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Because you can't spend all day every day journeying around IgoUgo, editors round up the highlights: members' notable trips, newest reviews, favorite destinations, contests, and more. Have a question or idea? Let us know!

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IgoUgo’s Best Kicks Along Route 66

IgoUgo’s Best Kicks Along Route 66 Photo

Photo by movingon123

Posted on November 13, 2011 in Photos

If you ever plan to motor west, travel my way, take the highway that is best. Get your kicks on Route Sixty-six.

- Words and Music by Bobby Troup, 1946

Some say the romance of the road began on Nov. 11, 1926, the day Route 66 was established. One of the original U.S. highways, it provided a 2,448 mile east-west route through eight states, while the equally famous Highway 61 provided the north-south drive.

While we might romanticize the open road and the freedom of auto travel, it’s obvious to note that in 1926 you would have found no motels, diners or convenience stores along the way. In fact, you would have driven on gravel or dirt road until the late 1930s when paved surfacing was finally completed. As the years progressed, businesses and whole communities flourished along the well-traveled road. And, eventually, it was these same towns that went bust as Route 66 was eventually replaced by five interstates that bypassed the original route. No longer considered important, it was decommissioned in 1985. It brings to mind the 2006 animated film CARS. Set in the fictional Route 66 town of Radiator Springs, the character of Sally expresses a shared sentiment when she says, “Cars didn’t drive on it to make great time, they drove on it to have a great time.”

Fortunately, most of the Mother Road that John Steinbeck devoted a whole chapter to in “The Grapes of Wrath” and Jack Kerouac gives a mention of in “On the Road” still exists. Our IgoUgo members have discovered and re-discovered Historic Route 66 and we bring you a sampling of the must-see sites. Enjoy the music and photos as you motor west to celebrate the 85th birthday of the Main Street of America.

World’s Largest Catsup Bottle

Collinsville, Illinois

This attraction was the water tower for the former Brooks Catsup Plant and was restored in 2002.

Photo by RoBoNC

Chain of Rocks Bridge

Madison, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri, spanning the Mississippi River and on the National Register of Historic Places

“Another location that’s fun is the Chain of Rocks Bridge. It once carried the legendary Route 66 from Illinois into Missouri, but now has been given over to pedestrian and bicycle traffic! The view is great!” - from mlmeredith

Photo by Sally_Moore

Standard Oil Gasoline Station

Odell, Illinois

The Odell Gas Station, built in 1932 and closed in 1975, was restored through the work of the Illinois Route 66 Association’s Preservation Committee and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Photo by Sally_Moore

Gateway Arch

St. Louis, Missouri

"The St. Louis Gateway Arch is remarkable. The Arch is the tallest national monument in the United States at 630 feet and you just don't realize how tall that is until you've stood beside it. The Museum of Westward Expansion is housed at the bottom of the Arch. To tour the museum and see the Arch itself is all free and the view of the Arch along the river is beautiful but you can also pay to ride the tram in the Arch. It is definitely something you will not forget." - from twhite76

Photo by tina Haflett

World’s Largest Totem Pole

Foyil, Oklahoma

“This totem pole, along with everything in the yard, is the vision and effort of one man, Ed Gallaway. He started construction on the park in 1937 and worked on it until his death in. The work is amazing and a great way to take a break from driving. The main attraction is a totem pole that is 90 feet high and took 11 years to complete.” - from onesundaymorning

Photo by onesundaymorning

Rock Café

Stroud, Oklahoma

"Rock Café is a place where everyone must stop if they are traveling Route 66. Not only is it a Route 66 Landmark, but is part of the road, literally. It was built from the rocks that were dug up to pave the mother road." - from onesundaymorning

Photo by onesundaymorning

Photo by onesundaymorning

Restored Phillips 66 Station

McLean, Texas

“While in McLean, stop by and see the restored 1930s Phillips 66 gas station. This is the first Phillips 66 station built in Texas. Phillips 66 stations obviously got their name from the famed highway. Amusingly, in 1939, the company hired nurses to inspect their bathrooms and also assisted motorists in trouble on the highway.” - hersplash

Photo by Sally_Moore

While in McLean, also check out the Devil’s Rope Museum. Advertised as a "Tribute to Barbed Wire", it showcases the history and lore of barbed wire. It is the largest collection of barbed wire and related artifacts in the world, and holds the largest and rarest collection of barbed wire fencing tools.

Cadillac Ranch Art Installation

Amarillo, Texas

"The Cadillac Ranch, located along the remnants of old Route 66 is an intriguing roadside curiosity, to say the least. The 'ranch,' which consists of ten graffiti-covered Cadillacs, upright and half-buried in a barren field in the middle of practically nowhere, was created in 1974. Amarillo's version of Stonehenge was cooked up by Stanley Marsh III, a local helium tycoon. Most people who visit the site leave their mark on it--literally--so don't forget to bring your can of spray paint along." - from Kellie R

Photo by onesundaymorning

Photo by BawBaw

Photo by melissabowman

Britten Truck Stop Water Tower

Amarillo, Texas

This popular photo op near Groom, Texas was once a working water tower.

Photo by BawBaw

Blue Swallow Motel

Tucumcari, New Mexico

"This is the motor court that Route 66 lovers dream about. The Blue Swallow was built in 1939, but its most famous owner was Lillian Redman, a former Harvey Girl, who owned the motel from 1958 to 1997." - from MissKitty

Photo by Sally_Moore

Wigwam Motel

Holbrook, Arizona

"The Wigwam Motel is classic Route 66, built in the 1940s. You can't miss it driving on Hopi Drive, the big tall "wigwams" are very visible. I think the motel has regular motel rooms and 'wigwams' so if you want to stay in a teepee shaped room, be sure to ask." - from Kellie R

Photo by HankFontaine

Former Mining Town of Oatman

Arizona at the Nevada border

"This small town was an abandoned gold miners town that the miners left many moons ago--they left their burros behind. The burros went up into the hills and they live there, coming down to this town to get fed by the townspeople and the tourists. A small herd of them (maybe 20 -30) come down daily into the town and there are hundreds in the hills." - from anjieh guide

Photo by Sally_Moore

Photo by anjieh guide

Check out more photos of Route 66

Posted by Nik’sMom (Terre Grilli)

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