Touring the world comes in all shapes, sizes and ways. From airplanes to bicycles, ferry, cruise ship or car, touring the globe is a time honoured tradition and few are quite as renowned and ingrained in a culture as riding the road on Route 66.
A 2,448 mile journey from one side of the US to the other, from Chicago to Los Angeles, tell us this doesn’t captivate you? Originally the path taken by the railroad, Route 66 was paved-over in 1926 and from then on, open to the masses in their Ford Model T’s and Cadillac cruisers. The creation of this ‘Main Road’ through the nation allowed for Americans young and old to ‘up sticks’ and move-on, with the promise of sun, sea and opportunity rife. From dusty meadows and cacti, to clear blue skies and palm trees, Route 66 became the hope of a nation.
Sadly the road no longer exists, but that doesn’t stop millions of travellers finding their way across the country each year, many with that hope fresh in-mind.
The nostalgia of the journey is what entices visitors from all around the world to embark on this historic trail. Neon signs, road-side cafes, motels, gas stations, the world’s largest whatever and more, these are just a few of the things that created Americana. It inspired and continues inspire creatives and non-alike. Musicians, filmmakers, authors and more have torn across the asphalt in the sometimes searing heat of the noonday sun and seen sights that many crave.
Stops along the route include well known cities and innocuous, unheard of towns, and there-in lies the fun. Exploring the a nation step by step and discovering not only differing styles of life but accents and attitudes make for a varied and alluring trip. A tour from the east coast to the west coast would encompass Chicago, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Amarillo, Gallup, Kingman and many more oddly interestingly named places to stop-off at or to spend the night
If you’re contemplating this epic experience, there are a number of ways. Hiring a motorhome (Winnebago) might be fun and save you money on motels, the Easy Rider mode might be a fun way to go, while hiring a car and heading across state is the more traditional option. Note: renting a car in the United States of America can be a pricey prospect; sizes of vehicles, how far you intend to travel and which states you will cross all factor into rental agency’s pricing structure. There is also the issue of car insurance to be considered. The days of the 10 cent steak and the dirt cheap gas are long gone, but if you are lucky and thrifty, you can find bargains here and there.
Like any holiday, weather and time of year are important considerations. If you want to avoid the sweltering sun, try Spring (March, April, May, June) or even Autumn. Travel apps, while not really in-keeping with the theme authenticity of your trip, are a fact of life and a benefit. A ‘cooler’, one of those polystyrene boxes, is what you need. It allows for storage, fewer stops and saves money.
What’s the ideal length of a road trip?
4 weeks. Less is too less, you simply can’t see enough, more is too long, you feel it’s never going to end and stops being fun.
Mobile phones or Cell phones are wonderfully cheap in the United States. For $50 plus the same in credit, you can feel secure that were you to get a flat tyre, or fall foul of the elements while on the road, you can call for assistance, the cell phone network in the US is massive. Be sure and download your apps and maps in advance, at Wi-Fi hotspots to save time and money. Rental of a GPS device (essential if your touring an entire nation) is charged on a daily basis and is not cheap, whereas GPS on your phone can be free.
Know the distance between rest-stops and motels. It is advisable to be aware of how far you need to travel and where you will arrive. Also ensuring you regularly top-up with ‘Gas’, it can be quite a distance between stations and running-out is far from ideal. Pre-booking accommodation can gain you cheaper rates and ensure you are housed for the evening also.
We’re not taking suitcases here - we all know that trunks (boots) on US model cars are huge, no, we’re talking The Cloud and the like. 4 weeks of travelling, you’re going to take many, many photographs and videos; some incredibly well composed and others heartfelt and beautiful, while others might simply be of roadkill or petrol pumps. Whatever you photograph, be sure and store it safely. Stops at motels these days mean WIFI. Upload the images to your online storage provider and rest assured that if you lose your camera, the photos are recoverable.
Plan your trip. What do you want to see? What do you HAVE to see? There are sights that mean more to you than others, don’t miss them.
Most of all, enjoy the experience.