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4 all-American things to do on Route 66

North America

It's a road steeped in the stuff that legends are made of.

Representing freedom for some and opportunity for others, America's cross country artery is etched in our collective conscious.

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A motorist travels west on US Route 66 near Riverton, Kansas.

Nowadays it may no longer enjoy complete driving status but it still attracts travellers like no other. Come road tripping with Trafalgar along the iconic Route 66.

2016 is the 90th anniversary of Route 66 and it's all about the journey as you hit this famous highway from Chicago to L.A. Known as the Main Street of America, the stops on this 'bucket list' experience reveal classic Americana.

Beginning in Chicago and travelling just short of 4000 km to Los Angeles on the west coast the Mother Road tracks the journey of mid-western Americans desperate to escape the notorious Dust Bowl of the 1930's and post war veterans eager to take advantage of the open spaces and freedom they fought so hard to win.

Begin your guided holiday in the Windy City, where you will take in the elegant Lakeshore Drive and the Magnificent Mile before hitting the road for a good, old-fashioned American road trip. Explore the history and cultural impact of America's Mother Road at the Route 66 Association Hall of Fame and Museum. Roll on to Springfield, on the way to St. Louis, the Gateway to the West.

 

 

 

Take me to St Louis

The view from atop the famed St. Louis Gateway Arch is a must and afterward experience another American favourite with a guided tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. From the stables of the Clydesdales to the tasting room-where you enjoy a sample of this Cultural Insight. And what goes better with beer than barbecue? Learn to mix up your own sweet and spicy sauce with a team of master BBQ chefs and enjoy a rib-sticking Be My Guest dinner, hot off the grill.

Cross the Mississippi River via the Chain of Rocks Bridge and head onward to the underground Meramec Caverns, a former hideout of Jesse James, for a glimpse of some outstanding subterranean formations. Then it's onward to the Ozarks and the lively American musical mecca of Branson.

 

Will Rogers

Roll into eastern Oklahoma via an especially scenic stretch of highway known as the Will Rogers Highway. Stop to visit the Will Rogers Museum dedicated to the famous American humourist before enjoying a Regional Meal in the vibrant warehouse district of Bricktown at Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse.

Get a taste of the Old West at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum with its collection of Native American art and outstanding display of antique firearms. Later, visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, honouring the 1995 bombing victims. Get a Cultural Insight into the events of that infamous day through the eyes of someone who experienced it as they recount stories from the tragic event.

 

 

A photo posted by Alba Martinez (@solaaramara1) on

 

In Clinton, explore a classic collection of Route 66 history, memorabilia and culture. Crossing into the Texas Panhandle, return to Old Route 66 for a scenic drive before stopping in Amarillo, the “yellow rose of Texas.”

 

Pop art Cadillacs

Yes, those are 10 classic Cadillacs buried nose down in the dirt, the famed Cadillac Ranch pop art installation just outside Amarillo. Stop in Tucumcari, where a large number of the vintage motels and restaurants built in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s are still in existence. Travel on to Albuquerque where the spirit of Route 66 still thrives.

Cruise from Albuquerque through Gallup and see the history of Route 66 on the main drag. See the historic El Rancho Hotel, which served as a home base to the movie stars who came to the desert for their films. Crossing into Arizona, watch the sun play over the changing colours of the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park.

See the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook and the Man Standing on the Corner in Winslow before arriving in Flagstaff with its quaint downtown and pine-forested hills.

While the morning sun gilds the desert landscape, the Trafalgar Route 66 guided holiday will pay a visit to the traditional land of the Navajo people. Stop at Cameron Trading Post to browse through handicrafts and maybe enjoy some tasty fry bread before arriving at the Grand Canyon.

 

 

 

Inspiration for Pixar's Cars

Hit the road again, passing through Seligman then Peach Springs, the town that was the inspiration for the Pixar movie Cars. Then drive through Hackberry, a Route 66 ghost town along the original route. Further ahead, stop in Kingman, a Route 66 hotspot that has kept the old culture alive. Driving the Mother Road in these desert oases is like time travelling to see the well-preserved motels, diners and gas stations of a simpler era. Then it's full speed ahead to glittering Las Vegas to enjoy some free time.

Upon arrival in Los Angeles see the sights, including Grauman's Chinese Theater, and the place where the road comes to an end, Santa Monica and the great Pacific.

 

Adapted from a press release for IOL

* To find out more information call Trafalgar on (011) 280 8400 or visit www.trafalgar.com

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