Finished Route 66

Jwalt

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So, just finished up Route 66.

We picked up the bikes from Daily Direct in Milwaukee on the morning of June 19th and headed down to Chicago to get started. Unfortunately the fountain was down and there was no parking within a few blocks of the waterfront, but we did tag the official start.

Along the way, a lot of museums and restaurants were on short hours or even open only a few days a week, but we still had a great time. I built out our routes on my Zumo based on a combination of the Adventure Cycling Route 66 bicycle routing and the EZ 66 guidebook before we left. It worked well but it was the first time I really used the GPS (got it dirt cheap used at the last minute) and I wish I'd had a few weeks to learn it's quirks first.

We intentionally got time on just about every sort of road US 66 ever was, from dirt in west TX to concrete slabs (whomp whomp whomp) in Oklahoma to wide gorgeous four lane divided parkways in Missouri to a few small bits that were still MacAdam. The bike did great with it all, although the pure street tires weren't the best on washboard and deep gravel.

As far as the bike went, all I had to do was tighten the chain once and clean it a few times. The throttle was a bit loose toward the end and I'll need to take care of that. I had zero issue keeping up with my brother's Chieftain, cruising 75+ mph on the interstate sections.

I used the Mmoto welded rack with a Givi E55 top case and E41 sidecases. Flawless and very handy. I ran the Palmer Bracket with an MRA Vario touring screen, which was great for adjusting wind flow depending on conditions. Other than radiator guard and crash bars, the bike was otherwise stock.

We got into my house in the San Gabriel Valley last Saturday night and got some rest before heading out to Santa Monica early Sunday morning to avoid the traffic. We had a couple of malts at Mel's around 11am and then headed home.

I was going to do ongoing posts but my brother expressed some concerns about the pics and updates being on-line so out of respect I didn't.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have.
 

Jwalt

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Is US 66 marked in Illinois and Missouri... probably the only 2 states I would be interested in riding it..
It's very well marked and signed in Illinois, probably the best state for that. Missouri is also pretty good.

One thing to be aware of is that there were a lot of varied alignments over the 60 years it was an active US Highway, so sometimes you may want a variant route from where the signs are.

The EZ 66 book is great for that, though. Missouri was absolutely some of the prettiest greenest riding, with lots of swooping gentle curves and nice small towns between decent runs of highway. Personally, if I was to pick one state border to border on the route that would be it.
 

TonyKZ1

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Congrats. And thanks for the review too. I wouldn't mind riding Rt 66 and just doing it through Missouri sounds fine for me too. I have relatives that live near it in the Springfield area as I remember driving over it while visiting them. I agree that Missouri has some of the best Motorcycling roads (along with many other states I'm sure).
 

melensdad

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Congrats on completing the mother road ride :)

My wife and I planned to run Route 66 this summer. Ours would have been a very leisurely path, avoiding the interstates and doing our best to stay close to the early path(s) of the roadway.

Now that its over some pics would be nice!
 

Jwalt

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Congrats on completing the mother road ride :)

My wife and I planned to run Route 66 this summer. Ours would have been a very leisurely path, avoiding the interstates and doing our best to stay close to the early path(s) of the roadway.

Now that its over some pics would be nice!
That's largely how we rode it. I'd say we did maybe 15-20% interstate and it was only that high due to some closures, particularly in eastern California.

One thing to remember is that in much of AZ and NM the I-40 runs right on top of the 60's-70's four lane divided Route 66. They just built interstate style ramps and got rid of the intersections. That accounted for most of our interstate mileage. East of NM there were just a few pinch points largely due to bridges where we had to jump on interstates.
 

melensdad

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. . . there were just a few pinch points largely due to bridges where we had to jump on interstates.
Last summer we rode the Great Lakes Circle Route and I think we were on the interstate for about 10 miles. Mackinac Bridge is technically an interstate.

Kind of hard to avoid some of the choke points.
 

hansonb4

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Is US 66 marked in Illinois and Missouri... probably the only 2 states I would be interested in riding it..
David C - Can I ask why you'd focus on Illinois and Missouri? I lived 49 years in Illinois (just moved to Arlington, TX) and have ridden parts on and off in Illinois time and again. Illinois is either flat and boring, or flat and congested, unless you get to the Stage Coach Trail in Galena, The GRR, or Southern Illinois. Just curious why you'd prefer that to the SW USA portion. To each their own, I get it.
 

Jwalt

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David C - Can I ask why you'd focus on Illinois and Missouri? I lived 49 years in Illinois (just moved to Arlington, TX) and have ridden parts on and off in Illinois time and again. Illinois is either flat and boring, or flat and congested, unless you get to the Stage Coach Trail in Galena, The GRR, or Southern Illinois. Just curious why you'd prefer that to the SW USA portion. To each their own, I get it.
Not to answer for him, but personally I'd say Illinois probably has the most "Route 66 stuff" per mile of any state in terms of museums and long standing restaurants and so on. Also, from Bloomington down to St. Louis is pretty nice for scenery and people.
 

davidc83

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David C - Can I ask why you'd focus on Illinois and Missouri? I lived 49 years in Illinois (just moved to Arlington, TX) and have ridden parts on and off in Illinois time and again. Illinois is either flat and boring, or flat and congested, unless you get to the Stage Coach Trail in Galena, The GRR, or Southern Illinois. Just curious why you'd prefer that to the SW USA portion. To each their own, I get it.
I live in Indiana and dont really want to ride any further west than Missouri...
 
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