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Route 66

The Mother Road

Route 66 is the ultimate all American road trip, crossing vast amounts of dessert, dotted with small towns full of history and character.

The road trip is not necessarily jam-packed with must-see sights each day. However, the drive itself is the experience. Some of the most iconic things to see along the route are the buildings and signage of the numerous roadside cafes, motels, gas stations, and tourist attractions.

Route 66 was the first transcontinental highway of its kind. The unique architecture of a road that ran diagonally across the country became the pulse of America.

Grab your camera and drive the iconic 'mother road' from Chicago through to Santa Monica.

Start: Chicago

Finish: Santa Monica

Duration: 3895km - 10 days

Day 1: Chicago, IL – Springfield, IL

Distance: 300km

Time: 3hrs 30minutes

After spending some time in the ‘Windy City’ of Chicago,start your trip heading south along the Pontiac Trail (the original name for this stretch of Route 66), passing through Joliet, Pontiac and Lincoln. Stop at the iconic Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac.

Illinois was the first of the eight states through which Route 66 passed to have its segment paved. Springfield was the hometown of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. Visit the Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Illinois State Capitol Building; the city offers multiple walking tours and historical sites.

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Campsites:

Chicago, Route 66

Day 2: Springfield, IL – St Louis, MO

Distance: 150km

Time: 1hr 30minutes

To continue on Route 66 from Springfield, take E Kearny Street heading east. This street continues on Route 66, which runs parallel to I-44. Stop at Henry's Rabbit Ranch, a kitsch historic stop with plenty of photo opportunities and adorable rabbits.

St Louis sits along the Mississippi River and has many historic sites and abundant nightlife. Visit the Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis Cathedral and the City Museum, an 'adult's playground' where you are encouraged to climb on the various exhibits, including old chimneys, salvaged bridges and many more delights.

See a play at The Fabulous Fox Theatre and catch a game at Busch Stadium for some of the city's best entertainment. Go to the Soulard district for traditional barbecue and ribs and clubs playing blues.

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Day 3: St Louis, MO – Joplin, MO

Distance: 460km

Time: 4hrs 30minutes

Wake up early and watch the sunrise over St. Louis Arch and the Mississippi River before hitting the road. Make a quick stop at Stop at Rolla for some rest and check the old signage and murals still around and a scale model of Stonehenge,

Wind your way along the twisting roads of Devil's Elbow. Be sure to drop by at Gary's Gay Parita – an old school Route 66 gas station, preserved in time from the iconic Route 66 days.

Joplin is the hub of southwest Missouri. Explore the Grand Falls and Cunningham Park, a memorial dedicated to the victims and volunteers of the Joplin tornado. Take a snap in front of the famous Route 66 Mural Park and Bonnie and Clyde's Garage.

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Day 4: Joplin, MO - Oklahoma City, OK

Distance: 350km

Time: 3hrs 30minutes

From Joplin, head west towards Oklahoma. Make a quick stop to see the famous Blue Whale of Catoosa. Have a picnic near the water and rest before getting back on the road.

On the way to Tulsa, there are lands of several Native American tribes. The Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, Creek and Cherokee are some of the tribes that make up the state's large Native American Indian population. Tulsa is known for its art deco architecture and exceptional dining options for every budget and cuisine.

Don't miss the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, and the Wheeler Ferris Wheel in Oklahoma City

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Campsites:

Joplin, Route 66

Day 5: Oklahoma City, OK – Amarillo, TX

Distance: 700km

Time: 6hrs 30minutes

Continue travelling along some of the oldest stretches of Oklahoma's Route 66. Make a stop at the Route 66 Museum in Clinton to look at the history, myths and iconic features of the all-American road.

In Hydro, check out the Lucille's Service Station and Roadhouse, a classic gas station built in 1929 along Route 66. Nearby in El Reno, make a quick stop to take a photo of a Route 66 painting.

Amarillo is a popular stop along Route 66 in Texas, famous for its delicious steak challenge at The Big Texan Steak Ranch. Make a stop at Cadillac Ranch and Jack Sisemore RV Museum to check the vintage vehicle models.

The I am Rt 66 Visitor Center hasfor Beautiful artwork, maps and guides and high-end souvenirs.

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Day 6: Amarillo, TX – Santa Fe, NM

Distance: 450km

Time: 4hrs 30minutes

Sitting on the Texas-New Mexico border at Exit 0 is the abandoned ghost town of Glenrio. The townsite still has traces of Route 66 heydays: motels and restaurants that used to thrive there before the arrival of I-40.

Santa Fe is known for its Pueblo-style architecture and artistic vibe. Visit the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and El Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living history museum that recreates 18th-century ranch life.

The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture is a premier repository of Native art, with a multicultural audience through exhibitions, lectures and field attractions. The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum is dedicated to the artistic legacy of the "Mother of American modernism".

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Campsites:

Amarillo, Route 66

Day 7: Santa Fe, NM - Gallup, NM

Distance: 320km

Time: 3hrs

Head south to Albuquerque, New Mexico's largest city. Snap some photos at the neon Route 66 Arch, completed in 2016 and located off Exits 81 and 85. Several other attractions are located in the city, such as the New Mexico Mining Museum and the Route 66 Vintage Museum.

Gallup is the largest city between Albuquerque and Flagstaff and is known for its western and Native American influences.

Visit Manuelito Visitor Center, the Navajo Code Talker Museum, the Gallup Cultural Center in the historic Santa Fe Railway depot, Red Rock Park & Museum. Shopping is also a significant local attraction, making the town a centre for authentic Native American art.

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Day 8: Gallup, NM – Flagstaff, AZ

Distance: 300km

Time: 3hrs

Enjoy the scenery as the border to Arizona gets closer. Make a stop at Navajo County, and take the time to explore the beautiful Painted Desert and Petrified National Park.

Arriving in Flagstaff, go for a hike at the Walnut Canyon National Monument and spend some time looking at the millions of years of history unravelled in the geology, cliff dwellings and dramatic landscape.

For an extra dose of natural wonders, go for a tour at the Lava River Cave and Wupatki National Monument.

Drive north on US-180 E and AZ-64 S and spend a few hours exploring the Grand Canyon before making your way to Sin City, Las Vegas. Experience an aerial view on a helicopter tour, take a guided boat tour along the Colorado River or, if you dare, brave the glass pedestrian bridge at the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

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Campsites:

Las Vegas, Route 66

Day 9: Flagstaff, AZ – Las Vegas, NV

Distance: 400km

Time: 3hrs 30minutes

Enjoy a pleasant drive to Las Vegas with a few steps on the way. The Bearizona Wildlife Park offers a drive-thru experience starring wolves, bears, bison, mountain goats & more. Close to Peach Springs, the Hackberry General Store Shop offers quality merchandise and many photo opportunities.

The Grand Canyon often overlooks Hoover Dam and it is an engineering masterpiece that deserves a visit.

Las Vegas offers world class entertainment, casinos, restaurants and everything you need to spend a relaxing time. Stroll down the Las Vegas strip or book a helicopter to see the night lights.

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Day 10: Las Vegas, NV – Santa Monica, CA

Distance: 462km

Time: 4hrs

The Route 66 Mother Road Museum in Barstow is an unmissable stop on this trip. Right around the corner from the museum is the Old Town Route 66 sign. Don't miss the opportunity to take a photo there.

Cross the border from Nevada to California through the Mojave Desert, which offers some of the most dramatic scenery in Southern California, filled with Joshua Trees, cacti, volcanic rock and sand.

Stop at the California Route 66 Museum in Victorville to glimpse the Cali portion of this iconic road and grab a bite to eat. Arriving in Santa Monica , go to its famous Pier and take a snap at the iconic "End of the Trail" sign. Enjoy the rest of your time in California.

Campsites:

Santa Monica, Route 66



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