ENP 29 Old Favorite Route 66 Is New Again with Jessica Dunham
05/22/2020Wigwam Motel on Route 66 Holbrook, AZ - Photo by Jessica DunhamMoon Travel Guides: Route 66 Road TripThe reality of our new normal could spark renewed interest in an old favorite: the great American road trip. Danielle chats with Moon Route 66 Road Trip author Jessica Dunham about the allure of this iconic highway. With a focus on family fun, Jessica shares her top Route 66 picks including man-made kitschiness, scenic lookouts, and national park access. And, keep those engines revved up because Jessica gives a sneak peek into her forthcoming book The Open Road: 50 Best Road Trips In The USA.
The Mother RoadPlanning a vacation with pandemic precautions built in has become a high priority. Unlike the close confines of air and sea travel, Route 66 offers 2,448 miles of open road and peace of mind in the age of social distancing. “Route 66, in and of itself, has sort of been this place where people could escape to. I think perhaps in a lot of ways, it could also be that for us, for modern-day travelers.” As an escape route, Jessica says you couldn’t do much better than Route 66. Beginning in downtown Chicago, it stretches westward to the very edge of the Pacific Ocean, taking in eight states and decades of history. From its pre-WWII utility to the heady days of postwar migration the Mother Road speaks to our love affair with car culture and its enduring promise of freedom.
Cadillac Ranch on Route 66 Amarillo, TX - Photo by Jessica Dunham
Route 66 Points Of InterestMake no mistake, Route 66 is travel via the slow lane. Jessica recommends dedicating a solid two weeks for your trip so you can take in all the national parks, monuments, and guilty pleasures along the way. At the eastern end, don’t miss historic sights Route 66 Association Hall Of Fame and Museum in Pontiac IL or Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis. Additional pull-off points of interest in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Arizona include the inspiration behind the Pixar character Tow-Mater in Cars, the Cadillac Ranch art installation featuring upended Cadillacs, and the famous Wigwam Village Motel. Jessica is quick to point out that many of these roadside attractions are free to visit, making Route 66 an attractive option for budget-minded adventurers.
Jessica and her husband Jason in Joshua Tree National Park - part of several road trips in The Open Road - Photo by Scott Dunn
National Parks On The RouteRoute 66 spoils visitors with access to many of the country’s top national parks. A protected stretch of the highway cuts right through Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park while short detours are all that’s required to get visitors within range of Grand Canyon National Park and Joshua Tree National Park. This epic journey ends on Santa Monica Pier, under a crisp sign marking the end of the trail. Could this be the beginning of a road trip renaissance? Will families rediscover the joys of crisscrossing the country in search of ghost towns, giant rocking chairs, and quaint diners? Jessica certainly hopes so.
QUOTES“In the best of times, the magic of a road trip is about freedom and flexibility...I think that road trips are just going to be that much more because we've all been cooped up. We've all been sequestered at our homes. And there's just so much that's unknown out there that I think having a little bit of a feel of independence, as well as control over your own destiny is going to draw people to that type of travel.” [4:26]
“I always tell people take time to stop and chat with business owners because they are so excited to see people and they're so excited to have you there. So be ready to have a conversation. Be ready to ask questions. Be ready to make new friends.” [19:00]
Jessica and her husband Jason at Big Bend National Park - part of West Texas road trip in The Open Road - Photo by Jason WilsonArches National Park - part of The Loneliest Road road trip - Photo by Jessica DunhamRoute 50 in Nevada - The Loneliest Road road trip in The Open Road - Photo by Jessica DunhamJessica and her husband Jason in Joshua Tree National Park - part of several road trips in The Open Road - Photo by Scott Dunn
Discussion Includes the Following[0:02] Listener comment - Piñon Flats Camp Ground, Great Sand Dunes National Park
[2:58] Jessica Dunham, author: Moon Route 66 Road Trip and The Open Road: 50 Best Road Trips In The USA
[6:48] History of Historic Route 66: Federal-Aid Highway Act, National Park Service Corridor Preservation Program
[9:58] Route 66 Family Road Trip: Overview
[10:54] Midwest Region: Route 66 Association Hall Of Fame and Museum, Gateway Arch National Park, Indiana Dunes State Park, World’s Largest Route 66 Rocking Chair
[16:02] Great Plains Region: Cars on the Route, Cadillac Ranch
[19:34] Southwest Region: Musical Highway, Wigwam Village Motel
[25:02] National Parks Along The Route - Part I: Petrified Forest National Park, Grand Canyon National Park
[26:23] NPS Dark Skies Program
[27:12] Arizona’s big sky vistas and Meteor Crater
[29:15] More Grand Canyon Attractions: Grand Canyon Railway, Phantom Ranch
[32:01] National Parks Along The Route - Park II: Mojave National Preserve, Joshua Tree National Park
[34:16] Saguaro National Park
[36:12] End Of The Route: Los Angeles, CA and Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA
[38:27] National Parks To Ponder on The Loneliest Road: The Open Road: 50 Best Road Trips In The USA, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Black Canyon Of The Gunnison, Great Basin National Park
[40:00] A Great Texas Road Trip: Big Bend National Park, Alpine, Marfa, McDonald Observatory, Marfa Burrito
[46:00] National Astronaut Day, Girl Scouts, NPS Dark Skies Program, Shenandoah National Park,
[47:20] California Road Trip Favorites: Yosemite National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Redwood National And State Forest
Thank you to Moon Travel Guides for sponsoring this episode.
playerSanta Monica Pier on Route 66 - Photo by Jessica Dunham
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