Route 66 Trip
...Get Your Kicks on Route 66!
Route 66 is a road that used to run from the center of Chicago Illinois to Los Angeles (Now the Santa Monica Pier). It was labeled the “Mother Road” by John Steinbeck in the Grapes of Wrath written in 1940. The road was commissioned at the end of 1926 and became a famous escape route from the depression and dust bowl with folks seeking escape from the dust ravaged central states looking for a better life in the promised land of California. The road was ultimately doomed with Dwight D Eisenhower’s signature on the National Interstate and Defense Highway’s Act in June of 1956 beginning the conversion of the Mother Road into a freeway system soon afterward. As such the Highway hit its peak about 1957 just before it began being over-paved as a freeway. The 1957 routing I believe is the best Routing. The road has many routings include early ones that have dirt roads included on the primary path and although we’ll see some of those, we’ll primarily stick to the most famous and best.
If any of you would like to meet in advance and watch a few shows and discuss the road, just let me know and we can do that. It’s fun knowing the history of the most famous highway in the world. More than forty thousand Europeans fly to the US every year just to drive/ride/hike the Mother Road.
The Journey: Departure from Norfolk Area would be Friday 30 September. Proposed start date from Chicago is Sunday 2 October.
Friday 30 September: depart Hampton Roads area (for those departing different areas they can plan accordingly). It’s a 14 hour drive that i did in one sitting last time.
Saturday 01 October: Tour Motor Row and other interesting historical parts of Chicago and wait to Rendezvous with any late comers to Chicago.
Sunday 02 October: Depart along Illinois historic sections of Route 66.
Sunday 02 October to Saturday 15 October: 14 days to travel the approximately 2200 miles of Route 66 with an average of about 200 miles a day. Some will be shorter and some will be longer. We will journey mostly along the 1957 routing of the road. Some of that routing is no longer passable as bridges and modifications to the landscape have made that impossible. We will go from the sign that marks the beginning of Route 66 in Chicago all the way to the sign that marks the end on the Santa Monica Pier.
Saturday 15 October: The journey ends.
You can chose to drive back or arrange for car shipment back to Norfolk. Should you wish to drive back to your home location, that’s of course your option. I will be loading my Corvette on a truck and flying home sometime that day.
I do not have a “hard schedule on when and where” as that takes away from the trip. We currently have 5 potential cars/groups and a very small film crew. I tend to start with a hard date and end with a hard date but everything in between should be somewhat fluid. The major and most significant point of the trip is to have fun and see the old road before it’s gone forever. You will see along the way many of the old restaurants, hotels, inns, are closed up. Many are still there. Some are being restored. My particular interest in the route is the history and the background of the old road. Taking a car along Route 66 is more of a time travel experience than it is a road trip.
Transportation: They are probably about what you’d expect. Whatever your costs of driving to Chicago (or transportation if you so desire), travel along 2200 miles of road and then return driving or transportation. Last time i drove it, i put a total of about 3300 miles on my Vette from Norfolk to Chicago to Los Angeles. I get 14MPG so i sucked up about 235 gallons of gas.
Lodging: 14-16 days of lodging all of which is along Route 66. Rooms will run anywhere from 50 per night to 200 depending on how you want to go. I stayed in mostly older historic hotels and probably averaged about 75.00 per night overall. So 75X15= $1125.00. If you have richer tastes, that might be a bit more for you.
Attractions: most of what you want to see is free. I’d certainly budget a few hundred bucks for attractions as there are some that you will have to pay for.
Food: I’m a simple guy and love Waffle house. Breakfast is 10 bucks or less. I probably averaged about 30 – 40 or so a day for food so 35X15= $525.00 per person or so.
Vehicle transportation from LA to Norfolk: about 1200-1500 dollars. I’m working on a dedicated truck now that will be enclosed. This is for a standard “Camaro or Corvette” sized car.
Maintenance: I had some of the most fun on the trip dealing with 50 year old car problems. I built a fan shroud out of boxes and tape, replaced a fan belt twice, hit bad traffic at one point and dealt with overheating problems. We hit hail storms, horrible rain storms, and very high desert temperatures in Arizona and California. Those are some of the most memorable segments of the journey. My goal would be to ensure we had sufficient tools, jacks, materials to take care of most normal problems. Should you have an issue that renders your car lame, it can be shipped back and you can join another vehicle to complete the journey.
Suggested Study: Watch the Grapes of Wrath with Henry Fonda and the History channels special on Route 66.
I’m sure there’s more to discuss but this is enough to start the discussions. Please review and give me an idea of whether or not you’re truly interested. If not, there are others who are interested but I’d like to keep the group to a more manageable number. To me the Route 66 Pilgrimage is a magical tour of America’s best time. A friend of mine who VERY reluctantly joined me on my last journey stated about half way through the trip “This is the best vacation I’ve ever had” and all we did was drive on an old road. Check out last year’s trip here!
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