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Route 66 West – Oklahoma City to Santa Monica

Overview

The western side of The Mother Road (a favorite Route 66 moniker) is more about wide open spaces and the people and places between them. It’s a journey to and through places you wouldn’t normally visit, absolutely one of life’s great USA travel adventures. Fly to Oklahoma City, fly home from Burbank. Take 8 days to cover 1,500 miles, an average of 190 miles a day.

Details

The second half of your journey down The Mother Road is very different from the eastern side. The spaces are more wide open in the west. There are national parks and the small towns are further apart and have a different personality. For the first time, the western half of the trip features two 2-night stays, in Albquerque and Winslow.

In Albuquerque, having extra time allows us to drive down the length of the longest Route 66 Main Street in the country, and take a side trip to Santa Fe (which was on the original route of the old highway). In Winslow, you’ll want your picture “Standin’ on a Corner in Winslow, Arizona,” (like the lyric in the old Eagles song), and we’ll head out to Petrified Forest National Park, one of the most fascinating places in the country. Of course, the highlight of your Winslow stay, and perhaps your entire trip, is your time at La Posada, a restored Harvey House Hotel from the highway’s glory days. 

See the old Cadillacs “rear ends up” in Texas and eat at the famous Big Texan in Amarillo. Meet legendary Angel Delgadillo, the retired barber in Seligman, Arizona, who is the man most responsible for the preservation of the old highway. He’s 95 now and still going strong.

Finish at the pier in Santa Monica.

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Daily Itinerary

Day 1

Sacramento to Oklahoma City – Depart at 9:15am and connect on United Airlines through Denver, arriving at 4:17pm. For dinner tonight, let's backtrack to the front half of the route. Just outside of Oklahoma City, in Arcadia, is Pops 66. Known for their incredible variety of soda pop, the menu includes chicken fried steak and other "roadie" favorites. It's also our chance to stock the coach with our favorite beverages for the trip ahead! Embassy Suites OKC Airport (D)

Rare SteakDay 2

Day 2

OKC to Amarillo (253 miles) - Your journey begins in earnest. Small town museums about the highway are numerous along the route. We have selected a few we believe best represent the spirit of The Mother Road. They've done a great job chronicling The Mother Road in Clinton. The museum in Elk City has replica buildings from the highway’s heyday.

We’ll stop in Erick, just east of the Texas border. This tiny hamlet is the hometown of Roger Miller (remember King of the Road?) and Sheb Wooley (the Purple People Eater). Imagine this tiny town being the home of two legends. Well, actually three. The rest a surprise... Dine tonight in a legendary highway eatery, The Big Texan in Amarillo, where they specialize in steaks (but offer other selections). If you can eat a huge steak in an hour, it's free! Hampton Inn (FB,L,D)

Cadillac RanchDay 3

Day 3

Amarillo to Albuquerque (291 miles) – Just outside town is the famous Cadillac Ranch. The perfect highway landmark, a bunch of old caddies with their rear ends sticking out of the ground! This is/was a great graffiti spot. See the ghost town that straddles the Texas – New Mexico border, discover the murals of Tucumcari (lunch at the Pow Wow Cafe) and check out a classic old gift shop. The day’s travels end in Albuquerque. Hilton Garden Inn - 2 nights (ECB, L)

Old TownDay 4

Day 4

Santa Fe & Balloons (140 miles) – Take a break after two long days on the road. A brief side trip to Santa Fe, which was on the original route, gives you time to shop in front of the Palace of the Governors, take a short tour and enjoy lunch at your leisure. Back in Albuquerque, our afternoon/evening includes an early dinner in an old style diner and malts or ice cream; plus the Special Shapes Glow-deo at the Balloon Fiesta! See all sorts of inflatables take to the sky. (FB,D)

Sky City Cultural CenterDay 5

Day 5

Albuquerque to Winslow (267 miles) – A journey in the old road includes the story of Budville and a stop at the top of the Continental Divide. You'll also learn about the "code talkers". Tonight, stay at the La Posada Hotel in Winslow (made famous by The Eagles, "Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona..."), a true Route 66 landmark. Our accommodations are in an old Harvey House Hotel which served as a railroad station. Today it is a beautifully-restored accommodation/restaurant/museum. Tonight, you will dine in the Turquoise Room, one of Arizona's most renowned restaurants. La Posada Hotel - 2 nights (FB,L,D)

Winslow ArizonaDay 6

Day 6

Petrified Forest National Park straddles the old road, and we will visit today to explore the park and learn the story of the logs turned to stone. In Holbrook, make a picture stop at the first of two Wigwam Hotels. Speaking of pictures, there's a great photo opp, "Standin' on a corner...." (FB,L)

Day 7

Winslow to Laughlin (237 miles) – In Seligman, you will meet a Route 66 institution (health permitting), 95 year old Angel Delgadillo, known as the man who saved Route 66. Meet Angel, hear his story, visit the world’s most interesting drive-in lunch counter. The longest continuous stretch of The Mother Road is up for the afternoon, winding through the Arizona desert. Harrah's (FB,L)

DesertDay 8

Day 8

Laughlin to San Bernardino (280 miles) – The original route through the mountains is not accessible to a motorcoach (and really not even to an auto), so we leave the highway and take a more modern route in Oatman. Carol Lombard and Clark Gable spent their honeymoon night here, and the old miners left behind burros whose decedents still roam the town. Some people think Oatman is the most unique spot in these United States. Hard point to argue.

We stop in Needles (lunch) to learn a piece of Route 66 history, and motor on across the Mohave. Outside of Barstow John’s Bottle Ranch, another spectacular example of funky roadside attractions that make traveling Route 66 so much fun. Tonight, your final dinner in a classic highway landmark restaurant. Doubletree Hotel (L,D)

Santa MonicaDay 9

Day 9

Ontario to Santa Monica (77 miles) to Sacramento – The final leg to the coast takes you through Pasadena and down Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. We dine on the pier and make the end of our travels with a picture at the Will Rogers Highway Monument. (The Will Rogers Highway was another popular name for Route 66.) An early evening flight takes us home to Sacramento. (FB,L)

Daily Itinerary Meal Legend
CBContinental Breakfast
BGenerally a limited buffet or menu
FBFull buffet or choice of menu
BRBrunch, often buffet-style
LLunch, often several menu options
HT or ATHigh or Afternoon Tea
DDinner, often several menu options

Departures

Monday, October 9, 2023 to Tuesday, October 17, 2023

9 Days, 19 Meals

1 expanded continental breakfast, 7 full breakfasts, 7 lunches, 4 dinners

$4775
p.p./dbl.occ.
$5295
single

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