Seniors Travel Route 66

Sep 7th, 2010 | By | Category: Senior Travel

My old college roommate collects old classic cars.  He loves to take the older roads all over the USA including Route 66.  Some call them car “trail rides.”  A lot of collectors do the same.  One can take old Route 66 on a 2,400 mile route from Chicago to LA.  It can be done a Model A or even a Model T, however it will be a long, long, long ride.  But worth it all the way say many enthusiasts. 

My wife and I drive from near Chicago to Phoenix once a year as we are “snowbirds.”  We pass by many signs that read “Old Route 66” or “Take This Road Detour to Access Route 66.”  The signs are always the old brown historic ones that bring back many memories for those of us who still remember that road. We find the old dilapidated gas stations and old motels most interesting.  Seniors who have the time and want to discover America in a leisurely manner will find this trip memorable.

Route 66, “the Mother Road” as she is called, is considered the holy grail of road trips. The 66 route start is Chicago, Illinois at the Great Lakes and it winds Southwest through several states with the Route 66 end at Santa Monica, California. You will not find an official Route 66 map because the historic Route 66 was discontinued decades ago. Unofficial Route 66 maps exist, and this site provides several free route 66 highway guides including a google map of the route. Route 66 USA may be technically gone but the historic Route 66 is still burned into the consciousness of humanity since it represents freedom, and symbolizes Western liberty.

While Route 66 is now made up of several highways, sections of the historical route 66 still exist and much of our 66 route is on the historic Route 66. Route 66 associations have added Route 66 signs which helps to preserve the memory and help Route 66 travel. Old Route 66 is still very much alive and as you plan your Route 66 road trip, this free Route 66 guide will help you enjoy your discovery of America along much of the original Route 66.

The Mother Road: Historic Route 66 has a slide-show, with pictures from a trip down Route 66 in 1994 by Swa Frantzen.  Guy Randall took the trip in 2004 and writes, “It took only four years, two cars, 33.75 thermoses of coffee, untold Snicker bars, 457 Tums, and 4,566 photographs to complete this cyber tour of Route 66! What started out as a photographic journey to capture images along what I thought was a vanished road in Arizona and California expanded to encompass all of Route 66. What I found along the way has changed my life forever. Though Route 66 is no longer a US highway, it is far from being the lost and vanished road I once imagined it was. Route 66 is alive today and along her winding cracked pavement I discovered America” …and you can too.

Seniors, check out a map online and just take off and follow Route 66 for as long as you can as you are in for an adventure.  There are signs all along the route to follow.  A turn by turn road description is online here.  And here is a FREE route planning guide for Route 66 and another Mile By Mile Guide that I like. A PDF icon will provide you a printout.

Route 66 has held a special place in the American consciousness from its beginning. The road is uniquely American. There are a thousand stories of hope, heartbreak, love, hate, starting over, and new dreams found along the next bend of the highway we call the Mother Road. The story of Route 66 is our story; it embodies what makes us a great nation. No other culture has had the same type of love affair with the automobile, and few have had the wide-open spaces offered by the American West. The 2,400-mile route winds from Jackson Boulevard and Michigan Avenue in Chicago to Los Angeles, through the most romantic and celebrated portions of the American West. Route 66 was a lifeline through much of America, connecting the small midwestern towns of Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas, with the big cities of Los Angeles and Chicago.

Route 66 is the National Old Trails Highway. On November 11, 1926, Route 66 was born. It followed the old trails laid out by the early explorers and railroad. Route 66  became the twentieth century version of the Oregon Trail, the golden road to the promised land and has inspired our spirit ever since. John Steinbeck called it the Mother Road, and indeed it was. It provided hope to the farmers of the dust bowl era going west to find a new life. It served our country well during time of war. In optimistic post WWII America, Route 66 defined a generation looking for adventure and freedom on the open road. To understand the history of Route 66 is to understand a little bit about ourselves, where we came from and where we hope to go in the future. 

This site offers a nice overview on Route 66 and read, ” The often romanticized Mother Road inspires in many of us a nostalgic bone which niggles at something buried deep within us. While some may see legendary Route 66 as a link to our parents and grandparents, others perhaps feel the sense of freedom that the road provided to those early travelers. And then, for those of us that live continuously in the nostalgic past, the Mother Road is the next adventure beyond the Santa Fe Trail. Whatever the reason, the Mother Road is an experience, a feeling, a perception, a taste of sight and sound, and a mystery that can only be resolved by driving the pavement itself.”  Hey, don’t miss this opportunity.      jeb

As the song by Bobby Troup goes:
If you ever plan to motor west
Travel my way, the highway that’s the best.
Get your kicks on Route 66!

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