How Long: 10 Days
One of the most evocative roads in the world. Route 66 started out as a selection of dirt trails and unnamed roads, and is now one of the worlds “must drive” roads
Tour Operator: Fantastic Roads
Available: May 12th - May 21st 2017
One of the most evocative roads in the world. Route 66 started out as a selection of dirt trails and unnamed roads. By 1938 dirt gave way to a paved narrow and twisty two lane highway.
Later some were widened and straightened, some turned into four way highways, then in the late 1950’s the interstate network began to take over. Soon many areas of old 66 had been paved over, many towns had been bypassed, their lifeblood taken away and left to slowly fade away.
The final nail in the coffin of this fantastic road was the bypass of Williams Arizona in 1984 after which Route 66 was no longer an official US highway.
Many of the gas stations, the diners and motels were out of business and fell into decay. However all was not lost, volunteers and state associations sprang up. Old buildings were restored, neon signs relit and travellers began to come back to experience some of the wonderful sights along Route 66. Over the decades many artists have sung “get your kicks on Route 66” so join us in our exploration of part of this fantastic road.
Enjoy this road trip from the air conditioned comfort of your modern day American sports car or get the wind in your hair in an open top convertible!
Day 1 Friday
Arrive at your Hotel in Albuquerque where you will collect your rental car. Spend some time exploring this town full of beautiful old Neon signs, and diners resplendent with vintage “roadside Americana” decor.
Day 2 Saturday
Total Distance 175m Driving time approximately 3hr 50m
Heading east from Albuquerque our journey takes us on a mixture of the modern I40 that overlays the old 66 and the original road. Old 66 takes us on a climb through the mountains on some great roads via Tijeras Canyon and then we drop down through Barton and Edgewood. Through Moriarty and on to Santa Rosa where we stop to spend a little time at the Route 66 Auto Museum. At Cuervo we again leave the new highway and follow old 66 to our destination of Tucumcari and our stay at one of the original Route 66 motels, the evocative Blue Swallow motel.
Day 3 Sunday
Total Distance 228m Driving time approximately 5hr 11m
We leave Tucumcari and head north west through spectacular open plains and mountains to rejoin old route 66 and start our journey west on the Santa Fe loop of the 66 through the Pecos National Park and the Glorietta pass, the highest point of 66 at over 7500 feet (at nearly 2300m about 140m higher than the Grimselpass in Switzerland). Our journey finishes for the day in the fabulous town of Santa Fe with its wonderful Pueblo-Spanish architecture.
Day 4 Monday
Total Distance 185m Driving time approximately 3hr 00m
Today we begin by heading south west and back through Albuquerque on the pre 1937 route 66 that takes us through Los Lunas and loops back to the post 1937 route at Correo. Here we continue west past Mesita and the aptly named Dead Mans Curve after which we continue uphill before dropping into old Laguna. Continuing on we pass through many remnants of old motels garages and trading posts as we head through Milan, Prewitt and Bluewater. East of Prewitt this great road parallels a long row of pink tinged hills providing a wonderful back drop all the way to Gallup.
Day 5 Tuesday
Total Distance 255 m Driving time approximately 5hr 25m
Our Journey through New Mexico is almost at an end as we head west and cross the frontier into Arizona before reaching Lupton. Passing through the Navajo Indian reservation and the painted desert we continue on to Winslow where we can take a break and stand on the corner of this fantastic road. Our road trip has brought us to the corner Glen Frey from the Eagles made reference to in the 1971 song “Take it Easy” You never know you might spot the girl in the flat bed Ford slowing down! Leaving Winslow behind we head towards Meteor City and Two Guns. Time permitting we can make a detour to the site of a giant meteor impact crater in the desert before we arrive in Williams for the night.
Day 6 Wednesday
Free day to enjoy wandering around the old town of Williams, the last town to be bypassed by the Interstate in 1984, or enjoy a luxurious excursion via vintage diesel train to the Grand canyon.
Day 7 Thursday
Total Distance 138 m Driving time approximately 3hr 45m
Leaving Williams we head on to Ash Fork and Seligman, the birthplace of the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona. A splatter platter for lunch at the Roadkill Cafe anyone? As we near Peach Springs you may catch a glimpse of the distant Grand Canyon from the steep hill. A little further the wide open spaces give way to craggy slopes as we head through Crozier Canyon before a stop at Hackberry for some great nostalgic route 66 pictures. Through Kingman and onto the Oatman Highway before the twists and turns through the Black Mountains as we head to Needles for the night.
Day 8 Friday
Total Distance 175m Driving time approximately 3hr 50m
Crossing over the Colorado River we head into the California desert. Keeping to the old 66 through Goffs, where we can spend time at the Mohave desert cultural centre, then through Fenner and into Amboy. Roy’s cafe and Motel in Amboy has probably appeared in more videos, commercials and films than any other. From Amboy we head to Newbury Springs, Helendale and finally Victorville for the night.
Day 9 Saturday
Total Distance 154m Driving time approximately 3hr 20m
Our last day on this fantastic road. heading out from Victorville we go over Cajun Summit through Cajun Junction and Cajun Creek. Driving through some wonderful topography created by the San Andreas fault and over some classic old bridges we come into San Bernadino. Plenty of photo opportunities exist along the path of our last day through the suburbs of Los Angeles, there are plenty of old style Motels and Neon’s to look out for. Finally heading along the Santa Monica Boulevard we pass through Hollywood and Vine to our destination, Ocean Avenue and the Pacific Ocean. Our last night is spent just a stones throw from Santa Monica Pier and a few hundred yards from the end of this fantastic road. A truly memorable drive along part of America’s most famous road.
Day 10 Sunday
Once the rental cars have been returned you are free to extend your stay in the USA or return home.