US 66 (Mother Road) is the most important highway in the American history. This is the first highway that connected Chicago with Los Angeles, that is, the east – with the west, the north – with the south, hundreds of cities – into one garland. Moreover, it was the first road, which cut the entire continent in half. The highway was opened in 1926, when only the branches of the future system of highways began to cover the country. Officially, the route ceased to exist in 1985, when wide, safe roads were laid next to it, breaking the whole path into pieces and giving out new numbers to new sections.
Some Americans complain that the government forgot about the depths of history, leaving only a stingy cultural heritage from the 66th road: the book “The Grapes of Wrath” and the cartoon “Cars”. Meanwhile, along the 4000 km long mainline, you can see lively scenery of old American films, listen to the pleasant accents of the southerners, lie under the starry southern sky, drive through the Rocky Mountains and visit the golden state of California. Start your journey with Budget car rental San Diego CA.
The road starts in Chicago, from the western edge of Michigan Avenue, and runs approximately 3,800 km across eight states. It finishes in Los Angeles, near the pier of Santa Monica. Endless construction work is still conducted on the road: the old sections of the road are opened or closed by turns. It is connected with the change of routes of other key roads.
The highway runs:
America’s “Mother Road” originates in Chicago on Adams Street, west of Michigan Avenue. Before you go, refuel at Mitchell’s snackbar, located near Union Station. In general, from here to the border of the state of Missouri it takes a bit more than 480 km.
Missouri will reveal a long strip of the road in front of you. Get to know the road in St. Louis. Ted Drewes shop served generations of travelers on Highway 66 in Chippewa St. There are a couple of historical routes through the city with sufficient number of signs.
The road takes only 21 km. Highway 66 runs through southeastern Kansas, but it is a good road. The first city you come across after Joplin is Galena. It fell into decay even earlier than the local lead and zinc mines, which were closed in the 1970s.
The connection of Oklahoma with America’s Mother Road is rooted in the distant past: Cyrus Avrey, head of the federal road committee, was from this state; John Steinbeck’s novel ‘Grapes of Wrath’ tells about the tough conditions of Oklahoma farmers during the Great Depression, migrating west. Oklahoma has most of the path of pioneers than any other state.
Texas Panhandle is definitely not a center of tourism, but a great number of people pass through it, rendering homage to “Mother Road”. There are Devil’s Rope Museum, Bug Ranch and ‘Big Texan Steak Ranch’ steak house.
Fans of Highway 66 are driving down 640 km of asphalt road, which stretches through Arizona. It includes the longest section of the old highway in the country – between Seligman and Topock. Highway 66 unites Winslow with wind-blown streets, William with its vintage center of the 1940s, the Kingman mining community, and the town of the brave Oatman shooters by different, vulgar and not very vulgar roadside sights.
Preparation for the trip on the highway 66:
- If you have a visa and a car, you are almost ready to race through the United States of America. Traveling by car implies its presence: if you are not traveling with friends, who live in the USA and are ready to use their own vehicle, you can rent or buy a car.
- It is worth choosing a car by three criteria: it should consume gasoline sparingly, be comfortable for a long stay in it (ideally, it should be comfortable to take a nap in the backseat) and not cause doubts in reliability. You do not want to get up in downtown Oklahoma and spend three hours wondering what is broken. This, by the way, is the reason to check in advance all the fluids in the car and the working order of vital parts.
- The budget needs to be planned so that you still have money for unforeseen expenses.
- Brainstorming is necessary before traveling. Start with planning a route. Think about how many kilometers a day you are ready to drive: the tracks in foreign states do not tolerate driver fatigue. Sort out which cities you will spend the night in, check their population and appearance in Google, and decide whether there is anything in them, your company of friends or relatives would like to see.
- Think over the smallest things. You will need drops in your eyes, paper towels, warm socks, cigarette lighter charging and an umbrella. Despite this, you do not have to carry everything with you: there are dozens of cities in front of which you can find pharmacies, gas stations and supermarkets. Buy on the road. In addition, it is worth checking the weather forecasts, studying the laws of the states and the differences in the rules of the road.
- All routes in the US are occupied by truckers, who have their own views on road situations, so read about etiquette on the road. Answer all questions in advance. If you forgot the emergency braking technique – recall it. All this will make the trip as enjoyable and safe as possible.
Driving through the deserts of the states of Arizona and Nevada is a real pleasure. The very fact that you are in the past century and you can touch everything with your own hands gives new impressions and forces to your life.