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Plenty of kicks left along Route 66




Running 2,448 well-worn miles from Chicago to Los Angeles, crossing eight states and three time zones, Route 66, America’s first paved highway, was the "mother road" of dreams to those embracing the promise of America’s west.

At its peak, Route 66 was lined with gas stations, diners and motor courts. But, even now, you can still "get your kicks on Route 66."

Here are a few places to stop along the way.

    Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch Oro Grande, California

    This is where you’ll find bottles of all colors, shapes and sizes, hanging on branches in a forest of wooden beams—in the middle of the California Desert. It’s run by Elmer Long, whose father collected bottles from the desert and then willed them to Elmer when he died. In 2000, Elmer decided to start making art with the glass bottles, and the roadside installation was born. If it’s a windy day, you’re in luck: All the bottles ring like wind chimes.

      The corner in Winslow © DBSOCAL / SHUTTERSTOCK

      Remembrance Garden Winslow, Arizona

      The most famous corner on Route 66 (thanks to the Eagles’ song "Take It Easy") is in Winslow, where Route 66 meets North Kinsley Avenue, now known as Standin’ on the Corner Park.

      Winslow is also home to a quieter and lesser-known spot: the 9-11 Remembrance Garden, constructed from two beams from the wreckage of the World Trade Center (said to be the two largest pieces of debris shipped to any town).

        Image of Seligman Sundries.

        Arizona (complete with flatbed Ford) © MNSTUDIO / SHUTTERSTOCK

        Angel & Vilma’s Original Route 66 Gift Shop Seligman, Arizona

        In 1978, Angel Delgadillo, aka "The Guardian Angel of Route 66," and his brother organized a group to make Route 66 a "historic" highway. Angel just turned 92 and remains a great storyteller about the mother road. Also check out Historic Seligman Sundries (on the National Register of Historic Places), which does triple duty as a visitor center, coffee bar (the town’s only one) and vintage soda fountain.

          Image of canyon with rainbow.

          Seligman Sundries © MATT WHITTEN / SHUTTERSTOCK

            Musical Road Tijeras, New Mexico

            Just west of Tijeras, between mile markers 4 and 5, you’ll spot the "Musical Road" sign. The signs on the side of the road tell you to reduce your speed to 45 miles per hour, and if you do exactly 45 mph you’ll be rewarded with a rumble-strip version of "America the Beautiful."

              Palo Duro Canyon State Park Canyon, Texas

              This park is not on Route 66—it’s 30 minutes outside Amarillo—but it’s worth the stop. Palo Duro Canyon is the second-largest canyon in the U.S. after the Grand Canyon. It is 120 miles long, as much as 20 miles wide in sections and has a maximum depth of 800 feet. I recommend a horseback ride into the canyon for stunning views of the rock formations.

                OK County 66 Arcadia, Oklahoma

                This quirky roadside museum is dedicated to all things Route 66: miniature replicas of attractions along the route, and vintage signs and relics. The interior is decorated like an old drive-in movie theater and 1950s diner. And to top it off, there’s a lawn filled with old Thunderbirds.

                  Galena, Kansas

                  Kansas has the shortest stretch of the old Route 66 (only 13 miles), but Galena, Kansas, more than holds its own.

                  Built in 1890, the Murder Bordello’s building functioned as a brothel for 40 years.

                  Legend says a mother and her three sons ran the establishment, killing many of their customers and dumping their bodies after stealing their money.

                  Many visitors and locals swear that the bordello—now a British antiques store—is haunted, citing inexplicable events such as objects moving by themselves and continued sightings of strange figures and shadows.—PG

                  Route 66’s moniker "mother road" was coined by John Steinbeck in his classic 1939 novel, The Grapes of Wrath.

                    Running 2,448 well-worn miles from Chicago to Los Angeles, crossing eight states and three time zones, Route 66, America’s first paved highway, was the "mother road" of dreams to those embracing the promise of America’s west.

                    At its peak, Route 66 was lined with gas stations, diners and motor courts. But, even now, you can still "get your kicks on Route 66."

                    Here are a few places to stop along the way.

                      Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch Oro Grande, California

                      This is where you’ll find bottles of all colors, shapes and sizes, hanging on branches in a forest of wooden beams—in the middle of the California Desert. It’s run by Elmer Long, whose father collected bottles from the desert and then willed them to Elmer when he died. In 2000, Elmer decided to start making art with the glass bottles, and the roadside installation was born. If it’s a windy day, you’re in luck: All the bottles ring like wind chimes.

                        The corner in Winslow © DBSOCAL / SHUTTERSTOCK

                        Remembrance Garden Winslow, Arizona

                        The most famous corner on Route 66 (thanks to the Eagles’ song "Take It Easy") is in Winslow, where Route 66 meets North Kinsley Avenue, now known as Standin’ on the Corner Park.

                        Winslow is also home to a quieter and lesser-known spot: the 9-11 Remembrance Garden, constructed from two beams from the wreckage of the World Trade Center (said to be the two largest pieces of debris shipped to any town).

                          Image of Seligman Sundries.

                          Arizona (complete with flatbed Ford) © MNSTUDIO / SHUTTERSTOCK

                          Angel & Vilma’s Original Route 66 Gift Shop Seligman, Arizona

                          In 1978, Angel Delgadillo, aka "The Guardian Angel of Route 66," and his brother organized a group to make Route 66 a "historic" highway. Angel just turned 92 and remains a great storyteller about the mother road. Also check out Historic Seligman Sundries (on the National Register of Historic Places), which does triple duty as a visitor center, coffee bar (the town’s only one) and vintage soda fountain.

                            Image of canyon with rainbow.

                            Seligman Sundries © MATT WHITTEN / SHUTTERSTOCK

                              Musical Road Tijeras, New Mexico

                              Just west of Tijeras, between mile markers 4 and 5, you’ll spot the "Musical Road" sign. The signs on the side of the road tell you to reduce your speed to 45 miles per hour, and if you do exactly 45 mph you’ll be rewarded with a rumble-strip version of "America the Beautiful."

                                Palo Duro Canyon State Park Canyon, Texas

                                This park is not on Route 66—it’s 30 minutes outside Amarillo—but it’s worth the stop. Palo Duro Canyon is the second-largest canyon in the U.S. after the Grand Canyon. It is 120 miles long, as much as 20 miles wide in sections and has a maximum depth of 800 feet. I recommend a horseback ride into the canyon for stunning views of the rock formations.

                                  OK County 66 Arcadia, Oklahoma

                                  This quirky roadside museum is dedicated to all things Route 66: miniature replicas of attractions along the route, and vintage signs and relics. The interior is decorated like an old drive-in movie theater and 1950s diner. And to top it off, there’s a lawn filled with old Thunderbirds.

                                    Galena, Kansas

                                    Kansas has the shortest stretch of the old Route 66 (only 13 miles), but Galena, Kansas, more than holds its own.

                                    Built in 1890, the Murder Bordello’s building functioned as a brothel for 40 years.

                                    Legend says a mother and her three sons ran the establishment, killing many of their customers and dumping their bodies after stealing their money.

                                    Many visitors and locals swear that the bordello—now a British antiques store—is haunted, citing inexplicable events such as objects moving by themselves and continued sightings of strange figures and shadows.—PG

                                    Route 66’s moniker "mother road" was coined by John Steinbeck in his classic 1939 novel, The Grapes of Wrath.


                                      Image of Peter Greenburg

                                      Peter Greenberg is the multiple–Emmy Award–winning travel editor for CBS News and host of The Travel Detective on public television (petergreenberg.com).


                                       
                                       
                                       
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