The most notable highway in the USA is Route 66. But why is Route 66 famous? All other great highways have no soul as Route 66. The dream is to go from Chicago to Sand Diego by taking Route 66. Cyrus Avery from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and John Woodruff from Springfield, Missouri, had the idea of creating a road 2, 448 miles long that would connect Chicago with the west coast. The idea was not only connecting two big cities, but the idea was also connecting small towns with metropolitan capitals.
On November 11, 1926, Route 66 was born. Although the idea of The Main Street of America was born in Missouri, Oklahoma stayed the most famous stop from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Before Route 66, there was The Golden Rush in 1849 and thousands of people were seeking a route that would take them to California. By the end of the 19th century, the country began to grow westward. In the 1920s and 1930s, a car became accessible to a common man, but only 2% of roads were paved. Route 66 symbolized the “road to opportunity” and only in the time of the Dust Bowl, in the 1930’s more than 200 000 people migrated from the Midwest to California.
Route 66 is connecting nine states from Illinois to Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and the final stop is in California. Unfortunately, today Route 66 is highly influenced by the modern Interstate Highway System and appears only on a few maps. If you ever decide to hit the road and feel the spirit of Route 66, these are some stops that will explain why Route 66 is famous.
Lou Mitchell’s Restaurant, Chicago, Illinois
You need to prepare yourself for a long drive and you can start in Lou Mitchell’s Restaurant, the official final starting point of Route 66. Family dinner founded in 1923 will prepare you for a long ride ahead and it will give you strength and inspiration for the Routh 66.
Chain of Rocks Bridge, St. Louis, Missouri
A beautiful bridge over the Mississippi River was a part of Route 66. The bridge is today closed for vehicles, but you can stretch your legs and take a nice walk. The old China of Rocks Bridge is most notable for its 22-degree bend in the middle of the bridge. You will need a long walk for the long trip ahead of you.
Meramec Caverns, Stanton, Missouri
Meramec Caverns is a massive America’s show cave and it’s a must-see location on your Route 66 trip. Unfortunately, the tiny cabin in the cave was never Jesse James’ hideout as famously believed, but still, it’s worth seeing the beauty of the underground world of this enormous cave.
The Blue Whale, Catoosa, Oklahoma
Hugh Davis created the Blue Whale as the anniversary present for his wife Zelta. Blue Whale is now the favorite swimming location for locals and Route 66 travelers. So, join the party and make sure you see this amazing waterfront structure in Oklahoma. It’s probably one of the most famous locations on Route 66 and another must-see location.
Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, Clinton, Oklahoma
If you want to know more about the history of Route 66, this is the best place to go. Here you can find everything you need about Route 66 from myths, photos, signs, history to the music of this iconic road. Plus, there is a dinner replica that you can visit.
World’s Largest Totem Pole, Foyil, Oklahoma
A monument to Native American tribes was built by Ed Galloway, who was on his way to California from Missouri, but he fell in love with the landscape and stayed here for the rest of his life. This is the world’s largest totem pole, 90 feet tole and built in 1941
Blue Swallow Motel, Tucumcari, New Mexico
This is not just another ordinary motel, Blue Swallow Motel (built in 1939) is on the list of the National Register of Historic Places in New Mexico. You can book a room in this historic motel that’s been serving travelers since 1939.
Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California
Route 66 will take you on a beautiful trip through the USA showing you the beauty of the country, and this is your final stop. You made it! Celebrate your final day of this tour at Santa Monica Pier with the stunning view of the Pacific Ocean.
The soundtrack for Route 66 Trip
“If you ever plan to motor west
Travel my way, take the highway this’s the best.
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.
It winds from Chicago to LA,
More than two thousand miles, all the way.
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six…”
Song composed by Bobby Troup in 1946 “Get your kicks on Route 66” is always a great soundtrack for a road trip. “Route 66” was recorded in 1946 by Nat King Cole and covered by many other famous musicians such as The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Depeche Mode, Pappo’s Blues, John Mayer, and Glenn Frey. Every song has a different sound and every artist put something unique behind the lyrics, but it’s still one of the most legendary songs about beloved Route 66.
Christian rock band Daniel Amos recorded the album “Songs of the heart” in 1995. The whole album was devoted to Route 66, and it follows the journey of fictional couple Bud and Irma on the road.
Maybe Route 66 is not indicated on all maps anymore, but it is still the most celebrated road in the USA. So many songs and movies were written about Route 66 and there is no other highway that can beat that. So, get your kicks on Route 66.