Historic Route 66, Westbound/Eastbound
The tour program describes the main attractions for the 15-day journey on the world-famous, legendary and historic U.S. Route 66, also known as “The Mother Road”. Route 66 has throughout history been the road for migrants, dreamers, desperadoes and a whole generation of holidaymakers, who explored the road to the west. The 1950s were Route 66’s peak. Thousands of cars drove “bumper-to-bumper” to experience the western emigration route. Hotels, motels, and the “new America” grew up everywhere. Much of Route 66’s original roads, restaurants, gas stations, and nostalgic landmarks are preserved just as they were in the ’50s. Hence the famous and nostalgic Route 66 is a heaven for motorcycle riding.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Chicago – Los Angeles / Los Angeles – Chicago|
|DEPARTURE TIME||Please arrive at least 2 hours before the flight.|
“At JoyRides Tours we believe that good experiences and camaraderie are at least as important as the journey. Our goal is to fill your tour travelbag with as many positive memories as possible, so you go home with a big smile on your face. And with friends, you didn’t have before you started the tour.”
Note: Because of the time difference we will arrive home the date/day after we departed the US
Day 1: Departure - Arrival Chicago
When all tour participants have arrived, we meet for a welcome meeting and refreshment, with the introduction of all tour participants and tour leaders. The evening’s program is getting to know each other and we eat dinner together in true American style. Those who are not tired after the long journey may go to a local bar nearby.
Day 2: Chicago - The Windy City
(Explorer & fun day)
Welcome to Chicago “The Windy City”! Chicago has a rich history (eg. Al Capone; movie “The Untouchables”) and is the nation’s third-largest city. Over 3 million people live in the inner cities, more than 12 million if you include suburban districts. The city is called “The windy city” because of its harsh climate, characterized by warm summers and bitterly cold and windy winters. Chicago is also home to basketball’s “Chicago Bulls”, where the legendary Michael Jordan was the frontman. “Chicago Cubs” is the city’s baseball team. Chicago is a vibrant music city with many fun bars and clubs.
We start the day with an information meeting, where we cover information about your tour on Historic Route 66 and your stay in Chicago. We also cover practical information and preparations regarding mc and car rental checkout.
Afterward, we start our city tour by visiting Willis Tower, the world’s 9th largest building, 442 feet high, 2.232 steps, 110 floors, and a super-fast elevator (70 seconds). For a long time, the “Tower” was the world’s tallest building, but now it’s surpassed by the 828m high Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The building is still supreme; from the top “Sky Deck” you can see into four US states.
Afterward, we go to Jackson & Adams Street to take a group photo at the end/begin of Route 66. We continue to explore everything Chicago has to offer, “The Magnificent Mile” (shopping street on Michigan Avenue, Chicago’s “Strip”), the Water Tower, Navy Pier, and Millennium Park (watch out for outdoor concerts). NB: Remember good footwear!
In the evening we go to Chicago’s famous blues club, Kingston Mines, a very old club with a rich history. Well-known and lesser-known blues artists play continuously from one of two stages. This is an experience we highly recommend. Group transport back to the hotel around midnight.
Day 3: Chicago - Milwaukee - Chicago
(Explorer & fun day)
We drive to Milwaukee (by minibus), where we get a tour of the very interesting Harley Davidson Museum. It holds the complete history of Harley-Davidson, the first and last bikes, something for every taste, and the possibility to spend most of the day.
We eat a biker lunch at the museum, before we drive to a local Harley Davidson dealer (e.g. Woodstock Harley Davidson) so those who want/need to supplement equipment can do this.
We end the day by driving to Explorify MC Rentals, where we pick-up the bikes. The car or bike you have booked is prepared, and all necessary insurance is included. NB: Remember to check the bike thoroughly for any scratches, damages, and that there are oil and fuel in the tanks – before driving.
Day 4: Chicago - Springfield
(Driving day 1: 307 km/187 miles)
This is the day we start our Route 66 adventure! When everyone is ready on their bikes, we start our ride on the 4.000 km long Historic Route 66. Chicago disappears behind us as we head west for a unique adventure full of history and fun. Our first stop is Joliet, home of the Blues Brothers. Then Wilmington and “The Gemini Giant”, where we eat lunch.
Afterward, we drive Route 66 past the old gas station at Odell (a good example of many day-open stations), to the museum in Pontiac, before arriving Springfield, today’s end stop.
Day 5: Springfield - St. Roberts
(Driving day 2: 366 km/227 miles)
It will be a day full of traditional riding on Route 66 and spectacular nature. Many villages, ancient towns, and historic Route 66 places. Our first
It will be a day full of traditional riding on Route 66 and spectacular nature. Many villages, ancient towns and historic Route 66 places. Our first stop is Mt. Olive, an old Route 66 gas station. We continue to Hamel, where we take a break on at traditional Route 66 diner and enjoy the sun.
We continue our journey through several small towns before arriving St. Louis, where we stop at one of the most famous landmarks in the USA, “The Gateway Arch”, a monument raised in honor of the pioneers who went west. The Arch can be seen at a 6 km distance. St. Louis was long the last civilization. Like the real pioneers, we ride by the “Arch” and stop to capture the moment. We continue south-west through the stunning mountain scenery of the Ozarks, which is among the most scenic along Route 66. Keep your cameras ready!
Our next stop is at Stanton and the Jesse James Museum in Meramec Mines. We get the opportunity to go into the caves where Jesse & his gang hid all the loot they had robbed from their many raids. We will spend the evening here.
Day 6: St. Roberts - Claremore
(Driving day 3: 381 km/237 miles)
It is a new day full of exciting Route 66 driving through three states; Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. We ride through the “heart” of the United States, full of various experiences and impressions. This is the way people originally drove Route 66.
Our first stop is picturesque Cuba. We continue to Lebanon, where we look at the legendary Munger Moss Motel. We proceed to Springfield, home of President Abraham Lincoln. Thereafter, we drive to a famous traditional Route 66 gas station, The Gay Parita Sinclair, who currently is run only from donations and sales of Route 66 effects (The station is the legacy of Gary Turner, also known as the kindest man on Route 66). We continue and drive by Joplin, and it’s “Welcome Kansas”.
The drive through Kansas on Route 66 is very short, only about 31 km. We stop at the famous “4 Women on the Route” and Marsh Rainbow Arch Bridge, enjoying the historical aura, before continuing to Baxter Springs and into Oklahoma. Oklahoma is the state that has preserved most of the original Route 66 (in total, you can drive about 633 km), and the residents of Oklahoma are those who currently use Route 66 most because a lot of the new Interstate 44 is levied by tolls. It was in Oklahoma people began to use the term “The Mother Road”. Oklahoma is also the state where the landscape changes from foresty to dry. We ride through several towns before we reaching our final stop for the day; Claremore
Day 7: Claremore - Weatherford
(Driving day 4: 324 km/312 miles)
We continue our journey along exciting Route 66 in the beautiful & lush Oklahoma. The first stop will be Tulsa, where we visit the Route 66 Harley Davidson. Thereafter, we drive to Stroud and visit the Rock Café.
The journey continues along with the many small and cozy Route 66 towns and we stop at several to ensure holiday memories. Then we drive straight to Oklahoma City, where we will have lunch. Oklahoma City is the 31st largest city in the U.S. according to population, but the 8th largest according to land area. After we have digested Oklahoma City, we continue our Route 66 adventure. We ride to Yukon, home of the famous country music artist Garth Brooks. We continue to El Reno, before embarking on the final leg to Weatherford, where we stay overnight.
Day 8: Weatherford - Amarillo
(Driving day 5: 307 km/191 miles)
We move into a cowboy country and the nation’s largest state, Texas. This day will drive through the prairie country, and there will be some straight-line driving. In some fashion, this will also be the day of “the steak”.
Our first stop is Elk City, where we visit the National Route 66 Museum and take pictures in front of the large Route-66 sign. We say goodbye to Oklahoma and ride into Texas. On the way to Amarillo, we stop in McLean at a traditional Route 66 steak house to eat lunch. Here you can eat one of the most tender steaks you ever tasted. The owner personally buys all beef to ensure the best quality.
Afterward, we head straight to Amarillo, where we take several fun stops. One of them is Cavender’s Boot City, where we stack up with cowboy accessories. We drive to the hotel and check-in before we are picked up in a limo and driven to a Route 66 legend: the “Big Texan Steakhouse” where you can eat the famous 2.2 kg (72 oz.) steak. Those who manage to eat the entire meal within 60 minutes (2.2 kg/72 oz. steak, baked potato, salad, shrimp cocktail, butter, and bread) get the meal free. Many have tried – most have failed. The record is 8 minutes and 52 seconds. Are you up for the challenge?
Day 9: Amarillo - Santa Fè
(Driving day 6: 451 km/280 miles)
It will be a hot driving day in cowboy country, with long flat fields and countrysides. Partially, we will ride on I-40, since parts of old Route 66 no longer is drivable in this area. Our first stop is the famous “Cadillac Ranch”, where you can sign a very special work of art. We drive to Adrian, who is “Midpoint U.S. Route 66; we are halfway to Los Angeles. We’ll drink a cup of coffee at the local Midpoint diner before we ride out of Texas and into New Mexico. We continue to Tucumcari and visit the “Blue Swallow” (the friendliest motel on R66). We also eat lunch in Tucumcari, before driving to Santa Rosa.
The final stop is Santa Fe, one of the most beautiful cities in the western United States and the capital of New Mexico. Santa Fe will be our home for the next two nights. You will use no more than a few minutes in Santa Fe’s narrow streets until you love the city and the population.
Day 10: Santa Fè
(Explorer & fun day)
We have ridden over half of the distance on our Route 66 adventure and take a day off to recharge the batteries and enjoy more of the wonderful Santa Fe. The city is located high in the mountains; scenic “Sangre de Cristo “, and is rich in Spanish and Native American history and culture. A unique blend that can be seen in the local art and architecture. The day is free to use as you wish.
You can relax by the pool, enjoy one of the many art galleries, explore Santa Fe or a guided city tour, or visit one of the town’s micro-breweries. You can buy local art in the local market. Do not forget to try “The Green Chili Stew” which has become a favorite among our guests. Santa Fe’s cuisine is famous. In the evening we go to a real cowboy restaurant, eat steak, drink, and enjoying the real cowboy way of life.
Day 11: Santa Fè - Gallup
(Driving day 7: 363 km/199 miles)
We move out of cowboy country and into Indian native territory. It will be an eventful day as we drive through the land that Indians have lived on for centuries. We start by riding the small fun and curvy roads to Madrid, where the “Wild Hogs” movie with John Travolta was recorded. You can walk into the bar the guys sat in the movie and relax with a refreshing drink. Then we drive just outside Albuquerque to the Route 66 Casino, where we eat lunch. We ride straight to Acoma Sky City, which is the Acoma Indians holy city, lying on top of a high “Mesa” (rock formation). We park outside the Acoma Museum, buy tickets, and take the bus up to the holy city (it is forbidden to walk up on your own). When we arrive at the top, we must stick together and close to the guide. There will also plenty of opportunities to purchase handmade Native American art. We finish the day by driving to Gallup.
Day 12: Gallup - Williams
(Driving day 8: 390 km/244 miles)
This will be a day of desert driving and unique nature. First, we ride in Navajo and Apache territory to Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert. Is it stone or wood? And is the sand painted? We drive through this wonderful nature reserve, which is a memory for life. We continue to Holbrook and Winslow, where we make a stop at the “corner”. Eagles fans know what “Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona” means. We eat lunch in Winslow.
After our glucose recovery, we continue along Route 66 to Williams, which is one of the coolest destinations on Route 66. We will stay here for a fun night.
Day 13: Williams - Grand Canyon - Williams
(Driving day 9: 433 km/271 miles)
This day will for many be the highlight of the tour. We drive to the Grand Canyon helicopter base. Those who have ordered the helicopter tour will get an experience of a lifetime, truly something they will never forget. To hover in the air over one of the seven wonders and experience this natural phenomenon up close is absolutely magical. Highly recommend! After the helicopter ride, we drive a short distance to the visitor center, where you have the chance to watch the world’s most viewed Imax movie. When you see the film it feels almost like standing inside the Grand Canyon. Thereafter, we ride into the Grand Canyon, where we take this year’s holiday photo! NB: Helicopter rides must be booked in advance.
When we finally are able to leave Grand Canyon we drive back to Williams.
Day 14: Williams - Las Vegas
(Driving day 10: 466 km/289 miles)
We drive to the little Seligman, which has one of the greatest advocates for Route 66’s origin. Seligman is a fun, cozy, and traditional Route 66 town, a lot of great photo opportunities.
This rest of the day will consist of desert driving, very hot conditions, and wonderful scenery. It’s the second day of desert driving, very hot conditions, and wonderful scenery. Our first stop is Hackberry, a small traditional Route 66 gas station, full of history, like taken out of an old movie. We enjoy an ice cream or cola in the shade. Afterward, we cruise on to Kingman and Oatman, an old western village in Mohave (county), which was established by two gold diggers in 1915. The driving distance to the Oatman consists of narrow curvy roads at different height levels, with mountain and desert landscapes. Ideal for filming, perhaps the best opportunity on the tour. In Oatman, remember to lock your bikes, and watch out for donkeys & outlaws in the streets.
We continue on Route 66 before we drive straight to Las Vegas. Some will probably be a bit tired after the desert driving, but we meet for a joint dinner before retiring for the night. The first night in Las Vegas can be used to explore the city’s many offerings + casinos. Welcome to the city called “The adult playground” or “Sin City”.
Day 15: Las Vegas
(Explorer & fun day)
You are now in one of the most fun cities in the world. The city that has everything, stunning buildings, unique shows, casinos and all kinds of entertainment. Vegas is never boring!
The day is free for your own exploration and it is within walking distance to most of the city sights. We highly recommend visiting Caesars Palace, Bellagio, MGM, Stardust, Treasure Island, The Venetian, Mirage, and Wyatt. In the evening you will be able to watch volcanic eruptions every 15 minutes at the Mirage. The garden is transformed into a flame show. Inside the casino, you will find rare white tigers. The water show outside the Bellagio is also a memory for life. Remember: wear sunscreen and good shoes, you’re going to walk a lot under a blazing sun that day.
Day 16: Las Vegas - Los Angeles
(Driving day 11: 452 km/280 miles)
It will be a day of city-, highway- and desert driving, and it will get very hot. We recommend riding with a hydration (cooling) vest, which makes it much easier to cope with the heat. We eat breakfast and drive “the strip” before taking a group photo in front of the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign.
We head to Los Angeles, stop at Calico Ghost Town, and eat lunch in Barstow. After lunch, we drive straight to LA, where we return the bikes at Explorify Rentals.
Day 17: Universal Studios & Hollywood
(Explorer & fun day)
We meet in front of the hotel and drive to Universal Studios, which has many exciting and fun experiences. In Universal Studios everyone do as they please, it’s easy to get oriented and around. We recommend starting with the studio tour, which gives you a quick intro to Universal’s history and how several famous movies were made (throughout the day waiting lines/times for the studio tour will be long). Other recommended attractions are Transformers, King Kong 3D, Terminator, Jurassic Park, Water World, and The Simpsons.
Note: Access to all attractions is included in the ticket. To avoid having to wait in long queues we recommend buying a “Fast Pass”.
In the afternoon we gather for a group picture outside the Universal Studios entrance and to eat dinner together at the Hard Rock Café. Afterward, we take the subway to Hollywood Boulevard and the “Walk of Fame”. The sidewalks have over 2.500 bronze stars of famous artists, movie stars, etc. You will experience the buzz from Hollywood boulevard at night and you will see the famous Hollywood sign. Also, we will visit Mann’s Chinese Theatre, the historic theater where many classic films had their opening night, which also has several personal greetings from the biggest movie stars in the entrance area.
Day 18: Venice Beach/Santa Monica Pier - Home Travel
(Explorer & fun day)
We check out of the hotel to explore Santa Monica and Venice Beach. We drive to the fun & world-famous Venice Beach; which you’ve probably seen in many TV-series/movies (Bay Watch, Pacific Blue, Speed, Beverly Hills Cop, Rocky III, etc.). Venice Beach is a rare & colorful experience. Here you can experience street performers, street musicians, hippies, bodybuilders (outdoor gym), rollerbladers, skateboarders, etc. showing off. In addition, there are numerous street vendors and fun boutiques selling the strangest things. Venice is anything but boring!
From Venice Beach, we walk to Santa Monica Pier, the End/Begin of the original Route 66, where we take our last group picture & officially End our Route 66 tour. We end the day with a group lunch before we say goodbye to Route 66 & Los Angeles, and travel by bus to the airport and return home.
Thanks for a great ride, good times, and sincerely thank you for choosing to travel with JoyRides. We will be happy to see you again as a participant in one of our other tours in the US, South America, Asia, Oceania, or Europe.
Note: Because of the time difference travelers from Europe will arrive home the date/day after departing the US.
Also: This program is a guideline for activities and experiences on the tour. Deviations may occur, but we guarantee that our positive tour leaders will do their utmost to execute the program as described – as far as it is feasible and circumstances allow. We are continually working to improve the program, thus you may experience positive surprises.