Things to see on Route 66?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Turbo Ghost, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. Turbo Ghost

    Turbo Ghost Been here awhile

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    A friend from England will be joining me in June to travel Route 66. We are wanting to know what places we should visit along the way that the maps and brochures don't tell you about. Not just roadside attractions but, anything that you (my fellow ADVers) find interesting! I also have a thread asking for tent-space for those wishing to help with that. I thank you in advance for any assistance you may be able to provide!!
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  2. dougfromindy

    dougfromindy I smell premix

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  3. Turbo Ghost

    Turbo Ghost Been here awhile

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    The WigWam hotel is definitely on the list of stops! We're looking for those little places OFF the main road! Especially, good little restaurants! We're going to hit all the main attractions and the Grand Canyon. It's the little places that make the trip worthwhile though!
    Thanks for the link!!
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  4. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    As you likely know, much of the "old 66" is no longer there to see. FWIW, I was on the part from KS to CA several times as a kid in 1950's growing up & in the back seat of a sedan-once on a bus in 1954.
    My suggestion, rather than cry over hwats not there is to see older spots in western USA via other hwys: take a serious look at doing some of the other old two lanes that have been bypassed by interstate routes. There are many e-w & n-s routes to consider-research a bit. These early hwys are all federal hwys designated as "US" then a number. Odd numbers are n/s & evens are e/w. many go alllllll theeee wayyyyy across the continent. State hwys can offer the same dose of nostalgia.
    Rt66 was just of many roads built to accommodate the automobile.
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  5. rufusswan

    rufusswan Been here awhile

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    Yes, much of the old road is gone or just runs as a 'right of way' a few hundred feet away, but 66 is an idea as much as an actual road. There are tons of little places to see if you do some studying.

    In my day, if passing thru St Louis everyone stopped to have a "concrete" and you still can today.

    The actual road where 66 was officially born is there in Springfield. Start at the corner of St Louis Street & Glenstone road and you can go all the way to Joplin Mo. Red's Giant Hamburg is no longer open but that was the very first drive thru. From west Springfield down to Joplin does not have much on it, but it didn't even in the 50's
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  6. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    Unfortunately, kantuckid is right. There are some remnants, in Arizona anyway, a rusty gas pump, cattle pens, etc. but as a 'route' it's long gone.

    My suggestion is for Arizona, from the border town of Douglas with Mexico (although not tooooo close) :D, north to the border with Canada (you can get as close as you want to) :D on Highway 191. If it's scenery you want, you'll be gobsmacked. A few detours suggested are Tombstone, Petrified Forest National Park, Grand Canyon, Canyonlands National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park.
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  7. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    IMHO one of the high points is Oatman AZ on the old version of 66 between Kingman and Needles. This is an old mining town turned into a minor tourist trap. But the town is overrun with burros who interact well with visitors.

    If you are doing 66 to see old stuff and actually ride the original road, you are going to be really disappointed for the vast majority of the trip.
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  8. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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  9. ZappBranigan

    ZappBranigan Still Riding

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    I can think of a couple:

    Winslow, AZ, home of "Standing On The Corner" park. Nice place to check out when the sound of your own wheels is driving you crazy. Yes, there is a flatbed Ford truck parked there.

    Oatman, AZ, which is located on the very old part of Route 66 (a part that was actually bypassed before WWII, so it's not really a part of the "route 66" of the 1950's and 60's.)

    Now, having said the above -

    Sadly, I have to echo this.

    95% of Route 66 is boring as hell, especially for a motorcycle rider. It's almost all interstate which means it looks like every other interstate highway in America: Multi-lane slabs of arrow-straight highway crowded with trucks and exits filled with the exact same franchised convenience stores, gas stations and fast food restaurants.

    Remember that when Route 66 was laid out, there was no intention of making it scenic or memorable in any way. Its only purpose was to move people and cargo as efficiently as possible between Chicago and the West Coast. So all the things that make a road great for a motorcycle rider - twisty, two lane roads with great vistas - route 66 avoids (again, with the exception of the stretch between Kingman AZ and Needles, CA that goes through Oatman.)

    The ONLY reason Route 66 has any kind of "legend" is because Bobby Troupe wrote a song about it and then there was a TV series in the 1960's called Route 66.

    IMO there are much more interesting and scenic routes that cross the country, but they aren't as popular because nobody wrote a song about them. :rolleyes:

    Here are just a few examples:

    US 50 runs from Ocean City, Maryland on the Atlantic Coast, to San Francisco, CA (historically, anyway. Currently it officially "ends" in Sacramento, I believe.)

    Unlike most of the other major highways across the country, large stretches of US 50 have NOT been replaced by interstate. US 50 runs through Washington, DC, the Appalachians of Maryland and West Virginia, the hills of Indiana (who knew Indiana had hills?) across the flat plains of Illinois, through the surprisingly fun Ozark Mountains of Missouri, across the even flatter, drier Great Plains of Kansas and Eastern Colorado, then straight into the middle of the Rocky Mountains, crosses over Monarch Pass (over 11,000' above sea level!), through the gorgeous Gunnison River valley, past Black Canyon, up into the Red Rock Deserts of Western Colorado and Eastern Utah, across the San Rafael Swell, then out across the Great Basin, where it earns the name of the "Loneliest Road in America" and finally to the high Sierra Nevada mountains at gorgeous Lake Tahoe, then it joins I-80 for the final stretch into Sacramento and San Francisco.

    In terms of spectacular vistas and fun roads, US 50 offers a lot more than Route 66. As far as the kitschy "road culture" from the 1950's (Wigwam motels, diners, classic coffee shops, etc), US 50 has quite a few of those, too. They're just not as well known as Route 66 nor are they as well promoted.

    And I'm only offering Route 50 up as one example. There are many more, like Route 163 that runs through Monument Valley or Route 40 that crosses Berthoud Pass in Colorado or US 14 that crosses the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming and then goes on through Yellowstone National Park, or "the Devils Highway", Route 491, (formerly "Route 666") that runs from SW Colorado through NW New Mexico, past Ship Rock, and down into AZ from there.

    I'm not neccessarily trying to dissuade you from riding Route 66 if that's your dream, I'm just saying that if you stick to Route 66 you're going to miss out on a lot of great motorcycle roads that aren't that far away from it, and IMO that would be a shame.
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  10. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil Super Supporter

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    As wbbnm said, the best section is between Kingman and Oatman. Another good section is between Seligman and Kingman, AZ.

    Other things of interest along old 66:

    -In Winslow, AZ, the La Posada Hotel. This is a hotel that has been restored and is really quite beautiful. Lots of original artwork by the current owners, too.
    http://www.laposada.org/

    -The Grand Canyon Caverns, along old 66 between Seligman and Kingman. This is a wonderful kitschy place, with a cave you can tour plus a restaurant and hotel.
    http://gccaverns.com/

    -Williams, AZ, a little town with lots of Route 66 nostalgia. You can take a train to Grand Canyon, south rim; or just hang out in the town. Lots of hotels and restaurants here.
    http://www.williamstours.net/?event...e=TRAIN&mpt=224&name=Grand Canyon Train Tours
    http://experiencewilliams.com/

    -In Gallup, NM, check out the El Rancho Hotel. We always have lunch here on our way to visit family in the Albuquerque area.
    http://elranchohotel.com/

    -Another good lunch spot is in Holbrook, Joe and Aggie's cafe, along the original Route 66. Try the Navajo taco!
    http://www.joeandaggiescafe.com/
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  11. Turbo Ghost

    Turbo Ghost Been here awhile

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    Thanks for all the replies!! Route 66 is something of a dream and an ideal for me. It was a road I wanted to travel on the bike I had over 20 years ago but, thanks to an ex-wife I lost that bike and didn't get to make the trip. Fast forward to now. I found an identical bike to the one I had (1983 Yamaha Virago 920) and I am in the process of restoring it for the trip. I know 66 is mostly highway and I'm ok with that. I live in the middle of motorcycle heaven! Sorry folks! If you like the twisties, this is the place! So, I've got all that I need right here at home! 66 is more about a journey into the past and a slower-pace of life. I'm a very nostalgic kind of guy. I do like the sound of some of the other roads mentioned! I'm going to have to break out my maps and see what's doable on our time-table. Thanks again for all the information and keep the ideas coming!
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  12. Meriwether

    Meriwether Following big footprints.

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    The Palo Duro canyon, just south of Amarillo is well worth a visit. And check out the visitor centre, I left barracking for the Comanche.
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  13. Meriwether

    Meriwether Following big footprints.

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    This is a dangerous thread, I'm getting that urge again.
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  14. Schtum

    Schtum Free Genie

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    Seligman if you like kitsch.....

    [​IMG]

    The Grand Canyon Caverns if you like going underground.... http://gccaverns.com

    Oatman if you like old Wild West towns with gunfights and burros. The buffalo burgers in the saloon are quite good as well....

    [​IMG]
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  15. Turbo Ghost

    Turbo Ghost Been here awhile

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    I had wondered about the cost of the cavern hotel and now that I know, I can tell you without hesitation there is no way in hell I will be staying there!! The reviews mentioned being treated as well as some 5-star hotels. For $800 a night, I would hope so!! I might check out the caverns though. I do love caves!
    I also plan on seeing what cheesy tourist traps I can. I love kitsch! The campier the better! I also want to go out on the Skywalk!
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  16. thetourist

    thetourist Just passing thru

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    Depending on how far "sideways" you want to go. At the AZ/NM border Canyon de Chelly is very nice. A free shady public camp ground in Chinle. Shiprock just north of there.
    You could do a loop and catch Chaco Canyon in NM on the way back to 66/I-40.
    Monument Valley is up there, also.
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  17. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I assume that you found someplace that said the hotel at the Grand Canyon caverns motel was $800/night. I find this rate really hard to believe. But I checked their web site and that is what it said. I am sure this is a misprint and the actual rate is probably $80/night.

    The place is listed under cheap motels by other travel sites.

    On an poorly related subject I think you guys in Europe must be using some motel booking site that totally screws you.

    I spent a few nights in Blanding Utah last fall and was talking to a guy from Germany who was complaining about how expensive rooms were. He was paying $300 a night for the same quality rooms I paid $65 for. He was claiming there were no rooms in towns where I have never had a problem getting a room. He mentioned some web site he was using, but I can't remember what it was. But he was totally devoted to the site.

    You can get good prices here by actually calling the motel and making the reservation, especially small non-chain ones. In fact this is the only way I make motel reservations even with chains. And you can generally get in by calling a couple of days ahead of time.

    Some places like the south Rim of the Grand Canyon and Zion Utah and maybe Yosemite might require reservations more in advance at busy times.
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  18. bbrz

    bbrz Been here awhile Supporter

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    As you are going to start near Chicago. I will try to put my head together to guide you on the "Mother Road" in the central part of Illinois.

    We left that region 25+yrs. ago, but grew up on "RT.66".

    Western state guys have much to say, but it will possibly take 1-2 days just to get from Chicago to St. Louis on 66, museums, foods, the Great Plains,etc.

    Pulling up old memories, and will soon pass them on to you.

    As has been said, there will be some dull moments, so just wanting the start of your journey to be a reward.
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  19. Schtum

    Schtum Free Genie

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    The $800 a night rate is to spend the night underground. - http://gccaverns.com/rooms-packages/the-grand-canyon-caverns-cavern-motel-room/ I'm guessing that the cheap motel listing refers to the above-ground accommodation.

    I guess he was using Expedia or something similar. Actually, I've had some killer deals on room rates using Expedia.com which is the US version. However, I always travel with a laptop and either book a night ahead or, as you say. I remember once trying to book a room for my wife and me in Whitefish, Montana but they were full. However, they also had a condo across town which they were happy to rent us for a new nights at a great rate.
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  20. Turbo Ghost

    Turbo Ghost Been here awhile

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    I've actually travelled that section of 66 a lot over the years. Other than the the old Beich factory (now Nestle/Beich) there's not been much that interested me through there and since they quit selling the rejects by the pound, I don't really have a need to go there either! They really pissed me off when they quit making their caramel bars! Of course, they just remarketed them as Nestle Treasures but, it's not the same....
    #20