The “perfect” road trip


Historic Route 66 spans over 2,000 miles, home to many roadside attractions.

Madyson Lawson, Staff Writer

The charm of Route 66 continues to captivate people around the world. Running between Chicago and Los Angeles, at a little over 2,000 miles, this historic road passes through the center of the United States on a trip that showcases some of the country’s most iconic roadside attractions. If you are looking for fascinating displays of neon signs, run-down, middle-of-nowhere truck stops, Route 66 is the highway for you.

The most compelling reason to follow Route 66 may possibly be to experience the road’s timeline of urban history. The highway itself passes through eight U.S. states, winding through small towns across the Midwest and Southwest, lined by hundreds of cafes, motels, gas stations and many other tourist attractions. Due to the popularity and placement of the route, it quickly earned the nickname “Main Street of America.” 

“In the ‘20s and ‘30s, it was the road for the depression people and the people from the dust bowl came to California,” said Jim Cronkle in CBS News’ “History, Nostalgia On Route 66” by Tatianna Morales.

Though it is no longer the main route across the country, Route 66 has retained its popularity due to the positive attention it received in its glory days. It was on Route 66 that the American driving vacations first flourished. Billboards and giant statues along the highway still announce the immense amount of roadside attractions, tempting passing travelers to view sights including the Gateway Arch in St Louis, MO, the giant blue whales in Catoosa, OK or the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, CA.

The shameless self-promotion is what has helped the towns along the old route stay alive. Many Route 66 landmarks are kept in business by nostalgic travelers set on experiencing a taste of American history. That said, many quirky old motels and cafes hang on by a thread of hope, sit vacantly or survive in memory only.

Whether or not you have an interest in history, feel a nostalgic desire for the “good old days,” Route 66 is perfect for those who want to experience firsthand the amazing diversity of people and landscapes that line its path. Route 66 offers an unforgettable journey into America, then and now.

“We’re saying get off the interstate, visit a section at a time and you’ll meet great people, eat great good food and you’ll see America the way it really is,” said Cronkle in CBS News’ “History, Nostalgia On Route 66” by Tatianna Morales.