Traveling Route 66 in New Mexico

10 Stops on Route 66 in New Mexico

New Mexico is known for its famous chiles, stunning landscapes, and diverse selection of attractions. You won’t want to miss out on the first atomic bomb test site or the beautiful caves. The next time you are driving through the Land of Enchantment, be sure to plan for these interesting and unique stops along U.S. Highway 66 in New Mexico.

Blue Swallow Motel

The Blue Swallow Motel takes you back in time to the height of Route 66’s popularity and the days of sock hops and poodle skirts. This traditional motor court has been perfectly preserved and is fit with period-appropriate amenities.

Route 66 Neon Drive-Thru Sign

If you are looking for a cool photo location to mark your trip, be sure to check out the Route 66 neon drive-thru sign in Grants, New Mexico. This sign is shaped like a giant Route 66 highway shield sign and has a drive-thru portal that is big enough to fit RVs. This location is best to visit after dusk when the sign is fully illuminated.

El Rancho Hotel

R.E. Griffith opened El Rancho Hotel in 1937 as a base for movie operations. It offered excellent service and was in close proximity to several iconic Wild West locations and towns. The hotel also hosted many Hollywood stars like Errol Flynn, Katherine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and John Wayne. The hotel started to slowly decline when people began to travel I-40 instead of Route 66. It was bound to face a wrecking ball in the 1980s, but a businessman bought the hotel and restored it to its original glory.

Richardson’s Trading Company

Richardson’s Trading Company is one of the oldest and most respected old-school trading companies around. You will find a bit of everything here: kachina dolls, headdresses, and Navajo wool rugs. This also makes for a good place to pick up decade-old treasures from the long-standing pawn shop.

Whiting Brothers

Way back when in New Mexico, the Whiting Brothers had gas stations and hotels dotted all along the U.S. Route 66 in Gallup, Tucumcari, Moriarty, and between McCartys and San Fidel. The Moriarty station is the last operating location amidst the iconic chain. Today, people know it as Sal & Inez’s Service Station which features the refurbished red and yellow Whiting Brothers sign.

Kelly’s Brew Pub

If you choose to dine on the patio of Kelly’s Brew Pub, you will have the opportunity to look right out over the historic Route 66. This pub is also the former home of an old service station and dealership, Jones Motor Company. The Route 66-era garage was designed to attract customers and was one of the first westbound icons along the highway.

KiMo Theatre

KiMo Theatre has been a landmark in Albuquerque since it opened its doors in 1927. It has an oddly ornate Pueblo Deco style that is distinguishable from the street, but the true treat is the interior. The interior features various significant Pueblo symbols including rain clouds, buffalo skulls, and birds. The name is said to be a combination of the two Tewa words meaning “mountain lion” or “king of its kind”.

San Miguel Church

Prior to 1938, when the highway was realigned, Route 66 went through Santa Fe, NM. Along the original route was the San Miguel Church, which is America’s oldest church dating back to 1610. The original adobe walls and altar were constructed by the Tlaxcalan Indians who accompanied Don Juan Onate from Mexico.

Comet II

A poll from Route 66 enthusiasts voted this throw-back diner as one of the top 20 places to eat along the “Mother Road”. Comet opened in 1929 and has been in the same family for several generations. It is well-known for its made-from-scratch Mexican fare such as dishes featuring the famous “PDL green chile” from Puerto del Luna. This diner was originally a drive-in, but it hasn’t had any carhops since 1994 when the original Comet burned down, hence the name Comet II.

New Mexico ChilesTucumcari Ranch Supply

Amongst all the hardware and feed at this ranch supply store, you will find a unique array of trailer parts, tourist gear, western wear, and rusty treasures. One of the biggest surprises you will find is the bakery, which has an extensive donut menu and features Watson’s BBQ.

Snowbirding 101 Featured Image

Snowbirding With Your RV

What does it mean to call someone a snowbird?

The term “snowbird” is used to describe travelers that like to migrate to a warmer climate for the winter months. Often, snowbirds consist of active adults and pairs of retirees who tend to start their travels between November and January. Several well-established snowbirds will stay up to three months at their desired destination, but newer snowbirds might only stay one to two months. Knowing what to pack and where the best snowbird destination and campgrounds are are just two of the many things that go into making your winter getaway a success.

Check out our list of tips and tricks on how to be the best snowbird you can be!

Getting Started Out As A Snowbird

Many successful snowbirds, especially those who choose to stay long-term, learn to fall in love with their adoptive state. When you visit the same location year after year, you create a social network and become integrated into the community. This is how several snowbirds start their progress toward an official permanent relocation. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and say hello to fellow travelers! The RV community is a friendly one and as you first start out in the lifestyle, you will be grateful for all the new connections and friendships formed.

Wondering if snowbirding is a good lifestyle for you? Start out slow! Beginners will often rent first or stay with friends or family to test out the ways before deciding to purchase a camper equipped for extended stays or full-time living. Contact a local real estate agent who will be happy to assist you in finding a short-term rental to test out the area with a condo, apartment or home rental before setting roots. You may also have luck looking into long-term RV rentals allowing you to still enjoy the flexibility of RV travel.

Popular Snowbird Destinations

One of the most popular snowbird destinations is the Sunshine State. Florida has been a retirement destination for years which is reflected by the number of active adult communities spread across the state. Several people choose to travel to Florida for the beaches, affordable housing options, and comfortable coastal climate. Florida’s east coast has the highest concentration of long-stay properties and is decorated with several miles of gorgeous beaches. You are also relatively close to Miami and Orlando which means there is an abundance of activities to do and places to see. Florida’s west coast is also known as the “Nature Coast” and is full of wetlands and bayous. The central part of the state has over 37 golf courses but remains one of the most popular vacation destinations due to its proximity to Walt Disney World.

Another popular destination is Arizona which allows travelers to enjoy the resort-style golf courses and unique scenic landscapes. Phoenix offers snowbirds access to fantastic restaurants and entertainment and is positioned perfectly for quick trips to California, Nevada, or New Mexico. Scottsdale is one of the biggest resort areas in the USA and has championship golf courses, upscale restaurants, and relaxing spas. Glendale, AZ is home to Camelback Ranch, the Chicago White Sox, and Los Angeles Dodgers spring training facilities making it a dream destination for any sports enthusiast.

A few other states that rank amongst the most popular snowbird destinations and campgrounds include California, Nevada, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Before you embark on your journey be sure to research the best places to stay and make reservations early!

Snowbird Checklist

Are you ready to say goodbye to your winter coat and hello to warm, beautiful weather? Whether it is your first trip as a snowbird or your 100th, knowing what to pack can be overwhelming.

What should I pack?

  • Important documents such as your passport, ID, health insurance, and car insurance policy information
  • Necessary medical information such as your prescriptions.
    Tip: If you have medications you take daily, be sure you find a pharmacy at your travel destination to be able to get them filled.
  • Clothing layers in case the weather shifts and becomes cold or rainy
  • Pet supplies such as food, medications, and leashes if traveling with furry friends
  • Outdoor gear specific to your destination such as hiking and sporting equipment
  • Electronics and any work/office supplies for individuals who may work remote
    Tip: Don’t forget chargers and adapters!

If you are renting an RV or property, be sure to double-check beforehand that all your desired food prep and bathroom appliances, toiletries, and accommodations such as sheets, towels and blankets are provided.

For more RV travel tips and road trip resources, read more from the ROUTE 66 RV Network Blog now!

10 Stops on Route 66 in Oklahoma

If you’re planning a trip through the Midwest down U.S. Highway 66, be sure to add stops in Oklahoma to your list. From the large Buck Atom statue to vintage motorcycles, there is so much to see and do. Take a look at our list of the 10 best stops along Route 66 in the Sooner State!

Route 66 Vintage Iron Motorcycle Museum

You can enter Vintage Iron at no cost, but they do gratefully accept donations. This museum features vintage motorcycles from Harley, Ducati and Indian. Bike enthusiasts are sure to be impressed by an original 1917 Harley Davidson, and don’t forget to check out the X-rays from Evel Knievel. Consider purchasing a vintage motorcycle t-shirt or a piece of Route 66 memorabilia from the gift shop during your visit!

Afton Station and Route 66 Packards

The Afton Station is a small, private antique car and Route 66 memorabilia museum that is located in a 30s-era restored filling station. This car museum holds up to 14 vintage automobiles and unique, interesting memorabilia.

The Coleman Theatre

The Coleman Theater was donated to the City of Miami by the Coleman family in 1989 and has been beautifully restored to its former glory. It originally opened in 1929 as a theatre and movie palace and was designed to bring a touch of glamour to the city. The theatre is now open for tours and is packed with stories regarding its supernatural history and past glories.

The Round Barn

Originally built in 1898, this barn is 60’ in diameter and 45’ in height, and the town of Arcadia, Oklahoma claims it to be the only “true” round barn. Since then, it has been restored to its previous glory and the loft space can be rented for events. The Round Barn is a unique stop along Route 66!

Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza

The Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza aims to celebrate the achievements of Cyrus Avery, who is often credited as the “Father of Route 66”. The plaza features the flags of the eight states along Route 66, bronze statues including an old automobile featuring Will Rogers, and additional conveniences such as the Route 66 Skywalk, a park, and a pedestrian walkway.

Blue Whale

This whale was built in the early ‘70s as an anniversary gift from Hugh Davis to his wife, Zelta. The Blue Whale of Catoosa used to serve locals and Route 66 travelers as a place to swim, fish and picnic. Although swimming is no longer permitted, this whale has been given a new coat of paint and the picnic area has been restored in recent years. This smiling attraction welcomes all visitors driving down Route 66 in Oklahoma – stop to say hello!

National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum has over 28,000 exhibits that celebrate Western and American Indian culture. It also holds a huge collection of artworks and historical artifacts including the American Cowboy Gallery, the American Rodeo Gallery, the Native American Gallery, and the Weitzenhoffer Gallery of Fine American Firearms. You can also visit Prosperity Junction, a 14,000-square-foot authentic Western prairie town.

Route 66 Museum

The Route 66 Museum covers over 60 years of the U.S. Highway 66’s history. This museum showcases vehicles, artifacts, photographs, and an audio tour narrated by Michael Wallis, the author of Route 66: The Mother Road. This is a fun stop for you and your family and several efforts have been made to ensure that the exhibits are both eye-catching and informative.

Sandhills Curiosity Shop

The Sandhills Curiosity Shop is located in the City Meat Market, Erick, Oklahoma’s oldest building. It contains a crazy assortment of Route 66 memorabilia and became well-known thanks to its owners, Harley and Annabelle, who spontaneously burst into song and provide performances for all visitors.

Lucille’s Gas Stationbuck-atom

From 1941 to 2000, Lucille Hamon operated this tiny gas station and was often referred to as the “Mother of the Mother Road,” thanks to her hospitality to Route 66 travelers. Since then, it has been restored including a marker that tells the story of Lucille and her family. This stop is also a great photo opportunity along U.S. Route 66!

Camping Essentials For Beginners

Being equipped with camping essentials can make your trip and time in the great outdoors a lot less stressful and more enjoyable. Whether you are a seasoned camper or a first-timer, make sure to not leave your home without these essential camping items.

Water Bottle

Having a water bottle while camping, or being outdoors in general, is super important. Check out this list of the best water bottles for the outdoors to keep you from longing for a sip of water when heat or exhaustion hits. Having water purification tablets or a filter with you when exploring is also smart in case you run out of fresh water and need to drink from an open water source.

First Aid Kit

It is always important to bring a first aid kit along while camping to tend to any minor bumps or cuts. Long days of hiking can lead to blisters. Climbing through brush and nature can leave you scraped up. Your first aid kit should include scissors, gauze, bandages, a CPR mouth barrier, and a whistle. Bringing a flare or flare gun is another smart item to bring along in case you become lost. Need help finding the best kit for your camping supplies? These are a few of the best first aid kits on the market!

Pocket Knife

A pocket knife is the ultimate tool to have with you in the outdoors. They can be used to cut rope or fishing line, open sealed packages and even assist in meal preparation. A small knife comes in handy when you least expect it, and be your savior in many unpredictable situations. Check out this list of some of the best pocket knives for sale that you should carry with you.

Tent

Even if you are traveling in an RV, having a tent is always handy because you never know when adventure may strike. Tent camping is often a cherished memory amongst families with small kids. Be sure to bring along the necessary tent accessories such as poles, ropes, and stakes. To protect yourself from exposure to low temperatures and pesky bugs, you might also benefit from a sleeping bag. Take a look at these top-selling camping tents and high-quality sleeping bags.

All-Weather Clothing

When you’re camping or on a short, weekend outdoors trip, you might only have a few pairs of clothes to wear. Clothing that is equipped for several weather conditions is smart, preparing you for rain, heat, snow or any other condition that may get thrown at you while in the great outdoors. When choosing a rain jacket to pack, make sure it is lightweight because wet gear can be very heavy to carry in a backpack. Need help finding the best all-weather clothing? Here is the best all-weather clothing for your next camping trip.

Flashlight

The campfire might be bright but doesn’t allow you to illuminate your paths and surroundings. A flashlight not only keeps you safe while moving through the dark but also can be handy for other occasions. Your best flashlight option for camping should be battery-powered with a bright wide beam of light. You can also bring a headlamp with you for hands-free convenience and functionality. Check out this list of some of the best quality and affordable flashlights.

As you gear up for your next camping trip, consider bringing one or all of these items with you. You never know what will get thrown your way while out on the road. It is always better to be safe than sorry when being out in nature with your friends and family. Happy camping!

10 Stops on Route 66 in Illinois

The state of Illinois is known for many things like the city of Chicago and turning the river green for Saint Patrick’s Day, but did you know they also have a ton of cool Route 66 stops? Next time you are driving through the Prairie State, be sure to check out one or all of these awesome stops along the Mother Road. 

360 Chicago

360 ChicagoFormerly The John Hancock Observatory, 360 Chicago is a 100-floor skyscraper in Chicago’s commercial district. Head up to their 94th-floor observation deck to see exhibits on the city of Chicago and look at the maps that explain the view in each direction. There is also a special meshed-in area that allows visitors to feel the winds of the city 1,030 feet above ground level. If you are feeling brave, experience TILT which is an exhilarating downward view of Chicago.

Country Classic Cars

This stop on Route 66 started as a weekend hobby for a Midwest farmer. However, that changed when a piece of land on I-55, just off of Route 66, became available and Country Classic Cars was born. This is not only a large display of classic cars and trucks but is also a service area, showroom and historic gift shop.

Illinois State Capitol Building

Springfield, Illinois is a pilgrimage site for people who want to celebrate the life of Abraham Lincoln. This city is the location of Lincoln’s home and tomb as well as the location of the State Capitol building. This building is beautiful and is found in the heart of Springfield with free entry to visitors.

Lincoln’s Home

In 1844, Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln purchased a home, and it was the only home that Lincoln ever owned. While living in the home, he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1846 and then President in 1860. The home, located in downtown Springfield, Illinois, has been restored to look just as it did in the mid-1800s and is open to the public for viewing. Tickets to the house are free on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Odell Station

This Odell Station opened in 1932 as a gas station but stopped serving gas in the mid-1960s. Serving a short period as a body shop in the ‘70s, the station has been restored by the Illinois Route 66 Association and their Preservation Committee as a popular stop along the famed highway welcoming all Route 66 travelers.

Henry’s Rabbit Ranch

Henry’s Rabbit Ranch is a tourist center on U.S. Highway 66, located in a replica of an old gas station featuring rusted gas pumps and over a dozen Volkswagen Rabbits. While visiting the center, you can check out Route 66 memorabilia and play with rabbits – the furry kind!

Route 66 Association Hall of Fame & Museum

The Route 66 Association Hall of Fame & Museum features thousands of artifacts and pieces of memorabilia including the bus and van of Route 66 artist and icon, Bob Waldmire. Stop in to learn the history of one of the most important highways in the U.S. and snap a picture in front of the largest Route 66 Shield mural painted on the back wall of the museum.

Navy Pier

Navy Pier is a 1000m long pier located along the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan. It has various attractions including sightseeing tours, dinner cruises, restaurants, shops, and fairground rides like the Centennial Wheel. The pier features a firework display on Wednesday and Sunday nights throughout the summer, and Friday and Saturday nights during the fall season.

Ambler’s Texaco Gas Station

This gas station has been identified as the longest operating gas station along U.S. Highway 66 dispensing fuel up until 1999 – 66 years of service! Ambler’s was the focal point of major restoration work from 2005-2007 and reopened as a Route 66 visitor’s center in May 2007. The community has done a fantastic job in restoring this gas station to its original glory and is staffed with knowledgeable volunteers.

The Muffler Men

The Muffler Men, previously used by businesses for promotional purposes, tower 14 to 25 feet tall alongside U.S. Highway 66 throughout Illinois. The Paul Bunyon Statue can’t be missed when driving past Atlanta, IL. The Gemini Giant stands alongside the Launching Pad Drive-In in Wilmington, IL. The Lauterbach Tire Man is found right outside Lauterbach Tires on Wabash Ave in Springfield. Keep an eye out for these 3 Route 66 icons!

7 Stops Along Route 66 in Kansas

The Sunflower State features several amazing Route 66 attractions to see with a unique story at each stop. Did you know that a service station in Kansas inspired a character in a famous Pixar movie? If you love all things history, be sure to check out these historic locations next time you drive U.S. Route 66 through Kansas!

Cars on the Route

At the end of Main Street in Galena, KS you will find the old Kan-O-Tex service station that is now known as, Cars on the Route. This service station is home to Tow Tater, who was the inspiration for the character Tow Mater in the movie Cars. This stop celebrates the connection between Route 66 and the movie Cars. They sell sandwiches, snacks, antiques, and memorabilia.

Eisler Brothers Old Riverton Store

The Eisler Brothers Old Riverton Store has been in operation since 1925. It is well-known around the world as one of the most authentic, working 75-year-old stores of its kind along U.S. Highway 66. Inside, the old-time deli that serves sandwiches is a must-stop for lunch! They also carry a selection of groceries, products, Route 66 memorabilia, and locally handmade items.

Sugar Creek Diner & Bakery

The owners of the Sugar Creek Diner & Bakery originally were the operators of the now-closed Angels on the Route restaurant in Baxter Springs, KS. This new restaurant is also on Route 66 in Galena, KS. Sugar Creek offers a full menu, catering, baked goods, and gourmet coffee. Make sure to stop by for lunch or to grab some delicious bakery items!

Brush Creek Bridge

The Brush Creek Bridge in Baxter Springs is the sole surviving bridge of its type on the entire length of Route 66. It was built in 1923 and has been repainted multiple times in a beautiful shade of white. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 which ensures that it will always be preserved and enjoyed by many motorists and pedestrians.

Baxter Springs Independent Oil and Gas Service Station

After the Great Depression, many surviving oil companies rebranded their properties to make them more identifiable to customers. One of the strategies was to make their properties blend in with the local community to give them a homey feel. The Baxter Springs Independent Oil and Gas Service Station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 and is now used as the Kansas Route 66 Visitors Center.

Galena Mining & Historical Museum

As you leave Gelena heading west, keep your eyes peeled to the right and notice an old Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad station. You wouldn’t know it from the outside, but this building is home to the Galena Mining & Historical Museum. It is full of mineral samples, mining equipment, and oil paintings.

Baxter Springs Heritage Center & Museum

The Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum is built up of 20,000 square feet of exhibits celebrating the history of the city. The exhibits include Native American, The Civil War, 1870s Boardwalk, World War I, World War II, Historic Route 66, and more.

Best Guides to Buy on Amazon for RVers

The days of complicated adventure planning are over. Check out these RV travel guides we found on Amazon that are sure to make your next trip a breeze. From the best routes through national parks to tips on how to cook in your RV, you will be ready to add these helpful RVing resources to your cart today.

1. Guide to National Parks of the United States

The National Parks are some of the biggest inspirations for people to hop into their RVs. Road trips are the perfect way to see North America’s beautiful landscapes including the various National Parks. This guide has over 200 photos and several colorful maps of each of the 59 national parks in North America. The content within this guide is useful for planning trips, itineraries, tips for the parks, and more. 

2. National Geographic Road Atlas

Sometimes technology fails us and our GPS stops functioning perfectly. Whether it fails from bad phone service, dead batteries, or just an overall malfunction, you need a backup plan. Every person who owns an RV should also own a quality Atlas they keep on board. This atlas has detailed maps and recommendations like you would find in a typical tourist guide. Don’t get lost, buy an atlas!

3. Where Should We Camp Next?

If you are planning a family-friendly and budget-conscious trip for this year’s camping season then this guide is the one for you. More than 300 of the best camping locations in each of the 50 states. This guide is the best resource for finding different glamping and camping sites near your travel destination.

4. 50 States, 5,000 Ideas

This book is also written by National Geographic and is a must-have for all adventurers. This guide is perfect for creating a loose or heavily detailed itinerary. Many details are included within the pages including where to go, when to leave, what to do, and what you should see. The suggestions range from dude ranches, far-out museums, national parks, beaches, and even the oldest street in New York City.

5. Fodor's Best Road Trips in the USA

Do you need road trip inspiration? Check out Fodor’s Best Road Trips in the USA guidebook! This guide is packed full of curated recommendations for different states, maps, and everything you might need to better plan your dream road trip. It’s time to hit the road and explore a new state or several! 

6. Fodor's Bucket List USA

The USA has several amazing sights that might be on your bucket list. Whether you want to eat an authentic Philly cheesesteak or twirl in a field of sunflowers in the heart of Kansas, Fodor’s Bucket List USA will give you inspiration! This guidebook is full of perfectly curated must-sees across the 50 states. What destination is next on your bucket list? 

 

7. the Next EXIT 2022

Sometimes you are driving through an area that has little to no cell service or signal and you need to find the nearest exit for gas, food, or the restroom. The Next EXIT is the most complete USA Interstate Highway directory you can find! This guide lists exits for lodging, food, shopping, gas and so much more. The days of worrying about finding the nearest exit are over!

8. RV Camping

The freedom that comes with owning an RV is nearly indescribable but sometimes you don’t know where to start. The RV Camping guide is geared towards both beginners who want to introduce themselves to the world of RVing and experts who want to improve their outdoor experience. Whether you are a full-time RVer or just want to go on a weekend getaway, this guide is for you!

Traveling ROUTE 66 In Texas

10 Stops Along Route 66 in Texas

A cross-country road trip wouldn’t be complete without going through the great state of Texas. There are several unique stops along the U.S. Hwy Route 66 tucked away from the major Texas cities that will take your breath away. Here is a list of sights to see in the Lone Star State, and don’t forget to stop in Amarillo for the 72oz steak challenge!

Route 66 Midpoint

If you are traveling Route 66 from east to west, the “geo-mathematical” Midpoint of Route 66 will be marked by a sign on your right, across from the Midpoint Cafe. This cafe is one of the oldest continually-operating cafes on Route 66. Besides being a great photo opportunity, travelers will find that Adrian, Texas is also a great place to stop and stretch their legs.

Leaning Water Tower

This landmark used to be a functioning water tower and was scheduled for demolition until a man by the name of Ralph Britten purchased and moved it to serve as a sign for his truck stop and tourist information center. This leaning water tower remains a popular photo attraction and doubles as a unique Christmas tree for the town of Groom topping the tower with a large, colored star each holiday season.

The Giant Cross

This 190-foot-tall cross in Groom, Texas is visible up to twenty miles away. The base is surrounded by life-size statues of the 14 Stations of the Cross. From the base to the top this massive structure is 19 stories high up from the Texas Panhandle and the landscape is kept flat and empty like unleavened bread and the tomb. Near the statues, you will also find the Empty Tomb and a full-size replica of the Shroud of Turin, which is only one of seven in the world. Make sure to stop when you see this giant cross down Route 66!

The Conoco Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Cafe

Built in 1936, Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Cafe is one of the most iconic and beautiful buildings along historic Route 66. This Art Deco landmark has a 100-foot tower that is lit by a series of colorful lights. The lights used to be neon but were damaged by a storm leading them to be replaced with LEDs. It is now a museum of its own history and still gives the authentic appearance of a working 1940 gas station.

Cadillac Ranch

These ten up-ended Cadillacs have popped up in several music videos and TV shows such as the video for “Living in America” by James Brown and in the movie Cars but disguised as “Cadillac Range”. These cars have spent longer being buried nose down into the dirt longer than they spent driving down the road!

VW Slug Bug Ranch

Here in Conway, Texas, you will find the VW Slug Bug Ranch. These five Volkswagen Beetles are placed nose down into the ground, just like at Cadillac Ranch. Visitors are encouraged to spray paint the vehicles to leave their mark.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Just a little bit further out of the way, is a must-visit scenic attraction: Palo Duro Canyon State Park. This park covers over 25,000 acres and offers cabins, camping, riding stables, picnic areas, and miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Visit to walk the same trails used by Native Americans, early Spanish explorers, buffalo hunters and pioneers.

The Devil’s Rope and Route 66 Museum

These two museums share the same building in McLean, Texas making it an extra convenient stop for visitors. Devil’s rope, more commonly known as barbed wire, holds a lot more importance in American history and development than one might think. Without it, the expansion of cattle ranching in Texas wouldn’t have been possible. Within the Route 66 Museum, visitors will explore more than 700 artifacts relating to U.S. Highway 66.

The Big Texan Steak Ranch

The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas is a western-inspired motel and restaurant. The Texan style shines through with white streak limos featuring huge longhorn hood ornaments parked right outside. They serve massive portions and even have their own shooting range! It is a great family-friendly place to visit and a fun night out for all. If you are feeling ambitious, take a shot at their famous 72oz steak challenge.

The Galleries at Sunset Center

The art galleries at the Sunset Center are like nothing you have ever seen before featuring a collection of art from over a hundred artists. This place is a visual and ecological paradise featuring outdoor sculpture gardens. The center conducts First Friday Art Walks on the first Friday of each month between 5 pm and 9 pm.

A Guide to Respecting Our National Parks

Millions of people visit the National Parks every year, but with this many people visiting you should be aware of how to preserve the environment for future visitors. Following these simple do’s and don’ts will help you stay safe, respect other visitors and keep the parks beautiful for several years to come. Read on to learn more about our duty and responsibility as visitors of the National Parks.

Leave No Trace

This is one of the most common rules you will hear when visiting any of the National Parks. The saying is, “Leave only footprints, take only pictures”. Sometimes you might stumble across a gorgeous wildflower, a set of antlers or an arrowhead, but removing these things is prohibited. When traveling with kids you might find that they sneak an extra “souvenir” into their pockets. If you discover they took something from the park you are visiting, it is vital that you return the item back to the park service team. Before exiting the park, make sure that all of your trash is deposited in its respective bin. A great tip for minimizing the risk of leaving trash behind is to pack food and snacks in reusable containers.

Come Prepared

The number one thing you absolutely need to pack with you when going out on the trails for a hike is water. You would be surprised by the number of people who forget to pack water with them when going on hikes, even when visiting National Parks within desert regions! Proper footwear is another essential item to remember. You never know what might happen while on the trail so wearing protective footwear is vital. Some additional items to remember to pack when visiting a National Park include extra food, a map or GPS, rain gear, a first aid kit, a knife, sunscreen and sunglasses, a backpack, and various safety items.

No Smoking on the Trails

Smoking is prohibited on all trails at any of the National Parks. Visitors of the park come to enjoy a breath of fresh air while enjoying nature, not to smell and breathe secondhand smoke. Plus, smoking is a major fire hazard. Always remember to follow the wise words of Smokey the Bear, “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires!” Together we can protect, maintain and keep these parks flourishing. 

Don’t Feed the Wildlife

Animals are adorable, but feeding them is not a smart idea as it can cause serious health problems and is prohibited within the National Parks. Feeding the park’s wildlife also causes them to lose their fear of humans which in turn compromises the safety of both humans and animals. Regulations on the best way to store your food differ for each park, so make sure to check out each park’s guidelines before you embark on your adventure.

Please No Drones

Drones can get great images of the landscape from an aerial view, but the National Park Service banned these devices back in 2014. Many people find the buzzing annoying, and you can imagine how they affect the various wildlife. Violating the ban on drones in National Parks not only disrupts other visitors but is a misdemeanor resulting in up to six months in prison and fines up to $5,000.

Don’t Veer Off Path

Hiking etiquette is super important! Collectively, the National Parks have thousands of miles of marked hiking trails, and Yellowstone alone has over 900 miles of trails to explore. With that many trails, no one should have a need to veer off the designated trail. Going off the marked path can be dangerous to you and to the environment. For instance, some parks have fungus that can spread vastly if you go off the trail into other areas of the park. Remember to follow the common saying, “Forests Grow by the Inch and Die by the Foot.”

Have Fun!

Although it sounds a bit cheesy, just get outside and have fun! The National Parks are beautiful places to explore and hold many unique stories, treasures, and recreational opportunities within each one. Having been preserved for so many years, they continue to bring joy and wonder to each person that enters them. The time is now to hit the road and find out what each National Park has to offer!

10 Must See Stops Along Route 66 in California

The golden state of California may be best known for pretty beaches and movie stars, but did you know that along this state’s strip of Route 66 lies some of the oldest, most historic, and wondrous destinations? California is the last stop when traveling east to west along Route 66, so before you end your road trip be sure to check out one of these ten stops.

Bottle Tree Ranch

Located in Helendale, California, Bottle Tree Ranch combines a mixture of “bottle trees”, old road signs, broken rifles, retro toys and more. This attraction is sure to provide a quirky, yet memorable experience to kids and adults alike. This spot is open from dawn until dusk, and donations are welcomed at entry. Come stretch your legs and take a picture of one of the many tree-shaped sculptures made from glass bottles and vintage items.

Calico Ghost Town

Calico produced over $20 million in silver ore from their 500 mines in a 12 year time period. However, the town lost its population when silver’s value declined in the 1890s. When the miners left and abandoned this area, this town became a “ghost town.”  Today Calico Ghost Town features mine tours, gunfight stunt shows, gold panning, the Calico & Odessa Railroad and various merchandise stores.

Amboy Crater

This Amboy Crater is an extinct volcano located 1.5 miles south of Route 66 near the town of Amboy. This volcano is roughly 79,000 years old and its last eruption was about 10,000 years ago. The drive to this spot is absolutely astonishing and offers some of the most amazing scenery. Make sure to bring a camera because the sunsets here are some of the best!

Hollywood

Hollywood has a lot to offer, but when visiting this famous city, be sure to check out Kodak Theatre, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the iconic Hollywood sign, and the many stars along the walk of fame. Although this area is known for being very touristy, it is easily made justifiable by the amount of things to do, places to see and attractions nearby. If spotting celebrities, joining a guided bus tour of movie stars’ homes or touring
Warner Bros Studios interests you, this stop is for you!

Galco’s Old World Grocery

This attraction is dedicated to the art of soda pop and supporting the various small businesses behind each bubbly bottle. Galco’s Soda Pop Stop features over 700 flavors of pop at its Los Angeles storefront and nationwide thanks to its online shop. There is a rainbow of soda colors, and most of them are in glass bottles.

Wigwam Motel

Built in 1949, this motel is the final of seven Wigwam Motels originally constructed and one of the only three still in existence. This friendly motel features 19 refurbished wigwams, renovated by the Patel family, who were awarded the National Historic Route 66 Federation’s 2005 Cyrus Avery Award due to their efforts in the restoration of this landmark. It is a great example of Americana and makes for the perfect stay in San Bernardino, California.

Original McDonald’s Museum

This McDonald’s restaurant opened in 1940 and changed the face of fast food forever. The location is packed with original menus, news articles and memorabilia. The museum does a wonderful job at documenting the history of such an iconic and loved restaurant. There are also exhibits that represent all corners of the world, displaying thousands of items such as Happy Meal toys and historical artifacts.

Cucamonga Service Station

The Cucamonga Service Station is a historic gas and automobile service station built in 1915 located in Rancho Cucamonga. After closing in the 1970s, it was renovated and reopened as a museum in 2015, making it a worthwhile visit for those who want to get a sense of how much times have changed in the last 100 years. Gas stations definitely aren’t like this anymore!

Route 66 “Mother Road” Museum

This museum is ranked #1 of 17 things to do in Barstow, California. It is home to a large collection of historical artifacts of the “Mother Road” Route 66 and the Mojave Desert communities. Be sure to check out the retro jukebox and gift shop filled with books, DVDs and a wide selection of gifts.

Santa Monica Pier

Where is Route 66 in California? In 2009, the Route 66 Alliance and the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation came together and decided that the end of the iconic pier would be the western terminus of Route 66. It is now marked by a sign that says, “The End of the Trail”, and is a very popular photo location for travelers. This sign is actually a replica of the one that once stood on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Ocean Ave before its
mysterious disappearance 50 years ago.