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  1. Default Route 66 Trip & More with Italian Visitor

    Looking for all the help I can get here. I have a cousin in Italy that would like to visit the US for the first time this summer. We are interested in doing a Route 66 trip, wanting to see as much as possible. I think it is important to note my cousin's degrees and interest in geology. So, I'm looking for help planning a Route 66 trip that consists more of monuments, geologic sites, etc. than things like "Worlds Biggest Rocking Chair." Don't get me wrong, the silly fun stuff will be great little stops along the way; I just don't want them to be the focus of the trip, since this will be a first (and possibly only) trip to the US.

    We definitely want the side trip to the Grand Canyon, and I think Vegas and the Hoover Dam would be good stops as well. What else would be mostly on the way? Interested in caves, hot springs, waterfalls, mountains, national parks, etc.

    After reaching LA, I'm thinking about swinging up to San Francisco, Redwoods, the Treesort in OR, Breitenbush, and Olympic National Park, but I'm worried that I'm trying to pack too much into approx. 20 days... and I'm a little disappointed that this plan doesn't have time for NYC, the Smithsonian, etc. Obviously, I've never planned a road trip before.

    Also, I'm not sure if this will help at all, but more details include:

    20 days Summer 2013
    2 travelers
    27/28 yrs old
    up for adventure (zip lines, hiking, kayaking, etc.)
    enjoy the outdoors but also up for some city nightlife

    Alright, what advice do you have for me?
    Last edited by sgherardi; 02-10-2013 at 02:05 PM. Reason: Typo

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Welcome!

    One detail you omitted - where will this trip be starting?

    A tip - if you want to drive the west coast, drive it from north to south. The scenic turnouts will be on your side of the road.

  3. Default

    We will be starting in Chicago, taking Route 66 to LA, then, time permitting, we would like to head north and visit the Redwoods, etc. I'm at the very beginning of the planning process, so things may change according to what is recommended. Definitely want to make it a fantastic trip for my visitor!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    20 days, and that includes returning to Chicago?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Possible, But Not User Friendly

    US-66 was decommissioned about 25 years ago and the signage removed after the old Mother Road had largely been replaced (and paved over) by I-55/I-44/I-40. It is possible to drive bits and pieces of the old highway here and there, especially through towns, where it will be marked as 'Historic Route 66', or State-66, or even with some unrelated route number, but it is not a continuous highway suited for a long cross-country trip. The longest continuous section of the old roadbed is in Arizona where it goes from Seligman to Kingman through Peach Springs.

    Now, given that your friend is a geologist, a few of the places you should be looking to include on your trip would be: Cross the Mississippi either by ferry or at one of the many 'Lock and Dam's. As noted above, there's no real reason to try to follow US-66 and that's just as well because it frees you up to instead head for Walsenburg CO on the Front Range of the Rockies and head west on US-160 through Wolf Creek Pass (10,850') to Mesa Verde National Park and then use CO-41/UT-162 to cut over to US-163 down through Monument Valley. Then use BIA-59 through the Navajo Indian Reservation to Many Farms and US-191 to Canyon de Chelly National Monument and Petrified Forest National Park. Farther west on I-40 there's Meteor Crater, and then on the way up to the Grand Canyon Wupatki and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monuments would be in order.

    Then, assuming you'll be heading back to Chicago from the northern California redwoods, look at including the Carson Sink, Great Salt Lake, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Rocky Mountain National Park, and some of the landmarks along the Oregon Trail such as Courthouse and Jail Rocks.

    AZBuck

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    20 days, and that includes returning to Chicago?
    Nope. I was thinking our trip could end anywhere near an international airport for my cousin to fly back to Italy, then I can make my way back to Indiana. I'm not worried about it being a round trip because I've got time.

  7. Default

    This is so helpful! Thank you for all of the wonderful ideas! Keep 'em comin'!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sgherardi View Post
    So, I'm looking for help planning a Route 66 trip that consists more of monuments, geologic sites, etc. than things like "Worlds Biggest Rocking Chair." Don't get me wrong, the silly fun stuff will be great little stops along the way; I just don't want them to be the focus of the trip, since this will be a first (and possibly only) trip to the US.
    Can I ask why you feel the need to follow Route 66?

    There is nothing wrong with a trip that tries to follow the old road, but if I was planning my one, and possibly only, trip to another country, I certainly wouldn't build my entire plan around a random highway number - and one that hasn't actually been in existence for about 30 years at that!

    On top of that, Route 66 is probably best known because of all the roadside oddities that sprung-up along it to attract tourists, and if you don't want to build your trip around "World's Largest...." then Route 66 seems like an especially odd choice.

    If you've got your heard set on following the old road, that's fine, I just get the impression that you want to follow Route 66 because you think you have to, or that's the only/best way for a roadtrip, and that's just not the case.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd be spending a whole lot more time looking at the amazing parks and places that seem to be more like what you are actually interested in - and then finding the roads that connect those places - than focusing your time trying to find old sections of pavement because they happened to be attached to the number "66."

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