Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Route 66 via San Fran -- on motorbikes or with a car?

Hi there Road Trip USA !

We a couple of kiwis (New Zealanders in our 40’s) coming over to do route 66 in Aug 2010. We have 4 weeks to spend over there. What book, maps etc would you recommend us to get to best plan our trip. We have a Harley Davidson over here but don’t think it would be safe to ride over there so are looking at hiring a car.
We are starting off in San Fran and want to head to Chicago to visit an Aunty.
Any tips would be most welcome!
Cheers Robyn and Mark


Hello Robyn & Mark --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA, and I hope I can help you have a great trip down Route 66. First off, I'm a bit surprised to hear that you'd consider _not_ riding your Harley -- a motorbike is many people's preferred way to cruise this great old road. Shipping one over from "down under" could be complicated, for sure, and if you want to do a "test ride" there are a couple of places where you can rent Harleys for a day or a weekend, and get a feel for the American road.

(Like these guys in LA: )

As for books: I would very much like to recommend my Road Trip USA book (there's a chapter on RT66 in my big 900-page Road Trip USA book on cross-country drives, and a "mini-book" on Route 66 ) I cover the whole road, and recommend the best places to eat sleep and have fun along the way -- and there are a number of other books covering different aspects of the culture and history. There are also lots of souvenir maps (one map series is called "Here It IS!), but the road is very well marked (as "Historic Route 66") so you don't really need a special map unless you want to track the various different alignments Route 66 followed over its 1920s-to-1980s lifetime.

RT66 is a big deal -- and very well served by hotels / motels / diners / etc all the way between LA and Chicago -- so you will have fun, for sure. And August is a great time to do the ride -- in a rental car, or on a Harley -- though September is when most of the big annual "events" and classic car rallies are held. Anytime (except winter, maybe...) is a good time to be on Route 66.

And if you start in San Francisco, you can cruise south from there down another great road, the Pacific Coast Highway via Big Sur, to meet the west end of Route 66 in Los Angeles (Santa Monica, actually, right on the beach!).

Have a great trip,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA

PS: Here are some links to my Road Trip "mini books"


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