Route 66, also known as US Highway 66/the Main Street of America/the Great Diagonal Way, is embedded in the consciousness of a million Americans as 'The Mother Road', built in 1926 to connect Chicago's industry with Los Angeles' bright lights, as well as proving an essential escape path for farming families ('Okies') heading for California to escape the Dust Bowl agricultural collapse during the 1930's.
At 2,500 miles Route 66 is way too long for a joy ride, especially the endlessly dull early sections, but the SW USA has embraced the old road as a tourist attraction, preserving ancient buildings and sights and offering appropriate lodgings, eateries and museums celebrating this, the ultimate US Road Trip.
Old Route 66 through Arizona.
Photo by Correas Samaniego
Although US 66 signs were removed throughout the USA in 1985 nostalgia and a desire for tourist bucks has encouraged various states - such as Arizona and New Mexico - to designate the old road as a National Scenic Byways and install signs inscribed 'Historic Route 66', sometimes with additional information. In California the road is sometimes marked as State Route 66.
The Chamber of Commerce, Shamrock, Texas. Fill it up G'uvnor!
Photo by Clinton Steeds
For Road Trippers who have a limited time to enjoy Route 66 the most interesting section is the 860 miles from Amarillo in Texas to the Grand Canyon and on to Las Vegas, a road as rich in sights as in history and mostly traffic free.
A classic snack-stop on former Route 66 in Seligman, Arizona
Photo by PMDrive1061
Old Route 66 between Oatman and Kingman, through the Black Mountains of west Arizona, the most difficult and dangerous part of the entire highway. It's still open - though a lot less dangerous - today.
Another useful and apparently historical lodging attraction on 66, a wigwam hotel.
Photo by Marcin Wichary
Get your motor running! Head out on the highway! Live to Ride! Born to Run! etc!
More on Historic Route 66
Pacific Coast Highway, California | Route 24, Utah
Los Angeles Guide | Arizona Guide | New Mexico Guide
Southwest USA Map | South West USA Pictures | US Festivals & Events | USA