Thinking of taking a ride this summer, maybe with your club, your significant other, or just by yourself? With numerous choices for motorcycle road trips, you should consider Historic Route 66, the whole route, part of the route or even renting a Harley or Goldwing and going half the route, it’s a ride filled with nostalgia and memories.
Commissioned in 1926, Route 66 travels through eight states and covers 2448 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica and back. Originally ending in Los Angeles, with only 800 paved miles of road, in 1935 the route was extended to Santa Monica, and it is stated that between 1936 and 1938 over 210,000 people fled the Midwest to California on Route 66, also know as the “Mother Road”.
In 1956, when the highway commission approved the Interstate Highway System, it was the end of Route 66. In 1984, Route 66 was replace by Interstate 55, I-44, I-40, I-15 and I-10 and Route 66 was decommissioned, but by the late 1990’s Route 66 was declared a State Heritage Tourism Project and came back to life.
If you’re thinking of taking a motorcycle trip on Route 66, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Start East and Head West! Basically you are leaving the cooler temps for the warmer temps (this only works on the one-way route). Once you get to the warmer states you can unload some of that heavy clothing and ship it back to where you started instead of carrying it.
- Travel in the Spring or the Fall! The temperatures in the desert can be extreme in both the Summer and Winter months, so it’s best to travel in the Spring or Fall so that weather conditions are more consistent and predictable (or at least they use to be).
- Bring Real, Hard Copy, Up-To-Date Maps! In this day and age of GPS navigation systems, the art of reading a map is going by the wayside, but some of the areas along Route 66 are quite desolate and are not in range of some navigation systems.
The Eight States you will travel through include:
- Illinois (Springfield would be a great place to visit the home of Abe Lincoln)
- Missouri (St. Louis is a great stop)
- Oklahoma (The Will Rogers Museum is in Claremont)
- Texas (Adrian is the midpoint of the Route)
- New Mexico (Check out the El Rancho Hotel & Motel in Gallup)
- Arizona (Seligman is a great historic town to visit)
- California (The Beach will be waiting for you)
Seligman, Arizona is actually the inspiration for the movie Cars by Disney/Pixar, while New Mexico has rows of neon signs and historic motels. The actual midpoint can be found in Adrian, Texas, 1339 miles from Chicago to the east and 1339 miles to LA heading west.
One of the popular motorcycle rental companies is Eaglerider USA, offering a wide range of touring bikes and planned trips that will allow you to get from one end of Route 66 to the other on a motorcycle. If it seems a little long for you to be on a motorcycle, consider just a small portion of the route, anywhere you travel on Route 66, you’ll find a piece of history.
Ever take the ride? We’d love to show your pictures and hear your stories!