Historic Route 66 Eastbound Self-Drive Tour
The tour program describes the main attractions for the 15-day journey on the world-famous, legendary and historic U.S. Route 66, also known as “The Mother Road”. Route 66 has throughout history been the road for migrants, dreamers, desperadoes and a whole generation of holidaymakers, who explored the road to the west. The 1950s were Route 66’s peak. Thousands of cars drove “bumper-to-bumper” to experience the western emigration route. Hotels, motels, and the “new America” grew up everywhere. Much of Route 66’s original roads, restaurants, gas stations, and nostalgic landmarks are preserved just as they were in the ’50s. Hence the famous and nostalgic Route 66 is a heaven for motorcycle riding.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Los Angeles – Chicago|
|DEPARTURE TIME||Begin at your convenience on your designated start date|
“At Explorify Tours we believe that good experiences and camaraderie are at least as important as the journey. Our goal is to fill your tour travelbag with as many positive memories as possible, so you go home with a big smile on your face. And with friends, you didn’t have before you started the tour.”
Note: Because of the time difference we will arrive home the date/day after we departed the US
Day 1: Departure - Arrival Los Angeles
After months of waiting your departure day is finally here: Welcome to Los Angeles! When all tour participants have arrived, we meet for a welcome meeting and refreshment, with the introduction of all tour participants and tour leaders. The evening’s program is getting to know each other and we eat dinner together in true American style. Those who are not tired after the long journey may go to a local bar nearby.
Day 2: Los Angeles - Big Bear Lake, Ca
(Driving day 1: 253 km/157 miles)
This is the day we start our Route 66 adventure! When everyone is ready on their bikes, we start our ride on the 4.000 km / 2.500 miles long Historic Route 66. Los Angeles disappears behind us as we head east/west for a unique adventure full of history and fun.
Today we will enjoy the magical roads and spectacular views on one of US Best motorcycle roads; Angeles Crest Highway (CA-2). It will be a breathtaking riding experience for the history books. Make sure to have your cameras ready and fully charged. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We take several stops and make our time on Angels Crest Highway before we drive to the beautiful vacation resort Big Bear Lake, where we spend a magical evening.
Day 3: Big Bear Lake - Las Vegas, Nv
(Driving day 2: 352km/219 miles)
It will be a day of city-, highway- and desert driving, and it will get very hot. We recommend riding with hydration (cooling) vest, which makes it much easier to cope with the heat. We eat breakfast and drive “the strip” before taking a group photo in front of the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign.
We are now in a city called “The adult playground” or “Sin City”. Vegas Baby! Have fun! Las Vegas has everything, stunning buildings, unique shows, casinos and all kinds of entertainment. Vegas is never boring! We highly recommend visiting Caesars Palace, Bellagio, MGM, Stardust, Treasure Island, The Venetian, Mirage, and Wyatt. In the evening you will be able to watch volcanic eruptions every 15 minutes at the Mirage. The garden is transformed into a flame show. Inside the casino, you will find rare white tigers. The water show outside the Bellagio is also a memory for life.
Day 4: Las Vegas - Kingman, Az
(Driving day 3: 229 km/143 miles)
We start the day with a spectacular drive to Oatman, an old western village in Mohave (county), which was established by two gold diggers in 1915. The driving distance to the Oatman consists of narrow curvy roads at different height levels, with mountain and desert landscapes. Ideal for filming, perhaps the best opportunity on the tour. In Oatman, remember to lock your bikes, and watch out for donkeys & outlaws in the streets. Then, we cruise to Kingman, another important city on the route.
Day 5: Kingman - Grand canyon - Williams, Az
(Driving day 4: 433 km/271 miles)
This day will for many be the highlight of the tour. We will explore Grand Canyon! But first, we drive to little Seligman, which has one of the greatest advocates for Route 66’s origin. Seligman is a fun, cozy and traditional Route 66 town, a lot of great photo opportunities. We stop in Hackberry, a small traditional Route 66 gas station, full of history, like taken out of an old movie. We enjoy an ice cream or cola in the shade.
Then we drive to the Grand Canyon helicopter base. Those who have ordered the helicopter tour will get an experience of a lifetime, truly something they will never forget. To hover in the air over one of the seven wonders and experience this natural phenomenon up close is absolutely magical. Highly recommend! After the helicopter ride, we drive a short distance to the visitor center, where you have the chance to watch the world’s most viewed Imax movie. When you see the film it feels almost like standing inside the Grand Canyon. Thereafter, we ride into the Grand Canyon, where we take this year’s holiday photo!
NB: Helicopter rides must be booked in advance.
Day 6: Williams - Gallup, Nm
(Driving day 5: 390 km/244 miles)
This will be a day of desert driving and unique nature experiences. We will first drive to Winslow and stop on the “corner”. Those who are Eagles fans know what “Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona” means. Then we drive to Holbrook and into the Navajo and Apache Territories, the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert. Is it stones or threes? And is the sand painted? We drive through this wonderful nature before we finish the day by driving to Gallup.
Day 7: Gallup - Santa Fé, Nm
(Driving day 6: 363 km/199 miles)
We leave the cowboy land and drive into the Indian land. It will be an eventful day where we drive through land that Indians have lived on for centuries. We drive straight to Acoma Sky City which is the sacred city of the Acoma Indians and situated on top of a high “Mesa”.We continue to Albuquerque, where we eat lunch.
Afterward, we drive the small, winding and fun roads to Madrid. The last stop is Santa Fe, one of the most beautiful cities in the western United States. Santa Fe will be our home for the next two nights. You won’t spend more than a few minutes in Santa Fe’s narrow streets before falling in love with the city.
Day 8: Santa Fè, Nm
(Fun and explorer day)
We have ridden over half of the distance on our Route 66 adventure and take a day off to recharge the batteries and enjoy more of the wonderful Santa Fe. The city is located high in the mountains; scenic “Sangre de Cristo “, and is rich in Spanish and Native American history and culture. A unique blend that can be seen in the local art and architecture.
You can relax by the pool, enjoy one of the many art galleries, explore Santa Fe or a guided city tour, or visit one of the town’s micro-breweries. You can buy local art in the local market. Do not forget to try “The Green Chili Stew” which has become a favorite among our guests. Santa Fe’s cuisine is famous.
Day 9: Santa Fè - Amarillo, Tx
(Driving day 7: 448 km/280 miles)
It will be a hot driving day in cowboy country, with long flat plains and countrysides. We are riding into America’s largest state; Texas. The first stop is Santa Rosa, before continuing to Tucumcari and visiting “Blue Swallow” (the friendliest motel on R66).
We eat lunch in Tucumcari, before heading out of Texas and into New Mexico, to Adrian, the “MidPoint Route 66 US”. Now we are halfway to Chicago. We’ll have a cup of coffee at the local Midpoint diner before continuing to the famous “Caddilac Ranch” where you can sign a very special artwork.
Day 10: Amarillo - Oklahoma City, Ok
(Driving day 8: 427 km/267 miles)
We say goodbye to Texas and drive into Oklahoma. Oklahoma is the state that has preserved most of the original Route 66. It was in Oklahoma people began to use the term “The Mother Road”. The landscape changes from dry to lush.
We drive through several small towns before we stop in McLean at yet another real Texas steak house. Here it is possible to eat one of the tenderest steaks you ever have tasted. We drive into Oklahoma to Elk City and the National Route 66 Museum, which covers the entire time period from the 1920s to the present. Our journey continues along with the many small and cozy Route 66 towns several towns before we reach our final stop for the day; Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City is the 31st largest city in the U.S. according to population, but the 8th largest according to land area.
Day 11: Oklahoma City - Springfield, Mo
(Driving day 9: 494 km/312 miles)
We ride through the beautiful & lush Oklahoma and make several stops: Tulsa, where we visit the Route 66 Harley Davidson, Stroud, and the Rock Café. The drive through Kansas on Route 66 is very short, only about 31 km. We stop at the famous “4 Women on the Route” and Marsh Rainbow Arch Bridge, enjoying the historical aura, before continuing to Baxter Springs and into Oklahoma. Oklahoma is the state that has preserved most of the original Route 66 (in total, you can drive about 633 km), and the residents of Oklahoma are those who currently use Route 66 most because a lot of the new Interstate 44 is levied by tolls. It was in Oklahoma people began to use the term “The Mother Road”. Oklahoma is also the state where the landscape changes from foresty to dry. We proceed to our final stop Springfield, home of President Abraham Lincoln.
Day 12: Springfield - St.Louis, Mo
(Driving day 10: 348 km/216 miles)
We continue through the “heart” of the United States, full of various experiences and impressions. This is the way people originally drove Route 66. Our next stop is Lebanon and then to picturesque Cuba, where we look at the legendary Munger Moss Motel. We continue south-west through the stunning mountain scenery of the Ozarks, which is among the most scenic along Route 66. Keep your cameras ready! Our first stop is at Stanton and the Jesse James Museum in Meramec Mines. We get the opportunity to go into the caves where Jesse & his gang hid all the loot they had robbed from their many raids.
We continue our journey through several small towns before arriving St. Louis, where we cross the Mississippi River on the historic Chain of Rocks bridge before we stop at one of the most famous landmarks in the USA, “The Gateway Arch”, a monument raised in honor of the pioneers who went west. The Arch can be seen at a 6 km distance. St. Louis was long the last civilization. Like the real pioneers, we ride by the “Arch” and stop to capture the moment. We will spend the evening here.
Day 14: St. Louis - Springfield, Il
(Driving day 11: 179 km/111 miles)
It will be a day full of traditional riding on Route 66 and spectacular nature. Many villages, ancient towns, and historic Route 66 places. Our first stop is Mt. Olive, an old Route 66 gas station. We continue to Hamel, where we take a break on at traditional Route 66 diner and enjoy the sun before arriving Springfield, today’s end stop.
Day 14: Springfield - Chicago, Il
(Driving day 12: 307 km/187 miles)
It will be a new day with fun and historic Route 66 driving. We begin with the old gas station at Odell (which is a good example of an old 24-hour station) and continue along Route 66 to Pontiac. Then we continue to Wilmington and “The Gemini Giant” where we eat lunch. The next stop will be in Joilet, the hometown of the Blues Brothers, where we stop for ice cream. Then we drive straight back to Chicago, where we return our vehicles.
Day 15: Departure Chicago - home travel
We check out of the hotel and grab a shuttle bus to the airport to return home. Thanks for a great ride, good times and sincerely thank you for choosing to travel with Explorify.
Note: Because of the time difference travelers from Europe will arrive home the date/day after departing the US.
Also: This program is a guideline for activities and experiences on the tour. Deviations may occur, but we guarantee that our positive tour leaders will do their utmost to execute the program as described – as far as it is feasible and circumstances allow. We are continually working to improve the program, thus you may experience positive surprises.