Travel: Us Cross Country, Route 66

Route 66 has a certain aura about it because ofits cultural significance and historical relevance in the United States. While it is long and there are many places of interest, here are the top ten.

Route 66 has a certain mystique about in the United States. The mother of all roads runs over two thousand miles between Chicago and Los Angeles. Built gradually in the years of the late 1950s, Route 66 is now officially named, "Historic Route 66" because of its special place in the hearts of Americans and the role it played in creation of the ethos of travel that is so pervasive in this country. From the dustbowlers to the Beatniks, this road has been a pivotal part of the nation's cultural history. Aside from being an icon of the wandering spirit, Route 66 provides a traveler with memorable glimpses of Midwestern towns, cities, and villages. Along the way there are stretches of road that seem to go on for mile and miles without any sign of life, and then there are the areas where the roadside is bustling with activity. If you want to go on a road trip and have the time to do it right, Route 66 might be your road to take. Here is how to best get your kicks on Route 66.

There are ten places along the route that are not to be missed. The first is "exotic World". Exotic World is the world's only museum dedicated to the striptease guild. In this museum you will find room after room filled with relics of old striptease shows over the years.

London Bridge is located in the middle of the Arizona Desert. It was the inspiration for the children's rhyme, "London Bridge" because it was built from the actual parts of the London Bridge in England. When the original bridge could no longer handle the heavy traffic of the city it was dissembled and shipped to Arizona.

Fifty miles west of Albuquerque there is a unique city called Acoma Pueblo. It stands atop a four-hundred foot sandstone table. It is called "Sky City" for its tremendous views. Dating back to 1150, it is one of the oldest communities in North America. In Acoma Pueblo you will find traditional adobe houses and excellent pottery. The largest Spanish colonial church in the state, San Esteban del Rey Mission, is also located in this city.

Traveling miles west you will come upon the next stop of choice, Tinkertown. Tinkertown is located in New Mexico, west of Santa Fe. Tinkertown is a collection of over one thousand carved miniature wooden figures arrange on tiny stages. There is a circus display as well as a Wild West town display to enjoy.

After Tinkertown you will be headed into Texas. The Cadillac Ranch located in Amarillo, Texas is not to be missed along the way. From your car you will see eleven Cadillac cars upended in the plains. This shrine to America's adored vehicle was established in May of 1974 by the San Francisco-based Ant Farm artist's and architects' collective. All the cars were bought from local junkyards and planted into the ground. Since their initial planting there has been the expected graffiti, however, the ranch is well worth the stop.

If you want to fully appreciate the importance and history behind the road on which you travel you may want to stop at the official Route 66 museum. Located in Old Town Elk City in Oklahoma, the museum has an old pickup truck decorated in the likeness of the vehicle in the classic movie, "Grapes of Wrath," and is full of Route 66 paraphernalia from over the years.

While you are still in Oklahoma you can stop at Will Roger's Memorial. It is located one mile west of Claremore on a hill that overlooks the town. Will Rogers, America's favorite cowboy, has his tomb onsite. There is a statue of dedication as well as a small museum full of paraphernalia pertaining to and from his life on the saddle.

In Missouri a great place to visit is the Meramec Caverns. These limestone caves offer interesting hikes and much history. The stalagmites and stalactites, along with the inner cavern water systems are a sight to see. Taking a tour of the caverns will offer you these views as well as a glimpse into the history associated with the caves.

Last but not least on the list of places on Route 66 is Cozy Dogs in Springfield, Illinois. Cozy Dogs is the drive-in restaurant where corn dogs were first made and marketed. Here you can see a small museum dedicated to the birth of this culinary treat and enjoy a dog or three""with or without chili.

The stops listed above are just suggestions on potential places to visit. Route 66 has many more interesting places to explore, but to get a real feel for the mother of all roads you should consider visiting one or two of the above mentioned sites.

© High Speed Ventures 2011