In today’s installment of our trip planning series we address the importance of packing an adventure kit. With a little attention to detail, as well as advance planning this kit will save you money in the long run and help ensure the adventure is a relaxing one even if facing time constraints.
Our basic kit is used for all trips with a duration of more than one day. There are two key components, a day pack and a sturdy 12″ x 16″ x 12″ open topped fiberglass box.
The box with atlas, guide books (listed in the last installment), road snacks (dried fruit, nuts, whole grain crackers, canned fish, granola bars, etc.), utensils, plates, bowls, cups, instant oatmeal and similar items is kept within arms reach of the front seat. Likewise with a small ice chest that will hold about ten bottles of (?).
We keep the day pack empty with the exception of the various pockets. This enables us to utilize the pack for day hikes or as an additional or supplemental suitcase.
In the various pockets we carry the items that can be used at night in the motel or on day hikes. Examples would include an eyeglass repair kit, vitamins, eye drops, small note book with pens, matches, etc.
This takes us to eating on the road and saving a dollar or two along the way. Our general routine is to begin the day with one of three options for breakfast ( a great mom and pop, the breakfast offered by the motel, or the in room special), a picnic or cafe for lunch, and dinner at a local mom and pop.
As with our motel selections, chain restaurants are utilized only when starvation is imminent. However, with our adventure kit this is seldom a concern.
In answer to your question about the in room special, well that can be dinner or breakfast. If the room is equipped with a refrigerator and or microwave, we often do a little shopping at the end of the day.
Juice, fresh fruit, sweet rolls and similar items are the primary items sought. However, we can seldom avoid the sampling of local specialties be it a beer, soda, or deli items.
With these items we then have the option of an in room breakfast that allows for a slower paced start to the day or an earlier departure. Using the coffee maker to warm water for oatmeal is just one step toward ensuring the day kicks off on a solid footing.
The advantage of making lunch a picnic stop is two fold, especially when on a very restrictive travel schedule. It forces you to take a breather and it provides another opportunity to save a dollar or two.
Still, as one of the highlights of a Route 66 adventure is the opportunity for a little gastronomic adventure in the form of a dinner shared with the locals along the way, we always seek at least one restaurant or cafe everyday. We have compiled a list of favorites and are looking forward to adding to that list this year.
From west to east, these are some of our favorites.
Dora’s Beale Street Deli in Kingman (a favorite of ours that seems to have also been a hit with visiting members of the Czech Route 66 Association) –
Redneck’s on Beale Street in Kingman, a favorite of our visitors as well –
Pine Country Restaurant in Williams –
The little deli at the general store in Parks, an ideal picnic stop –
Alpine Pizza, Bricks, or Galaxy Diner in Flagstaff –
La Posada (lunch) in Winslow –
Joe & Aggie’s in Holbrook –
Angela’s Cafe in Gallup –
We have a long list for Albuquerque –
A bit of a detour but the restaurant in the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, New Mexico –
Joseph’s in Santa Rosa –
Del’s and Kicks on 66 in Tucumcari –
Midpoint Cafe in Adrian –
Smoky Joe’s in Amarillo –
Big Vern’s in Shamrock –
Lupe’s in Elk City –
Lucille’s Roadhouse in Weatherford –
Marsha’s Country Kitchen in Chandler –
Rock Cafe in Stroud –
Ike’s Chili House in Tulsa –
Clanton’s Cafe in Vinita –
Eisler Brothers store in Riverton –
Bell Restaurant in Lebanon –
Maid Rite in Rolla –
Route 66 Cafe in Cuba –
Lewis Cafe in St. Clair –
Ariston Cafe in Litchfield –
Coney Island in Springfield –
In our postings from the road I will provide updates as well as new suggestions. And, in the next installment in this series, I will share a few of the short detours (12 miles or less) that will really enhance the Route 66 adventure.


In the last installment I listed a few key items needed for the research stage of the adventure as well as the for the journey itself. Here are the books I use and carry:
1) The EZ 66 Guide for Travelers by Jerry McClanahan and the Route 66 Dining & Lodging Guide. Both books are published by, and are available through, the National Historic Route 66 Federation –
2) Traveling …The New, Historic Route 66 of Illinois by John Weiss – 
3) A current edition of the Rand McNally Atlas
I have also added the directory published by Dave Emerson. The latest edition was released several weeks ago.
Keep in mind that I am covering a large segment of the road at one time. Depending on your budget the Route 66 adventure may be a series of fun filled weekends. It is also important to rembember that Route 66 is an endless adventure and it is an ever changing adventure. So, don’t be discouraged. Do what you can as the budget allows.
As the time available for our trip is far less than ideal, and as this is in part a business trip, it will require a bit more planning than usual to get the most from the adventure. So, in addition to making advance plans for lodging, I am also making a list of possible extended stops from which one will be selected for each day.
With the mileage for the overall trip determined, I have evaluated a rough number of miles that will need to be covered each day. This also enabled me to determine that there would be a cost savings in a rental car over driving the tried and true Cherokee.
Now, with a rough idea of where each day would end, I set out to find suitable lodging within that area. To clarify, I am looking for a place that is clean, that is quiet, and that is reasonable in price. A second rule of thumb is to avoid modern chain motels if at all possible and to scour resources for available discounts.
As noted in the first installment, I locate these places through the above mentioned guides, the TripAdvisor website, and various social forum such as the Yahoo Route 66 E-group. You will quickly discover that Route 66 is truly unique as it is a linear community, the world’s longest small town with some very helpful and friendly folk.
At this stage of planning, about two weeks before we leave, I am finalizing motel reservations. Here is what I have so far:
1) The historic El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, $81.00. This is a special treat –
2) Chalet Inn, Groom, Texas, $49.95. As we want to be getting sunrise and early morning photos in Jericho and McLean and need photos of the illuminated cross at Groom, and as we will be the guest at a meet and greet at Bob Lile’s Gallery in Amarillo on the afternoon of the second day, this motel meets all of our needs –
3) Baxter Inn in Baxter Springs, Kansas, $49.00. This again meets several needs as they offer a microwave and refrigerator (more on the importance of this later) and we want to photograph the Kansas segment early in the morning.
4) Carlinvilla Motel in Carlinville, Illinois, $46.00, again with the all important refrigerator and microwave.
5) This is a secret, a little something special for my dearest friend. Details will be provided from the road.
6) I am looking at Pontiac, Illinois but this will be depend on several factors that are yet to be resolved.
7) On Friday and Saturday night we will be guests at the most delightful Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri, ($55.00) truly a crown jewel on Route 66 today.
8) Howard Johnson on the west side of Oklahoma City, $69.00. We made this concession as we want to avoid morning traffic issues.
9) Monterey Non Smokers Motel in Albuquerque, $64.00.
In the next installment of this series I will layout options for cutting the cost of food as well as make a few suggestions in regard to some of our favorite places to dine.


Today, I am kicking off a new series about how to plan a Route 66 adventure (even with a limited financial budget and time constraints). In the first installments in this series I will share what we are doing to plan our forthcoming adventure on the double six from Kingman to Chicago and how this will shape our budget. 
In the second part of the series I will share the day to day adventure that will include expenses, motel and restaurant reviews, and general road updates. Of course these daily postings will be dependent upon WiFi access, and the fickle nature of the laptop. 
Okay, before we begin lets get to a few updates. These were promised for Monday and I do apologize for the delay. 
In answer to numerous inquiries, I do not have a projected date of publication at this time but my guess is late summer or early fall as the deadline for completion is March 1, 2013. This book, a Route 66 guide, is something I have wanted to write for sometime. 
It is not meant to complete with Jerry McClanahan’s EZ 66 Guide as this remains the definitive work for travelers on this storied highway. In fact, I never travel without it and I always check for updates on his website in the days before departure. 
No, what I am striving to do is create something a bit more personal. Answering years of inquiries asking about our favorite restaurant, camping spot, overlooked park, or special short side trips will be a primary component. To this I will add obscure trivia and historic tidbits for the depth and context that is becoming a hall mark of my work. Last, but not least, there will be informative sidebars about seasonal highlights, traveling the road in a vintage car, and even bicycling. 
My primary goal is to have the first draft of the text complete by the time we leave for Cuba Fest in October. I am quite pleased to announce that the half way point is in sight. So, with several weeks yet to go, I am quite confident of meeting that target. 
Creation of the world’s largest Route 66 museum in Kingman has hit a couple of snags. Still, we are quite confident that the first segments will be in place by the time folks arrive in town for the Route 66 Fun Run. 
The mural program is running a bit smoother. If all goes as planned we should have the first one installed by the time I return from Missouri. 
As a final update, renovation of the historic Brunswick Hotel seems to be on track. This means that the proposed store front just may become a reality before Christmas. 
Okay, lets plan a Route 66 adventure. Obviously a loose schedule that would allow two weeks or more would be ideal. However, that is not an option for many folks. Likewise with a budget that allows spending the same amount as, say, a good used car. 
For this particular trip we will have but 10.5 days, obviously not enough time to slow the pace as much as we would like but it will be plenty of time for hitting a few highlights and enjoying some of the best the old road has to offer. Of course this will require some relatively extensive planning, a balancing act as a Route 66 adventure must never be over planned. Surprise and flexibility is a key component to what makes an adventure an this road so amazing and unique. 
So, first I evaluate the distance using an online program such as the Rand McNally trip planner or the AA TripTik, as well as an updated atlas and simple pencil and legal pad. Next, as I know the days that we will be in Cuba, the afternoon of the 19th and the 20th, I calculate how many miles per day are needed for each leg of the trip. 
This will provide me with a rough destination for each day of the trip. Now, I have a general area in which to look for lodging for each day of the trip  as well as a rough parameter for calculating the cost of fuel. 
After checking for rental car deals I determine that we will have to forgo the luxury of taking the Jeep and, as is our custom, taking to obscure back roads on the whim. The rental car, with unlimited mileage and including tax, will cost $354.13. 
As we have requested a Toyota or similar car 30 mpg should not be an unrealistic estimate. With this as a minimum, on a 4,500 mile trip (I also running into Michigan to see my father), we should save the cost of 75 gallons of fuel. In addition, we won’t have the cost of wear and tear on the Jeep. 
As this is a Route 66 adventure we strive to avoid chain motels or restaurants. Still, aspects of this trip will require staying within a specific area as we are blending business with pleasure. 
I begin the search for lodging with the TripAdvisor website, the National Route 66 Federation dining and lodging guide, as well as the EZ 66 Guide also published by this organization, and questions posed on the Yahoo Route 66 e-group. With compilation of suitable locations, I begin making phone calls. 
In the next installment I will provide details about motels selected, why, and ways to save money in regard to lodging.



Well, another week, as well as another summer, is now history. It seems as though it was only yesterday that we were enjoying the hospitality of the community of Tucumcari at the Wheels on 66 event or simmering in Victorville during the International Route 66 festival and now we are planning a fall adventure.

Fall colors add a new dimension to a Route 66

Somewhere in the flurry of activity, travel, and visits with friends the summer melted away like ice cream on the Fourth of July in Amboy. In looking back it seems almost as though the whole season was just one big event.
We closed out our summer season in the most delightful manner, sharing the simple pleasures of Route 66 with friends new and old. On Tuesday evening we met with Hanneke Wiersma and Karel Kuperus of Holland and their tour group for dinner and a couple of beers at the Dambar.
The following morning we met with Zdnek Jurasek and members of the Czech Route 66 Association at Dora’s Beale Street Deli. These fine folks are spearheading establishment of Europe’s first Route 66 museum.
It is almost as though time is being rolled back, that Route 66 is again being transformed into the Main Street of America, and that people from throughout the world are discovering that this old road is the portal to all maaner of adventure. All of this has me looking toward 2013 with a great deal of eager anticipation.
In the Monday posting I will provide just a few of the exciting developments that lead me to believe that next year just may be the most exciting time on Route 66 in decades.


When it comes to the tightrope, balance is key. Likewise with other risky maneuvers such as juggling chainsaws while riding a unicycle or assuming the responsibility of promoting legendary Route 66 through events, blogs, books, or from behind the counter of information centers. 
On one hand you want to promote the road as a community and the places, as well people,  in that community as part of the whole. On the other you want to lend an extra hand to the underdog or the new kid on the block. To lean to far toward either side in this balancing act is to allow favoritism into your work which will present a lopsided view of the Route 66 community. It is also a sure fire way to provide employment for an enterprising rope salesman in any community with tall trees. 
Here in Kingman we are now fortunate to have not one but two historic motels, the Hilltop Motel and the El Trovatore Motel. Soon we will also be able to offer the Brusnwick Hotel as a lodging choice for travelers. 
The Hilltop Motel is an old standby. The owners have worked tirelessly over the past few years to ensure the Route 66 enthusiast has an opportunity to lay their weary head in a time capsule of the 1950s without the sacrifice of, or intrusion of modern amenities. 
The El Trovatore Motel is the new kid on the block, at least in the sense of being a destination for fans of the double six. For the first time in more than a half century the neon letters on the El Trovatore tower again light the desert sky. As a result, the El Trovatore Motel is stealing a bit of the promotional limelight. 
Even though it is an apples to orange kind of comparison (one motel represents the post war era and the other the prewar era, one is a time capsule and one is a time capsule with an overlay of Disneyland) both need to be promoted equally to ensure the picture of the Route 66 community is complete as well as accurate. Of course if only one is offering vintage fans over AC, radios instead of television, and a morning newspaper instead of WiFi access, it becomes much easier to present them as distinctly different entities. 
If photography is your medium for promoting the road the task of presenting the road in a balanced manner becomes much more challenging. Do you photograph the neon of the El Trovatore, the neon of the Hill Top Motel, or the old motel that is now rented by the week or month, such as the circa 1929 Siesta Motel in Kingman. What if photography is your means of promoting the road as well as a source of income? 
As the resurgent interest in Route 66 continues to make the refurbishment of historic properties viable the task of presenting a balanced picture becomes even more daunting. In Holbrook the Globetrotter Lodge has joined the Wigwam Motel as time capsule destinations at the end of a long day on the road. In Tucumcari you have the Motel Safari and Blue Swallow Motel vying for attention as well as customers. 
Well, I may have a solution. What I am envisioning is the creation of a service that tailors a trip along Route 66 to the individuals tastes, schedule, and interests. 
As an example, the customer requesting information sends back the questionnaire with a notation that they are interested in staying in historic motels and are aware that they can not expect the services or amenities offered by the Hilton or Holiday Inn Express. They have also indicated an interest in exploring the Tucumcari area. 
In the customers customized travel plan, information about the Blue Swallow Motel and Motel Safari (history, contact information, recent upgrades, etc.) are provided. Part two of this comes with completion of the trip.
The customer is asked to provide input on these motels. Complaints, or praise, are forwarded to the owner of the respective properties for a response. The owner then responds to the customer and this correspondence is provided to the next person requesting information about motels in Tucumcari. 
As each trip is tailored to a customers specific needs, similar information will be provided about museums, restaurants, and attractions found with short detours with the completed trip itinerary. In addition, promotional brochures, rack cards, and related materials would be provided with these packages. 
Okay, here is where you put in your two cents worth.