If you’ve stumbled upon this post without first reading the first 7 days of our trip across country from Vermont to California and back – then please visit my first post – Route 66 Days 1-7.
Route 66 – Day 8: Left Albuquerque, NM and headed to Flagstaff, AZ. Along the way we took a detour in NM to visit the longest Pueblo village of Sky City (it’s a village on the top of a mountain) and a volcano that is leaking lava daily. After visiting the Ranger Station we learned about some off-road trails through the National Forest (El Maipais) that we can drive on. Of course Tony wanted to take his Jeep off road. We were lucky enough to see a few Elk roaming about. We took NM Route 53 through the Navajo and Zuni reservations into AZ and then headed north to catch back up with Route 66. There we went to Winslow, AZ and visited the Meteorite that crashed into earth and left a 1 mile crater. On the side of the road that leads to the meteorite they have a “primitive” road that goes 20 miles through the range and ends at the base of a mountain. We drove down that road and spotted more Antelope and Jack Rabbits. I was amazed that all of the roads around Route 66 and Interstate 40 all have grates on them to keep the cattle and horses that are roaming off from the interstate and within their areas of grazing. Another thing I commented on today is the amount of train traffic. In the northeast we don’t see the train that often but here out west the train system is still alive and well. At one time we saw three trains passing each other. Tomorrow we’ll visit the Grand Canyon and then head to CA. One more thing, we have enjoyed the time zone changes and the extra hours they have given us to explore the areas.
Route 66 – Day 9: Yesterday we left Flagstaff, AZ (my favorite city along 66) and headed north to the Grand Canyon. Ahhhmaaazing!!! We ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant (we both ordered Indian Bread) and topped it off with Fried Ice Cream. Really good food. Next was the very, very, very long drive across the Mojave Desert. Did I mention how long this drive was? There was a very nerve-wracking drive through the mountains. It reminded me of climbing Mt Washington in New Hampshire. Narrow roads with steep banks and no guard rails. We drove through an old mining town. I wish I would’ve captured some photos of the mine shaft entrances. Next was Victorville, CA. Tony was stationed here in the early 80’s. It was dark when we arrived so we will spend time today touring the area. Tony said the town looks so much bigger based on the lights lighting the sky last night. After visiting the old base area, we’ll be jumping off Route 66 and will head towards Vegas Baby.
Route 66 – Day 10: Woke up in Hisperia, CA and visited closed, George Air Force Base. Tony thinks it closed around 1995. Disappointing to see that our government closes bases and then let’s them fall apart. I can understand trying to sell them to developers but they could at least remove the furnishings like mattresses and donate them to ones in need. Tony walked around his dorm. After the tour through memory lane we headed to Las Vegas. We stayed the night at the Aliente Casino in North Vegas. I stayed here three years ago for a Yellow Ribbon event. Nice place and outside of the busy strip. Last night we re-charted our path home. As of today we are headed north to Salt Lake City and tomorrow we’ll hit Yellowstone. Along the way we will be grabbing a geocache in Montana. After this trip we will only have TN and HI left for states where we need to geocache.
I wish I had taken some photos of the mattresses laying all around.
Route 66 – Day 11: Left Las Vegas with some money still in our pockets. Headed north to Salt Lake City, UT. It was a pretty boring, Interstate 15 drive. We enjoyed BBQ at Famous Dave’s. (one of Kendra’s favorite). There was a really cool mountain pass that we went through in Arizona (didn’t realize we were going to clip a corner of AZ heading to UT). Along the side of the roads I noticed many of the trees were dead. I had to google it to find out why and discovered that Utah has a Bark Beetle that is destroying it’s forests. Very sad. I shot a photo of a mountain side that shows all the trees dead (the cows are in the fore front). Quite a few of their mountains still have snow and the speed limit is 80! Tomorrow we head to Yellowstone National Park and will spend the night in Cody, WY.
Route 66 – Days 12 & 13: Yesterday was a very long day. We left Salt Lake City, UT at 0700 and didn’t get to our hotel in Cody, WY until 10:30pm. On our trip to Cody we traveled through Idaho, Montana (grabbed a geocache) and then into Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park. Love, love, love Yellowstone. We arrived around 1pm and left the park after the sunset at 9pm. Really wish we would have had more time and planned ahead (Yellowstone was a last minute decision) to hit a few trails and hike to some of the waterfalls and lakes. Even though we didn’t hike, taking the road trails were still spectacular. We saw Bison, Elk, Black Bears and Grizzly Bears. We visited Old Faithful and watched her blow her top and took in the beauty that Mother Nature had to offer us. It was sad to see all the destruction that forest fires do but loved knowing that nature lives on and regrows itself.
Today we slept in a bit (8am) and left Cody, WY and headed to Cheyenne. Since it was dark as we were driving through Cody last night, we went and backtracked some to take in some tunnels, a dam and to view the western town of Cody. Tony spotted a shooting range and he was able to shoot a few guns, one including a Gattling gun. I would bet that we saw at least 200 Antelopes from Cody to Cheyenne. I knew that there were long miles in between towns in WY but had no idea how long. We drove about 200 miles and maybe went through three small towns. One of them only had 10 as a population on their sign. Oh….the manager at the hotel we stayed at in Cody was from VT (Bennington) and the girl working at the shooting range was from Portsmouth, NH. She was in the Navy and met a man who brought her to Cody to live. It’s always nice running into fellow New Englanders.
Tomorrow we head to Nebraska.
Route 66 – Day 13: traveled from Cheyenne, WY to Omaha, NE. It was a long, interstate 80 drive. The weather was beautiful so we popped the top down on the Jeep. The drive was boring but we stopped in Lincoln and met up with my friend, Vadra. It was great seeing her, although very short. We then headed to our friend Danielle’s house for the night. I wish we had more time to hang out and chat but they had to be up early for work. Today we’re headed to grab geocaches in Iowa, S Dakota and N Dakota.
Route 66 – Day 14: Left Omaha, NE and headed across the border to IA then up north to South Dakota and North Dakota to grab geocaches. We were going to spend the night in North Dakota but decided to head to Minnesota. We’re at Prairies Edge Casino for the night. It rained most of the day (first rainy day in our trip). Tomorrow we head to Wisconsin and we are unsure where we will be laying our heads at night.
I never realized how big the corn business was in Minnesota. We saw a few ethanol plants. Driving through the midwest we kept seeing these steel silos. Here in Vermont, we still have the small town farmer who has the tall, skinny silos. I wonder how many small farmers are still left in the midwest?
Route 66: Day 15 – Our plans today are to head through Wisconsin. We’ll be spending the night in Elgin, Illinois, just outside of Chicago.
Here in Vermont we have Cabot Cheese. Cheese made from local, small town farmers. I’ve heard that Wisconsin has some great cheese so it was on our to do list. After trying quite a few varieties of cheese from this location, we still love our Cabot Cheese more.
Route 66 – Day 16: Driving from IL to Canada today. Stopping for the night in London, Ontario, Canada.
We hit 7,000 miles just outside of Chicago, IL.
Route 66 – Days 16, 17 & 18: My last post was when we were in Minnesota for the night. We then drove to Elgin, IL, London, Canada and tonight we’re in Gananoque, Canada (1000 Islands). The drive from MN to IL was long with periods of high traffic. We stopped in WI and grabbed a geocache. Surprisingly, for my geocache friends, WI doesn’t have any caches hidden at their rest areas. The next day we left IL and drove through Indiana and Michigan until we crossed the border into Canada. It’s been so nice seeing green pastures and a mixture of trees. The west was all brown and red with only one type of tree or bush in the fields. We spent the night in London, Canada at a TownePlace by Marriott (we’ve tried to stay at Marriott’s throughout the trip). We had the best customer service at this hotel. Very friendly people and they honored the military rate for a US Veteran. This morning we left London and headed East. We decided to visit Niagara Falls again. We didn’t opt to take a boat ride through the falls but watched a boat from above get very close…..and wet. We decided to stop in an area we are familiar with – Gananoque. Tonight we went over to the casino for supper and to throw a few twenties into their slot machines. Tony hit some free spins as we were about ready to leave and won most of our money back. 🙂
Tomorrow – HOME!
We stayed on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
Interesting to see a Ford plant in our trips and not in the US but in Canada, just outside of Toronto.
It’s exciting driving along a famous route like Route 66. I had purchased books that would point out things along the way for us. Once we got off Route 66 we drove by so many things that I didn’t get a chance to photograph because because I didn’t know it was coming up. We took the interstate system home from Wyoming to Vermont. So once we passed something, that was it. No turning around easily.
Route 66 Wrap-up: Thanks everyone for commenting on my Route 66 trip posts. I loved reading your comments. I know most people have items on their bucket list and keep putting off achieving them until tomorrow. Well….today is tomorrow. A couple of years ago my dad’s dementia accelerated quickly where he could no longer drive and gets confused when outside (and even inside) his normal environments. My mom has shared that she had always wanted to travel with my dad after they both retired. Unfortunately they put it off for tomorrow and now tomorrow won’t come. It made me reflect on my life and my bucket list. Things that I had planned on doing tomorrow. Last year I decided that I couldn’t keep putting things off because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Either Tony or I could become ill or worse….one of us could die. I knew I wanted to take this vacation with him and thankfully he is now retired/unemployed and I have an amazing boss who allowed me to take off two weeks in a row. Finances weren’t where I was hoping they would be…but would they ever. We ate frugally. Stayed at hotels where they provided us breakfast. Visited a few friends along the way and they provided us with a free place to stay. After 8,200+ miles I am so thankful that we took this trip. No fighting, accidents or speeding tickets. 🙂
Highlights of the trip: Route 66 itself – it’s a flashback into the past. Many towns we drove through were frozen in time. Small town America. It made me realize that advancements and things that make our life easier, like an interstate system, have negative consequences. The interstate system hurt the small town businesses (motels, gas stations, stores, etc). I Loved seeing the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. We saw wildlife and a large crater that a meteorite created years and years ago. The terrain went from green grass with a beautiful mixture of trees in the mountains to rolling hills then flat land. Flat for as far as you can see but everything is brown and red. We saw brown and red for a long time. The trip brought appreciation to what we have here in Vermont. Beautiful landscape with an amazing climate.
We drove through a TON of Indian Reservations. The ones in NM and AZ brought tears to my eyes. You can see that they struggle financially. Many drive old, rusty vehicles and live in houses that are falling apart. The towns are spread out for miles upon miles with no known job opportunities in sight.
Many people want to travel to Paris, London or other destinations outside the USA. I highly encourage you to think about seeing all that this great country has to offer. There’s an amazing, open road in front of all of you with sights and images you’d never imagine seeing. Don’t wait until tomorrow.
Do you love to travel? Have you ever travel along Route 66? What trip is on your bucket list?