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Travelling Down Route 66
Since the 1960s, touring across America and looking for adventure has become synonymous with driving down Route 66. Immortalized in film, songs and books, the highway from Los Angeles to Chicago may have changed since the original route that John Steinbeck called the "Mother Road", but it is still easy to take a detour down the most famous highway in American history.

Many travellers like to be fully immersed in the experience by camping by the roadside or by staying in the various motels which emerged out of the rapid post war growth in road travel which the route helped to develop. Others prefer to take the more comfortable approach by staying in modern accommodation, ranging from Hotels in Chicago to Hotels in LA. Whatever style of journey the traveller chooses however, it is easy to see why this iconic highway has remained a powerful emblem for the American Dream.

From its original inception, the road planners intended US 66 to connect the main streets of rural and urban communities along its 2,448 mile course, and to make it one of the nation's principal East-West arteries. In doing so, these planners helped shape the perception of a nation.

By getting an up-to-date map, and then taking the off ramp from I-40 and following the brown Historic Route 66 road signs, today?s travellers find that most of the towns along the highway still hold vestiges of a day gone by, mixing in with the modern. The 'Main Street of America' has seen many changes and been largely superseded by more modern high speed interstate highways, however about 85% of the original route still remains and, along with it, much of the spirit of American hope and optimism which pervaded the country after economic catastrophe and global war; after, even, all these years.

Starting in Chicago, Route 66 passes through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, before skirting the Pacific Ocean and finally ending near Los Angeles. Taking in attractions like Springfield - the town where Abraham Lincoln was born - and the ancient remains of the Cahokia Mounds (a prehistoric native city dating from 700-1400 AD), the Grand Canyon, Boulder Dam, Las Vegas, Barstow and the Mojave Desert, the route is steeped in history and littered with trading posts. The best way to see the old mother road is to rent a Harley Davidson, Corvette or 1960s open-top Cadillac and cruise near Las Vegas or explore Arizona or California where the longest sections of the route still exist.

While the number of travellers along the historic road has gradually lessened over time, and many of the old towns and businesses have deteriorated or disappeared since the road's decommissioning, others have been carefully restored. This has given way to a microcosm of bygone roadside Americana that has became suspended in time. The roadside treasures, vivid history, and natural beauty lining the route mark out a disappearing vision of America which can increasingly only be seen on film.
About the Author
Author of the article is Michael Hanna. For further information check hotels in Chicago.
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