Snaking across the nation's belly, this fragile ribbon of concrete was the USA's original road trip, connecting Chicago with Los Angeles in 1926. Neon signs, motor courts, pie-filled diners, and drive-in theaters sprouted along the way. Many remain, and tracing Route 66 today is a time-warped journey through small town America.
Nostalgia and kitsch are your constant companions on the old thoroughfare. Nicknamed the "Mother Road" and "Main Street USA," Route 66 became popular during the Depression, when Dust Bowl migrants drove west in beat-up jalopies. After WWII, middle-class motorists hit the road for fun in their Chevys. Eventually bypassed by interstates, Route 66 was decommissioned in 1985. Driving it nowadays means seeking out blue-line highways and gravel frontage roads.
In honor of summer road tripping, Lonely Planet is giving away a free itinerary each week, taken from its upcoming book USA's Best Trips: 99 Themed Itineraries Across America, including the historically popular and since rejuvenated, Route 66. The selected road trips are as diverse as America itself and cover every region of the USA. Itineraries already available for download are Route 66: Monitoring the Mother Road, Pacific Northwest Grand Tour and New Jersey Diners: Open 24 Hours. Future itineraries will include 60 Lighthouses in 60 Hours, Green Chile Adventure, Skyline Drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Up the Inside Passage, Wet & Wild West Coast, Tripping Through Grand Teton & Yellowstone, and Lake Lovers' Trail. Check out Lonely Planet's Facebook for more details.
For more ideas on hitting the open road, check out Away.com's 11 Classic Road Trips.
Reproduction with the permission from USA's Best Trips: 99 Themed Itineraries © 2010 Lonely Planet
|Email this post|||||Permalink|