State By State
The magic of a road like 66 is not so much where it takes you,
but where it goes while it is taking you there. Here is a state by state listing
of where the road will take today's traveler. Things change on the road,
as they do everywhere. The Dixie Trucker's Home is gone since my first trip,
as is the Pig Hip, and a fire has consumed much of the building on which
the Standin' on The Corner mural is painted. A number of places and people
have gone, either moved on or passed on; but others continue to be added
as the road renews itself.
I plan for this to me a more studied exposition of the
road, as compared to my initial overview, and will
probably take about three years to finish this page, or perhaps it will never
For a closer look, click on the boxes below:
Here is where it all starts, at least from a midwesterner's
point of view. There are actually three starting points, here in Chicago.
The Route's beginnings changed a bit, due to the addition of one way streets,
and changes in the city. Still, the true, and most hallowed starting point
lies on Lakeshore Drive, a magical road in it's own right.
St. Louis, the Ozarks, and the Bible belt are only the start
of the road's passage through the Missouri heart of the Midwest. A faint
tinge of the Old South flavors parts of the area, as well as a remembrance
of cowboys, and the start of the great Southwest. Unfortunately a detour
should be taken, just before crossing over from the Illinois side. An unsavory
bit of modern times intrudes, making East St. Louis too dangerous for travel.
The state with the smallest mileage of Route 66 (13.8
miles), still has plenty to show. It contains one of the few remaining rainbow
bridges in the country, as well as the road town of Galena. This section
of the old road is particularly hallowed, and well preserved, in part because
the main highway swings far south, and does not even enter Kansas.
This was the last bit of the frontier, and the site of the last land rush.
Oklahoma was Indian Country for decades, and was one of the last places
brought into the United States. It is now partly Midwestern, Partly Southwestern,
and a bit of something of it's own. Overshadowed by it's
southern neighbor, Oklahoma is adamantly not Texas!
The big state, and not about to let us forget. Oil wells, cattle
ranches, real cowboys, and uncountable miles of open country, make this
a land of giants. Bounded by the states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma,
New Mexico, and by the Gulf, as well as the nation of Mexico, this state
seems to take in bits of the entire country, as well as a south of the border
One of the most empty and desolate places in the country, and one of the
most unique. Here we have Roswell, and Area 51, Indian reservations, communes,
the Mexican Underground Railroad, as well as our major nuclear labs and
testing facilities. Added to this are assorted ranchers, cowboys, mining
operations, and hermits, mixed in with resorts, and city people looking
to get away from it all, Hot, dry, diverse, and sometime downright odd.
The Grand Canyon State, though there is so much more. This is still a pretty
sparsely populated place, though there is getting to be a large influx of
people escaping the expense, over regulation, and urban sprawl, and blight
of neighboring California. It can be hoped that these escapees will not
repeat their mistakes here.
The end of the road. California 66 passes through some rugged
mountains, extreme desert, and into one of the largest metro areas in the
world. So the road ends as it began, at a large body of water bounded by
a population center. Even so, the things you see on the way are well worth
the trip, and well worth remembering.