Route 66 can trace its history until the late 1920s, when it was first proposed and presented. However, it was not until 1938 that the road was completely paved, from the eastern beginning in Chicago, Illinois, to the western terminal in Santa Monica, California, about 2,450 miles later. Of course, the route can be traveled east or west, although most Route 66 travelers prefer to go east to west, just as the Joad family did in John Steinbeck's famous literary work, The Grapes of Wrath.
Unfortunately, Route 66 began to be replaced in the 1960s by new interstate highways that bypassed many small towns along the way and were completely removed from the interstate highway system in 1985. However, in part for many small Route 66 organizations cities chambers of commerce, enthusiasts and historians have refused to let him die. In the past 25 years, there has been a new resurgence in historic tourism that has rekindled interest in preserving this great piece of Americana's history and nostalgia, which is Route 66.
Often called "The Mother Road", "Main Street of America" or "Will Rogers Highway", the route runs through eight different states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Let's take a look at the state of Arizona in more detail.
Heading west, Arizona is the 7th of the 8 states on Route 66 and has 401 miles from one border to the other. It has some of the most beautiful scenery, some of the most unmissable establishments, the highest elevation and the longest and uninterrupted stretch of Route 66 throughout the journey.
Geographically, Arizona is home to the Meteor Crater, Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. These places offer incredible photo opportunities, but also the chance to explore and hike these natural attractions.
About 75 miles in Arizona, in addition to the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert, is the city of Holbrook. Home to Motel Wigwam Village, most Route 66 travelers expect to sleep in a tent and many cite this landmark as a highlight of their trip. Further west is Joseph City, a Mormon establishment established in the late 1870s. Located in Joseph City, is the famous Jackrabbit Post Office. One of the most popular signature locations on Route 66 is the famous billboard that exclaims "HERE IT IS" located at the Jackrabbit Trading Post.
Further west, after the meteor crater and the cities "around the corner" Winslow, the extinct Two Guns, the abandoned twins and the "don't forget" Winona, is the city of Flagstaff. Flagstaff is home to the famous Lowell Observatory and is also the gateway to the Grand Canyon, located an hour's drive north. The canyon is well worth a trip parallel to Route 66 to see one of the eight natural wonders of the world. If you prefer, you can also access the spectacular Grand Canyon via the Grand Canyon railway from Williams, just 20 miles west of Flagstaff. Between Flagstaff and Williams is Brannigan Peak. At 7,320 feet above sea level, it is the highest point on the entire Rt route. 66
25 miles west of Williams is Ash Fork, the capital of the world. Right after Ash Fork, you can say goodbye to I-40 as you begin the longest stretch of Route 66 throughout the journey. Be sure to stop by the legendary Snow Cap Drive-in in Seligman and the fascinating general store in Hackberry before arriving in Kingman. Here you will find many commercial establishments still preserved, catering to the Route 66 traveler, including a very well made museum.
Make sure to leave Kingman while you still have daylight, because you will not miss the incredible scenery that lies ahead as you travel through the Black Mountain zigzags and hairpins ahead. Oatman waits, as do the many wild donkeys that call the old mining town home. Be sure to check out the historic Oatman hotel, where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent their honeymoon.
From Oatman, you can take a quick side trip to the Laughlin Nevada casinos and try your luck, or continue through Golden Shores, Topock and back to I-40 to cross the mighty Colorado River to California.