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Route 66. Help!!!

Birmingham, United...
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Route 66. Help!!!

Hey guys,

Me and a friend are planning to drive route 66 in October next year. So far we have only booked the flights landing in Chicago 30th Sept and flying out from Los Angeles 18th Oct. We have also arranged our car hire. We are planning on going through Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California. We are two girls from the UK in our early 20's. As much as we want to experience the historic side we also want to enjoy good night life etc. We are planning to include the canyon and vegas. Any advice at all would be gratefully received. ie cheap accommodation, good night-life, must see's etc.

Thankyou xxx

Illinois
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1. Re: Route 66. Help!!!

Some sites to research:

http://wikitravel.org/en/Route_66

http://aeve.com/route-66/

Illinois
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2. Re: Route 66. Help!!!

If you find yourself in the Phoenix area, the Westgate open air mall by the new stadium in Glendale, AZ has some decent nightlife, and shopping.

I couldn't say if a 20 something would appreciate Sedona, AZ, but it is a very nice town with beautiful scenery. It would be a shame to pass it by. You probably would enjoy the pink jeep tour.

You can probably find some good night life in St. Louis. Taking the ride up to the top of the arch is a hoot.

Rensselaer, Indiana
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3. Re: Route 66. Help!!!

You probably already know that much of the historic Route #66 is no more. And some-to-much of the route itself is changed, such as at the CA end.

If you do a quick search, you'll find several websites dealing with Route #66 in each of the particular states, as well as articles of which areas are the most "historic" of these.

Are you staying as close to the original route as possible? Or are you looking for some side trips, within reasonable distance.

For example, when you are out in AZ, you'll go through Flagstaff on Route #66. It doesn't go through Sedona, AZ, although you are very close (a 15-20 minute ride away down - and I mean *down* - the very scenic Hwy. 89A via steep switchbacks).

IMHO, this would be a great sidetrip for you two, if you are interested, budget and time allows. Sedona is a beautiful destination, very different than the Grand Canyon. If you go, try to stay a day to go on some hikes, maybe a Pink Jeep tour, and take a very short drive to the south of Sedona to see Montezuma's Castle as well.

And another example would be that Route #66 goes through Albuquerque, NM. Santa Fe, a wonderful destination for a day trip, is to the north. If you are staying in Albuquerque, you might look into visiting an Indian pueblo or reservation.

Birmingham, United...
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4. Re: Route 66. Help!!!

thankyou xx

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: Route 66. Help!!!

You might want to post this query on the "road trip" forum.

Delavan, Illinois
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6. Re: Route 66. Help!!!

Other than adding ditto on including Sedona as a worthy side trip, let me focus on the Illinois section of your trip.

Today the old US 66 is basically replaced by interstate I-55 running from Chicago to St. Louis. Given when you will traveling, it will be prime leaf viewing season. Since you are starting in Chicago, I encourage you to make the Morton Arboretum in Lisle (Chicago suburb) one of your must visits -- http://www.mortonarb.org/.

For a view of what life was once like along the original 66 get off of I-55 in Pontiac, about an hour south of Chicago, if only for a cruise around the square. Before you travel, be sure to check out "Grandview, USA" (www.imdb.com/title/tt0087359/usercomments), this old 1984 movie starring Jamie Lee Curtis was filmed in Pontiac. Btw, the backupdancers are all locals. Or to really get the feel of what it was once like to travel this historic road get off the interstate at Dwight and drive Old-Il 66, as it is known, all the way to Bloomington. You'll be taken through and around hamlets and small towns and see evidence of what happened as the highway was moved multiple times bringing first life and then death to these towns as it either brought in or diverted traffic. At Bloomington/Normal you can either take I-55 Business (aka Veteras Parkway) through the east side of these twin cities and imagine that this congested throughfare was originally designed to be a 100-mph (160 kph) bypass of the city, or just hop on the interstate and take the real bypass around town continuing to Springfield.

Springfield is definitely worthy of a stop. Here allow yourself a day to explore all of the Lincoln sites -- his home, the presidential museum and library, the old capital building, and the Lincoln tomb. If you have time, I also recommend the trip out to New Salem State Park in nearby Petersburg to experience the recreation of that town set in the time when Lincolm would have lived there. Learn more about Lincoln sites from the Lincoln Hertiage Trail website www.alincolnlearning.us/travelthetrail.html

Though there are a number of other notable things to do before you leave the state of Illinois, for this sort of trip most people will probably simply be happy to get on to St. Louis and the options that will fill probably a couple of your days there. Cahokia Mounds http://cahokiamounds.org/ (still on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River) is one of those things. This is one of the best archeaological sites in the entire new world for learning about the pre-historic civilizations that originailly populated the continent.

Though a 3-hour detour from your Route 66 path, you might also enjoy Nauvoo, IL and Hannibal, MO. Nauvoo was once the largest city in Illinois, and then suddenly abandoned. The story behind that is linked to the Mormon Church, so I'll let them tell that to you should you choose to visit. But even if you aren't interested in their religious story, the site is itself very interesting, like New Salem a re-creation of life in Illinois in the 1830s and affords what I think as one of the most beautiful drives in the entire country (IMO, even though I know others won't agree, on par with Sedona) for a 10-mile stretch along the Mississippi. Hannibal's most famous resident was author Mark Twain, and many of the stories of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn can still be lived out by tourists who visit this otherwise sleepy small river town.

Major attactions in St. Louis include the Gateway Arch, the zoo, Discovery Center, McLede's Landing, Busch Gardens, and Grants Farm. If you like caves, some of your best options will be right after St. Louis: Meramec Cavers is a first-rate commercial cave; a better natural cave is Fishers cave in Meramec State Park. There are others, but I've already got you a couple of hours into Missouri. So, I'll leave you here.

http://www.historic66.com/ bills itself as the prime place for information about Route 66 on the internet, and a forum where you can ask questions exclusive to Route 66. There are also numerous books dedicated to the old road available in every bookstore. I recommend stopping at them occassionally not for the generic book on the highway, but for the local color books by local authors that you won't learn about anywhere else.

Birmingham, United...
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7. Re: Route 66. Help!!!

Thankyou for all your advice and suggestions.

Delavan, Illinois
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8. Re: Route 66. Help!!!

You're welcome, but realize we're expecting a full travelouge report.

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9. Re: Route 66. Help!!!

I haven't paid much attention to Route 66 since I saw them filming the TV show during what may have been my first visit to Chicago. Shea's gas station in Springfield, IL attracts lots of visitors. A tour bus full of Germans was leaving when we pulled in. http://www.illinoisroute66.org/

Edwardsville...
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10. Re: Route 66. Help!!!

There are some incredible restaurants in Edwardsville, IL - about 4 1/2 hours from Chicago - and it's a nice little city (i moved here 3 years ago). Nightlife depends on the night... And as far as i know, there are no actual road signs around here for Rt 66, just occasional historical markers. Get yourself a really detailed map and mark it out before you start.