When our trip ended and we looked back on it, we were surprised to realize what we had accomplished. It was months in the planning and two full weeks on the road and, at least to us, an unqualified success.
Here’s what we managed to do – by the numbers:
2697 Total Miles Driven
We made a few diversions, added in a side trip or two, so we drove more than strictly Route 66
$262 Dollars in Gas
Yep, I kept track. We passed uncounted numbers of historic gas stations preserved for history, but I was curious to see how much we would spend on the one thing we couldn’t control (other than a few cents a gallon). You can stay in luxury hotels or pitch a tent. You can eat picnics, fast food or gourmet meals. But you must have gas. The most we paid was $2.91, the least was $2.09 a gallon.
28 Gift Shops
We probably drove past hundreds more, but stopped (and shopped) in more than two dozen. Some of these little shops are struggling to stay solvent and we wanted to do what we could to help. Bonus: we came away with some really cool and unique souvenirs of our trip.
9 Squished Pennies
I collect souvenir pennies…the kind you make in those machines that squash ‘em into a thin oval with an imprinted image. One day I plan to make a gigantic wind chime with all my pennies. One day.
California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois (plus Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Maryland when we bombed back home to Virginia via the Interstates. Ugh.)
6 Classic Motels
In some places, there just weren’t classic options. In others, we opted for something a little more modern…or luxurious. I’ll discuss our stays in a future blog. They included hotels, motels and even a bed and breakfast.
3 Wrong Turns
Yeah, only 3. We had a great guide book and managed to stay on track (almost) the whole way.
3 State Capitols
Route 66 only goes through three state capitols. We hit ‘em all. It was interesting to see the difference in state buildings in New Mexico, Oklahoma and Illinois.
2 Road Construction Detours
April is early for a lot of road projects and we got lucky. One diversion was partly due to construction and partly to washed out bridges from heavy spring rains in the Arizona desert. The other was in the border town of Needles, California, and took us a mere three blocks out of the way.
1 Musical Road
You read that right. Just outside Tijeras, New Mexico, there is a short stretch of road that has been grooved in such a way that it plays “America, the Beautiful” if you drive over it at exactly 45 mph. It took us two tries, but once we got it right, it was very cool!
1 Operational Rotary Phone
One of my favorite stories from the road was the working rotary dial phone at The Blue Swallow Motel. We learned that the motel got a grant to find and refurbish the phones for each of its guest rooms and the phone company came in and ran the wiring and provided the technology to ensure the phones would work. We called our moms the old-fashioned way!
The people we met. The conversations we had. The vistas we saw. The history we relived. The local “delicacies” we enjoyed. The time we spent together. These are the things that make travel so exciting…and so difficult to quantify. There’s a whole world (just one!) out there waiting to be explored. Go see it!