Hi Diane,My husband and I live in London, Ontario, Canada and are planning a road trip later this month, "loosely" based along Route 66 from east to west, then north along the Pacific coast to Vancouver to visit family. We are familiar with the area around Chicago, but would appreciate any information you could give us regarding the rest of our journey, such as places to stay for a night or two, sites which are over-rated or "must see", roads to avoid, etc. Two years ago, we drove the Oregon Trail and your articles were very, very helpful. We made many enjoyable stops which we would have otherwise missed if not for your interesting descriptions. Any information you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for your email (and my best wishes to London, Ont - we lived on Sunset Ave in the early 60s and my younger sister was born there).
I hope you donít mind but I thought Iíd respond via the RTA forum, mainly so that more informed members might add to what is likely to be fairly limited input on my part. Iíve never actually followed Route 66 Ė just happened upon short sections here and there Ė so all I can really contribute is the following:
I know youíre familiar with the area but you may not know Lou Mitchellís, a traditional diner thatís been a Chicago landmark for 85 years. Itís situated right at the beginning of (what was) Route 66 so would make the ideal starting point.
If I were to be following R66 through Oklahoma this summer, I would definitely be making a short diversion between Tulsa and Oklahoma City to call in at Okemah. Woody Guthrie was born here 100 years ago this July so Iím sure there will be all sorts going on to mark the occasion.
I donít have personal experience of Winslow but it certainly looks like a place worth visiting. Heading west across Arizona youíre going to come across a number of sections that Ďfeelí right. There are signs to Ďoriginal alignmentsí around Williams, itself a good place to stop for the night (or maybe youíll be taking the short diversion to the Grand Canyon?). The drive from Seligman (accept it as a one hour tourist stop and itís a lot of fun) to Kingman is particularly scenic and takes you past Grand Canyon Caverns, an attraction straight out of the 50s.
The section of the National Trails Highway (as itís known here) that runs west from Needles is another I can recommend from first hand experience. Itís a 2-lane highway that runs though the desert past ghost towns, derelict gas stations, the classic Royís Diner and all sorts of other stuff that looks the way you imagined/hoped it would when you set off.
And as youíre planning to follow the route Ďlooselyí, Iíd strongly recommend breaking your journey at the 29 Palms Inn. You wonít regret it, I promise!
And the only other thing I could add is that while Barstow might seem an obvious place to spend a night (old R66 town, loads of motels/diners) itís actually a bit run down.
Sorry I canít be of any more help but Iím sure youíll find more here and hopefully others will chip in too.