Editor’s Note: Following are links to Route 66 articles that first appeared on our U.S. Long Cuts blog. We are merging U.S. Long Cuts with Midwest Wanderer, adding a “Beyond the Midwest” menu.
Getting a Few Kicks on the Way to Phoenix – March 2015
Skip was attending a conference in Phoenix, and we decided to drive instead of fly. We had three days to get there, so we took the Interstate most of the way but got off here and there to do bits and pieces of Route 66.
Day 1: Chicago area to Tulsa
Since we’ve already explored parts of Route 66 from Chicago to Miami, Oklahoma, Day 1 was a no-nonsense, just-get-there day, to give us extra time to lollygag along the rest of the trip.
Day 2: Tulsa, Oklahoma to Tucumcari, New Mexico
We were drawn to Tally’s Good Food Café in Tulsa, just down the street from our motel, by the nostalgic Route 66 theme and where oldies play both outside and in. The seven-inch blueberry pancakes are chock full of berries, the plate-size cinnamon roll, a special the day of our visit, buttery and sweet.
Day 3: Tucumcari, New Mexico, to Holbrook, Arizona
We took the suggestion of last night’s dinner waiter and had breakfast at Kix on 66, the top-rated Tucumcari restaurant on Trip Advisor. Kix is a typical small-town Route 66 diner with American and Mexican food.
Days 4 – 6: Arizona: Holbrook to Phoenix
Route: On the last leg of our trip from the Chicago area to Phoenix, we jumped off of I-40/Route 66 and took Arizona State Route 77, 377, 260, and 87, also known as the Hashknife Pony Express Trail.
The time sprang forward on the Sunday we woke up in Holbrook, but Arizona doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time except on Native American reservations. Darkness was just beginning to lift as we left our tepee at the Wigwam Motel at 7 a.m.
Returning from Phoenix – March 2015
Adrian, Texas: The Route 66 Midpoint
Adrian, Texas, bills itself as the midpoint of historic Route 66, 1,139 miles from Chicago and 1,139 miles from Los Angeles.
Breakfast at Hickory Inn Cafe on Texas Route 66
We continued east on Route 66 looking for a restaurant to eat breakfast after striking out in Adrian, Texas, the Route 66 midpoint. The next eatery we came across was the Hickory Inn Café in Vega, a plain, long red sided building. An old flat-bed truck with “Mater” eyeballs painted on the windshield and a cow statue standing on the back stood at the corner of the restaurant.
Blue Swallow Motel: Neon Lights and Refrigerated Air on Route 66
“Welcome to 1939,” announced proprietor Nancy Mueller as she swung open the door to Room 6. We really could have been stepping back in time at the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico, judging by the vintage furniture, a chenille bedspread and a real, working 1939 black rotary dial phone on the desk.
Lucille: Mother of the Mother Road
We stopped at Lucille’s Roadhouse in Weatherford, Oklahoma, for lunch on our drive out to Phoenix. The restaurant was fairly new, big and bright with multiple dining rooms and a Route 66 theme. What we didn’t know at the time was that we had passed the original Lucille’s down the road in Provine, the business and home of the late Lucille Hamons, Mother of the Mother Road.
Buffalo Run Hotel and Casino: Comfy Bed and Loose Slots
Our last night on our round trip drive to Phoenix brought us to Miami (pronounced my-am-ə), Oklahoma. Route 66 runs through Miami, but as much as we enjoyed our stops at all the Route 66 attractions and stays in Route 66 vintage motels, we were in the mood for something a little different.
Editor’s Note: The following articles were from a trip we took west from Santa Monica Pier east through Oklahoma in June 2015.
Santa Monica Pier: The West End of Route 66
We had been on the road for eleven days before we reached the beginning of the Route 66 leg of our nineteen-day trip.
Route 66 – Santa Monica to Barstow
Leaving Santa Monica Pier around 11 a.m., Skip is insistent that we drive every inch of Route 66. Unfortunately, there is construction, and his plan is down the drain before we even begin.
Route 66 – Barstow to Oatman
Back on the road after snapping a few pictures in Barstow, California, we continue east on Route 66. The road isn’t in real good shape here. In fact, it’s so bad they’ve installed “rough road” signs.
Route 66 – Oatman to Seligman
We leave the casino hotel where we stayed in Laughlin, Nevada, and drive back to Oatman, yesterday’s Route 66 ending point. Route 66 on the east side of Oatman runs through the mountains—beautiful views but nerve wracking roads.
Route 66 – Seligman to Williams
As we drive east from Seligman, Arizona, toward Williams on the longest stretch of uninterrupted Route 66, we come across a series of Burma Shave signs.
Route 66 – Williams to Gallup
We’re on the road early following our Saturday night in Williams, Arizona. We have a detour to make before we continue on Route 66, a 300 mile round trip detour south on I-17 to Phoenix to deliver some items to a family member.
Route 66 – Gallup to Santa Fe
Route 66 originally passed through Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico. In 1938 a realignment changed the route to run between Albuquerque and Santa Rosa, bypassing Santa Fe and cutting off 90 miles from the route. There are two stories behind the realignment. One story is that it was a better engineering decision; the other is a story of political revenge.
Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi: 7 Fascinating Facts
One of the things we enjoy doing in our travels is visiting old churches, especially unique small chapels or ornate cathedrals and basilicas. While not as old as some European churches, we’ve found many beautiful North American basilicas with interesting histories, including the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Native American Market at Palace of the Governors
Native American artisans set up shop daily on the portal of Santa Fe, New Mexico’s Palace of the Governors, the oldest continuously occupied building in the United States. Expertly crafted southwestern-style jewelry, pottery, and wood carvings are displayed atop cloths on the ground in the artisans’ designated three-and-a-half foot spaces in the covered portal.
The Miraculous Staircase of Loretto Chapel
Have you ever heard about a place as a child that so impressed you that it made it onto your adulthood places-to-see list? The Miraculous Staircase of Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is one of those places for me. I wanted to see it ever since I learned about it in my Catholic grammar school. Five decades later, during our Route 66 road trip, I finally got there.
What Makes Santa Fe Different
Santa Fe, New Mexico, is known as “City Different.” Judging from the 36 hours or so we spent there, we couldn’t agree more. We found Santa Fe to be fascinating, and it was by far our favorite city on our three-week road trip. Here’s what we think makes Santa Fe different from other U.S. cities:
Route 66 – Santa Fe to Amarillo
After two nights in Santa Fe, we get back on Route 66 headed east. This will be another full day of driving to make it all the way to Amarillo, but it’s an adventure as we drive through changing terrain, stop to check out roadside attractions and encounter a colorful local.
Route 66 – Amarillo through Oklahoma
We’re on the home stretch now of our Route 66 trip from Santa Monica east to Chicago. We don’t plan to stop at anymore sites in Texas after we leave Amarillo, but as we’re passing through Shamrock, the last Texas Route 66 city approaching from the west, we see the old U Drop Inn.