66 fan convinced me to do a chunk of it on a cross country tour. I took him up on it, brought a long a couple of books he and all if his RT 66 blog folks agreed on and had a blast. If your interested let me know. PM me and I can pass the info on to you. There is history on this route I know I will never be able to see again and future generations will never know existed. The ghost town in the middle of no where right after talking to a guy hiding out from the US GOV because he found a true alternative to fossil fuels was my highlight! Maybe I just attract wierd shit... Don't let it go!
    #13
  14. DangerMoney

    DangerMoney Loud Helmets Save Lives

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  15. BigX

    BigX n00b - Yeah, right

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  16. Savoir-Faire

    Savoir-Faire Powered by Hate

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    I did Rt. 66 last year, and I moseyed up to Yosemite and across Nevada via Hwy. 50 on the way back. They call Hwy 50 "The lonliest Road in America" and they aren't kidding. I did approximately 120 mph for 3 hours, stopping only for gas. I passed no one in my direction of travel, and there was no oncoming traffic either. Freaky.

    Anyways, if you want advice, drop me a tell. I did roughly 300 to 400 miles a day tops. You are going to want to stop and take pictures a bunch, so it won't seem slow. Take your time and enjoy the road and your dad's company. Remember, this trip isn't about the destination - it's about the trip. That's what Rt. 66 is; a way to get somewhere. There is no destination, just an accomplishment at the end.

    --Savoir-Faire
    #16
  17. tmgs

    tmgs ...Trailers are for Boats

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    have a gps? a garmin? i have gps waypoints of rt 66, we have traveled much of it ourselves (in fact darn near all of it left to travel) have started off in chicago at lou mitchels for breakfast with a fellow patron of ADvrider my wife and a fellow of bmwlt.com, ya might as well have a good breakfast with fellow riders at some point! <g>

    anyhow, if ya have a garmin gps, I'll send ya the file I have

    you can pm me with a e-mail

    tom
    #17
  18. mutineer

    mutineer pierpont lives

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  19. Mookie

    Mookie Too lazy to hike

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  20. DaveO

    DaveO BOF

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    Couldn't agree more.
    This old (60+) Aussie Digger and his best mate (wife Shirley) rode this section two years back and loved every minute. History in every mile.

    DaveO
    #20