I suffer from OTR, Obsessive Travel Research (OK, it’s not really a thing – but it should be). I like to think of myself as a spontaneous gal. But I also don’t want to miss anything, and I don’t want to end up sleeping in my car, so I tend to over-research. SO…if you’re getting ready to check out Route 66, you’ll benefit from my obsession. Here’s what I’ve been checking out…
OLD-SCHOOL BOOKS —
- EZ66 Guide for Travelers, by Jerry McClanahan, noted Route 66 author, artist, and historian — If you can buy only one guide to Route 66, this is the one. Recently updated (3rd edition, 2013), it meticulously documents Route 66, step by step. If you’re traveling West to East, you have to get used to reading from the bottom of the page up, but it’s worth the effort. http://mcjerry66.com/
- Route 66 Dining & Lodging Guide (16th edition, 2013) — Also published by the National Historic Route 66 Federation, this is a great companion book to McClanahan’s guide. Both volumes are spiral bound and small enough to keep on the center console in the car while you’re cruising. Buy on Amazon
- Route 66 Sightings, by Jerry McClanahan (are you starting to see a trend here?), Jim Ross, and Shellee Graham. This coffee-table photography is gorgeous and captivating. These 3 friends have been traveling the Mother Road for decades, and they have amazing shots of Route 66 stuff that often no longer exists. Each shot is documented with a bit of history and a great personal story. I bought my edition from the gift shop at the Wigwam Motel (http://wigwammotel.com), but the best resource is the Ghost Town Press site: http://www.66maps.com/home.html .
- Roadside America, by photographer John Margolies — A gorgeous coffee-table book from Taschen, one of my favorite publishers. But I buy all of their books on Amazon — cheaper, and if you have Amazon Prime, free 2-day shipping. And everyone should have Amazon Prime — $79/year for Amazon Prime Video + free 2-day shipping on most items. Buy on Amazon
- Off the Beaten Path: A Travel Guide to More Than 1,000 Scenic and Interesting Places Still Uncrowded and Inviting — A Reader’s Digest Publication (yes, they’re still publishing stuff!). The book is almost as long as the title. Buy on Amazon
- The Most Scenic Drives in America — Another Readers Digest Publication. Great maps, info, photos. Buy on Amazon
- National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways, 4th Edition: The 300 Best Drives in the U.S. Buy on Amazon
- On the Road: America’s Legendary Highways, by Andrew Montgomery — Great photos, organized by scenic drives across the U.S. Buy on Amazon
- Legendary Route 66: A Journey Through Time Along America’s Mother Road, by Michael Karl Witzel & Gyvel Young-Witzel — I bought my copy from Angel Delgadillo, the modern Route 66 gladiator who led the resurrection of Route 66, at his gift shop in Seligman, AZ. If you ever get a chance, visit the shop! Buy on Amazon
- National Geographic Guide to State Parks of the United States, 4th Edition — Buy on Amazon
- National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States, 7th Edition — Buy on Amazon
- Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA Pet Book, 14th Edition — Buy on Amazon
- BEST FREE BOOKS — State Travel Guides and maps from your local AAA office are free if you have a AAA membership. And you should never go on a roadtrip without a AAA card!
APPS (iPhone) —
Free apps, paid apps, crappy apps…I love apps! Here’s a few good ones —
- Road Trip 66 (Propaganda3) — This is the best app I’ve found that is specific to Route 66. It’s an interactive map of the route with nearly all Route 66 attractions noted. You can flag places that you want to see, to narrow down the field. There’s varying amounts of info available on each place, often including phone numbers and websites (for hotels and restaurants). It integrates with Google Maps, but not as well as I’d like — you have to leave the app to go to the Google Maps app, but it’s really a minor inconvenience. Most of the data seems up-to-date, although we found a few signs that are now missing on a recent day trip. But you can notify the app makers of changes, so hopefully that will help keep it up-to-date.
- TripAdvisor — The best all-round travel app around.
- Hipmunk — “We compare all the top travel sites so you don’t have to.” Great place to search for hotels. Generally returns results for the hotel chains, vs. the mom-and-pops.
- Google Maps — Of course. And the iPhone Maps (in spite of all the problems) has great turn-by-turn directions.
- Hotel Tonight — Last-minute deals.
- Roadtrippers — This one is fun. It combines travel reviews with Google Maps. There are some quirks, and I wish there was calendar integration, but it’s fun and useful.
OK, why re-invent the wheel? Jerry McClanahan has already gathered a huge list of Route 66 resources — http://mcjerry66.com/links.php
I’ll share more resources as I use them along the route — have to go pack now!!!