Route 66 has become iconic with the days of old. Popular during the 1940s and 50s, it is fondly referred to as the Mother Road and was one of the first highways introduced with the US Highway System. It used to connect Chicago to Los Angeles and was approximately 2,500 miles long. Sadly, it is not possible to drive the original route in its entirety anymore. However, some states have taken steps to designate portions of the old route as historic state roads and there is much to see along the old route in places like Missouri, Arizona, and Texas. When planning your Route 66 road trip, here are some spots to keep in mind.
There are an abundance of food options along the Historic Route 66 route. Starting just out of Chicago, try your taste buds out at Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket, which is known for its yummy fried chicken as far back as 1946 when it first opened. Interested in a great steak dinner? Then look no further than The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas which is famous for its 72-ounce steak challenge. If steak does not fit your fancy and you are looking for that old time diner, soda fountain feel, then try the 66 Diner in Albuquerque or the Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain in Pasadena. Both historical spots have been around since the hey-days of Route 66, but not as restaurants. The Fair Oaks Pharmacy as you can guess was once a pharmacy while the 66 Diner used to be part of a mechanics service station. Along the way, do not forget to stop in to The Mid Point Diner in Adrian, Texas, which marks the halfway point of your journey on the Historic Route 66.
Museums and Unique Attractions
What Route 66 road trip would be complete without seeing all the unique attraction along the way? If you are interested in seeing a giant man holding a hot dog or a landlocked whale, then check out the Muffler Man located in Illinois and the Blue Whale of Catoosa in Oklahoma. Interestingly, the blue whale was built in the 70s by Hugh Davis as a gift to his wife who loved whales. A must stop location is definitely Gary’s Gay Parita, a 1930 gas station replica. Owner Gary Turner is a wealth of knowledge about Route 66 history so pull up a seat and grab yourself a cold soda. A few other unique places include POPS Soda Ranch, home of the largest collection of soda; Henry’s Rabbit Ranch, which has the cuddly versions and a unique monument made entirely of Volkswagen Rabbits; and lastly the Jesse James Museum, dedicated entirely to the memory of outlaw Jesse James.
There are many interesting and unique hotels along the route, but none more famous than the Blue Swallow Motel in New Mexico. This motel has been around since 1939 and has been serving Route 66 travellers for its entirety. Want something different than your typical room? Then try one of the wigwam hotels located at various points along the route. They boast a unique Native American flare and have become one of the iconic mainstays of the historic route.
Route 66 is full of unique and interesting history and these are just a few of the attractions that await road trippers on the historic drive. Brush off those old maps, plan your next trip, and go see what it has to offer.