Route 66 advice
Replies: 51 - Last Post: Mar 22, 2013 1:56 AM Last Post By: ianw6705
Jan 19, 2013 7:51 AM
Route 66 adviceHi There, Just booked my flights flying 9th may to chicago and flying back 28th may from vegas..
Just wanted some general advice around itinerary, car hire, must see things to etc.
There will be 2 of us, both 30/31 looking to have a bit of an adventure, see some real cool stuff with a bit of partying and sun where we can. Pretty well travelled have visited nearly 40 countries.
So the plan is...
- 2 nights chicago..
- 11th may set off on route 66
- aim to get to vegas on either thurs 24th may or fri 25th giving us 2 weeks for the 'drive'
Have done the highway 1 trip from San Fran to LA before so happy to leave LA out my trip this time...so what i need advice on..
1. Itinerary in between and must do's
2. advice on car hire - cheapest option? prefer to have a convertible or american car i.e mustang if possible but price will dictate this
3. can we just wing it in between without booking hostels etc?
4. best places to party? aside from vegas and chicago either side..
5. Grand Canyon - better to drive there on way or take a side trip from vegas to save time? i have trekked the golca canyon in peru before..
6. Estimated Budget needed?
7. any other advice
Thanks in advance guys!
Jan 19, 2013 8:06 AM
1Let me start by saying RT 66 from Chicago to Texas is hardly worth the drive, in fact, the entire premise of over cooked and offers little if any, except for a few small sections, worth anyones time, gas and trouble.
Renting a car oneway from Chicago to Vegas will be expensive. Try Carhire3000.com.
Hostels? There really are not any hostels in the USA outside major cities, and most of those will leave a lot to be desired. You should consider Couchsurfing if you are on a budget, if not, the hotels/motels on the cheap end will be fine, Like Motel 6, Super 8 etc, $30-$50.
Best places to party, are you kidding? You have a lot of cities and towns, which ones you going to?
Jan 19, 2013 9:21 AM
We haven't had a good firefight over the late lamented US-66 in over a year. Since the archives are not available, I'll start another one.
First, the Route-66 that you likely only know from TV, does not exist anymore. It was covered (literally in places) by the Interstate System 30 years ago. Even back then, it was a boring road until you reached western New Mexico. Sections of the old right-of-way still exist as state highways that are out of sight of the Interstate System in Arizona and California. Since you want to go to Sin City, the stretch in California is out of your way. To get to Sin City, you have to turn north, off "Route-66" (now called I-40) on to US-93 at Kingman, AZ.
Second, "Route 66" was famous because it bore the greatest mass migration of human beings in all of history. That was the flood of humanity that moved to southern California in the mid-20th century. The hoard took US-66 because it was relatively fast, easy, and short; not because it was "scenic" or "interesting."
You have two weeks. I've driven the Interstates on the old US-66 right-of-way between St. Louis and Kingman in less than 2 days. You have lots of time for sight seeing. What you need are two weeks worth of sights to see. Do some research. There are more interesting routes from Chicago to Las Vegas.
I presume that you are 25 years of age or over.
Price will dictate that you don't take a Mustang or a convertible (the most expensive options). Again, don't believe me, pull up some travel sites and see for yourself. There are only about a half-dozen rental companies that will rent any car one-way for the trip you contemplate so it will be an easy search.
As noted above, you don't have to worry about booking hostels. Stay in budget (cheap) motels along the interstate. Except around the Memorial Day weekend at the end of May, you should not have a problem with the availability of lodging.
You're going to have to describe "places to party" better. What is it that you want? You will be crossing a relatively conservative part of America. "Dry counties" still exists in some of the states you will cross. To outsiders like yourselves, you are going to be limited to some bars and strip joints if you intend to "just drop in." I avoid any place with a gravel parking lot and more than 5 HOGs or more pick-ups than cars in the parking lot "for reasons of health." Bullet holes in any of the parked vehicles are also a bad sign.
You will save time if you see Grand Canyon National Park on the way to Las Vegas.
You have 14 nights in "cheap" motels. Figure $50-$60 per night minimum. You have gas. That depends on the car. Who knows what the gas price will be in May? Right now, figure $40-$50 per every 300-400 miles if you rent the Mustang. Remember that all of the side trips you will have time to take add to the cost of gas too. You can easily double the miles you drive with two weeks worth of side trips. The cheapest food will be fast food. Figure $5-$8 per each meal. Fast food will get very old very fast. You could carry a cooler and a camp burner and prepare your own food. For me, that gets old faster than fast food does.
You should also be concerned with your Las Vegas budget if you plan to spend any time there. Las Vegas is not a place that is enjoyable "on the cheap."
Find a more interesting way between Chicago and Las Vegas. There are many.
Have a great time.
Jan 19, 2013 10:23 AM
Jan 19, 2013 11:37 AM
4As noted, Route 66 quite literally does not exist any more. It was decommissioned after it was completely replaced by interstates (i.e., motor routes or auto routes--you know, 4-lane, limited-access freeways). The route now is following Interstates 55, 44, 40, 15, and 10.
You can in many places find sections of the old road, more or less as they existed during the route's heyday. These old sections, loaded as they are with chintzy Americana, are mostly found in the western parts of the route--Arizona and New Mexico. In Illinois, Missouri, and Oklahoma, you're better off just driving the Interstates and not worrying about trying to recreate the "old 66" feeling. Or better yet, taking a more northerly and more interesting route.
Two nights in Chicago might not be enough. Go for three.
St. Louis is interesting.
You might try a detour to Branson, Missouri (it's not for everyone--look it up and see if it's for you. In a nutshell, it's what you'd get if you took Las Vegas and made it wholesome (and stuck it in the Ozarks).
If you don't do that, I'd just as soon pound across Kansas and Colorado on I-70, spending a night or so in Denver, seeing the beautiful Rocky Mountains, and then cutting across southern Utah (Arches, Bryce, Zion). Then see the Grand Canyon. Get your Route 66 fix in Arizona. Then hit Vegas.
Jan 19, 2013 4:27 PM
5The US is not a hostel rich location... Most people stay in Motels off the Interstate... Motel 6 is the cheapest in theory...but sleeping on the road in America is a bit expensive... Lucky you're splitting the cost...
Your trip on the old Route 66 will take you through a very boring part of America... The plains states...Kansas, Missouri etc... These states are totally flat farm land...and the small towns have little of interest... Parts of the old Route 66 have been taken over by the Interstate...and some of these old surface roads have been ignored and are often not taken care of ...and the towns on them are mostly in sad shape...
Most Americans use the Interstate Highway system exclusively...there are motels and fast food all along the Interstate... Yes...it is a dull trip... But since its new to you...it may have some interest... This trip will show you the "Real America"...often called by the bi-coastal elites..."fly over country"...
If I were doing your trip...I'd go either far north or far south... Drop down into the deep south from Chicago...and cut across Lousiana and Texas into New Mexico and Arizona...and the Grand Canyon... that would be my absolute first choice... Much more interesting than Kansas...
An alternative route would be to go north into Montana and to the Pacific northwest... But North Dakota is a bore... Montana...Big Sky Country...is dull...but the sky really is "big" for some reason...
Rent your car with unlimited miles... Can you handle a sub-compact...? Its cheaper and gas and distances are a factor in the US... But with a bigger car you might be able to sleep in it at rest areas along the way...on the Interstates...to save money....
Also leaving the car away from the original rental location could be a lot more expensive... Best to get this issue cleared up now...
There are some decent Amtrak trains that go cross country from Chicago...if the car is too expensive...
Or you might combine the train and a car rental... Eg..take the train from Chicago to New Orleans...then rent a car in N.O. and return it to New Orleans in a week... Then, take the Train from N.O....to...? Texas, New Mexico etc and repeat the car rental there...
Jan 19, 2013 8:29 PM
Jan 19, 2013 8:53 PM
Jan 19, 2013 10:20 PM
8Must agree 100% with #5, the 'Big Sky' country in Montana is a really boring drive, pretty country to start with, that soon turns into a flat featureless plain that does it go on and on and on...........................
Jan 20, 2013 12:05 AM
9Just wanted some general advice around itinerary, car hire, must see things to etc.
Here is my considered advice:
● Spend three nights in Chicago (or four if you're really into cities)
● Fly to Las Vegas
● Rent a small car (all you need) for two weeks
● Construct a stunningly excellent tour that will take in some of southern Utah, western Colorado, northern Arizona, Nevada, and perhaps some parts of California if time allows
● Forget the entire "Route 66" motif - it is not worth it (except for bits near Williams, AZ)
● Even famous comedian Billy Connolly couldn't make an interesting series about it
● Drop the car in Las Vegas and have two nights there prior to your outward flight
And of course have fun.
Jan 20, 2013 12:06 AM
Jan 20, 2013 4:51 AM
11Hi, Thanks for all your responses...
Just to clarify, i fly into Chicago midday on the 9th and will probably set off on my drive on the 11th. I need to be in vegas on the 24th to meet friends for memorial weekend and will stay there 4 days, flying back home on the 28th.
This gives me 13 days in between. From reading your posts it seems most parts of the 'route 66' drive are quite boring so im willing to deviate on the trip as long as i still get to drive some bits of it taking in some key landmarks/attractions. The places on the 'route' that interest me are St Louis and Amarillo TX and obvs will want to do the Grand Canyon.
With this in mind, can anyone suggest a good customized route for me which logistically works well within my time frames? possibly even colarado or more of texas or even parts of california (i.e. san diego) if you think it can work without me spending days going back on myself etc
what im after is an experience, some culture, some quirky american towns, picturesque moments but also we are 2 single 30yr old males so want some fun along the way and be able to party the odd night
your suggestions welcome
Jan 20, 2013 7:21 AM
12Follow this route on Google Maps: Chicago to St. Louis on Interstate-55; change to Interstate-44 through Springfield and Joplin, Missouri. Branson, Missouri, large music venue in the Ozark Mountains, is just south of Springfield, for a side-trip. Interstate-44 takes you through Tulsa and Oklahoma City, where it intersects with Interstate-40. Take Interstate-40 west to Amarillo, which is just a few miles east of Mid-Point Cafe on a remnant of the old Route #66. I saw 3,000 sandhill cranes roosting in a field across the street from the Cafe in October 2009, and they were just slowly ascending into the air to fly further south on their migration route.
Continue driving west to Albuquerque on Interstate-40, alongside remnants of the old Route #66, and there are signs and a museum. At the intersection of Interstate-25, turn north for 60 miles (less than one hour's drive) to Santa Fe. There are many bars downtown plus a music venue and other forms of entertainment. Be sure to take a taxi home if you have been drinking -- there have been many drunk driving fatalities and the police are now much stricter.
Santa Fe is worth a few days' stopover before returning to Albuquerque and again turning west on Interstate-40 to Arizona and Nevada. Albuquerque has a rough bar scene, which I recommend that you avoid.
Jan 20, 2013 8:51 AM
Jan 20, 2013 9:14 AM
Chicago River Crusie (Wendalla Tours)
Museum Campus- The Shedd Aquarium, Natural History and the Adler Planetarium.
Wrigley Field- Chicago Cubs- lots of bars and good time
Nightlife is gigantic. http://timeoutchicago.com/
Check Groupon for cruise specials, Segway Tours, Museum Passes etc (or LivingSocial)
The St Louis Zoo
The Art Museum
The Botanical Gardens
Anhueser Busch Brewery Tour
Central West End cafes/nightlife
The Arch-Museum of Westward Expansion
Sculpture Garden downtown
St Louis Cardinals Baseball Game
Driving south from there, first go Via 64 west to 94 south to Herman Missouri and wine country, cut over to Cuba to I-44 then south from there.
I live in downtown Chicago and grew up in St Louis, so anything you need, let me know. Be happy to meet up as well if I am here and show you around.
Street Parties/Festivals down start until end May, but some things may still be cooking for a fun Chicago time.
I would drive from St Louis to Kansas City and then Denver Personally, hit Boulder Colo, then thru rockies, down to Moab to GC and Vegas, or from Chicago to Montana on I-90 to Yellowstone, then down to Moab, then to GC. The drive from Chicago/St Louis to Texas is long and boring.
If you want to enjoy the National and State Parks, consider camping your way to Vegas in car, buy cheap tent/stuff at Walmart...if going southern route, as mountain/desert areas will require more technical warm gear in May/June.
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