Five days to make it to Virginia. A friend was driving a car back east and I had nothing but time. So of course, I wasn’t about to pass up a chance at a road trip. Along the way the objective was Route 66, the main street of America, picking it up in Kingman, AZ to where it turns north to Chicago at Oklahoma City. Road tripping through the west always elicits a feeling of freedom, but there is something extra special about traveling along Route 66. Route 66 was once the main thoroughfare to the west and is one of the best living remnants of the past. Although now a lot of the old route has dissolved and is part of Interstate 44, there are still plenty of slices left to explore.
We then headed east past Hoover Dam towards Kingman, where we picked up Route 66, winding through the Arizona hills to Hackberry, AZ. We stopped off for a soda and to admire the mired of classic road signs. From there we shot our way over to Seligman and had lunch before jumping back on Interstate 44 towards Flagstaff.
We swung through the Petrified Forest National Park just before dark and checked another park off the list.
We ended the day with a night at the EL Rancho Hotel in Gallup, NM, once a home for movie stars of the 30s and 40s. The hotel is themed country western and no doubt preserves the American west theme.
The next day we hopped back on the highway and stopped off at Old Town Albuquerque before continuing on to Clines Corner, a massive truck stop, for some snacks. As we were passing though Texas, there was no way we weren’t going to stop for some BBQ at Tyler’s BBQ.
Before leaving Route 66, we stopped off at the Rock Cafe, known for being an inspiration for the movie Cars. We then set off towards Memphis and drove in the rain by the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Hotel before continuing on to Nashville, where I was flying home.
It was a last minute marathon ride out east and what every road trip should be. Although we had a destination and a set time schedule, we ventured with an open mind to find new experiences along the way. Who knew we would be driving past a giant ancient crater (which we didn’t actually see due to the entrance fee) or a petrified forest until it was right in front of us. It’s discovering the unknown that makes the over 2,000 mile drive worth it. It would only be a few weeks later that we would hit the road again; only this time on a much longer adventure of the west.