Dec 292012
 





Another in a series of ‘guest articles’ written by folks from all over the world. If you would like to contribute – please send me an Email at info@route66world.com with your article and I just might post it!!

You’re a true road warrior. You don’t let little things like blizzards, freezing temperatures and slick highways keep you away from a cold-weather vacation. You also have a sense of the past and Americana, so taking historic Route 66 is on your itinerary.

Insurance

What also should be on your itinerary— getting insurance. Since winter carries its own unique set of challenges, carrying insurance for your trip will give you coverage in case of trip cancellation, travel delays, lost luggage and medical emergencies. Travel Guard has its own winter storm page, as well as a place to compare travel insurance quotes.

Clothing in Layers

Once you’ve decided that winter hazards are worth the trip, make plans to enjoy the sites along Route 66, which runs from Chicago to its terminus at the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica (CA). Take a few tips from “Blue Coyote,” “Silly Squirrel” and “Cactus Killer,” travelers who chronicled their 2010 trip along Route 66 at the Dancing Weasel. They give plenty of trip tips, especially for those planning to go camping. (Examples: Dress in layers in mountainous areas, and bring sunscreen, no matter what season). Also provided is an interactive trip of the route. At one stop the travelers made along the way was Texola (OK), which they described as not quite a ghost town.

“We couldn’t help but get out and walk around, exploring what happens when a town is on the verge of extinction but still holding on,” their blog reported— they even heard a dog barking from a distance.

Road Conditions & Virtual Road Maps

It might be hard to get that type of experience while traveling on an interstate. RoadTrip America is a spoonful of information on a Route 66 trip. It includes a link to “Guy Randall’s Tour of the Mother Road,” for example, that includes 4,566 photographs, historical anecdotes and updated reports of road conditions. Open a state page to obtain a virtual road map, and then scroll down to the bottom of the page to get a map of that state.

From that page, you’ll open a new page that explains attractions on that section of the route. Use the navigation links for “Route 66 West” and “Route 66 East” at the top of this page or click on the next town shown on the map. Repeat the process when you reach a new state line to continue the trek.

Weather Conditions

To keep track of local weather, click on the Weatherblink.com link for local forecasts, which will come in handy in the unpredictable winter months.

Sleeping Conditions

Eventually, you want to find places to sleep. For a truly unique motel experience, stay at a Wigwam Motel in Holbrook (AZ), or San Bernardino (CA). The California motel has a village-style arrangement of 19 tepees, each 30 feet high and made from wood framing, concrete and stucco. Individual wigwams are equipped with all the traveler’s essentials that Natives probably didn’t have, such as an outdoor barbecue grill. There also is a kidney-shaped swimming pool at the motel.

Extra Tips

The National Historic Route 66 Federation gives some advice on planning a trip. After all, Route 66 isn’t on ordinary maps and there are few road signs to view it. The website store offers a Route 66 kit allowing travelers to plan a trip in advance, which is crammed with motels, cafes and trading posts.

And with winter being the off-season for Route 66 travelers, you won’t have to deal with many large crowds either.

By Dee Paulson – Dee is a retired world history teacher, Dee travels the world and shares cultural and political viewpoints in her stories online. She visits Cairo and Italy every year.

Nov 122012
 




This is our third guest article on Route 66. This one focuses on the ‘winter’ of, or ON, Route 66!

Traveling down the historic Route 66 is a unique way to get your family together during the Christmas holiday. Gather the troops from across the country and reconnect on the old historic “Mother Road” that, at one time, was best passageway from the Midwest to the West.


Drive through the streets of a fabulous world of kitschy Americana, follow each other in a caravan of cars or pile in an RV (try to avoid motorcycles during winter — it can get cold!). Each little town you pass has a legend attached to it. You may find yourself touring an old school house, visiting a nostalgic ice cream shop and looking over your shoulder in one of the many ghost towns along the tour. With the wind in your hair and not a worry in the world, this will be the best Christmas EVER!

Step into a history rich with roadside attractions, neon signs, rusty gas stations, 50s diners and vintage motels. It’s all part of the experience, part of the adventure. What do you need to know and where do you go?

Driving Tips

  • Be sure you have appropriate car insurance (with roadside assistance) so you are 100 percent protected and carefree on your journey.
  • Don’t advertise you are away from home. When in a city with inhabitants, keep your maps out of plain sight when stopped and use the truck stops if in need of rest — they are generally the safest place to rest your eyes.

Great Idea No. 1

Before you go on this fabulous family vacation, make a playlist of Christmas songs and old country driving tunes (Willy Nelson would be a great choice). Burn it to a few disks and bam! Christmas gifts, done! You’ll be singing all the way from Amarillo to Tucumcari. Pair that with the EZ66 Guide for sale at Route 66 World Bookstore and Roadfood and you’ll be on your way to worry free holidays.

Great Idea No. 2

Roadfood. It’s a must-get book. Ever wanted to eat at little off the beaten path at classic regional restaurants but don’t know how to find them? This book was written by a couple who went on a country-wide trip, finding and rating the best unknowns. While the directions are good, a navigational device is extremely helpful.

Fun Places to Stop

Christmastime along the Route 66 is vibrant with life and lights. It’s quirkiness illuminates with decorations aglow.

  • Chain of Rocks Bridge — Constructed in 1929, the bridge crosses the Mississippi from Alton, Ill. to St. Louis, Mo. and has a 30-degree turn midway across a mile-long bridge, according to nps.gov. Today, it has trails for walking and biking — fun for the whole family.
  • The Blue Whale — Sitting in Catoosa, Okla. is an 80-foot long smiling blue whale that Hugh Davis built for his whale-collecting wife, Zelta, as a gift. The attraction dates back to the 1970s.
  • Sandhills Curiosity Shop — Located in Erick, Okla., this wacky shop is full of music memorabilia. But it’s not just a shop, it’s an experience. Sit for awhile and have a chat with the owners, Harley and Annabelle Russell.
  • Restored Phillips 66 Gas Station – Between Clinton and Amarillo, Texas, this is where gas is 19 cents a gallon. That was all the way back in 1927, according to ridingroute66.us.
  • Cadillac Ranch — Amarillo, Texas has a mythical land covered with 10 historic Cadillacs, noses stuck in the earth as they erect from the land. You are free to graffiti your presence on the pieces of art, says legendsofamerica.com. They are open to the public to decorate.
  • Tucumcari, New Mexico – A pleasant reminder of the good old days. With historic motels like the Blue Swallow and Motel Safari, you can sleep under the pretty neon signs which light up the route through town.
  • Winslow, Ariz. — Simply, so you can stand on the corner in Winslow, Ariz. and live in the Eagles song, “Take it Easy.”
  • The Grand Canyon Railway’s Christmas Polar Express — In Williams, Ariz., a charming little town sits along the Route 66. During Christmas, the railway turns into a magical Christmas train to the North Pole.
  • Santa Monica Pier — Route 66 ends with an amusement park, an old carousel and the lovely California coast.

Lastly, be sure to take special care of our Route 66. Help preserve historic landmarks along the 2,400 -mile stretch. What can you do? Clean up after yourself and others, drive slow and enjoy the sites and get into the nostalgia by helping the local businesses survive.

Article by Olivia Lewin