Day 1: Arrive Chicago
Arrive into Chicago International Airport and transfer independently to your hotel. Relax and explore the city at your own pace. There are plenty of museums, restaurants and blues bars to choose from. Alternatively, since this is the original city of the skyscraper, why not take in the views from the top of the Willis Tower or take it easy on a boat cruise along the city’s eponymous river? Stay 1 night in a 4* hotel.
Day 2: Chicago to Springfield (approx. 187 miles)
Pick up your bike this morning and begin your epic American road trip. Route 66 begins in Chicago, cutting through the state of Illinois before continuing all the way to the Pacific Ocean. On this, the first day of your journey, you’ll take the Pontiac Trail section of Route 66, passing through Joliet, looking out for the Gemini Giant at the Launchpad Drive-In restaurant, checking out the Route 66 Museum in Pontiac and generally getting a feel for the rubber on the Mother Road. While in Springfield be sure to stop at the Cozy Dog Drive-In, the birthplace of the corn dog.
Day 3: Springfield, IL to St Louis (approx. 116 miles)
Today you’ll stay mostly on the two lane sections of Route 66, passing long stretches of cornfield and little small Illinois towns before crossing the Mississippi River and passing into the state of Missouri at St Louis. Your arrival into the city will be made at the Chain of Rocks Bridge, which was the original Route 66 river crossing. St Louis is known as the ‘Gateway to the West’ and boasts some of the best live music and BBQ ribs in the USA. Stay 1 night in the Hampton Inn (or similar).
Day 4: St Louis to Joplin (approx. 335 miles)
Don’t miss an early morning photo opportunity of the St Louis Arch and the mighty Mississippi before you hit the road. Settle in and enjoy the picturesque rolling scenery that makes Missouri both beautiful and great to drive through. Highlights along the route today include the World’s Largest Rocking Chair in Fanning, the twisting roads of Devil’s Elbow, meeting Gary at Gay Parita (a vintage gas station) and some of the best BBQ you will ever eat! Tonight’s overnight stop is in Joplin where you will hang out with the locals and hear stories about the huge tornado that blew through here in 2011. Stay 1 night in a 3 or 4 star hotel in Joplin.
Day 5: Joplin to Oklahoma City (approx. 255 miles)
It’s all about the ride today as you continue ever westwards from Joplin through the horse country of Oklahoma. You’ll pass through Miami, Claremore and Catoosa, home of the landmark Blue Whale, before stopping for lunch in a Tulsa diner. During the journey today, you’ll also pass through the lands of several Native American tribes, all forcibly re-located here after the Louisiana Purchase at the beginning of the 19th century. The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole are some of the tribes that make up the state’s large Native American population. In the evening, you’ll ride over the mile-long bridge and into Oklahoma City. Stay 1 night in a 3 or 4 star hotel in the heart of OKC’s Bricktown district.
Day 6: Oklahoma City to Amarillo, TX (approx. 266 miles)
Your morning ride takes you along some of the oldest stretches of Route 66, across some of the great cattle trails which were used in the 1860s to drive cattle from Texas up to Kansas. You’ll ride along a portion of the Chisholm Trail, which passes through Yukon and El Reno and make a stop at the fascinating Route 66 Museum in Clinton. After lunch, you’ll cross the state boundary between Oklahoma and Texas and ride into the southernmost section of the Great Plains. Dinner tonight is in downtown Amarillo. The group will be picked up in a fleet of old Cadillacs and taken in style to the Big Texan Steakhouse for some of the best steaks in the state! Stay 1 night at the Ambassador Hotel, Amarillo.
Day 7: Amarillo to Santa Fe (approx. 303 miles)
Pass by the famous Cadillac Ranch art installation this morning before heading to the Texas/ New Mexico border. Here, there is a ghost town called Glenrio where you can stand with one foot in each state. From Glenrio, you’ll enter the land of the Comanche Indians, where the landscape is dominated by mountains, mesas, pines and cactus. Ride up into the High Plains and altitude of Santa Fe, once of America’s oldest cities. Stay 2 nights in a central 3 or 4 star hotel.
Day 8: Santa Fe
You have today at leisure to relax and enjoy the distinctive style of this 400 year old city. The blend of cultures in this state capital is clearly displayed in its characteristic Pueblo Revival style. There are plenty of sightseeing opportunities here. Perhaps take a ride along the river valley to the Taos Pueblo, considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited community in America or watch the sun rise from a hot-air balloon.
Day 9: Santa Fe to Gallup, NM (approx. 200 miles)
Back on the road this morning, head south to Albuquerque, the largest and most populous city in New Mexico. Cross the Rio Grande and head into the open country of the Navajo wilderness, passing through Laguna en route to the Cibola National Forest and the famous Route 66 town of Gallup, ‘the Heart of Indian Country’. You’ll spend tonight in one of the town’s many biker friendly hotels and have the chance to meet fellow bikers from around the world.
Day 10: Gallup, NM to Grand Canyon (approx. 283 miles)
Get set for a great day of riding today, full of epic landscapes and iconic Route 66 stops. You’ll cross the border into Arizona and then ride through the Petrified Forest National Park, featuring gigantic fossilized prehistoric trees which have been unearthed by erosion. Enjoy some time at leisure to explore this unique area before continuing to two famous Route 66 stops, the Wigwam Hotel in Holbrook and the corner of Winslow, Arizona. Next, a highlight of the tour; ride to your next hotel a mile from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon! Tonight, why not sit with a drink as the sun sets over this awe-inspiring landscape.
Day 11: Grand Canyon to Kingman, AZ (approx. 256 miles)
There’s the opportunity to get a real ‘bird’s eye view’ of the Grand Canyon today with a helicopter ride over the South Rim. You can book this locally with your guide, or alternatively just soak up the scenery before riding as a group along the rim for those all-important photo opportunities. Later, you’ll leave the Grand Canyon and head back onto Route 66 in Williams. Pass through the famous Mother Road towns of Seligman, Peach Springs and Hackberry on your way to Kingman, Arizona where you will spend tonight.
Day 12: Kingman to Las Vegas (approx. 184 miles)
First on the agenda today is a visit to the old Wild West town of Oatman, a former mining town in the Black Mountains of Mohave County. From here, take a detour off Route 66 to visit the unforgettable city of Las Vegas. Here, you'll be treated to a first class experience at some of The Strip’s most famous hotels. Your time in Vegas will be short, but it will certainly be sweet!
Day 13: Las Vegas to Victorville (approx. 282 miles)
Leave the lights of Las Vegas today and head for California, the final state on your Route 66 tour. Prepare for some of Southern California’s most dramatic scenery as you cross the Mojave Desert, a huge expanse of arid land, dotted with cactus, Joshua trees and volcanic rock. Your last night on the tour is spent in Victorville.
Day 14: Victorville to Los Angeles (approx. 124 miles)
Your last ride today takes you from Victorville to the end of Route 66 on the Santa Monica Pier. First off, you'll first ride 66 miles along the Angeles Crest Highway, which threads its way through mountainous Angeles National Forest. This highway rises to 2,300 metres above sea level and is considered one of the best motorcycle rides in Southern California. Descend from the Crest into the Los Angeles Basin and arrive at the Pacific, where the ‘End of the Trail’ sign on the Santa Monica Pier awaits. Tonight, celebrate with your new friends and toast to the end of an unforgettable journey during a fabulous Farewell Dinner!
Day 15: Depart Los Angeles
Your exciting trip ends today in Los Angeles. Just let us know if you would like to add extra nights in LA or extend your motorcycle hire so that you can extend your journey along the California coast. (read more...)