My wife and I will be traveling from Chicago to LA later this year. We have a somewhat loose itinerary and want to enjoy the journey as well as the destination. What I am looking for is things along the way that we might like to see. We have the Grand Canyon in our plans but not much else along the way. We are traveling I44 to I40 to I15. I appreciate any ideas along the way. Thanks.
In addition to Grand Canyon NP, places to see along I-40 in Arizona are Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Parks. Off US 89 north of Flagstaff, on the way to Grand Canyon, Wupatki National Monument is worth a visit. On AZ 64 on the way into Grand Canyon, the Little Colorado gorge is a nice preview of the big show. West of Flagstaff you can take old US 66, The Mother Road traveled by the Joads. There's about 100 miles of it, now AZ 66, from Seligman to Kingman. A few miles south of Kingman there's another section of old 66 over the mountains, through Oatman, and down to the crossing at Topock, south of Needles. On this section I marvel at what a narrow, twisting old road the main highway to California used to be. In California, you can catch old 66 northwest of Needles if you're so inclined, and take it for over 100 miles, all the way to Ludlow. Near Barstow is the old 19th century mining town of Calico. Walter Knott moved buildings from there to his berry farm in Orange County, and later rebuilt Calico to its old time appearance. Take Exit 7 at Daggett and go north on Daggett-Yermo Road/Ghost Town Road to Calico.
Little Colorado Gorge
Thank Steve, that gives me a little more to add to our list.
There's a few other "not-to-be-missed places on the way. In Colorado/New Mexico is the Cumbres & Toltec Narrow Gauge Railroad; I'd take the trip from Chama, NM to the half-way point & back if you're short on time--still will take most of a day. Then head west towards the Grand Canyon and stop at the Mesa Verdes park where you will see the most amazing canyon dwellings. It's quite a drive in, but well worth it! If you're traveling during tourist season (about June 1 to Sept 1), all these places will be jammed!
I would follow the "Mother of all roads" Route 66, but that will of course take longer time.
South of Flagstaff is Oak Creek Canyon and Walnut Creek Cliff dwellings. Farther sough is Sedona and the little mining town of Jerome. There are a lot of things to see along the way. As you approach LA there is just a lot of traffic and most of the cities look much alike. But there are also the tourist attractions such as Knotts Berry Farm, Disneyland, Queen Mary at Long Beach and then farther west Santa Catalina Island.
If you are an "Eagles" fan there's a statue "standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona".
Santa Fe is about an hour north of Albuquerque NM and you could easily spend a full day there.
The pre 37 Rt 66 is just outside Santa Rosa NM via Hwy 84. It goes up close to Las Vegas NM. Travel down to Santa Fe on "The 25" (SoCal lingo) aka pre 37 Rt 66 and the Old Santa Fe Trail into downtown Santa Fe. Visit the Plaza and the Palace of the Governor's (oldest US State Capitol Bldg) etc. Eat traditional Northern New Mexican food at Tomasita's (an old Santa Fe RR depot). Leave Santa Fe for ABQ on pre 37 Rt 66 down to Los Lunas still pre 37 Rt 66 and back up to 40.
You got options.
If you stray off I-40 for the Cumbres & Toltec and Mesa Verde, the same highway (US 160) takes you to Monument Valley (think John Wayne and Jeff Hunter in The Searchers). A very scenic route. West of Tuba City it takes you to dinosaur tracks.
View on US 160 west of Wolf Creek Pass.
Thank you very much. We have never been this way before. We are flying the trip by the seat of our pants (no special plans). We appreciate the ideas of so many things to see on our trip.
Almost forgot Shamrock TX
Corner of US 83 and Rt 66
also featured in the movie Cars
Is this not a kool service station?
That's the Koolest gas station I've ever seen! Can't believe there aren't more pics of it everywhere. Thanks for posting that, Kirk. That's now my new desktop.
I would recommend stopping at The Museum of American Speed in Lincoln Nebraska.
I Second and Third Dale's addition of Speedy Bill's, RIP, M of Amer Speed in Lincoln. The national tour went there and it not to be missed.
I would think a stop in Parkerfield, KS to visit Steve would be a must !
Meteor Crater just off of I-40 between Winslow and Flagstaff, Arizona.
Yes, American Speed is on my bucket list but too far North on the trip. I'll have to put that and Steve on the next trip out West. Thanks again for the ideas.
Coming I-44, Springfield, Mo. has a Bass Pro. with a large NRA gun display, also if you are interested in Civil War history, Wilson Creek Battlefield is just South of Spgfld. Carthage, Mo. is an old town with a lot of old mansions. This is where the rich mine owners lived. There is a unique marble court house on the square with a lot of local history. The elevator is a steel cage, with an operator. The square has a lot of antique places. Precious Moments is in the Carthage area. If art is of interest to you, Crystal Bridges is at Bentonville, Ark., about 40 miles south of Joplin. Take 249 south. Beautiful place and part of the Walmart family. There is also a Walmart museum at Bentonville. I know cars are of interest, so just south of I-44 at the Afton, Ok. exit is Daryl Starburg's exotic car museum. Look him up, his stuff is amazing. Also a pretty good display of Packards right in Afton, and it's free. When you get to Claremore on I-44, consider the Will Rogers museum, and the Davis gun collection. There are a lot of interesting side stops along Rt.66, but that has already been suggested. Hope this helps.
Thanks Allen, We are staying in Afton on the return trip. I am looking forward to the Darryl Starbird collection. I have heard of the Will Rogers museum but I don't know what they feature. We are scheduled to see the Petersen and Nethercutt museums while we are in LA also. I'll look at the others you mentioned. This is a bucket list trip for us. Cheryl has never been to California nor seen the Grand Canyon. We are finding more things that we didn't know about while planning for this trip.
There's a lot more to California than palm trees, swimmin' pools, movie stars, and traffic. The rural north and the Sierra Nevada are a whole other world. But that's probably another trip.
Go one way and return another!! Bud.
The kids might enjoy Travel Town in Griffith Park.
I know I did. It is kinda in between the Petersen and Nethercutt, just off the Ventura Fwy (134).
Depending on what time of year you are traveling. It is well worth while to go north at least as far as Yosemite National Park. You can stay in Mariposa or Oakdale and drive in for a day. You can see all that you can drive up to in a day or two. If you want to hike farther in, it would take a few days. There are waterfalls, granite formations and redwood trees. Very beautiful. To stay overnight in the park takes a reservation. Then you could go over Tioga Pass toward the east side. And if you are in the fall or winter you could go through Death Valley. Death Valley is too hot to visit in summertime. Then go through Las Vegas and see the sights, maybe take in a show and then on to St. George Utah another very beautiful place. There are several national parks in Utah, all very beautiful. Then on through Colorado. Once you get through the Rocky Mts. Everything is flat until you get home!
If you have time to go to Yosemite, book a night at the Tin Lizzy Inn B&B and he'll supply you with a T or an A to drive through the park!
Every time we go west we try to stop at the Harold Warp's museum and Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska. You can easily spend the day there. Several buildings full of cars trucks and tractors along with about every other device ever invented.