Historic Route 66

Will Rogers Highway

 

America’s “Mother Road,” stretching from Chicago to Los Angeles, was the first of its kind in many respects. For starters, it was the first diagonal highway covering a long stretch of land in the 1920s. But more importantly, it was a pioneer in connecting small, rural towns in Illinois, Missouri and Kansas with larger, urban regions, which helped farmers ship their goods to the big cities. When it was officially commissioned in 1926, Route 66 included 2,448 miles of road. And even though only 800 of those miles were paved, it still served as the nation’s primary junction between the east and west.

 

Mike Bell Travels on the Mother Road

 

Mike Bell stands beside his brand-new 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 in Long Beach Red, with his wife, Malea

 

Michael Bell’s New Corvette

 

We tracked down a native Angeleno and car enthusiast named Michael Bell, who plans on catching the route from St. Louis, Missouri in his new Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Bell and his wife, Malea, flew out to Bowling Green, Kentucky for an exclusive Corvette Museum Delivery Ceremony. It includes a tour of the Bowling Green Assembly Plant, a one-year membership to the National Corvette Museum and a personalized interior plaque for his car, to name a few. From there, Bell will drive his new wheels to St. Louis to pick up on Route 66, where he plans on taking a few stops along the way to see many of the attractions the road has to offer.

 

Friday, March 11, 2016

 

Home!

 

They’ve made it home to California! Wrapping up two weeks of traveling Route 66, the all-new but slightly dusty Chevrolet Corvette Z06 has made it safely back to Los Angeles!

 

The End of the Trail
The End of the Trail

 

Oatman, Arizona 

 

On the last leg of their journey, the Bells drove through Oatman, Arizona, a former mining town dedicated to Route 66. It’s known for many things, but chief among them is the herds of wild donkeys that freely roam the town. When Oatman’s primary gold mine shut down operations in 1924, the minors let their donkeys loose. Today, tourists can see remarkable Route 66 memorabilia, preserved “wild west” establishments and even feed the donkeys by visiting Oatman, Arizona. 

 

Read through GAYOT’s Arizona Travel Guide for more information on the best places to visit while in the Grand Canyon State.  

 

Mike Bell prepares to come home after their last stop

 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

 

Seligman, Arizona

 

Jamie Jensen may refer to this town as “kitschy” in her travel book, Road Trip USA Route 66, but that doesn’t take away from its small-town charm. Seligman is completely immersed in the Route 66 culture and is often referred to as to the birthplace of the highway. It’s home to many delightful characters like Angel Delgadillo, a local barber who is dubbed the “Guardian Angel of Route 66.” Stop by the “famous and funky” Snow Cap, where you’ll find “good burgers, malts and jokes,” said Mike Bell.

 

Snow Cap restaurant, run by Angel's family

 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

 

Holbrook & Winslow, Arizona

 

Making their way into The Grand Canyon State, Mike and Malea Bell visited a few of the greatest attractions along this stretch of Route 66. They saw the ancient wonders of two- to three-million-year-old petrified wood from the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. Later, they visited a fun, old-school motel that is a favorite among many Route 66 travelers. And finally, the Bells turned in for the night at the historic La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Arizona  an architectural masterpiece. 

 

A row of wigwams and classic cars

 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

 

Albuquerque & Gallup, New Mexico

 

Leaving Texas and Tucumcari in the dust, the Bells make their way into Albuquerque, New Mexico. They stop by a fun, retro diner along the highway that’s filled with Route 66 signage and decor. After fueling up with a classic American meal at 66 Diner they hit the road again and decide to rest for the night at the historic El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, New Mexico.

 

If you plan on driving through New Mexico, make sure to stop by Santa Fe. For tips on where to go and what to see, check out GAYOT’s 72-Hour Guide to Santa Fe

 

The 66 Diner in Albuquerque, New Mexico

 

Monday, March 7, 2016

 

Amarillo, Texas & Tucumcari, New Mexico

 

As the Bells make their way into Texas via Route 66, they stop at a few well-known attractions, including the famous Cadillac Ranch and the historic Blue Swallow Motel, established in 1939. Take a look at some of the other beautiful things the Lone Star state has to offer by reading through GAYOT’s Texas Travel Guide

 

The famous Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo, Texas

 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

 

Clinton, Oklahoma

 

Heading into Clinton, Oklahoma, Bell and his wife visit the Route 66 Museum and have an exciting dinner at the Big Texan Steak Ranch. Here, diners can compete against the clock to finish a 72 oz. steak in one hour or pay the cost of the meal. If they are able to finish to the steak, it’s on the house! 

 

The Route 66 Museum, located right off the highway, in Clinton, Oklahoma

 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

 

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

 

On Saturday, the Bells visited a number of museums along Route 66, including the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This museum offers a fantastic tribute to the history of the highway circa 1938. Not too far off, there is a second museum called J.M. David Arms and Historical Museum, which has the largest collection of firearms in the world. It’s “not something to miss!” said Bell. And for the hat trick, they ended their day at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, where you can see a sculpture of President Reagan and tributes to the iconic American cowboy. 

 

A firearm exhibition at the J.M. Arms & Heritage Museum

 

Friday, March 4, 2016

 

Springfield, Missouri

 

As they head out of Missouri, the Bells make a stop near Springfield to visit “The Fantastic Caverns,” discovered before the Civil War. According to Bell, “there was a speak-easy gambling den inside [the caves],” as well as “country concerts in the 70s.”

 

Mike and Malea Bell take a tour of Missouri's caves

 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

 

Leaving Cuba via Route 66

 

Heading out on Route 66, the Bells stopped at a few famous road markers, including the World’s Largest Red Rocker and a popular souvenir shop called Danny’s Gas Hole.

 

Danny's Route 66 Gas Hole, a popular souvenir shop

 

Cuba, Missouri

 

It’s Day Three of the Bells’ journey and they are calling it a night . . . in Cuba! (Missouri, that is.) They chose one of the original rustic cabins that have been fully renovated for guests at the ever-popular Old Wagon Wheel Motel 

 

The Old Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri

 

St. Louis, Missouri

 

Before he picks up on Route 66, Bell stops for a required 500-mile oil change for his new Vette. Once the Z06 is ready to rev its engine again they will be heading west on the Mother Road. Along the way, we will have real-time updates of all the funky diners, Route 66 museums and small-town attractions that are worth visiting.

 

Be sure to check out all the other attractions St. Louis has to offer by reading through GAYOT’s 72-Hour Guide to St. Louis

 

There’s more to the St. Louis restaurant scene that Bell won’t have time to explore. Check out GAYOT’s St. Louis Restaurant Guide to find the latest dining hot spots, including local breweries and bars.

 

Waiting for a required 500-mile oil change before picking up on the Route 66

 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

 

Graceland 

 

After wrapping things up in Nashville, Bell and his wife headed to Memphis  where they explored Elvis Presley’s famed Graceland estate. Here, visitors can participate in an audio-guided tour of the mansion, which includes historical exhibits, an impressive car museum and two jets.

 

If Bell’s travels are making you restless, you can always plan your own trip to Memphis or other major cities by taking a look at GAYOT’s travel guide to Tennessee

 

A vintage Cadillac and many other classic automobiles can be seen at Graceland's car museum

 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

 

Nashville Predators NHL Game

 

First stop, Nashville! Bell and his wife arrived in Tennessee and saw the sights. They also attended a NHL match at the Bridgestone Arena where the Nashville Predators took the lead against the Dallas Stars. Bell continued to explore the city and its lively offerings, including a “cool and colorful music bar scene on Broadway,” he said. 

 

Mike Bell attends a Nashville Predators hockey game at the Bridgestone Area

 

Monday, February 29, 2016

 

High Speed Laps

 

After completing a VIP tour of the Corvette Factory with his wife Malea, Bell takes to the track for a high-speed test drive of one of the plant’s Corvettes.

 

Mike Bell takes a spin around the test track at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant

 

View an informative video on the Corvette Z06

 

 

National Corvette Museum Tour

 

Mike Bell and his wife, Malea arrived at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky on Monday, February 29, 2016. Bell’s new Chevrolet Corvette Z06, painted in a bold Long Beach Red was waiting for him on display of the museum’s showroom floor. They proceeded to take an exclusive, VIP tour of the Bowling Green Assembly Plant, where they met with experts in the factory who offered a personalized demonstration of the vehicle’s features to Bell.

 

Mike and Malea Bell arrive at Bowling Green, Kentucky to pick up the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 in Long Beach Red

 

At Road’s End

 

A long stretch of the Mother Road heading east from California

 

For nearly 50 years and all throughout World War II, Route 66 played an important role in the American economy. Before 1970, it was the busiest highway in the nation, as many farmers used it to efficiently transport goods to larger cities. But once construction expanded to create modern four-lane highways like the Interstate 55, the route started to lose its vitality.

 

A look back in time at an old stretch of the Route 66 in Pasadena, Los Angeles.

 

Now in its 90th anniversary year, it still remains one of the most important highways in American history. To celebrate its significance, there are museums, landmarks, historic highway markers and nostalgic diners in small towns to visit along the way. So if you’re looking for an adventure, consider taking a road trip by way of Route 66. There is plenty of rich, American culture you can soak up while traversing the old road.

 

 

Reference

 

Books:

Road Trip USA Route 66 by Jamie JensenGrapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck tells a story that is famously centered along Route 66Tom Teague offers a more intimate story about his journey on The Mother Road

 

Along the way, Michael Bell will be referring to Jamie Jensen’s Road Trip USA: Route 66 for guidance. The book covers all the major cities, small towns, popular attractions and must-see adventures along the road. Grab one of your own via Amazon to plan your trip on America’s Mother Road. You can also read up on a more intimate adventure with Route 66 via Tom Teague’s Searching for 66, or simply see how Steinbeck employs the old road in his classic novel, The Grapes of Wrath. 

 

 

Music:

The classic single, "Get Your Kicks on Route 66," performed by Nat King ColeThe ultimate rock playlist for your road trip on Route 66A highly curated compilation of the best songs from The Mother Road

 

What’s a road trip without the proper tunes? Here are a few classic playlists to rock out to while you journey across the country. They include Nat King Cole’s famous single, “Get Your Kicks on Route 66.”

 

Related Content:

 

The National Corvette Museum

 

Bowling Green Assembly Plant

 

5 thoughts on “Historic Route 66”

  1. Hi Michael, this is Sara Cardine from the La Canada Valley Sun. Wanted you to know I got your message and plan to call you on Monday. Thanks!

  2. Hi from Canada , 2 more years to go then the wife and I will be doing this trip from Chicago to L.A. part of our BUCKET LIST.

  3. I’m glad you enjoyed the trip of a lifetime. I wanted to let you know that there are plenty of things to see in the Los Angeles area along Route 66, too, so your journey is not really over yet! There are 87 National Register of Historic Places Landmarks in the Route 66 corridor in Los Angeles County! And for the 90th anniversary this November there will be the 2016 Los Angeles International Route 66 Festival being held at the highway’s original terminus in Downtown Los Angeles!

    Happy Travels!

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