If you enjoy driving and seeing some excellent historical sites then Route 66 is the perfect adventure. The straight driving time is over 30 hours so if you plan to drive it from start to finish and see some sights it is best to allow yourself at least one month to make the most of this Chicago to Las Angeles escapade. The following will show you some interesting highlights, must see places and activities for you to attend along the way.
Where the Journey Begins
The “Mother Road” as Historic Route 66 has been referred to starts in downtown Chicago, Illinois. While there it will be good to enjoy some hand tossed pizza before going on your way. You will find that there are some historically abandoned pavement areas of Route 66 you can explore along the way. In Joliet, Illinois you can enjoy some hands on experiences at Joliet Area Historical Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center. Take pictures with the Blues Brothers, have a drive-in-dinner and enjoy a movie at Route 66 Drive-in Theater.
The Show Me State
You will find that your drive from Chicago to St. Louis, Missouri is predominately filled with corn fields. You will find that much of Route 66 is now I-44 in Missouri. Go through bridges that cross the Mississippi River. Arrive in Cuba for a stay at the wagon wheel motel. Events in Missouri you will find, especially if you arrive at just the right time of the year and you can take part in Route 66 yard sales and flea markets. Participation is in Eureka to Rolla and also includes the small town of St. Clair making it an all fun time of shopping that usually occurs the first part of September. This also gives you an opportunity to meet local folks.
The Thirteen Mile Trek
Once you leave Joplin, Missouri you can venture approximately 13 miles of Historic Route 66. Although many of the buildings may be either closed or in need of restoration you will find that they are very well preserved. Your Kansas journey begins in Galena where you will see the closed down Eagle-Pitcher plant that served to process galena ore in this area for over 60 years. There are other living historical buildings that private individuals are looking at restoring for future use as a bed and breakfast as well as the Kan-O-Tex service station which is now in business thanks to dedicated people who desire to see Route 66 sites restored. You continue on to Riverton and Baxter Springs, Oklahoma where you can drive past the oldest power plant in the United States, Empire District Electric Company.
Jumping on I-44 again you will be taken to areas in Oklahoma. A nice stop will be the Coleman Theatre and Ballroom. Venture to the Dobson Museum at a look of some historical artifacts in the town of Miami. If you like motorcycles then you will love to visit the Vintage Iron Motorcycle Museum. Stop in for some for an all American meal at Waylan’s Ku-Ku Burger. Enjoy the Will Rogers Memorial Musuem and JM Davis Arms and Historical Museum that is privately owned for some over 40 thousand square feet of artifacts to include Native American.
Lone Star State
Head through the Texas Panhandle on this historic route in some of the flattest plains you will see in the United States. Route 66 in this area jumps on and off on I-40 taking your through Amarillo. Find yourself going through some local towns such as Shamrock, Groom and Woldorado. McLean, Texas has a history of being a booming town during the days Route 66 was extremely popular. Experience the old road from Conway to Amarillo experiencing the sights and sounds.
Starting in Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas and Texas you have only enjoyed a teaser of how incredibly rewarding this drive can be for an adventurer on Historic Route 66. You still have New Mexico, Arizona and California not to mention so many other details that just could not be included in this incredible driving adventure that you will have to experience for yourself.