Route 66 Road Trip Guide
The following is what became my Route 66 trip: the places I loved, the places I missed, and some of the detours along the way. I hope each element of this guide is useful to anyone planning a Route 66 trip of their own.
Below is various elements of the trip I thought might be useful including:
A Day by Day Breakdown
Make it Your Own — An editable and downloadable Google Document
A State by State Breakdown
Tips & Things to Consider
Please note: I traveled from Santa Monica, CA on September 2nd, 2015 and arrived in Chicago, IL the night of September 12th, 2015 and then spent three days in Chicago for a total of 14 days (with detours). When planning your trip, take into account season/weather changes, gas price fluctuation, and various other changes that might have taken place since I took this trip.
My Route 66 Road Trip Mapped Day by Day
A breakdown of my Route 66 road trip by day denoted by color on the map below — each marker is linked to the post I described that day in, and each color marker represents a different day.
Make it Your Own
Use this link to access the Google document.
To add it to your own document and edit it, simply follow these steps:
1. Open the file through the link above
2. Once in Google Doc, go to "File"
3. Select "Make a copy..."
4. Rename the file as you'd like and save it — it will now be located in your own Google Drive to edit
State by State
Below are all the places by state I either stopped at or had planned to stop and explore with links that direct you to the post it's described in. (Pictures of postcards I bought by artist Bob Waldmire — a definitive artist of the Route 66 trip.)
Wild West Town
Hackberry General Store
Grand Canyon Caverns
Bearizona Wildlife Park
Flintstones Bedrock City
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon Mule Ride
Montezuma Castle National Monument
Gilbert Arizona LDS Temple
Twin Arrows Trading Post
Standing on a Corner Statue
Jack Rabbit Trading Post
Navajo County Museum
Indian Kachina Statue
Ice Cave & Bandera Volcano
El Mapais National Monument
Sandia Peak Tramway
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Yellow Hot Rod/Auto Museum
Tee Pee Curios
River Market Antiques
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
The Corner Restaurant
Shaw Nature Reserve
Chain of Rocks Bridge
World's Largest Catsup Bottle
Abe Lincoln's Tomb
Cozy Dog Drive In
Route 66 Museum
Route 66 "Begin" Sign
360 Chicago Observation Deck
Chicago Cultural Center
Art Institute of Chicago
Wendella Boat Tour
Trip Cost Breakdown
On the road from Santa Monica to Chicago, IL with some detours, the total cost of the trip was: $1,217.29*
Broken down, that price includes:
All in all, the trip cost was about $250 more than I initially projected in the trip planner (originally projected to be $982)
*the final amount does not include the accommodations and gas and some experiences that were divided with the friends I was driving with. It also does not include the cost of souvenirs.
Tips & Things to Consider
- Time changes. I didn't account for this at all. So when I had planned to go to a place near the end of the day and the time jumped forward an hour, suddenly the place was closed and there was no chance of making it.
- Gas prices. They either go up or down in price based on where you start. Fortunately for me going west to east, gas went down #tripbonus
- Print out everything. Seriously. I thought maybe if, for some awful reason, I lost my phone or it was taken, I at least would have a back-up of my itinerary with addresses, maps, and confirmation numbers. And although my phone is still with me (thankfully), I didn't account for areas that I didn't have any service and couldn't access Google maps.
- Don't be afraid to adjust the itinerary. I did. It's better to not rush through something you're really enjoying just to make it to your next destination. And on that note...
- Don't try to fit ten things into one day. I already did that. And that was probably the biggest mistake of the trip. By the end of the trip I was so exhausted. I saw and experienced most of the things I wanted to which was great, but the trip would have been so much more relaxed and probably more enjoyable if I broke down ten hour driving days and didn't try to stop at more than four places a day.
- Food is mostly going to be diner or take-out. Embrace it. Love it. You'll have post-trip detox. Basically all of my grand plans to save money by going grocery shopping and maybe eating out one meal every other day did not happen.
- This trip was a one way. Since I was moving to Nashville, TN it seemed like a good opportunity to also do this road trip, that way I wouldn't need to pay the expenses of driving back. But there's always alternative options like rental cars, hitchhiking (haven't tried that before though), buses and a flight back.
Browse through all the posts referring to the Route 66 trip.