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Chicago & Route 66

Chicago “The Windy City.”

Walk along the lakefront, take in the shops and parks and grab a Chicago Dog to keep you fuelled whilst you explore the many sites this city has to offer.  Stand at the corner of Michigan and Adams as this is the historic starting point of Route 66. Look up at the Wallis Tower which is one of the tallest buildings in North America or pay a visit to the Skydeck on the 103rd floor to enjoy the stunning views across the city. Walk along the famous Navy Pier with its amusements and entertainment. The magnificent mile is where you go if shopping is your thing. 

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Route 66

Why not pick up a Mustang and drive the iconic Route 66. This legendary route passes through a large variety of American states and landscapes from Chicago to Los Angeles giving you the chance to really get to know the U.S.A.

 Pass through endless cornfields and flat prairies towards St Louis. En route, take in Wilmington’s most photographed 'citizen', the larger-than-life green Gemini Giant, and Atlanta’s Bunyan Giant, a 19-foot statue of Paul Bunyan holding an enormous  hot dog. In Springfield, pay a visit to the Cozy Dog Drive-In, the birthplace of the corn dog before exploring the legacy of Abraham Lincoln by visiting the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. Once you reach St. Louis which is the largest city along Route 66, you can follow in the footsteps of legendary explorers by visiting the historic sites found throughout the city, including the Gateway Arch. 

Springfield

Continue through the Ozark Highlands of southern Missouri to Springfield, recognized by many as the birthplace of Route 66. En route amust is a visit to the  Meramec Caverns, an extensive set of natural limestone caves whose formations and colours are as unique as they are beautiful. Once used by the legendary Jesse James  as a hideout before using the underground river to escape through the 'back door'.

Tulsa – Oklahoma City

Next morning, cut through the south eastern corner othe state of Kansas on your way to Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma section of Route 66 contains more drivable miles than any other state as well as several miles of the original 9-foot road segment used by Oklahoman families headed west in search of better opportunities during the 1930’s. En route to Oklahoma City, stop to view the  20-foot tall cement Blue Whale in Catoosa, a landmark along Route 66, and the Cyrus Avery Route 66 Memorial Bridge in Tulsa honouring the Father of Route 66’s memory and connection to the historic highway.Ok;ahoma itself is full of Route 66 icons , both eateries and museums.

Oklahoma – Amarillo

Continue to Amarillo, located in the flat plains of the Texas Panhandle. This area of Texas was once the buffalo-rich grasslands of the Great Plains, inhabited by Kiowa and Comanche Indians. Stop at the Route 66 Museum in Clinton where you you can witness six decades of Route 66 history. See Shamrock’s Tower Station and the U-Drop Inn Cafe whose towering spire is still a reminder of the booming business it once saw in a bygone era. See the first restored Phillips 66 gas station in McLean and in Groom, the leaning water tower and a 150 foot tall stainless steel cross. Once in Amarillo, be sure to be hungry as you visit  Big Texas Steak Ranch where you can attempt their 72oz. steak challenge. 

Albuquerque

Before leaving Amarillo be sure to visit Cadillac Ranch. This unique display of art features a row of ten colourfully painted Cadillac cars buried grille first in the ground. Continue to the Midpoint Café in Adrian famous for its 'ugly crust‛ pies. From Adrian you’ll follow Route 66 to Albuquerque, New Mexico for a great taste of the Land of Enchantment. 

The state’s largest city, Albuquerque spreads along the banks of the famous Rio Grande. Spend the day exploring Downtown Albuquerque’s Central Avenue, a treasure trove of Route 66 landmarks. The Historic Old Town offers a taste of New Mexico’s Spanish colonial past while the Indian Pueblo Cultural Centre, owned by the state’s 19 different Pueblo communities, traces the history of the region’s Native American cultures. Alternatively, and to get a true sense of the Old Route 66 today, you can take a daytrip to New Mexico’s state capital, Santa Fe. Founded on the ruins of an abandoned Indian village and steeped in history, Santa Fe is the oldest capital in the U.S., and although technically not part of Route 66 it warrants a visit as it remains one of the most picturesque cities in the state.

Flagstaff

The next day, the state of Arizona welcomes Route 66 travellers with an intriguing display of trading posts. View huge concrete tepees that stand at the foot of brilliant red-rock mesas, en route to Petrified Forest National Park, the only park in the National Park System containing a section of Historic Route 66. Here you will encounter over 13,000 years of human history and one of the world’s largest and most colourful assemblies of petrified wood, historic structures and archeological sites. Passing through Holbrook, stop at the Wigwam Motel with its modernised tepees, featuring modern conveniences which have welcomed guests since the 1950’s. Continue to Flagstaff for your overnight stay. 

Sedona – Grand Canyon/Williams

Drive down winding Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona, a desert town surrounded by red-rock buttes, steep canyon walls and pine forests or stop half-way at the “Slide Rock” to cool off in a slippery creek. In the afternoon, head towards Williams and the Grand Canyon. 

Grand Canyon/Williams

Spend the day discovering the South Rim of the Canyon. Thiis is a day to simply look in awe athe views! Stop at one of the numerous overlooks, walk part of the Rim Trail or along the historic Hermit Road. Visit a Photo Hot Spot or climb to the top of a stone Watchtower for panoramic views that extend over 100 miles on clear days. Be amazed by a natural wonder that you simply have to see to believe and make sure to catch either sunrise or sunset.

Day 12: Grand Canyon/Williams – Las Vegas

Leave the town of Williams and the Grand Canyon behind as you make your way to Seligman, the first stop heading west on the longest uninterrupted stretch of Route 66. Continue through Kingman whose old Route 66 cafés and motels still flourish, to one of Arizona’s hidden treasures, Hoover Dam straddling the mighty Colorado River, which forms the border between Nevada and Arizona and brings much-needed water and power to the Southwest. Continue to Las Vegas, Nevada, a city that needs no introduction. 

 Las Vegas

Enjoy at least a full day Las Vegas style. Walk the famous Strip lined with mega-resorts and flashing neon lights, place a bet or two at one of the many casinos, dine at world-class restaurants, catch the latest must-see show, shop designer boutiques, ride a rollercoaster, lay by the pool... The list goes on. With so much to do, 24 hours in a day hardly seems like enough. So stay longer if you must.

Santa Monica – Los Angeles

When ready to move on, set out through the Mojave Desert for Calico Ghost Town, California’s authentic silver mining town and one of the few original mining camps of the Old West. Rejoin Route 66 in Barstow where a collection of historic photographs and artifacts related to Route 66 and the Mojave Desert communities are on display at the Route 66 Mother Road Museum. Continue through Pasadena, Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills to Santa Monica for a true Hollywood ending to your cross-country journey. Park and venture the last few blocks on foot to view the 'End of the Trail‛ sign on Santa Monica’s Pier. This sign officially marks the western end of Historic Route 66. 

Los Angeles Area

Spend the day strolling along the beaches of Santa Monica or browsing the adjacent indoor/outdoor shops at Third Street Promenade. Or further explore L.A.’s one-of-a-kind destinations, playgrounds of the rich and famous and architectural gems. Universal Studios Hollywood and Anaheim’s original Disneyland Park are also located within easy driving distance.

It's quite a journey with so much interest along the way. 

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