Route 66 Road Trip – Episode 648

categories: USA Travel

Route 66 Road Trip (Podcast)

Hear about a Route 66 road trip as the Amateur Traveler talks to Austin Coop from and about the Mother Road.

Route 66 goes from downtown Chicago, Illinois to the pier in Santa Monica, California. Along the way, it goes through Illinois, Missouri, a bit of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

Austin says, “Route 66 lost its designation as a federal highway back in the 80s. It kind of hit hard times. A lot of the towns that were along route 66 languished during the 80s and early 90s but something interesting happened. There’s a lot of reasons for this, a lot of cool stories, but we’re now seeing it’s never been more popular. A lot of things play into that. First of all, you have the demographic that remembers going on it as a young child. Now as they are retiring, they want to go back and do that again. And you’ve got another set of travelers, a lot of international travelers, we are associating it with American and the wide-open spaces of America. And then you’ve even got people just from the movie “Cars”. And the producers of the movie “Cars” went to great lengths to make sure stuff in that movie matched up with the real-life people and places.”

Austin takes us on a day by day, stop by stop journey on Route 66. Sometimes the route has become the interstate, sometimes it is a frontage road an in a few places it takes a completely different route. This is the road driven by fugitives of the dust bowl-like Steinbeck’s fictional family in the “Grapes of Wrath”.

It was driven by truck drivers and Americans as they started their love affair with the automobile. Along the way, they stopped at diners for that slice of pie, tourist attractions like the world’s (2nd) largest rocking chair or the half-buried graffiti-covered Cadillacs of Cadillac Ranch, or museums like a barbed-wire museum.

The road makes its way from the farms of Illinois to the flat prairies of Oklahoma and Texas to the desert of Arizona, New Mexico, and California. It passes through parts of the painted desert and Petrified Forest National Park. It becomes the route of the Rose Parade through Pasadena before it finally comes to the ocean.

The sites along the way are as sobering as Lincoln’s tomb in Springfield Illinois and the Oklahoma City Memorial. They are as curious as the Blue Whale of Catoosa, Oklahoma or a Blarney Stone.

You will pass the home of the “King of the Route”, the “Angel of Route 66”, Will Rogers, Roger Milland even Sheb Wooley (“The Purple People Eater” songwriter). You will drive by Standin’ on the Corner Park in Winslow Arizona.

And along the way Austin tells us what we will remember is the people. Come take a very American journey with us on the Mother Road.

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Show Notes
U.S. Route 66
Route 66 (TV series)
Cars (film)
Route 66 (song)
The Grapes of Wrath: John Steinbeck
Gateway Arch – St Louis, Missouri
The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Lou Mitchell’s (for breakfast) – Chicago, Illinois
Joliet Correctional Center – Joliet, Illinois
Ambler’s Texaco Gas Station – Dwight, Illinois
Angel Delgadillo/Users/chris2x/Library/Caches/Cleanup At Startup/banner.jpg
Route 66 Museum – Pontiac, Illinois
Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum – Pontiac, Illinois
Livingston County War Museum – Pontiac, Illinois
The Palms Grill Cafe – Atlanta, Illinois
Route 66 Arcade Museum – Atlanta, Illinois
Bunyon Statue – Atlanta, Illinois
Lincoln Home National Historic Site – Springfield, Illinois
The Lincoln Tomb – Springfield, Illinois
Cozy Dog Drive In – Springfield, Illinois
Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup – Springfield, Illinois
Anheuser-Busch Brewery – St. Louis, Misouri
Meramec Cavern – Misouri
The FourWay Restaurant – Cuba, Missouri
Wagon Wheel Motel – Cuba, Missouri
Wagon Wheel Motel – Fanning, Missouri
Mickey Mantle Childhood Home – Commerce, Oklahoma
Coleman Theatre – Miami, Oklahoma
Will Rogers Memorial Museum – Claremore, Oklahoma
Blue Whale of Catoosa, Oklahoma
Arcadia Round Barn – Arcadia, Oklahoma
Pops 66 Soda Ranch – Arcadia, Oklahoma
Oklahoma House of Representatives – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma Route 66 Museum – Clinton, Oklahoma
Roger Miller – Erick, Oklahoma
Sheb Wooley – Erick, Oklahoma
Texola, Oklahoma
U-Drop Inn – Shamrock, Texas
False Blarney Stone
Devil’s Rope Museum: Barbed Wire – McLean, Texas
Giant Cross – Groom, Texas
The Big Texan Steak Ranch – Amarillo, Texas
Cadillac Ranch – Amarillo, Texas
Midpoint Café – Adrian, Texas
Blue Swallow Motel – Tucumcari, New Mexico
Motel Safari
Tee Pee Curios – Tucumcari, New Mexico
Roadrunner Lodge – Tucumcari, New Mexico
66 Diner – Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – A Bucket List Adventure (Video #93)
Travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico – Episode 583
El Rancho Hotel – Gallup, New Mexico
Petrified Forest National Park
Fred Harvey (entrepreneur)
Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West–One Meal at a Time
Wigwam Motel – Holbrook, Arizona
Wigwam Motel – San Bernardino, California
Wigwam Motel
Winslow, Arizona
La Posada Hotel – Winslow, Arizona
Flagstaff, Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park
Williams, Arizona
Seligman, Arizona
Hackberry General Store
Kingman, Arizona
Oatman, Arizona
Amboy, California
Route 66 Roy’s – Amboy, California
Rose Parade – Pasadena, California
Santa Monica Pier
Casey, Illinois: World’s Largest Rocking Chair (not on Route 66)
These 8 Route 66 gas stations epitomize the Mother Road
Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum left us completely speechless
Fall in love with the real Route 66 places and people from Disney Pixar’s Cars


Dave wrote about Travel to Phoenix, Arizona – Episode 647:

Rawhide, which was mentioned, hasn’t been north of Phoenix for years. The land was sold to developers. The buildings were relocated in their entirety to southeast Phoenix, actually on an Indian reservation. Still the same fun atmosphere.

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Route 66 Road Trip (Podcast) #route66 #route-rr #road-trip #illinois #podcast #missouri #oklahoma #new-mexico #arizona #california #travel #trip #vacation #planning #itinerary #attractions #diner #stops #cars #texas

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

7 Responses to “Route 66 Road Trip – Episode 648”

Tom Shaner


Hi Chris,

What a great podcast on Route 66. Austin did a great job. It was very timely for me because I’m planning on driving the Oklahoma portion of it in less than two weeks. I’ve driven quite a bit of it, but in pieces.

I wanted to give a shout out to your mention of Casey, Illinois, which is off of US Route 40 another great road trip highway. It is also only about a mile off of I-70. The town bills itself as having the world’s largest collection of the world’s biggest things. It is a very fun place for a stop while traveling. There is the world’s largest rocking chair, wind chimes, golf tee, mailbox, wooden clogs among a few others. On my most recent time through last Fall they were attempting to construct the world’s largest seesaw. There are a few interesting gift shops and a couple of restaurants worth stopping for as well.


Chris Christensen


OK, I love the largest collection of biggest things for roadside kitsch.

Cindy Carlsson


Love, love, love this episode. I’ve driven chunks of Route 66 in New Mexico and Arizona and was blown away by Austin’s knowledge of the route. Now I want to drive the whole thing! Great show.



What a fun episode! I’m from the Midwest (Iowa) and love road trips – stopping at smaller cities/sites. But I do have to say that I wish Austin would have mentioned the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL as well. Seeing his home and tomb are awesome, but the museum is one of my favorite museums I have ever been to. It’s so well put together and great for both adults and kids – really interactive. I’m sure he was just trying to rush through what to see on the whole route, but you’d be missing out if you didn’t visit the museum!

Chris Christensen


thanks for the tip Laura!



Loved the podcast! There’s a linear park in Towanda, IL, that has Route 66 maps, which were designed, made, and installed by local students, and classic Burma-Shave signs – it’s about 15 minutes south of Pontiac and you don’t need to get out of the car to enjoy. Some other highlights in Central Illinois include Bloomington, Illinois. There’s a new Route 66 visitors center, a history museum in downtown, and Evergreen Cemetery where former Vice President (and failed Presidential candidate) Adelaide Stevenson and Dorothy Gage, niece of L Frank Baum and naming inspiration for The Wizard of Oz, are buried. Dorothy is memorialized with a statue of the fictional character. Further south, at Funk’s Grove, Austin mentioned the maple syrup but didn’t say anything about the world class Funk Prairie Home Gem Museum. They have incredibly rare specimens that you won’t see any place else in the world, like a petrified dragon fly.

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