Route 66 Bicycle Ride
June 2-23, 1996

Route 66 was one of the early cross country roads in the U.S. It was designated in 1926 and ran from Chicago to Los Angeles. It became famous as the road the dust bowl farmers traveled on as they left the Dust Bowl for California. Route 66 is a reminder of the early days of auto travel in this country. while many of the old towns have changed, lots of the old road and attractions can still be found.
90% of the old road is still rideable. Since I did not have to travel to the start of this ride, the lure of getting up one morning and riding until I arrived in Santa Monica, California was irresistible.

Day
Miles
Destination
Highlights and Comments
1 160 Bloomington, IL

Left from home at 4:00 AM...Beautiful, hot summer day, strong headwinds...started at Art Institute and traveled through south and western suburbs, in no time we were on old 66...at times the frontage road for I55 is Rt 66...long day in the saddle

2 120 Litchfield, IL

Old Trucker's Home Restaurant, maple syrup, and old roads...some rolling hills...heard a retired trooper talk about the terrible accidents due to intersections, no seat belts, curbs and no speed limit.

3 110 Grey Summit, MO

Old country roads, closed bridge over Mississippi, (with a bend) Ted Drewes Custer Shop in St. Louis, busy roads leaving St. Louis

4 136 Lebannon, MO

Rolling hills, some rain, interesting old motels, gas stations and towns

5 134 Joplin, MO

More hills, country roads, some bumpy roads.

6 110 Claremore, OK

Home of Will Rogers, visited his house, pretty scenery, rolling hills, few trees

7 96 Chandler, OK

Land flattens out, small country roads, like going back in time, enjoying eating a authentic diners...

8 120 Weatherford, OK

More diners, and scenery from Grapes of Wrath

9 102 Shamrock, TX

Flat as a pancake, and strong head winds, land is slowly rising all day, but so slowly, you cannot see it. Visibility is 30 miles...

10 100 Amarillo, TX

Can feel the elevation even if we cannot see it...Lots of old motels, and cattle...Home of the Big Texan Steak House and 72 oz. steak.

11 115 Tucumcari, NM

Traveling from plains to desert...beautiful scenery, some vintage Rt 66 Motels...

12 130 Las Vegas, NM

Beautiful desert vistas through open desert... tarantulas on the road, some were "pancakes" ...big climb at end of day and then down through a thunderstorm to old motel.

13 136 Albuquerque, NM

Big climbs, rain and cold weather, big downgrade into Albuquerque, Rt 66 is not in the best part of town...seedy motels

14 90 Grants, NM

Big climb going out of town, whew! More desert and bumby roads

15 110 Chambers, AZ

Long day in beautiful, but hot desert...Chambers is a motel, not a town...

16 84 Winslow, AZ

More desert, more heat...more scenery

17 90 Williams, AZ

Great town in the mountains...Nice main street, ride the train to Grand Canyon...nice restaurants...

18 135 Kingman, AZ

Really hot day with very strong headwinds, last ten miles were blistering! Nice Rt 66 museum here!

19 72 Needles, CA

Wow! The heat was over 110 degrees. Climbed the Oatman Pass and relaxed at Oatman. Oatman is the most difficult climb imaginable. Steep grades, hairpin turns and no shoulders!

20 158 Barstow, CA

On this day we crossed the dreaded Mohave Desert. We rode past historic Amboy the Bagdad Cafe...Hot, hot, hot, and a very strong headwind...Thanks to the support crew for cold water and frozen washclothes along the way, we all survived.

21 83 Rialto, CA

Continuous downhill all day, would not like to go the other way, suburban to urban environment...

22 75 Santa Monica, CA

150 Stop lights, first McDonalds, China Town, Very rough neighborhoods, didn't dare slow down, rode hard to get it over with... beautiful ocean views at the Santa Monica Pier. We did it! We traveled the 2400 miles of Rt 66. We got our kicks!