Wow, I cannot believe it’s been 5 years since my husband and I embarked on our Route 66 Road Trip! We had such an amazing time together. I always say that when you find someone you travel well with, you should marry them! Also, if you’re thinking about taking a Route 66 Road Trip, go for it! Go! Go now! The road changes so quickly with motels and roadside attractions closing or being torn down (for example, the Pony Soldier Motel sign below is already gone), so go! Go see it before it’s gone or modernized beyond recognition!
And, if you’re currently researching and planning a Route 66 Road Trip, this is a great place to start! I have links below to every single day of our trip with photos of almost everything and I’ve included links to places we visited as well as the motels in which we stayed.
Technically, we still haven’t completed our Route 66 Road Trip! I think because we live in Los Angeles, we never “finished” the LA part of the route. We went to the technical end of the Mother Road at Lincoln and Olympic (which is pretty uneventful and not very photogenic) but we didn’t make it to the unofficial “End of the Trail” at the Santa Monica Pier because it was a Saturday. If you don’t know, a Saturday in Santa Monica means two things: traffic and a shit ton of people! I wasn’t about to park 10 blocks away just to go to the Santa Monica Pier, so we said we would go back another day.
So, yeah, now it’s been 5 years and we still haven’t made it to the Santa Monica Pier! But we did buy a house in an area of Los Angeles just off the Mother Road with plenty of historic neons and Route 66 locations nearby, so we like to think that we’re just still on the road trip!
Oh, and, I guess we picked up a couple of tiny hitchhikers along the way! I’m really looking forward to doing a Route 66 road trip with the twins when they get a bit older, but I’m also so glad we did the trip 5 years ago pre-kids where we got to really take our time, explore the tiny towns, and not have to stop at every kid friendly place or bathroom along the way.
We’re also looking forward to taking the twins to the Santa Monica Pier sometime soon and I’ll post a photo of the official end of our road trip once we do!
Ok, so if you’re planning your own Route 66 trip, we did the trip in 17 days from Chicago to Los Angeles taking turn-by-turn directions along the original Route 66 lines. We only strayed from the original road once in St. Louis when we got a bit lost in a part of town we didn’t belong in and we decided to just jump on the highway and drive to our hotel. If you’re planning to do the original route and staying off the new highways as much as you can, then I highly recommend this book.
Here’s my day by day guide:
- Day 1: Chicago, IL to Springfield, IL
- Day 2: Springfield, IL to St. Louis, MO
- Day 3: St Louis, MO to Lebanon, MO
- Day 4: Lebanon, MO to Carthage, MO
- Day 5: Carthage, MO, to Oklahoma City, OK
- Day 6: Oklahoma City, OK, to Shamrock, TX
- Day 7: Shamrock, TX to Amarillo, TX
- Day 8: Amarillo, TX to Tucumcari, NM
- Day 8: I gave Tucumcari it’s own post because I was in neon sign heaven!
- Day 9: Tucumcari, NM to Santa Fe, NM
- Day 10: Santa Fe, NM to Albuquerque, NM
- Day 11: Albuquerque, NM to Gallup, NM
- Day 12: Gallup, NM to Holbrook, AZ
- Day 13: Holbrook, AZ to Flagstaff, AZ
- Day 14: Flagstaff, AZ to Kingman, AZ
- Day 15: Kingman, AZ to Rialto, CA
- Day 16: Rialto, CA to Pasadena, CA
- Day 17: Pasadena, CA to Santa Monica, CA
And, just in case you needed a little bit more convincing, here are a few more of my favorite photos from along the Route 66 Mother Road!
You can also check out my post on the Best Vintage Signs along Route 66!
And if you need help with what to pack, check out my Route 66 Road Trip Essentials post right here (coming soon).