Route 66 can trace its history back to the late 1920s when it was first proposed and paved. However, it was only in 1938 that the road was fully paved from the eastern beginning in agoikago, Illinois to the western terminal in Santa Monica, CA some 2,450 miles later. Of course the road can be traveled either east or west, though most Route 66 travelers prefer to go east to west just as the Joad family did in John Steinbeck's famous literary work, "Grapes of Wrath."
Sadly, Route 66 began to be replaced in the 1960s by the new Interstate highways that bypassed many small towns along the way and was completely removed from the interstate highway system in 1985. However in part for many Route 66 organizations, the small town rooms of the commerce, enthusiasts and historians many refused to let him die. Over the last 25 years there has been a new revival of heritage tourism that has revived interest in preserving this great part of America's history and nostalgia that is Route 66.
Often referred to as the "Mother Road," "America's Main Road," or "Will Rogers Highway," the road passes through eight different states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Let's take a look at the detail of the state of Arizona.
Heading west, Arizona is 7th out of the 8 states of Route 66 and has 401 miles from border to border. It boasts some of the most beautiful landscapes, some of the most unique viewing facilities, the highest altitude and the longest uninterrupted stretch of Route 66 throughout the journey.
Geographically, Arizona is home to Materor Crater, Forest Petrified and Paint Desert. These places create some fantastic photography opportunities but also an opportunity to explore and walk in these natural attractions.
About 75 miles to Arizona, in the past both Petrified Forest and Desert Painted is the city of Holbrook. The home of the Wigwam Village Motel, most of Route 66 travelers expect to sleep in a cab and many cite this landmark as a highlight of their journey. Further west is Joseph City, a Mormon foundation set in the late 1870s. Located in Joseph City is the famous Jackrabbit Trading post. One of the most popular signature locations of Route 66 is the famous signboard that calls out "HERE IT IS" located at the Jackrabbit Post Office.
Further west, between the Meteor Crater and the "standin" cities in the corner "Winslow, Two Weapons Missing, Abandoned Twin Arrows and" Remember "Winona lies the town of Flagstaff. Flagstaff is home to the famous Lowell Observatory and is also the entrance to the Grand Canyon located an hour's drive north.The Canyon is worth a side trip from Route 66 to see one of the world's eight natural wonders. just 30 or more miles west of Flagstaff, between Flagstaff and Williams lies Brannigan Peak At 7,320 feet above sea level is the highest elevation point along the entire Route 66 route.
15 miles west of Williams is Ash Fork, the cornerstone capital of the world. Once Ash Fork passes, you can say goodbye to I-40 as you begin the longest unbroken stretch of Route 66 throughout the journey. Be sure to stop by the legendary Snow Drive in Seligman and the glamorous Hackberry general store before arriving in Kingman. Here you will find many still preserved business establishments providing food for Street 66 travelers including a very good museum.
Be sure to leave Kingman while still having daylight because you will not miss the gorgeous scenery that lies ahead as you travel through the blackouts and hairstyles ahead. Oatman hosts, as do many wild burroes who call the mining town's old town. Be sure to check out the historic Oatman Hotel where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent their honeymoon.
Leaving Oatman you can take a quick side trip to Laughlin Nevada casinos and try your luck or you can continue further through Golden Shores, Topock and return to I-40 to cross the mighty Colorado River in California.