Replies: 83 - Last Post: May 15, 2012 5:29 AM Last Post By: claytonmeister
May 30, 2008 8:22 AM
I was after some advice from anyone who has driven route 66. Myself and my boyfriend are looking at driving it next year and just wanted some tips!! Alot of different companies sell the trips from 13 up to 21 days. How many days do you recommend we should allow to do it in? Also at the end we were looking at staying in LA for a few days then getting an internal flight to Miami where we will finish our trip and fly home from Orlando.
I was looking for advice on how long we should spend doing route 66? the best time of year to do it? and whether its possible to book hotels along the route?
Any advice would be grately appreciated.
May 30, 2008 8:51 AM
1Are you looking at driving the whole way from Chicago to LA? Or justparts of it? You are aware, aren't you, that the road not longer exists as a single highway? You can drive on parts of the old road, but in many cases, you'd be driving the freeways that replaced it.You can find a turn-by-turn description of hte route on this wb site.
Of course you can book hotels on the route,just as you can book hotels anywhere else in the US. Are you looking for some booking service that specializes in this route?
May 30, 2008 8:55 AM
2My short advice is "DON'T."
Please do a search on this site for threads on Route 66. They appear frequently. The first problem I have with your plan is that "Route 66" no longer exists as a federal highway. It has been replaced by the interstate highway system. The second problem is that the only significant section of the old US-66 right-of-way that is still reminiscent of the original "mother road" and does not parallel an interstate highway is the stretch of AZ-66 west of Flagstaff, AZ. You can travel that in an afternoon as part of a visit to the Grand Canyon or any of the many other parks in the general area. I am speaking from experience. I traveled the length of the real Route 66 during its heyday in the fifties. It ain't what it used to be. As a matter of fact, it never was "what it used to be." Nostalgia does that to ambivalent old memories.
Others are sure to disagree with me.
May 30, 2008 9:38 AM
3even if it still would exist , there are way more scenic routes in the US - Highway 12 in Utah for instance
Road 66 is only a great marketing gig...
May 30, 2008 9:48 AM
4This must be the worst forum on the internet for advice about 66. You're much better off looking at websites specific to the road, such as the link in #1 above, and making your own decision.
Driving down what's left of 66 is a bit like visiting Roman ruins. You don't do it for the views (which are often lacking), aesthetics (mixed bag) or for their contemporary relevance (obviously now obselete), but for their historic value.
This sort of road gives you a sense of what the country used to be like during the great Depression-era western migration before the interstate system. Imagine driving it in an old car with crap brakes and no air conditioning, and you might get a sense of the early 20th century American experience, which obviously wasn't great for everyone.
If you want pretty views, then it's the wrong road. If you want a cool piece of tarmac, you can do better. If you want to learn a bit about the America of yesteryear, then I'd recommend it. But I'd suggest that you have more than a passing interest in history if you're going to go to the trouble.
May 30, 2008 9:55 AM
5The other major section of original highway starts on I-40 west of Kingman and goes through Oatman to the Colorado River. This is a great drive, very scenic.
There are other scattered remnants in Arizona and California.
In general you'll get more nay-saying about RT. 66 here on TT than other travel forums, some would say for good reason. On one hand, who cares if its still "federally designated"? If its of interest to you, for whatever reason, then thats all that matters. On the other hand, following the path of old Rt. 66 is surely not the most scenic or interesting drive across the country.
Deserving or not, it has a place in the American mythos and is a bit interesting in that regard. Some of the tacky tourist stuff along the way is legitimately fun, if thats your cup of tea. Several good natural attractions are short detours from the main road. In general, I think its a more interesting route than some here on TT will give it credit for, especially if you stop in the small towns along the way and have a keen eye for kitchy Americana. However, I do think its also a great deal less interesting than many foreigners are expecting, being mostly interstate highways and kinda sad little towns - and certainly not the most recommeded route for your first drive across the American west..
May 30, 2008 11:32 AM
6I think the main question here based on the responses you got above is what is the goal of this trip? Is it just saying that you have experienced driving this route? Is it seeing cities and places along the way - and if so which ones? How long it takes and whether it's even worth it to try to do it the whole way depends on what you're trying to get out of this trip and where and for how long you're planning to stop.
May 30, 2008 11:47 AM
7Maybe this would be of interest to the OP
Route 66 Dining & Lodging Guide by National Historic Route 66 Federation
May 30, 2008 12:59 PM
8From a colleagues previous experience you'd need a 4x4 to drive the stretches of road that actually do remain.
You can still drive it but the road has been replaced by newer highways in many place now and the old portions of the road that are drivable are rather remote and in very bad condition.
The only time I have been to the states the roads seemed pretty good, but from photos I've seen of some parts of route66 it's nearly undrivable.
Whatever you decide enjoy your trip!
May 30, 2008 1:33 PM
9the old portions of the road that are drivable are rather remote and in very bad condition.
That is absolutely false. The replacement highway is generally located near, if not adjacent to, the old 66, and much of the road is quite suitable to driving in a rental car.
(See, I told you that this must be the worst forum on the internet to learn about this subject.)
May 30, 2008 1:41 PM
10I think you guys are a little confused as to what each other means. The sections of old Rt. 66 that are still in use and have not been replaced by an adjacent newer freeway are in quite good condition. This applies to the section through Peach Springs AZ, and the section west of Kingman.
In most places, a newer freeway either parallels the old roadway, or was built right on top of it. The remaining sections of roadway in these areas are often not maintained and may be in poor condition. Such a section can be found near Petrified Forest NP, its just a lonely stretch of crumbling, cracked asphalt parallel to the freeway. There's other such sections near Ash Fork, Williams and Seligman AZ.
May 30, 2008 2:56 PM
11I think #4's last paragraph sums it up pretty well and should be the official response to this over-asked, under-researched question.
I have driven on sections parallel, on, and near this Route in about every state it runs (I can't speak for Texas). With few exceptions, I have scratched my head at almost every mile as to why someone would want to devote a trip to this Route. Most of the "kitschy" stuff was not original to the Route and was built about as authentically as the Rain Forest Cafe is to the Amazon. It's surprising to me that more people don't return back from their trip and spread the word about what a let down this was.
A driving trip, in my opinion, would be so much better spent in numerous other places, or to just incorporate a very small section of Route 66 and then you can say you did it.
-You could include a small piece of it and then go to the National Parks in that area like the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Zion, Mojave, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and several others.
-Anything along the west coast that would include Pacific Coast Highway and the coast going all the way up to Seattle.
-Tennessee, North Carolina, or West Virgina. Just drive anywhere on main or back roads in this area.
It's not to rip Route 66, but if you want to drive the US I think most of us would suggest this is not at all the best, or even that good of a way to do it unless your interests are so specific to this "nostalgic" experience. I think #2 describes it well. As a matter of fact, it never was "what it used to be." Nostalgia does that to ambivalent old memories.
May 30, 2008 4:18 PM
12I spent a fair bit of time with European exchange students while going to school in Flagstaff, and a good number had a fascination with Rt. 66. I had never paid much attention to the whole "Rt. 66 thing" until hanging out with these people. I think many were genuinely amused by the kitchy stuff ("real" or not), were genuinely interested in the history, and viewed Rt.66 as something akin to an "origin story" for the American love affair with driving and road trips - something they were fascinated by. You can debate endlessly how much reality this is grounded in, but the perception is certainly out there and many people got a lot out of exploring this, and often aren't totally disappointed by the experience. It was, and is, a challenging perspective for me to completely get my brain around, but I have somewhat more sympathy for that point of view now, even if I don't really share it.
But I still don't think its the best use of a road trip to simply follow old 66. Like #11 suggests, if you're really interested I'd plan a more interesting trip through AZ, CA and UT, and be sure to incorporate some parts of old 66 along the way.
May 30, 2008 4:26 PM
13many people at home are fascinated by the idea of taking a long raod trip as we do not have this wide open spaces like in the US - but I often get the impression that people think the Route 66 offers not only wide open spaces ( what it does) but also outstanding scenery ( what is not so much the case - that 's why I wrote other routes offer better scenery - I guess most Germans would get pretty quickly bored driving thru Kansas or Missouri )
May 31, 2008 1:11 AM
14Yes, #4 should go in any FAQ about Route 66 (perhaps #12, also). I grew up along 66 in Missouri and have traveled about 80-85 percent of it. It's something primal for me, but even I wouldn't recommend the whole thing to most people. Unless the OP replies with what they want to get from such a trip, I'll go along with the folks who say taste it, but don't devour the whole thing.
Other good 66 sites:
Each state has its own Route 66 association. A Google search will turn up those.
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