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Bicycle Route 66 / Places of Interest along Route 66
« on: April 08, 2015, 11:39:11 pm »
With Route 66 maps now available, people planning to ride the route may like to hear from previous riders what they feel are worthwhile places to see along the Mother Road.  I'll kick off what could be a continuing thread describing "gems" along the route.

The Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum (110 West Howard Street) is a good Mother Road museum, concentrating on the history of Route 66 in Illinois.   

The Livingston County War Museum (321 N. Main Street) contains artifacts, weapons, and uniforms worn by county residents from WWI to Afghanistan and Iraq.  The extensive collection and the stories of the veterans manning the museum vividly demonstrate the contribution of one small county to our nation.

 Afton Station, housed in an old 1930s D-X gas station downtown on Route 66, is a free, friendly, privately-owned Route 66 visitor's center with a wonderful collection of vintage Packards and Route 66 memorabilia.  Maps, guide books and a few trinkets with a Route 66 theme are available.

Stroud Safety Apparel, on Route 66 downtown, manufactures high-visibility shirts, vests, and other safety clothing.  If you can use some high-viz items, with or without reflective stripes, this place will meet your needs.  While its business is fabricating thousands of items for shipment, the friendly staff is happy to provide just what you need.

Built in 1936, the Rock Cafe has been a popular Route 66 attraction for over 70 years.  Destroyed to just walls by a 2008 fire, the cafe was rebuilt and re-opened in 2009.
Rock Café proprietor Dawn Welch is the basis for animated character Sally Carrera in the Pixar film Cars.

The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton is my pick for the best of many Route 66 museums along the route.   The museum’s galleries provide an exciting, well-displayed journey through the history of the Mother Road.  The museum is about ½ mile north of I-40 Exit 65 on Business I-40 (Gary Blvd.).

To relive early Route 66 travelers’ experience of crossing mile after mile of seemingly endless, empty high desert, divert from Adventure Cycling’s route and ride New Mexico Highway 6 between Los Lunas and I-40 Exit 126.  This 40-mile stretch of road was Route 66 from 1926-1937, when the route from the east doglegged north to Santa Fe, then south through Albuquerque to Los Lunas, where it turned northeast towards Grants.  There are no services and almost no signs of civilization on NM-6, other than the highway and a railroad track – just miles and miles of wide-open scenic New Mexico.  The easiest way to get to Los Lunas from Albuquerque is to ride the Paseo Del Bosque bike trail along the east side of the Rio Grande south to its end at Bridge Boulevard SW.  Ride Bridge Boulevard west across the river.  About 4 blocks past the river, turn south on Isleta Boulevard (NM-134) and ride that road Los Lunas.

“Sky City” of Acoma Pueblo is well worth the scenic 15-mile side trip south of Route 66.  The pueblo, the longest continuously-inhabited community in North America (since 1150) sits atop a 357-foot-high mesa, with spectacular views overlooking a green valley circled by cliffs and mesas.  A new museum and visitor center has an extensive collection of art and artifacts, as well as information about the pueblo.  Tours of the pueblo (the only way visitors are permitted) are very informative.  The visitors’ center has a good restaurant.  Roads from I-40 Exits 96 and 108 lead to the pueblo.

If one is looking for lodging in the Acoma Pueblo area, the Sky City Casino & Hotel, at I-40 Exit 102 is convenient.  It’s a modern facility, with at least a couple of dining areas.  Room prices for 2 start at about $80 Sunday through Thursday; Friday and Saturday rates are significantly higher; perhaps that’s when weekend gamblers arrive.

Bicycle Route 66 / Arizona - New Mexico Route 66 Tour
« on: October 27, 2013, 11:35:55 pm »
Route 66 Tour from Holbrook, Arizona to Santa Fe, New Mexico

Hi – I’m John Wettack, 72 years old, living in southeast Arizona.   I enjoy touring historic routes, including the Oregon, Santa Fe, and Chisholm trails and for the past few years have toured parts of Route 66.  Here’s a report on my most recent Route 66 ride.

Three friends and I rode a 400-mile tour of Route 66 between Holbrook, AZ, and Santa Fe, NM, September 9-15, 2013.  Our objective was to ride Route 66 where present, with a couple of off-route detours.  Our overnight stops were Chambers, AZ, and, in NM: Gallup, Grants, the Sky City Casino hotel, Los Lunas, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque. 
Day 1: From Holbrook: US-180 to the Petrified Forest Road to ride through that national park (a worthwhile detour), then I-40 to Chambers.  72 miles
Day 2: From Chambers: Frontier Road (Rt. 66) to Sanders; I-40 to Lupton; NM-118 (Rt. 66) to Gallup.  55 miles
Day 3: From Gallup: NM-118 (Rt. 66) to I-40 Exit 36; I-40 to Exit 47; NM-122 (Rt. 66) to Grants.  [The I-40 shoulder between Exit 36 and 38 has cracked pavement and some loose sand/small gravel, east of Exit 38 the shoulder was in good condition.  Our group, with 32mm to 38mm tires had no problem riding the 2-mile poor shoulder section, which for us did not warrant the 30-mile detour recommended on the New Mexico Touring Society website (and perhaps on Adventure Cycling’s route).  65 miles
Day 4: From Grants: NM-124 (Rt. 66) to the Sky City Casino Hotel, with a detour (15-miles one-way) on Indian Highway 38 from McCartys to Alcoma Pueblo (Sky City) and back to McCartys.  The pueblo, occupied since the 12th Century, is well worth the detour, with a modern visitors’ center, museum, and restaurant.  55 miles
Day 5:  From Sky City Casino Hotel: NM-124 (Rt. 66) to Mesita.  A rough 8-mile section of old Route 66 south of I-40 to Correo – the first couple of miles badly cracked pavement, the last couple of miles dirt which was muddy due to previous day’s rain.  [As an alternative, the shoulder of I-40 could be ridden between Mesita and Correo.]  NM-6 (Rt. 66) to Los Lunas.   The only services on the 60-mile day were 7 miles from the start.
Day 6: From Los Lunas: Isleta Blvd. (Rt. 66) to Albuquerque – 25 miles.  We rode the Rail Runner railroad service to Santa Fe, to ride the downgrade route back to Albuquerque the next day.
Day 7: From Santa Fe – Cerrillos Rd. (Rt.66) to I-25 Exit 278 southern frontage road, also Rt. 66, to I-25 Exit 267.  I-25 shoulder to Exit 264.  To avoid riding I-25 to Exit 248 (a section where I-25 eliminated Route 66), we rode NM-16 to NM-22 to Indian Service Road 84 to NM-313 (Rt. 66) at Exit 248.  Our route passed Pena Blanca, Santo Domingo Pueblo, and San Felipe Pueblo.  NM-313 to Alameda Blvd. to get on Albuquerque’s Paseo del  Bosque bike trail which runs along the Rio Grande through the city.

The tour was a good ride through mostly wide-open, scenic country, including several Indian reservations.  I’m estimating about 75% of the ride was on Route 66.  Much of Route 66 is along or near I-40 and I-25.  Food and water are generally readily available, except along NM-6.   Chambers’ one motel is the only lodging we noticed between Holbrook, AZ and Gallup, NM.  The Paseo del Bosque bike trail is a great ride through most of Albuquerque.

Previous Route 66 tours I’ve done have been Flagstaff to Kingman, Arizona; all of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Illinois; and Carthage, Missouri to the Kansas border.  Several websites provide directions for following Route 66 and the history of current and ghost towns and points of interest along the way. 

Anyone with any questions about the parts of Route 66 I’ve ridden can contact me at

Routes / Spokane - Missoula - Spokane Loop
« on: March 29, 2012, 02:02:52 am »
I'm planning a tour this summer of a loop from Spokane to Missoua, taking in the Spokane an North Idaho Centennial Trails, Trail of the Coeur d'Alene and Route of the Hiawatha, and back to Spokane including the Lewis & Clark Route to Lewiston.  I'm seeking information regarding traffic, terrain, services, etc. on the following portions of the route:
   a. Getting from the North Idaho Centennial Trail to the beginning of the Trail of the Couer d'Alene.  Alternatives appear to be US-95 west of the Lake of the Couer d'Alene or Highway 97 east of the lake.
   b. Between the east end of the Trail of the Hiawatha and St. Regis, MT., are frontage roads passable for touring bikes with 35 mm tires present or is riding the I-90 shoulder the way to go?
   c. Lewiston, ID, to Spokane -- US-195 through Colvax vs. US-95 and Highways 58 and 278 through Potlatch and Plummer. 

Thanks for any information and advice.

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