Today’s Google “doodle” features a animated tribute “Celebrating Route 66”. So I’m inspired to start this thread.
Do you have any good (or bad) stories or memories of taking the California trip?
I’ve driven the route in total once and driven sections many times. My favorite stretch is Kingman to Seligman–a nice relaxing alternate to I-40 with a couple of interesting stops including one of my favorites, Delgadillo’s Snow Cap, where I always stop for at least a chocolate malt. On my current road trip on the Oklahoma segment I discovered the “Paul McCartney stopped here” sign, where he asked a rancher for directions on his 2008 trip.
The saddest part is how much you miss. I saw things that were still standing in 1999 that were gone in 2001. People who drive it now are missing things that they won’t even know they are missing, and likewise I’m sure I missed things that were gone before 1999.
There was a nice bridge in Missouri that finally go so decayed they closed it. Whether it will be restored or trashed in unclear.
On the other hand, the Chain of Rocks bridge (featured in Escape From New York) was a mess of overgrowth in 1999 and now it’s a park.
I love looking at ll the old gas stations and seeing how they have been repurposed. Bakery, flower shop, tax prep office, barber…if it has some life left, it gets used.
The bad: there’s a lot of trump support in OK, (and probably Texas, but there’s nothing in the panhandle anyway ) a lot of stupid signs. I tend to ignore the Route 66 “personalities” or even try to avoid talking to anyone and just look at the scenery.
Funny story. I stopped in Amarillo at the Big Texan, and planned on getting gas as I left town. I forgot. Somewhere about here I noticed my gas gauge was below E. “I didn’t know it could go that low!” I made it to San Jon NM on fumes or good karma, because I don’t think there was any gas in the tank!
We have a 2nd home just off of Rt 66 in Williams, AZ. We also have land just off of AZ 666, in St. Johns. Or, rather - it used to be 666, but that was simply too much for some people and they forced a change to 191, which is not nearly as cool.
We did the entire trip back in 1998. Took two weeks. Was part of our 50 by 50 goal (Fifty states by fifty years old) that we completed in 2008.
Bad memory: we were in some prairie in the Texas Panhandle taking a picture of an abandoned train. Somehow fire ants got inside my enclosed shoe and bit me. Hurt like a mofo. Later that night I discovered my big toe had turned black. Scared the hell out of me. We stopped at a clinic and got it looked at.
I’d have to go through some pictures to spark any other significant memories.
We took 66 when I was about five from California with our eventual destination in Ohio. I remember a really weird bug in Albuquerque. How St. Louis seemed to be made entirely of red brick. How flat and boring Kansas was (and that was the shortest stretch of 66 in one state!).
One the way back my dad wanted to take a more northerly route, and it was even more boring. We got bumped off the major highway due to a detour, and everything in Iowa looked the same. It was a bit scary.
DesertWife was raided in Iowa and shortly after we were married I suggested a camping trip. I was flabbergasted to learn she’d never been on one. “You drive 200 miles in Iowa you’re just camping in somebody else’s cornfield,” she said.
We went on a weekend starter trip to see if she liked it.
I traveled on Route 66 for a while when exploring the U.S. Southwest. Just off Route 66 in Holbrook, AZ, I had a 2-night reservation in the Wigwam Motel. The owner was an amateur taxidermist who bore a creepy resemblance to Norman Bates. The teepee I stayed in was novel, but no great shakes. I stayed only one night.
A few years ago we stayed at the railroad hotel there, took the train into Grand Canyon and back. Hotel wasn’t much, train ride was really beautiful, and I didn’t even realize that we were just off Rt 66, until we drove into town.
So we didn’t really see much of Route 66, and not sure it’s still worth a dedicated trip. I think we took a few picture of the route signs.
Hitch hiked the full length once and drove it numerous times.
At the time it wasn’t so romantic. 66 was a two lane road without fencing. There was a lot of road kill and an enormous amount of litter thrown from passing windows. Crossing the desert was a challenge for older cars. There was always a line of cars pulled over with steaming radiators at Newberry Pass.
The good part was, it was not as heavily travelled as today and it was not limited access. you had immediate access to all kinds of roads for rock hounding or exploring.
Military personnel could get drive away cars to transport from Chicago to the west coast. With military ID you could walk in off of the street and drive out with a car in less than n hour. Sometimes they even paid for gas. I had this one in 1955:
I grew up in Springfield, IL (Rt. 66 goes/went right through town) and even ate several times at a Rt. 66 landmark. Spoiler Alert: Cozy Dog is not worth the hype. I also lived for a few years in Joplin, MO, another city the road goes/went right through. Now I live a stone’s throw from Cuba, MO, another Rt. 66 landmark town (because murals).
I suspect that most of the “hype” is due to the Bob Waldmire connection (see @K364’s link upthread). The Waldmire family founded and still operates the Cozy Dog. The food isn’t worth going out of your way for, but the decor might be if you’re a Route 66 afficionado.
Thing is, I was wearing tight, completely enclosed shoes. My son was wearing sneakers with all the laces undone, and my wife was wearing open toe sandals. Neither of them got bit and they were standing right next to me!
I’ve tried several times to get a room there without success. I have stayed at the Wigwam in San Bernadino though. As you say the rooms themselves aren’t anything to write home about, but when I stayed there the facility was very nicely maintained and the pool was in perfect condition.
I’ve stayed at the Grand Canyon Caverns motel (with it’s collection of “vintage” cars and dino statues scattered about) a couple of times–overnighting before hiking down to Havasu Canyon. It’s as funky a place as you can imagine but somehow perfect at the same time in it’s rustic shabbiness.