Route 66 is a part of American history. Today, it isn’t a real road which you can travel from end to end. Only 80% of the old road still exist, and in some places it is now a normal, modern US highway. But if you have a map, and if you really want to find the road, it is possible. The American highway Department (which looks after roads in the USA) has put up signs for “Historic Route 66” and travelling along the road is a popular holiday for people from all over the world.
Route 66 begins in America’s biggest industrial city, Chicago, in the north-east, and ends in Los Angeles in the south-west. Between these two cities, it runs through eight American states. After Chicago, Illinois, it crosses the wide, flat prairies of Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma; then the road goes along the oil-wells of Texas and then crosses the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona (it is very close here to the Grand Canyon), and finally arrives at the coast in Los Angeles, California. 2,448 miles, 3,940 kilometres.
The American people began building Route 66 in 1926. In those days, there were no American highways as we know them today, and Route 66 was the first long-distance road across America. The road was mostly flat, and it was very quick. So, truck-drivers liked it very much. Soon people built little restaurants, cafés, and motels beside the road. Later, when more and more people began using the route, little museums, zoos, and other attractions appeared – all with owners who wanted to attract visitors.
One great way to see Route 66 is on a Harley-Davidson motor bike. From their offices in Chicago and Los Angeles, you can rent a bike for a holiday on the historic road and travel alone or in a group. If you love the “old America”, then travelling along Route 66 on a Harley is definitely for you!