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Although historic Route 66, from 1926 to 1985 the USA's "Mother Road," its small-r route is still an iconic road trip which stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles, covering a total distance of 2,448 miles long. Ever since I can remember, my biggest dream was to travel this route, and I recently did. My journey began in Chicago - the third largest city in the United States. Before I set off on the legendary Route 66, I spent a fantastic week exploring the city, an international hub for finance, culture, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. It is also one of the main destinations of tourists in the USA. Chicago's 58 million domestic and international visitors in 2018 made it the second most visited city in the nation, behind New York City's approximately 65 million.
Some Highlights of My Trip
My first stop was Dixie Travel Plaza in McLean, Illinois - now on Interstate 55, this was one of the first truck stops in the United States. This classic place has allowed me to totally feel the atmosphere straight from the films I've seen in my youth. The next stop was Chain Rock Bridge - a unique bridge opened in 1929. Originally a motor route, the bridge was for a time the route used by US 66 to cross over the Mississippi River, but the bridge now carries only pedestrians and bicyclists.
Another obligatory place on the route was the Rocking Chair in Fanning, Missouri, to which I arrived a day later. Over 42 feet tall, it held the world record from 2008 to 2015 and is now promoted as the "World's Largest Rocking Chair on Route 66."
The next noteworthy point on our route was: Cars on the Route - the old service station well known as a Kon-O-Tex service station in Galena, Kansas.
I made another larger stop by stopping at Claremore, Oklahoma's Will Rogers Memorial, visiting the museum dedicated to the beloved 20th-century newspaper columnist, Broadway performer, political pundit, radio legend, movie star, and philosopher. (And by the way, Route 66 was also known as Will Rogers Memorial Highway.)
Seven hours south of Claremore, we also enjoyed Cadillac Ranch in Amarilo, Texas, created in 1974 by local billionaire Stanley Marsh III. Ten Cadillac automobiles halfway buried nose-down in a line facing west - quite a sight!
Out in Las Vegas, the Neon Museum was especially cool - a flashy collection of retired 20th-century neon signs from casino and other Sin City businesses.
We also went to the Grand Canyon - a place that everyone must visit. It represents nearly two billion years of Earth’s geological history and with amazing views.
Finally, at the end, we left a week to visit Los Angeles - a world center of trade, entertaiment, culture, and sports.
All in all, we sure got our kicks on Route 66!