For road trip fans, Route 66 is the ultimate journey. Completed in 1926, this route was one of the first major highways built across the United States, stretching from Chicago to the beautiful coastal community of Santa Monica, California.
Although the popularity of air travel has reduced our dependency on highways to reach our vacation destinations, Route 66 inspires a real sense of Americana and nostalgia. If you would like to, as the song goes, “get your kicks on Route 66,” check out the following suggestions on how to get the most out of the experience:
Prepare Yourself and Your Vehicle
Before embarking on an historic road trip on Route 66, schedule your car for a thorough servicing. The drive will be especially memorable, but depending on the time of year you travel, temperatures and conditions throughout the Southwest can be especially grueling. With that in mind, make sure your spare tire is fully inflated, carry a car charger for your smart phone and make your vehicle is stocked with plenty of snacks and water.
If you’re flying in from another state and starting your drive in Arizona, you might also want to take a bit of time to review the driving laws in the Grand Canyon State. Fortunately, you don’t have to break out the textbooks or pour over driving manuals for hours at a time. Take a quick permit practice test for Arizona and other states at a free, online driving resource website like driving-tests.org. The site also features information on rules of the road and can help prevent you from bringing home a costly souvenir from your trip in the form of a speeding ticket.
Plan Your Trip
For people who have never experienced Route 66, taking the highway across Arizona is a great place to start. As Road Trip USA notes, a wide variety of old highway towns sit along the historic route featuring plenty of driveable stretches. Before heading out, sit down and plan your journey. Review Journal suggests starting your trip along the route’s longest stretch in Oatman, Arizona. The town is still chock full of the charm it had in the days of yore, complete with wooden sidewalks and wild burros roaming the streets. Stick around for the staged afternoon gunfights, and bring some carrots for the burros.
From there, travel 30 minutes through the scenic Black Mountains to Kingman, where you can stop in and enjoy the Historic Route 66 Museum, as well as pick up brochures that will guide you along the rest of your drive. Upon leaving Kingman, watch the signs for Hackman and Valentine; Hackman is a photo-op delight, with old gas station pumps and a general store filled with Route 66 souvenirs.
After checking out the old Truxton Canyon Training School in Valentine, get ready for a three-hour stretch of driving into Winslow. Road-weary travelers can relax at La Posada de Winslow, a railroad hotel built in 1929 and which features lovely renovated rooms, including some with whirlpool tubs. Once you’ve had your picture taken while “Standin’ on a Corner,” get back in the car and head to other classic Route 66 stops, like Rock Art Ranch or Holbrook. While in Holbrook, stay in the Wigwam Motel, which is famous for its 15 concrete teepee accommodations. Fans of vintage cars will love the selection found throughout the grounds.
Consider Some Side Getaways
Once you’ve planned your main journey, see if your schedule will allow you to take some side trips. As USA Today notes, you’ll be close to Grand Canyon National Park and, depending on how far you travel, not too far from Hoover Dam and Monument Valley. These bonus destinations can be great add-ons to your kicks-inspiring drive across one of America’s most iconic highways.