Route 66: The best trip I never had

by Lara

What am I talking about when I say „the best trip I never had“?
(I know what you are thinking, and no, it’s not drugs.)

I’m sure each of you has their own perfect travel destination. Probably you’ve been there and you had the most amazing time in that heavenly place. Ever since you wish to come back and you know one day you will.
I have that place as well. The only difference is, I haven’t visited mine yet.

Maybe you have it too, that particular part of the world you’ve never been to but always dreamed about going. A country or a city. A mountain or a river. A place where you imagine yourself when you close your eyes. You’ve seen it in the movies, you’ve heard it in the songs, you’ve read about it in the books. And you just know that this small corner of the world and you are the perfect fit, a harmony. Usually, girls have fantasies like that about their special someone. I have them about my special somewhere.

My somewhere is the road.

Not just any road, it’s the Mother Road. Famous Route 66 or what’s left of it. Ever since I was a child, I loved American western movies. The old west. Hypnotized, I would watch endless roads surrounded by nothing but a desert and some lonely cactus, here and there. When I saw Thelma and Louise for the first time, I imagined myself at the wheel of that marvelous 1966 Ford Thunderbird convertible (except mine was a red one), surrounded by the vast grandeur of the Grand Canyon. I could hear Blues Brothers or Johny Cash on the radio and feel the wind in my hair. He and I, cruising down the 66 and laughing. Without a plan, without a single worry, completely free.

MY IMAGINARY ITINERARY

I watched so many documentaries about the world’s most famous highway that I already have the whole itinerary in my head.

I want to eat an omelet at Lou Mitchell’s in Chicago.

I want to take a picture at Ambler’s Texaco Gas Station!

Watch a movie in 66 Drive-In.

Visit Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas.

Sing Santa Fe in Santa Fe!

Take a stroll down the Blue whale of Catoosa’s mouth because why not.

Visit a ghost town Amboy and sleep in Roy’s motel because of all that road-trip movies.

Wait for the sunrise at Grand Canyon.

Get lost in the Mojave desert and sleep under the stars in the Joshua Tree National Park.

Pay respect to the Hollywood greatest stars at Hollywood Forever Cemetry.
Watch the Ocean from the Santa Monica Pier.

Get my kicks on Route 66.
Joplin, Missouri,
And Oklahoma City is mighty pretty.
You see Amarillo,
Gallup, New Mexico,
Flagstaff, Arizona.
Don’t forget Winona,
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino.

Route 66 for me is not about a specific site or a destination. It is about that James Dean kind of vibe. It’s an experience that represents freedom and independence. What else to do on the road than dig into your own soul?

Like Jack Kerouac said…

Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.

In the video below you can see a terrific Croatian Musical Academy student performance who did a jazz cover of Get your Kicks and reminded me of the best trip I have yet to take.

Have you done Route 66? Tell me about it!  What is your idea of the perfect trip?  Share with me in the comment section, I  am curious to know!

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18 comments

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Slobodan May 27, 2017 - 4:47 pm

I have to tell you that fool me with the headline 😀
I thought that you have been on the route, but I realized that I clicked the picture on the FB too fast without reading the whole headline 😀

Back in 2015. I took a part of the route when I was on the trip from LA to Flagstuff.
My original idea was to visit Antelope Canyon, which I did, but I saw the entrance only because of the numerous reservations taken by Chinese tour-groups.

The part of the route which I like the most, was between towns of Kingman and Seligman. Somewhere in the middle there is the exit road for famous Havasupai waterfalls.

There are a lot of old-time motels and, lets say, restaurants from the 60ies era, around Seligman.
You can feel it how it was before…

Probably the most adventerous part of the trip was when we saw the road barrier, took the sign “closed” away, and continue down the road until we saw another sign from the other side… All the way we were wondering why the sign was there, and are we going to have a problem if we see police… You could guess how it ended 🙂

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Lara
Lara May 27, 2017 - 5:07 pm

hahahah I’m sorry to fool you 😀 thanks for sharing your story! I also saw only a tiny part of it when visiting a Hoover Dam. I think it is really one of the best road trips to do in the USA. And for the road barrier…of course you continued, I wouldn’t expect anything less lol. 🙂

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Indranil May 28, 2017 - 7:01 pm

Being a non American.. I’ve heard a lot about Route 66. Would definitely like to do a road trip sometime soon. I’ll definitely refer to your points mentioned above. Thanks for sharing.

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Lara
Lara May 28, 2017 - 9:56 pm

Thanks for commenting!

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Marta May 29, 2017 - 1:00 am

I hope you get to accomplish your dream soon! I haven’t been on Route 66 but it looks like there is quite a bit to see!!

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Lara
Lara May 29, 2017 - 9:54 pm

Thank you, Marta!

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Swati & Sam (The Tales of a Traveler) May 29, 2017 - 6:55 am

I liked your itinerary… Spending a night under stars in Joshua National park sounds dreamy. Would love to experience the James Dean kind f vibe in route 66 someday. Yet to visit west coast of US

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Lara
Lara May 29, 2017 - 9:55 pm

The west coast is also amazing, you will love it!

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F Jamieson May 29, 2017 - 3:50 pm

We made our first Route 66 trip from Chicago to LA in 2009. Since then, we’ve taken a Route 66 trip every year visiting sections that we either missed or didn’t take sufficient time to travel. The road is the draw, but the people you meet along the Route are the memories. We’ve met some fantastic folks on our travels though the towns along 66, not just those who live along 66 but also visitors from pretty much anywhere in the world. It’s exciting to listen to a foreign visitor relate their experiences and observations from their trip. Don’t hesitate, take your Route 66 trip.
By the way, be sure not to pass by Tucumcari, New Mexico. Great people, wonderful vintage motels, and excellent food.

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Lara
Lara May 29, 2017 - 9:51 pm

Thanks for your comment Frank! I love reading experiences from the road! And I agree with you that it is all about the people, they are the ones who make travels memorable. It must be great meeting all sorts of travelers on the road and exchanging stories. I really hope to make that trip next spring! Thanks for the advice on Tucumcari, I’ll write it down. Do you have recommendations on any car rental that doesn’t charge huge fees if I would take the car in Chicago and leave it in LA?

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Rob German May 29, 2017 - 5:55 pm

My first trip was in Oct 1991….in a 1965 Corvette Roadster….will a girl that looked like Marilyn Monroe. IT WAS MY BEST TRIP EVER!

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Lara
Lara May 29, 2017 - 9:35 pm

Corvette and a Marilyn look-alike! You were one lucky dude Rob :))

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Becky May 29, 2017 - 10:46 pm

Wow this looks like such an awesome adventure. I love the idea of doing a road trip but don’t fancy doing it on my own.

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Lara
Lara May 29, 2017 - 10:51 pm

This kind of trip is probably better to do with someone because of all the long hours of driving…but as Frank above said- you get to meet some awesome people on the road as well!

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Ana Ojha May 30, 2017 - 7:17 pm

Route 66 looks like an epic road trip! I only drove from Vegas to Grand Canyons and loved that drive too!

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Lara
Lara May 30, 2017 - 9:34 pm

Me too! 🙂

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Serbian Girl In Greece June 1, 2017 - 10:37 pm

I watched many documentaries about this famous route. and from time to time I am thinking that I would like to visit. However, everytime I see breathless picture on any social network, I quite think the same. So in order to achieve my dreams, I started to write down all those WOW places I would like to see and have a picture in front of it, and for now its going well… I prioritized the list and made the most realistic ones at the top. Everytime I achieve and withdraw one place from the list, I know that I am closer to the next one and that all my dreams will happen one day. There is just one small problem – I never stop to dream and distinguish my curiosity so my list is getting every day new place I wish to visit… Hope that you will visit your route as well soon and that after this route you will have new dream and motivation to travel!

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Lara
Lara June 2, 2017 - 10:50 am

Thank you for sharing! The important thing is to constantly have goals and to work on them, only then we feel like we are doing something meaningful. After you achieve one, there is another one and so on…Great thing is that the world is a big place and we can always discover new places and never finish exploring 🙂

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