April 25th, 2011 by David Knudson
What is your favorite Route 66 community?
Chandler OK, of course, because that is where I live!
Ok…there’s more than that. Chandler is a lovely town, perched on green hills in the middle of a great stretch of 66 between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. We have the Route 66 Interpretive Center (in the 1937 stone WPA Armory), an early Phillips 66 station, and a vibrant downtown…plus the classic Lincoln Motel!
Great people too.
Tucumcari, N.M. There is nothing better than rolling into town on a Friday evening just as the sun is setting over Tucumcari Mountain and the neon is buzzing to life at the Blue Swallow. Wander around under glorious New Mexico skies, have a green chile breakfast burrito and a cup of coffee at Kix on 66, visit the dinosaur museum, go geocaching all over town, shop for souvenirs and supplies at the feed store, catch a movie at the beautiful and historic Odeon Theater, buy a few tchotchkes at Tepee Curios, or just cruise around and admire Rudy Gonzales’ beautiful hand-lettered signs on all the local businesses. Tucumcari is about as good as Route 66 gets for me.
I just wish the community of Tucumcari would get more involved in the Route.
This is a tough one but I’d have to say Cuba, MO. For a town that size they’ve done wonders to promote, protect and preserve Route 66. There are a lot of others that come in a close second, though.
Driving the gravel roads watching the dust lingering behind us in the rear view mirror, towards the scary, spooky remains of “The First/Last motel in Texas”…
Pontiac, Ill; I don’t know if any other city embraces Route 66 and it’s other history like Pontiac. The mayor is a great guy and loves to tell you about the city and what’s happening plus our friends Tim and Penny Dye now have the Pontiac-Oakland Automotive Museum open there. It is a must see them and the city have done a great job.
Someone should at least mention the Corral Courts motel which was in southwest St. Louis County. Each room had a garage, so if you were shackin’ up or having a one night stand, no one (your wife) could see your car. It was all neon and chrome. I’ve seen it, but too young to have been there when it was open. Still a legend in these parts. It, sadly like many Rte 66 classics, departed about 15 years ago.
You’re 100% right, Bob.
I second the vote for Pontiac, IL. I remember as a kid eating at the Fiesta Cafe at Rt. 116. Mom and I drove that road many times on the way to Bushnell by way of Peoria in the mid 60’s.
Also got to drive a good part of it when it still had the traffic lights between Joliet and the Decatur cut-off @ US51.
My favorite section of Historic Route 66 about 9 miles west of El Reno, Oklahoma. This was the first section of Route 66 (1930’s) to use rolled curb to control drainage. The pavement here is the original poured concrete 10 foot roadway with the rolled curb. As a retired surveyor and highway engineer I found this section the most interesting as it showed the original construction of roadway. It was driving back in time.For a photo of this section please click on this link or paste into your browser, it is safe. http://fhenstridge.zenfolio.com/p1055092533/h31aeeccd#h31aeeccd
Catoosa makes me dream, hearing children of seventies have fun on sunny summer sundays. Time stopped there. There’s nothing there, but I can feel all the lives pictured in black and white join’ that still place.
Very nice Christian.
This is the town that the Disneyland Cars Land is model after and following a visit to Cars Land, you’ll know why. Seligman is a real gem, from Roadkill Cafe to the great old cars. We plan to return soon for another visit!
Cuba, Missouri is great too! You have to stop and eat at Missouri Hick’s Barbecue. The food and atmosphere and decor is incredible!
I grew up on Rt.66 in central IL. Eating at the Ariston Restaurant was always a treat. Also, the Route 66 motel with each room being a separate building was just the coolest thing. And who could forget movies at the Sky View Drive – In? Wow, what memories!
Thanks for the memories, Jim.
Ludlow, California. Ghost Town from 2 eras: railroad town and route 66 stop.
I love to photograph the fading beauty of ghost towns on and off Route 66. (Picture collection of hundreds of Ghost Towns on http://www.ghosttowngallery.com )
We met your Dad at the Hotel this morning. He was telnilg us your story and we talked to him about some of your adventures. We love the idea you are raising awareness for a cause. We gave your Dad some ideas of things you can see in the area. Also we would like to make a donation to your cause if we could. Let us know how. We were actually in the room next to yours last night and I was getting coffee as you left this morning. Godspeed to you .
To make a donation to the Federation, go to our website http://www.national66.org and click “SUPPORT US” on the home page.
Grew up on the stretch of Rt 66 from Dwight to Bloomington, IL. Took the route a year or so ago with my nephew on our motorcycles – much more to see on ‘open two wheels’. Still some old advertisement signs outside Pontiac & surrounding area. Most of the roads are accessable, but some have since grown over. The Odell Station [restored Standard Sinclair gas station] is a must see. Went to junior high & high school in Odell: never really noticed the station until after it was redone!
More and more folks are taking motorcycles down Route 66. Those who do say it is the best way to see it.
Late August 1959 my father quit his job as a design engineer in Chicago, packed his wife and three kids (10, 6 and 2) into the 1958 Chevy station wagon and drove out Route 66 to California.
We had a mattress in the back, luggage carrier on top and stopped in motels along the way. Vivid memory of our stop in Amboy near the AZ/CA border. 100 degrees, so we spent the night at Roy’s motel so the kids could swim in the pool, and got up early to hit the road across the desert before it got too hot. Felt like pioneers. Dad found a job with an aerospace company in San Diego.
I was the 10 year old and I remember it well….Pat
Thanks for the story, Pat. Glad it all worked out for your family.
Thanks to all of you who mentioned Cuba, MO. There are so many great towns along the road. We love Route 66, and are so happy to share our 6 miles on 66 with visitors from all over the US and the world. The memories of the Wagon Wheel and many other parts of Route 66 are part of our hearts. But it still lives with our big old Rocker and new generations making their way to us. Blessings on all the roadies.
Hi Jane- Thanks for your input.
ITS SAD…WITH ALL THE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS THE UNITED STATES WASTES ON USELESS PROJECTS…WHY OUT HERITAGE HIGHWAY CAN NOT BE RESTORED FOR OUR CHILDRENS CHILDREN….MY FAVORITE CITY MANY YEARS BACK….BAGHDAD CALIFORNIA….I REMEMBER ASKING SOMEONE WHEN I WAS THERE THE TELEPHONE NUMER…..IT WAS BAGHDAD 1…..6 SHORT RINGS…..THE AGE OF INNOCENCE……WE LOST IT…..BUT LETS ALL GIVE IN AND GET IT BACK…COME ON OBAMA WITH ALL THE UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE LETS RESTORE OUR NATIONAL GEM ONCE AND FOR ALL.
You’re right, John. But have you done your part by joining the Federation and our preservation efforts?
We travelled a short way on 66 when we went from AZ to CA,we intend to come back and do, if not all of it, a large section. Some of the sights and scenery are something to behold, keep it going USA.
I am going to drive from Amarillo to Santa Fe through Albuquerque.
Who could tell me some nice Places, that need to be visited!
Thank you for contacting the National Historic Route 66 Federation.
Your trip will be very enjoyable if you do a little preplanning. Route 66 is not on ordinary maps and there are very few road signs.
We suggest you go to our website http://www.national66.org and order one of the Route 66 Kits. In your case, we recommend our “Basic Kit”.
The kit will allow you to plan your trip in advance by giving you the materials necessary to find and enjoy the legendary road. Plus you will save money and get free trip consultation 7 days a week.
my son wants to travel Route 66 via motorcycle. It would be a great experience for him. He wont be doing trip for a while but i want him to be prepare.
I just drove from ALbuquerque to California and back and I loved Seligman Arizona, ate at West Side Lilos, met the barber Angel Delgadillo and stayed at the Supai Motel – all nice people. Also caught sight of the Bagdad Cafe in Newberry Springs from the highway and detoured off 1-40 to see if my eyes were deceiving me. Met the owner (sweet lady) and lots of European tourists – lots of fun! I also liked Kingman AZ wished I’d had more time to go to the railroad museum and cruise 66.
Also drove rt. 66 east of Seligman (a remote section) after a big thunderstorm. The high desert was beautiful!
I love all the small hotels and motor courts (some still in use) that line the route through Springfield, MO, the birthplace of Route 66. For instance, the Rail Haven Hotel is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
RT66 Diner, Albuquerque NM. Malts are magnifique!
Tucumcari New Mexico is awesome, one of the most era correct parts of 66 left, sadly like a lot other small towns across America it is dying. When I drove across America I was shocked by how many little hotel, motels, diners and gas stations have closed. Tucumcari looks just like it did in the 60’s but 40% of the buildings are closed, but it is a fantastic place, please make sure you drop into the downtown whenever you pass they really could do with the business, and it’s so lovely at sunset.
Jane, thanks for invoking the name of the Wagon Wheel motel. My wife and I stopped there in May, 2008. The kind gentleman told us he only had one room left, and he showed it to us. It had only one double bed, and, after a long drive, we needed more than that. The price he quoted was mind-boggling: $15! What remarkable old-timey pricing in 2008.
Needles, California. I don’t know if it qualifies as special but I drive the desert trails and I seem to end up there often, towards evening. Karma I suppose.But I wouldn’t want anyplace to feel left out until I see the whole route!
I am planning to drive from IL to CA with a Newfoundland. Are there enough places that will allow a dog along the route? She loves all people and other animals. But she is partially disabled too. She can’t do more than about 3 stairs. Would I be able to enjoy this with her or have to leave her in the car most of the time?
Hi- You will want to get the Route 66 Dining & Lodging Guide at our website http://www.national66.org. It lists the lodging establishments that accept pets. As far as stairs, I suggest you get the guide then call ahead.
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