There are few touring options as iconic as Route 66. While the great highway itself might have fallen from grace with the advent of the interstate system, it still makes an amazing way to see some of the forgotten parts of the country. What should you know about Route 66 and the things to see and do along its length? We’ll delve into what you should know below.
Where Does It Run From?
Historic Route 66 runs from the Midwest all the way to the West Coast. Along the way, it passes through much of the nation’s heartland, as well as some of the more scenic areas of the Southwest. The road starts in Chicago, Illinois, and terminates in Santa Monica, California.
When Is the Best Time to Drive It?
Nostalgia would dictate that you recreate the travels of old – hitting Route 66 during the summer with the entire family in tow. That’s still an option, but maybe not the best one. Understand that while Route 66 is no longer what it once was, it is still heavily traveled, particularly during the summertime by people just like you.
So, if you want to avoid some of the crowds and heavier traffic, it might be best to consider taking this route during the “shoulder” seasons. That is, you might want to go in April or May, or after summer’s over, in September or October. You’ll have cooler temps, fewer crowds, and less chance of being stuck in traffic.
It can be tempting to wing it, but you need a modern navigational aid or two. Yes, Route 66 seems like a straight shot, but understand that over the decades, this road has not only been repaved and repaired, but rerouted in many instances. You’ll need a GPS device to help ensure that you’re able to stick to the right path. Of course, it’s also worth carrying an actual map with you in case your device loses power or malfunctions.
Know Where You’ll Stop
Route 66 takes you past some of the nation’s most iconic destinations, but it also carries you through some of the more forgotten areas, which can be amazing options for exploration. Make sure that you plan your trip effectively. Where do you want to stop? Cadillac Ranch? The Trail of Tears Memorial? VW Slug Bug Ranch? The original McDonald’s? Henry’s Rabbit Ranch? These are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Fuel Up Often
Route 66 doesn’t have the plethora of truck stops and fueling stations that you’ll find on the interstate, and the Southwest is particularly desolate. Make sure that you fuel up often. The most common advice is to always keep at least a half-tank of fuel. Anything less is courting disaster. Being stranded without fuel is not where you want to end up.
Taking Route 66 might be a circuitous way of seeing the country, but it definitely beats following the interstate. It’s also a great way to get to know some of the areas of the country that are often overlooked.