“Get your kicks on Route 66” *
And so to the postscript, the trip wrap-up and debrief, for my trip on Route 66. The official distance of Route 66 is 2278 miles, according to the sign at the MidPoint Café. My mileage from Chicago to Santa Monica was 3087, but of course that included a few side trips. It’s also unclear which of the alignments are used to make up the 2278. Whatever, and who cares! I did a further 474 miles up to San Jose and then SFO, making a trip total of 3561 miles.
And what a trip it was. It’s one of the classic road journeys of all time, and possibly the most famous. The side trips to Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon were great, added massively to the whole experience, and were well worth doing. A few days tagged on at the end to revisit the Pacific Coast Highway and then finally see the 49ers win a game at Levi’s Stadium made it a trip to remember. Not that I think you’d forget doing ’66 in a hurry.
I called last year’s Coast to Coast road trip ‘epic’. I’ll say the same for this year’s but in a different way. I never felt tired from the driving this year although the smaller daily distances helped, reverting to what I’d done in previous years’ trips. There were a lot more ‘good nights’ in bars on this trip than any other I’ve done. I don’t know why but it was a pleasing element and ‘addition’ over previous trips.
I could not have done the trip solo without the Route 66 Navigation app I used to navigate. As good and comprehensive as the EZ-66 Guide For Travellers is, I’m not sure that with one person navigating and another driving that the book is better than the app. I also think the navigator would miss out on seeing a lot of the drive’s sights and scenery because they’d be constantly reading and deciphering the route instructions. I didn’t use the instructions during a drive but to my mind they seem complex. Maybe once the navigator has been on the road for a day or two the instructions become second-nature? I just don’t know. I think the app and the book complement each other. The book was definitely useful and a mine of information, especially the night before when planning out the next day.
The app certainly had its problems, and its annual fee is not cheap. But I think it’s almost indispensable to driving Route 66. This is especially true to get you onto the various sections of old alignments in the early part of the journey. Note that there is a lot of negative feedback on the app’s reviews about having to pay to unlock the turn-by-turn instructions. The basic app is ‘free’ but I’m not sure what that gives you, probably just the maps. The app authors do however make it crystal clear in the app overview and description that the turn-by-turn instructions are not free and are a paid-for add-on.
I can’t fathom how you’d drive Route 66 using the app without turn-by-turn. So you either pay for it or don’t bother with the app. Such negative reviews are wholly unwarranted. There is no deception or trick about this, so why some idiots who haven’t paid then complain that “the app doesn’t work, there are no driving instructions” is beyond me. RTFM! You just can’t help some people. If you pay for turn-by-turn and then it doesn’t work, that’s another matter. But as review replies by the authors state, they offer free support if you’ve paid up and will work with you to fix any issues whilst you’re on the road.
The sheer variety of American culture and history on Route 66 is amazing: the muffler men, Cadillac Ranch, MidPoint Café, the various museums, the iconic motels like the Blue Swallow and Flamingo Inn. And the there’s the roadside attractions like Soulsby’s Service Station, the Milk Bottle Building, Standin’ on the Corner Park and the old motel signs. And of course many, many stunning views and scenery along the way.
They say you’ll never see it all on one trip. I’m sure I didn’t. But what I had was a great time, and a superb journey and experience. At this moment in time, a few months later, I can’t see myself doing the whole of Route 66 again. But who knows what I might think in a few more years time? For now, it’s onwards to next year’s adventure!
But then again, you never know what’s around the corner. And as it turned out, my American adventures in this football season were not over yet…
* (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66 by Various Artists