I’m thinking of taking a road trip along Route 66 from Amarillo to Chicago in September. I’m also thinking of taking my tent and camping out along the way. Are there any places I should definitely check out or stop at along the way?
Subscribed. I plan to do it next year in my classic 1963 convertible. In St. Louis, I’m going to walk the Chain of Rocks Bridge. It has a unique sharp bend in the middle of it.
I can help out on the Oklahoma City to Amarillo part - I drive that part fairly regularly.
Oklahoma Route 66 Museum
Stafford Air and Space Museum in Weatherford, OK
Also in Weatherford is the Heartland Museum - I’ve not visited yet
Have a burger at Sid’s Diner in El Reno, OK.
Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo
Pay attention to the countryside between Amarillo to OKC - you cross the 100 degree line, and you can see the climate change (not man made). West of 100 degrees, there isn’t a lot of rain, and it shows in the plant life - few trees, no grass, everything is brown. By the time you reach OKC, trees and grass grow wild, and everything will be green.
Thanks Dobbs, I’ll make note of those for my trip. Is the 100th meridian marked in any way? Any sign or monument?
I’ve thought many times about making such a trip myself. Sadly I’ve not made Mile #1 in actuality.
For reference on what’s on the to-do list, see
and for the best (my opinion, anyway) version of the song see/hearRoute 66 - Diana Krall
I used to travel often to St. Louis for work. Besides the Chain of Rocks Bridge I mentioned earlier (and that was part of the old Route 66), in/near St. Louis I’ll also recommend these other places:
[li]The Gateway Arch, and the Museum of Westward Expansion beneath the arch — both are excellent, and go up the arch on the interesting custom ‘chained elevator thingie’[/li][li]Pappy’s Smokehouse — great STL BBQ[/li][li]The Great Rivers Museum (or named something like that), by US Army Corps of Engineers, at the Melvin Price Locks and Dam on the Mississippi — good info about the three great rivers there, the Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois[/li][li]Walk out to Confluence Point, where the Missouri River empties into the Mississippi River. Long, powerful rivers, right there. Also note the tall marker marking the flood height of a bad flood (in the 1990s?, not sure exactly when). But seeing how high that marker is gives a strong sense of how bad that flood was.[/li][/ul]
Well, the big sign will say ‘Welcome to Oklahoma’ (it marks the TX/OK line in that area) and there’s a museum in Erick, OK
I’ve not been there
Another museum in Erick is the Roger Miller Museum
I’ve not been there either. Both are on my list, but I never manage to hit them at the right time.
Hopefully some day you’ll get a chance to do 66 from Amarillo to Santa Monica as well.
There’s also theRoute 66 Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac, IL.
The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo may appear as a tourist trap (actually, it is) but it’s a fun place to stop and actually has good food at good prices. And, a brewery with good offerings.
You won’t regret a detour to Palo Duro or Caprock Canyon state parks if you get a chance. One can picture settlers rolling over flat plains then having a “shit, where did this come from” moment
Ask me anything. I’ve driven the route forwards and backwards several times. I can tell you pretty much anything, and if not, I have the books to look it up. Actual route alignment, old paths, old old alignments. (Some campsites, but that one I don’t know as well.) Things that are no longer there.
I’m going again in a week.
Awesome, thanks. What are the most interesting stops along the way? And are you driving the entire length, Chicago and Santa Monica?
Don’t forget Lucille’s, also Pop’s and the Round Red Barn
Even on the I40 part thru TX and OK, lots of old abandoned buildings that make cool pics. Somewhere between Amarillo and McLean is another small hotel with half buried graffiti cars.
If you can possibly do it, go backwards and stop in Glenrio on the Texas New Mexico border. It’s a neat little relic of the highway. If you do, you can then go west out of town, and the desolate dirt road that you will find yourself on eventually ends up in San Jon, another by passed 66 town. Then you can get back on the freeway and go east, and stop at the Russell travel center. they have a really cool free car and Americana museum (if you like that sort of thing.) The backwards trip is 90 miles one way, but you get some cool stuff. I would say it is worth it.
Going this way allows you to also pass the geometric center of Rt 66 in Adrian. There’s even a sign.
Then take the by pass trough Vega.Then back on the freeway. East of Amarillo in Texas there isn’t much of an advantage to not taking the freeway. The last alignment is mostly under the freeway, so in effect you’re seeing the same thing you would have seen in the 60s driving it. And there really isn’t that much to see. If you want the full experience, take the south frontage road.
Take the business 40 (66) bypass through Groom, and then stay south and take the frontage road past this cool abandoned (?) grain silo. Good photographic spot especially if the weather accommodates and you get some clouds or gloom. (Groom gloom?)
East of Groom get back on the freeway but take the bypass through Alanreed and especially Mclean. Mclean has old 66 split through town into one way east and west, so circle around and take both legs. Lots of building still standing, some old gas stations and businesses, an old motel. There is a restored Phillips 66 station there.
Definitely stop in Shamrock. Take exit 161 and take the old 66 alignment into Shamrock. It has many old businesses and cool buildings. On the corner of Main and 66 is the Shamrock station, Definitely a good photo stop, and I think it is open as a tourist stop. Very cool!
Stay on the south frontage road all the way to Texola. As the name says, it’s the border town.
Next post: OK
Uranus Missouri. OK, its strange and tacky and really juvenile but my wife and I both just love it. Any trip out that direction (usually Branson) has to include a stop and almost every Christmas present we’re giving this year will include something from there. As I type this I am wearing the t-shirt from the “locksmith”.
We keep Uranus safe and secure
Wow Cool. Let me know when you will go by and I will hold up a banner SDMB. . .
oh wait you are not referring to Rt 66 in CT
slowly backing out of thread before someone throws something at me.
East of Texola stay on business 40 /66 all the way to Erick. Now you’re getting into the cool shit.
The divided road through Erick is original last alignment 66. Very cool. As you leave Erick when the route passes under 40 it will become 2 lanes, but watch closely on the north side. The old extra two lanes are still there, and they are over grown. it was way cool! There are plenty of the old turn lanes still there where you can stop. Some sections are so over grown that you can’t stand on 66 any more! This is definetly a cool section! Stay on this all the way to Sayer. Always watch for old rounded corners, or other indicators of the old route. As will all highways, there were improvements over the years. Corners that used to be 90 degree stops have been rounded off to improve traffic flow.
Take Business 40 through Sayer and turn right to keep on it out of town. Right before the freeway on ramp is a left turn. This is old 66 but it only goes about a coupe miles. You have to get back on at the next exit anyway, because the old route stops, so pick either the route or right on the freeway.
Take the freeway until Business 40/66 exit 32 into Elk City. Elk City has the Old Town Rt 66 Museum. Don’t confuse it with the Route 66 museum in Clinton, OK. They are both cool, but different.
Now here comes the tricky part. It helps if you have Google satellite view. Old 66 was paved with the red clay of OK, but the freeway and the other frontage road were not. From the satellite you can see where old 66 was split by the freeway. Check out this image. Note how the note frontage road is whiter in the image than the south? And see how the lighter color continues on the east side of the freeway joggle? 66 used to just go straight through. So for you to do the same, you have to take a crossover.
Stay on business 40/66 out of town leaving Elk City, don’t get on the freeway, but stay left. Take the north frontage road until the first crossover, go under the freeway and take the south frontage road. keep on this into Canute.
Stay on the south frontage road until you can get on the freeway at the KOA. Keep on the freeway until exit 57. And take the south frontage road. This will take you into Clinton. There is a big sweeping turn to send you north right before Clinton.
As soon as you go under the freeway, turn left on the frontage road which will shorty put you on Business 40 right at the Route 66 museum. This is a good one.
If you don’t want the full experience and afraid of getting lost on all the joggles, just take I40 from Elk City to Clinton. If you want the fullest 66 experience, there are some segments I’ve skipped, but I’m not sure they are worth all the joggling. But they are there if you want.
Leaving Clinton East don’t get on the freeway but take the I40 frontage road to the north (left) Stay on the frontage road until the Loves travel stop, then crossover to the south frontage road. About a mile east there will be a road crossing back over (N2330 road). Immediately after crossing north, turn right (east) on the frontage road. you’re back on 66! Take this all the way to Weatherford, Home of Astronaut Thomas P Stafford.
Follow the signs through town. If you want to see the Thomas P Stafford museum, it’s real cool. It’s on the east side of town, at the airport. it’s set back, so watch for the signs.
Even if you’ve taken the freeway rather than all my joggles, you’ll want to take 66 east out of town. It is Main Street north. You’ll have no trouble following it for quite a ways. The road is noticeably red, and has a curb. The curb was supposed to help drivers, but all it did was channel the rain down the road. Hope it isn’t raining when you go through.
A few miles down the road is Lucille’s Historic Gas station. It’s got a house attached (for Lucille) and the gas pumps are under a balcony made by the second story. tres cool!
Stay on the road and you’ll get many miles of unaltered OK Route 66. Eventually you will come to the Canadian River and the 38 count em 38! span truss bridge.
Just past the bridge turn right onto old 66 for a mile or so until it tees at OK 281. Take 281 south by be prepared to turn left onto old 66 right before the Old Cherokee trading post, Take 66 all the way into El Reno.
Follow the route through El Reno and keep going into Yukon. There are lots of photo opportunities through here. The route is labeled well, unless someone has stolen the signs.
Just past Yukon is Lake Overholser. Just past crossing the turnpike, watch for the old 66 bridge on the south. You can exit and drive across. It’s a cool bridge.
Now comes decision time. Do you want to follow 66 through OK city? I never do. Cities advance and change, and everything is a new modern city. There are of course sights to see, but whether it is worth driving city streets to get the complete 66 feel is up to you. If you do, the route is labeled.
Either way, take streets or I35 north and get off on 66 going east to Arcadia. Acadia to Mkansa will be my next post. (Or not if I’m giving too many details )
Thanks for the comments and links. I may have to break it up over time and just do some segments.
This is awesome. I kinda missed out a lot this summer because of my work but I’m planning to do some road trip and fishing as well. I just have to improve my Tacoma for the long travel. I have a set of fuel wheels that I could use but I need an all-weather tire to go along with it.