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Route 66 Slide Show

Driving Route 66: A Natural Traveler Slideshow

Part 1

Photos and introduction by Steve Lagreca


Jack Kerouac, in On the Road  wrote, “Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.” This aptly describes iconic Route 66, stretching 2,448 miles (3,940 km) across the United States. It passes through eight states, from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California, starting at Lake Michigan and ending in the Pacific Ocean (map).


Volumes have been written about the importance and impact Route 66 has had on our culture. After being on our “bucket list” for years, my wife and I finally drove the “Mother Road”. We wanted to:

  • Journey into the past and experience a slice of Americana; it is, in effect, “3D” history
  • Savor the feeling of small towns connected by highways, increasingly missing in an era of Interstate freeways and global economies
  • Heed the irresistible call of the open road


Looking in the rearview mirror, Route 66 was not just a road trip, but an adventure. If you go, here are some tips for getting the most out of your trip:

  • Decide what’s important. Things to see and do on Route 66 can be grouped into several broad categories: architecture (especially art deco), bridges, churches, diners, murals, museums, neon signs, offbeat attractions, quirky road signs, road food, scenery, statues, and vintage gas stations. You can dig deep into a few categories or hit the highlights, i.e. visit the best-of-the-best in each category. You’ll see by the photos that we took the latter approach.
  • Tip: Use the book, Images of 66, An Interactive Journey Along The Length Of The Mother Road, by David Wickline, to prioritize your “must see” attractions.
  • Experience the road – it’s a category by itself.  While you mostly travel over concrete and asphalt, at places you can drive on (or avoid) sections of the original brick and dirt. The road’s persona is ever changing; it can be one (yes, one), two or four lanes wide, ranging from long, flat, fast stretches to slow, twisty hairpins in the mountains.
  • Be prepared to actively navigate. Some Route 66 alignments (sections of road) have been replaced by I-40, some no longer exist, a few are dead ends, and there’s a plethora of name changes.  Oh — and over the years some sections have been rerouted; e.g. there are several ways to traverse the St. Louis area.


  • Tip – we needed both:
  • Savor the experience. Route 66 can be driven in fewer than ten days, but you’ll regret it. More time is even better. This trip isn’t about horsepower and speed. The key to unlocking Route 66’s je ne sais quoi is to interact with the folks along the way, especially the Route 66 personalities. Give them a chance and they’ll open up to you.
  • When’s the best time to go? We chose May because it’s:

After the last winter frost, typically the third week in April for Chicago, the northernmost point on the trip.
After the spring rains — in most areas they taper off in early May. Less rain means a better drive. The bonus is greener landscapes to drive through.
Before the Mojave Desert heats up, typically in June.


Drive it, and you’ll come away with a newfound understanding of the quip: “the road is the destination”! Enjoy the photos.

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