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Route 66

Old 11-15-12, 10:40 PM
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Rowan
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Route 66

How many 50+ posters live on or near this famous old route from California to Illinois.

We're in Oklahoma today, and we've followed a bit of the old 66, and stopped off in Elk City to have a look at the museum there.

And I was impressed, not so much by the display, but by a neat 10-minute video production on the history of the car in North America, its role in opening up the country, and the development, significant contribution, and ultimate demise of Route 66.

One of the best parts about the production was the heavy emphasis it placed early in the piece on bicycles and how they gave unheralded mobility when they were invented and became popular.

The display also had several original Schwinn bicycles in the Route 66 part of the museum.

I thought, well done, and great to see bicycles incorporated into what could have been a very car-centric production.

Have any of you driven or ridden the original Route 66, either part of, or all the way between the two start-finish points? What are you fondest memories?

Certainly, I am thinking this would be a worthwhile cycling route to follow sometime into the future. Is that a realistic bucket-list deal?
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Old 11-15-12, 11:27 PM
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I have lived in many areas near RT 66, all up and down Illinois and and in California, but RT66 never had much meaning to me. The parts where I have ridden and driven were not so cycling friendly, very decayed, decrepit and heavy traffic. There are better places to ride.
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Old 11-15-12, 11:51 PM
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From the museum and the route outside Elk City:

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Old 11-16-12, 12:07 AM
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I tried part of it when visiting one city or another from San Bernardino to Albuquerque. There are some interesting parts if you don't mind rustic and a bit dated towns. And yes some of it is in rough shape but compared to trying to ride a bike in Kenya it is a piece of cake. I do believe if you have the time it will give you a look into early America from a perspective unlike you would get from eather the east or west coast. It is some history for anyone looking to see some history. But then I spent two years roaming around reservations in the four corner states just because I was interested. It didn't hurt that I am a big fan of Tony Hillerman and kept looking for Leaphorn and Chee.
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Old 11-16-12, 12:43 AM
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Route 66 runs near here. The old Chain of Rocks Bridge, which is part of the old Route 66, is now a bicycle route. I have yet to get my kicks on Route 66, though.
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Old 11-16-12, 03:54 PM
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I live in Albuquerque. I don't ride on Rt 66 outside of the ABQ metro area. The part of Rt 66 within the city limits (Central Ave) is a fun and a fairly vibrant area, at least near the University of NM. Originally, Rt 66 connected ABQ to Santa Fe (a north/south alignment), and there is a crossroads intersection with a commemorative marker in downtown ABQ ( decrepit and "rustic"). Drivers in New Mexico are mostly drunken morons, and I just don't ride out there on the "open highways". This is the wild wild west...

While Albuquerque is a reasonably bike friendly town, the rest of the state isn't. One of the national alphabet groups (maybe LAB??) rated NM in the very bottom tier nationally for bicycling accomodation.

The best way to experience Route 66 is to buy a nice color coffee table book, there are a bunch of them out there.
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Old 11-16-12, 03:59 PM
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Dang, I read this thread this morning and I have hummed the theme song to Route 66 all day. Martin Milner should be proud.
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Old 11-16-12, 04:14 PM
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Runs right past my house a few blocks away...
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Old 11-16-12, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Onfixiate View Post
The best way to experience Route 66 is to buy a nice color coffee table book, there are a bunch of them out there.
+1.....We live one block north of Rt 66. To the east of us, if you make it thru SanBerdo with your wallet and bike, I'd b surprised. Rancho Cucamonga stretch is an 90 mph super highway with lots of young stupid racer drivers, SUV Moms, and shoppers willing to kill one another to get to the next mall. Most riders I see within miles of that area are north taking alternate routes to save their lives.

West of here, gets a little more tame but I'd still not rather ride in this area. There is a reason we ride north up toward the mountains rather than Rt 66 which is one block south of us.
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Old 11-16-12, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
Dang, I read this thread this morning and I have hummed the theme song to Route 66 all day. Martin Milner should be proud.
Yeah, Iwould have expected more responses like this from a 50+ list. Maybe more from the 60+ members!

I think Route 66 did more to sell Corvettes than to encourage bike touring. I notice that it's now called Interstate 40. But along the way, there are some unused stretches of the original route that run parallel to the freeway. Those look like nice, quiet places to ride. Decrept, though!

And I always preferred that little jazz piano riff that they played as the theme to the old Route 66 TV show over the "Get your kicks" song. Although I always get a kick out of "Flagstaff Arizona, don't forget Winona!"

Luis
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Old 11-16-12, 05:56 PM
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I think I'll go watch Cars tonight...
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Old 11-16-12, 06:02 PM
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Thanks for the feedback, everyone. Looks like a red line through that on the bucket-list.
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Old 11-16-12, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
Yeah, Iwould have expected more responses like this from a 50+ list. Maybe more from the 60+ members!

I think Route 66 did more to sell Corvettes than to encourage bike touring. I notice that it's now called Interstate 40. But along the way, there are some unused stretches of the original route that run parallel to the freeway. Those look like nice, quiet places to ride. Decrept, though!

And I always preferred that little jazz piano riff that they played as the theme to the old Route 66 TV show over the "Get your kicks" song. Although I always get a kick out of "Flagstaff Arizona, don't forget Winona!"

Luis
+1
.. And STILL one of my favorite all time songs... I think I watched the show only so I could hear the song...
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Old 11-16-12, 06:53 PM
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Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino.........!!

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Old 11-16-12, 07:12 PM
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It has been a couple of decades but I went to a retreat in San Bernadino and rode out by bike. A lot of the route I took was on route 66. It sucked. I'm guessing it may get a bit better 50-100 miles farther East.

I'd also bet that the nostalgic sections are more in the middle of the country and that some may be very nice for a bike trip or even exploring by car.
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Old 11-16-12, 07:32 PM
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Not route 66, but you might want to check out the Santa Fe trail http://santafetrailbicycletrek.com/ a friend did it this year and had a great time.
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Old 11-16-12, 07:36 PM
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Last time I was on Route 66, I was in a car on a family vacation and it was a real US highway, before there were Interstates Everywhere.
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Old 11-16-12, 09:05 PM
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We sometimes stop for fuel in Tucumcari, NM, while flying out to visit my wife's family in San Francisco. We even stayed in a motel on old Route 66 once or twice. I found it a fascinating window into a period in American history. The road is still around in a sense -- the airport in Santa Rosa, NM, has a runway that used to be part of Route 66.
Our usual route to California is right over Route 66 for hundreds of miles in NM and AZ, which gives me a good opportunity to imagine what it would have been like to drive there. It's beautiful country. The Interstate Highway System may have had some benefits, but it took away a lot of adventure.
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Old 11-16-12, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
I'd also bet that the nostalgic sections are more in the middle of the country and that some may be very nice for a bike trip or even exploring by car.
This may well be the case. Route 66 tends to parallel 60 where we were in Elk City. The bit we rode was pleasant enough, old concrete surface with lots of expansion joints, and much noise traffic on the adjacent highway.

We like exploring history, and what we saw in Elk City sort of encapsulated that. I thought it might have extended much further than that considering the history and importance of the route in developing California and other parts of the west.

I suppose that what surprises me is that with the nostalgia value, the international interest in Route 66, and the need for the US to generate as many inbound tourism dollars as possible, there would be more interest in developing the route in places such as California.
Originally Posted by PaulH View Post
Our usual route to California is right over Route 66 for hundreds of miles in NM and AZ, which gives me a good opportunity to imagine what it would have been like to drive there. It's beautiful country. The Interstate Highway System may have had some benefits, but it took away a lot of adventure.
This, too. We've spent a lot of our time coming down from the north avoiding the interstaters and instead wandering through the mountains on state highways or secondary roads. We had a great time.

The past day or so, we've been on the interstate for a while, and it's not nearly so interesting... and that is not meant as a negative comment about Oklahoma or Texas, because both have some interesting countryside.
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Old 11-17-12, 12:34 AM
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As in the song, Rt. 66 runs right through Flagstaff where I live. There are bike lanes on it, just not a particularly pleasant ride as it's the chief arterial crossing town in an E-W direction and is very thick with traffic most of the day. There are still a few old-style motels along 66 east of downtown; some have been modernized while others are pretty dilapidated.

One of my favorite local rides, in fact, is to head east from Flag to Winona. Ironically, I can't use 66 as most of it between the two towns was eaten by I-40 long ago. Townsend-Winona road is a really nice way to go, not much traffic and quite scenic.

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Old 11-17-12, 02:27 AM
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I did think Williams, Az was a nifty little town but I am not sure how much 66 history it has other than all the little stores selling 66 stuff and Betty boop. But the only time I get a song stuck in my head is driving by Winslow. Az. You can stop during the weekends and get your picture taken with a "Girl my Lord on a flat bed Ford."
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Old 11-17-12, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
H

Have any of you driven or ridden the original Route 66, either part of, or all the way between the two start-finish points? What are you fondest memories?
I've mountain biked on the Rt. 66 La Bajada hill section south of Santa Fe, NM. This is a dirt road that was the hill climb you had to negotiate to get to/from Albuquerque from SF. From the top of the mesa you look south on grazing lands of the Cochiti Pueblo and see the wagon ruts going south that are the Camino Real. That's the original route for the Spanish settlers coming up from Mexicio (mid 1600's). Rt 66 was right alongside as is the current Interstate 25.

Here's a link and photo:

http://route66news.com/2012/08/05/an...a-bajada-hill/
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Old 11-17-12, 09:35 AM
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Hey Rowan,
You can't be too far from the town I was born in, my dad's home town, Bristow, OK. Route 66 is still Main Street there and it has a lot of meaning for Oklahomans. I was down there last year with my bike and rode around the town a couple times for old times sake. (We used to go there for Christmas when I was little.) The old gas station pictured was my grandfather's in the 60s and is right on Route 66 in Bristow.

Wish I had taken more pics.
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Old 11-17-12, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
...Have any of you driven or ridden the original Route 66, either part of, or all the way between the two start-finish points? What are you fondest memories?

Certainly, I am thinking this would be a worthwhile cycling route to follow sometime into the future. Is that a realistic bucket-list deal?
Back in 1977 on our cross-country cycling honeymoon from Los Angeles to Washington, DC, we rode historic Route 66 from Kingman, AZ to Williams, AZ, over about three days. I recall wide, but desolate vistas punctuated by small towns like Seligman and Peach Springs. The two big attractions that I remember were the Andy Devine Museum in Kingman, and the Crand Canyon Caverns guided tour somewhere along the Route. (Baby Boomers may recall Andy Devine as Wild Bill Hickockís sidekick, Jingles, on that 1950ís TV show, The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickock.)

As I recall, somewhere beginning around Ash Fork was a peculiar abandoned segment that paralled I-40 to Williams. There was virtually no traffic, with grass sprouting up between the cracks in the road, and the surface had a peculiar red tinge, probably from sandstone. I was amused several years later when the 1984 film Repo Man featured in the opening as the credits rolled, a road map including that same segment tracing the route of a renegade scientist as he fled New Mexico to Los Angeles with four dead extra-terrestrial aliens in his trunk.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 11-17-12 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 11-17-12, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Lightingguy View Post
I've mountain biked on the Rt. 66 La Bajada hill section south of Santa Fe, NM. This is a dirt road that was the hill climb you had to negotiate to get to/from Albuquerque from SF. From the top of the mesa you look south on grazing lands of the Cochiti Pueblo and see the wagon ruts going south that are the Camino Real. That's the original route for the Spanish settlers coming up from Mexicio (mid 1600's). Rt 66 was right alongside as is the current Interstate 25.

Here's a link and photo:

http://route66news.com/2012/08/05/an...a-bajada-hill/
That picture is pretty evocative, isn't it? As 50+ people, we were on the edge of a lot of this opening up of new territories (not discovery of, however). I remember back home roads that were dirt 40 and 50 years ago, along with huge tracts of farmland, that are now built over with housing.

The video we saw certainly demonstrated the difficult conditions those pioneers who built the route were up against. We saw similar things at the Colorado Monument interpretative centre when the Rim Road was built.

You really have to hand it to our fathers and grandfathers for the endurance and plain toughness they demonstrated on some of these projects.

It's one of the reasons why it behoves us to preserve some or a lot of that history... as a tribute more than anything else.
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