Ah, Route 66! The “Mother road”. That quintessential strip of Americana that stretches from Chicago to California. Blaring music from Nat King Cole and Roger Miller I was lucky enough to transverse it from St. Louis to Chicago. I enjoyed the drive so much I’m determined to go back one day and travel its entire length.
Rt. 66 is a very American experience. From campy roadside attractions to the beauty of the American countryside, it really gives your a feel for what must have inspired Kerouac and countless other authors to wax poetic about driving across the country. The drive is nothing like the droning boredom of modern highways. 66 winds and twists. It speeds up and slows down and is punctuated with plenty to see. 66 is a destination in and of itself.
Route 66 Traveling Tips
There are two important thing you need to understand about traveling Rt. 66:
- It doesn’t exist anymore.
- When it did exist, it existed on multiple paths.
It Doesn’t Exist: Route 66 was decommissioned years ago and now exists as many other roads. Search for it on Google Maps or your GPS and it won’t show up. However, the original path(s) of 66 is preserved as a series of historic makers on these new roads. So what you need to do is find a Rt. 66 starting point and then follow the brown historic markers. It’s pretty easy but if you get off 66 it can be hard to find your way back as Google or GPS units only know the roads by their modern designations.
Multiple Paths: Also, Rt. 66 existed in many forms before it was decommissioned. Many of the older paths have been preserved and are now available as short detours around the “main” 66. They’re well marked with the brown historical signs and I recommend you try them when you can. A lot are filled with fun little stops.