Thinking about taking the Mother of All Road Trips;

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Crashnburn, Jan 18, 2022.

  1. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Cleared for Takeoff

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    the entire Route 66, which ran from Chicago, IL, to the Santa Monica, CA pier. It's also known as America's Main Street. There are any number of books about Route 66, and I already have started my collection. I even have a set of maps.

    I've driven parts of it already, and stood on a corner in Winslow, AZ, but there weren't any women slowing down to take a look at me. Those trips were much more about the destination than the journey. This one will be more about the journey than the destination.

    I read a few pages from a book, _You_Can_Still_Get_Your_Kicks_On_Route_66_, where the author thought driving a classic car on a Route 66 trip would be more authentic. Originally, I thought maybe flying the route and landing at interesting places, but at least from Chicago through OK, the towns are relatively close together so a car would be more practical. (Now if I had a flying car.) I have a classic muscle car, a 1981 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Special Edition. That's my vehicle of choice.

    It needs some MMOR before I think about taking it out on the open road. I'm going for a while, so I'm thinking of adding a towing package to it, buying a small travel trailer, and having the trailer painted Starlight Black, and trim it out in the same gold decals the T/A has.

    There are some close-by scenic tours, including Big Sur, which could be a shakedown tour. Or maybe a trip to Columbia, CA for a fly-in, and camping on the airport.

    Besides visiting the historic sites along the way, I plan on also finding the local airport diners, to keep this post aviation related. It'll be a while, but if they're willing, I'd like to meet fellow POAer's along the way, too.
     
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  2. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I'd definitely encourage doing that trip. I'd also suggest that, if you're going to do it starting in CA (using the location that you have listed under your avatar) that you take enough time on the way eastbound to also check out some of the fun on the northern route - Utah and Colorado have a lot of wonderful things to see.

    From our RVing I'd definitely say camping is a great idea for a trip like that, at least having the capability to do so (you'll still probably want to stay at hotels from time to time). It gives you a lot more options for more interesting places to stay. Although I'm not sure how towing with an '81 Trans Am would work, especially if you haven't upgraded the brakes or suspension. You'd probably be looking at a pop-up camper or small teardrop, and at that point, you could probably have a lot more convenience and be without the hassles of a trailer with simply buying a good tent, sleeping bag, and inflatable mattress pad of some sort stuffed in the trunk with a 12V cooler and little propane stove. I'd think that would make the drive portion of it more enjoyable on the whole since you can enjoy the car more, and the sleeping arrangements won't be a whole lot different.

    As much as we enjoy the RV, I have a desire to do a similar trip at some point, although likely on a motorcycle. About as polar opposite as you can get from our 40' Class A glamping. :D

    I haven't researched it, but you might want to also check into how much of the original Route 66 still exists as a road if your goal is to drive the actual road rather than just the modern day route. When we visited the Petrified Forest, they have one section at the north end where there's some of the original Route 66, where it would've crossed present day I-40. It's very much no longer a usable road. I'm not sure how much of that may be the case in other places. Just suggesting that because, while you can still cover the rough territory, it may not entirely be the same road that Nat King Cole told folks to get their kicks on.
     
  3. Albany Tom

    Albany Tom Pattern Altitude

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    Sounds like a lot of fun. I knew a couple of people who had similar cars back when they were new. I wouldn't suggest anything bigger than a little teardrop trailer behind them, but really, if it's just one or two, that's fine. Oh, and I'd avoid the snow seasons. I grew up in the hills when everything was rear wheel drive, and the only thing worse than a T/A was a 2wd pickup with no weight in the back.
     
  4. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Cleared for Takeoff

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    Thanks. I'd been thinking of a teardrop trailer. The gear Ted mentioned would probably fill the Bird to the gills. My thoughts were to take the northern route east, maybe swing down in CO to visit my oldest brother, and my sister, then continuing on to spend a week camping at AirVenture. Then take the westward route. I'm not planning on driving every mile of the original road, but as much as what is relatively easily passable. That would easily keep me out of snow season.

    I'm partway through _Traveling_Route_66_, it was published 20 years ago, so no telling how much remains; but many states are restoring parts of the road.
    Sidebar: I got my BSEE from Wichita State University. While I was there, St. Patrick's Day was a big deal. When they redid the engineering courtyard, they put a big shamrock in it. Some of the professors were from the University of Missouri, at Rolla, which is an engineering school, where St. Patrick is their patron saint, and where our tradition came from. Turns out, it was on St. Patrick's Day, in Rolla, that they celebrated pouring the concrete for the last mile of Missouri's part of Route 66.

    I had a different experience with my 77 Formula Firebird. It had a Posi-Trac differential, and steel belted radials. I had no trouble driving up snow covered hills in Nebraska. I did need chains going over Wolf Creek Pass in the middle of the winter, mostly because I was following a guy towing a ski boat over the mountains and couldn't build up enough speed on the downslopes to carry me up the upslopes. (That was when I moved from Omaha, Nebraska to So. CA.)

    My Special Edition has four-wheel disk brakes and was the best handling car of its time. It still goes around corners on rails. I plan on doing a Pro Touring suspension upgrade, and add subframe connectors, along with replacing the body mount bushings.
     
  5. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Sounds like you've got brakes and suspension taken care of already, so you're set there.

    Yeah, the sorts of gear I mentioned would definitely leave the car pretty well packed. One negative I thought of with my setup is that it gets rid of the option to just stop in a rest area as an en-route point. We do that with the RV and it is convenient to be able to just pull in, go to sleep, wake up and go. With a teardrop you can do that, with a tent that's usually prohibited. So, the teardrop could make sense for you. If you have those setups and the engine braking on that car is at all decent, then you should be ok even going through the steep mountains.

    When you say the northern route, I'm not sure how far north you're talking. We've enjoyed Idaho and Glacier National Park. I think that Utah and Colorado offer more on the whole, but Montana offers a lot, and of course in South Dakota there's the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore. Lots to see, big route to figure out. A lot of it also depends on what you want to see.

    When heading back through Rt 66 through New Mexico and Arizona, you'll already check out Winslow on your plan, but definitely also check out Petrified Forest National Park and Meteor Crater. Two really neat places to see.
     
  6. Warlock

    Warlock Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Sounds cool…Tulsa has a nice omage to Route 66 and is a really nice town if you know where to look…sounds like a great trip
     
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  7. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    My parents did the whole route last fall with a pop up camper in tow. They said they felt the trailer held them back from stopping in certain areas and also from driving some stretches of the original road.

    I haven’t driven any of the route in about 15 years now but I get the feeling from talking to my parents that things are changing and the road isn’t what it was. Their suggestion to me was to take another trip soon to enjoy it before it is gone.
     
  8. sourdough44

    sourdough44 En-Route

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    https://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/18360

    You may as well put the ‘Roadkill Cafe’ on the radar in Seligman, AZ, if it’s not already. I think my stop there was 15+ years ago, seems to be still up & running. I don’t remember much about it besides the name. It seems to rate as a ‘must stop’ if driving by.

    On a long drive like you’re talking, I’d be lining up sites of interest along the way, even if a tad out of the way as side trips.
     
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  9. Oldmanb777

    Oldmanb777 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Do it! BUT do it on two wheels. Traveling on a motorcycle is so different. Freedom, no cage to sit in and destroy your experience. Your really out there to take in the total world. You miss much of the world when you are in a cage.
     
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  10. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My son needs his Mustang moved from Oakland to New Hampshire. Thinking about driving it, but not a good time of year and all my co drivers have to work, so I'd be solo. Decisions, decisions.
     
  11. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I think if the goal is to see Route 66, I'd agree with that. A lot of the towns we've driven through that have "Historic Route 66" signs (we've done a good bit of travel on I-40) seem fairly run down and dumpy. Given the general trend of small town America, I can't say that's really surprising or likely to change course anytime soon. I know there was a resurgence in Route 66 history, but I think that's waned.
     
  12. Gary Ward

    Gary Ward Cleared for Takeoff

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    When I was racing we cruised lot's of RT66 towing a race trailer being pulled by this freightliner. My crew member's drove most of the time and I slept. So really didn't see much other than the race track.
    After racing my wife and I retraced some of RT 66 in the same freightliner. This time I drove 95% of the time with my wife doing a little of the driving. We towed a open trailer with a 74 dodge challenger on it that we used as a "dingy" Some nights I would just drive the challenger around imagining it was the 1970s all over again. Bucket list stuff for us.

    Pulling a open trailer is much more fun than a enclosed trailer cause people can see what is on the trailer and it fits in most campgrounds. We also do a lot of "boon docking" which is better than campgrounds sometimes. We are so fortunate to be able to do this here and there. The last few years we have not traveled as much due to having the plane first, then covid the last 2 years. 2022 we are hitting the road for the southwest again in our older but trusty freightliner.

    [​IMG]
    LasVegas in Aug 115°f
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2022
  13. Ventucky Red

    Ventucky Red Cleared for Takeoff

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    You know what this thread really needs....



    And while we're at it

     
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  14. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    100% agree there.

    When we first got the RV, my wife wasn't so sure about boondocking. Now that we've done it, it's the only way we like to camp. We still stay at campgrounds from time to time and it's nice to have the full hookups occasionally, but boondocking is really where it's at.
     
  15. Dana

    Dana En-Route

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    We drove most of Rt. 66 A few years ago in a micro RV (Tiger) a few years ago. Bought it sight unseen in CA (ebay) and drove it home to CT, taking any side trip that looked interesting.
     
  16. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Me, standing on a corner in Winslow, AZ,...

    upload_2022-1-19_10-15-1.png



    ...looking at my girl and a flatbed Ford.

    upload_2022-1-19_10-13-13.png


    We drove some of Rt 66 during a long western vacaction about 10 years ago. It was fun, but even back then much of 66 was gone or in terrible condition. We'd sail along for miles and miles, and suddenly the road would just peter out into a dirt foot trail, or end with concrete barriers. We'd have to backtrack for a half hour to get back on the interstate.

    You'll have a wonderful trip (we'll expect lots of posts and pics), but do your research. A little time using Google Earth might be a good idea.
     
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  17. RussR

    RussR En-Route

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    Route 66 runs right through Oklahoma City and I’m on it all the time to get to one of the airports I fly out of (Wiley Post).

    Actually there are quite a few airports on or near 66 in Oklahoma.

    Let me know when you pass through!
     
  18. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Cleared for Takeoff

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    Absolutely, Thanks.
     
  19. pmanton

    pmanton En-Route PoA Supporter

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    It oughta be fun! I'm an old fart and am proud to say, I drove it when it was the east-west main drag.
     
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  20. Archer Jack

    Archer Jack Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Actually wouldn't that be considered a stake bed? :dunno::cheerswine:
     
  21. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Now you go through saint looey
    Joplin, missouri,
    And oklahoma city is mighty pretty.
    You see amarillo,
    Gallup, new mexico,
    Flagstaff, arizona.
    Don't forget winona,
    Kingman, barstow, san bernandino.
    Won't you get hip to this timely tip
    When you make that california trip
    Get your kicks on route sixty-six.

    I drive on part of Historic Rt 66 every time I go into town.

    The first 2 years I lived in Gallup was on Historic Rt 66 at this Rv park.

    http://www.usarvpark.com/

    I see vintage iron making the trip every summer. One of the best was a mid 30s Chevy pickup pulling a mid 50s travel trailer. Both were highly updated but were painted close to original factory colors.

    Usually several motor cycle clubs ride through each summer except for the last two due to Covid, I am guessing. Even folks on bicycles come through each summer making the 66 trip. I once met a person that was making the trip courtesy of his 2 feet.



    Let me know when you are in the area.!!
     
  22. Htaylor

    Htaylor Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I've done the drive in both directions. Flown it Westbound several times ferrying aircraft. Lots to see and do along the way. I always enjoy the drive. Be sure and stop here.

    https://www.uranusmissouri.com/
     
  23. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Cleared for Takeoff

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    Hi All,

    Thanks. I won't make the trip until Tammy's gotten her Angel Wings so she can fly top cover. 1/2 Fast, and others, know the situation.

    It will be great to get out on the road. I'll miss her being my seat cover.
     
  24. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Cleared for Takeoff

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    Thanks for the tip. Tammy and I might have eaten there on our trip from CA to Daytona, on my way to get my Avionics Line Maintenance Certificate at ERAU.
     
  25. Eldorado

    Eldorado Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Having grown up in Albuquerque, all my relatives from Chicago, and attending college in Pasadena, Route 66 Orion has many fond and not so fond memories. Car breakdowns, no Aircondioning, but tubular evaporative water coolers sticking out the window, carrying water in canvas bags hung on the side mirror(a few neophytes hung them on the hood decal, blocking air flow to the radiator), small mom/pop motels, packed lunches(restaurants too expensive), tow trucks and one man garages every 10 miles, 2 lane traffic, getting stuck behind trucks, did I say car breakdowns? We could only dream of Interstates and reliable cars, Airconditioner, nice motels, averaging 75mph through downtown Albuquerque and Oklahoma City. Thank heavens for the Burma shave advertisements. Good old days? Not
     
  26. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Just how old are you, anyway?

    ;)
     
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  27. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf En-Route

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    I'm towards the end (going east) but not directly on it. Route 66 goes through Bloomington, IL and I'm over in Peoria. Would be glad to break bread with ya. I have a "Flying Route 66" post somewhere in Cool Places to Fly.
     
  28. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Cleared for Takeoff

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    Thanks. I'll have to look for your post.
     
  29. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf En-Route

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  30. Everskyward

    Everskyward Experimenter

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    I've thought about driving the Lincoln Highway since I live within a half a mile of one end and was born in a city near the other end.
     
  31. KRyan

    KRyan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My family and I drove a bit of RT 66 on our trip out West a couple of years ago. We drove it because my daughter had recently read "The Grapes of Wrath" and wanted to retrace the path the Joads had taken. We didn't stay on it very long. As I recall, the stretch we were on had a speed limit of 35 mph, and we were "on a schedule," so we got back on I-40 after a short while. Of course, if you are just driving it for the journey, you won't really have a schedule.