In recent weeks the inbox has filled with questions pertaining to Route 66, travel, and my schedule. As many of these questions pertain to obscure places along the highway, its history, and yet unpublished updates to my schedule, I thought the sharing of answers might be of benefit to other fans of the double six.
WHERE IN ILLINOIS CAN I FIND A COMMUNITY ALONG ROUTE 66 THAT SEEMS TO BE UNDISCOVERED? Dwight, Illinois, in the district around the train depot. Dwight has a wide array of wonderful Route 66 attraction such as Ambler Texaco, and excellent places to eat such as the Old Route 66 Family Restaurant.
However, if you venture into town there is a sense that Dwight is little more than a time capsule preserved into the modern era, a place where the fame of Route 66 has passed it by. The train depot, a bank designed by Frank Loyd Wright, the former Keeler Institute with its Tiffany inspired stained glass windows, and the Country Manor Restaurant with it park like grounds dominated by the most fascinating windmill are but a few of its treasures.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME FOR TRAVEL? Well, that would depend on what you are looking for on your trip. Most of your festivals and events that center on Route 66 take place from May through September. However, the months of June through August are brutal along the segment between Kingman and Victorville.
My preference is mid May to mid June, or late September into mid October. On occasion you will encounter cold weather or storms during this period but overall it is the only times of year where you will have near perfect weather along the whole route.
We enjoy seasoning our trips with long walks. Strolling across the Chain of Rocks Bridge when it is near one hundred degrees and the humidity is at almost the same level, or making the trek to the summit of Amboy Crater when the temperatures are exceeding 120 degrees and even the snakes are seeking shelter, just isn’t very enjoyable.
Our last journey along the double six was made in October. To be honest, it was one of our more enjoyable trips. As a bonus, we had fall colors along most of the route.
QUITE OFTEN YOU MENTION ROUTE 66 DETOURS. IF THE TIME FOR OUR SCHEDULE IS LIMITED, AND WE CAN TAKE BUT ONE DETOUR, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR SUGGESTION? My hands down favorite is Prescott, Arizona, about sixty miles south of Ash Fork, especially the downtown district around the courthouse square.
Prescott is unique in that the downtown area, the historic district did not go through the evolution of decline and rebirth. With the exception of the cars that line and clog the streets, it is still 1950 here.
There are three excellent historic hotels, countless restaurants, some family owned for more than fifty years, an authentic Old West saloon, excellent museums, and even night life. What people seek along Route 66 is found in Prescott in spades.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE RESTAURANT ON ROUTE 66? Yes, several. For authentic atmosphere, good food, and tradition it would be the Ariston Cafe in Litchfield, Illinois.
I love pie and cobblers. Fortunately the places I know of for the best pie are spaced enough to keep me from having withdrawls but not so close together I tire of the treat.
The Palms Grill in Atlanta, the Midpoint in Adrian, Texas, and the Pine Country Restaurant in Williams, Arizona rate at the top of my list.
ARE THERE SPECIFIC MOTELS I SHOULD INCLUDE IN MY TRIP? Yes, by all means, yes. Few things enhance a Route 66 adventure like being able to keep the illusion of time travel alive when the sun goes down. There are a number of great old motels found along Route 66, Route 66 Dining & Lodging Guide, published by the National Historic Route 66 Federation is an excellent reference source.
My favorites (I have not experienced them all as of yet) are the Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri, the Munger Moss in Lebanon, Missouri, Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico, Motel Safari, also in Tucumcari, and the Wigwam Motels, one in Holbrook, Arizona, and one in Rialto, California, the best of the pair.
HOW OFTEN IS YOUR SCHEDULE PAGE UPDATED? An effort is made to update it as soon as a new appearance is confirmed. For 2012, I will be a Bookworks in Albuquerque on the February, 26, at the Route 66 Fun Run in Kingman on the first weekend in May, the KABAM festival in Kingman the second weekend in May, the Wheels on Route 66 event in Tucucmcari on June 9, the International Route 66 Festival in Victorville, California in August, and the biggie, Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri in late October where the long awaited Route 66 encyclopedia will make its debut.
Pending are two events in California, one in Santa Monica and one in Burbank.