Kelly Cash's map of Route 66 - The Mother Road

Updated: 01/06/2002

I've always held some fascination for Route 66: The "Mother Road", and "America's Main Street." It's a romantic idea to travel the old (and in some places, lost) highway from end to end. The problem is, it's not all that easy to find in some areas. Fortunately there's been somewhat of a "Route 66 revival" in recent years. The states through which it passes are realizing that they're lucky to have such a piece of American history. As such, they have been marking the way much more than they used to, and in some cases they're even renovating portions of the road or even historic spots along the way.

I got to travel the whole thing in 1996 (has it been that long?), and with some effort made notes as to the location and directions of the whole thing. It got to be more effort when I realized that it's not just a single road- It has changed "alignments" from time to time, so locating the original road is pretty difficult. Now, I didn't have the time to map out every mile of every alignment, but I think I did do a pretty decent job. Where I had a choice between alignments, I tried to take the oldest section possible.

While I'm not sure I'd call myself an "expert" on Route 66, there are some who would. I'm amazed to see my directions on a few different web sites. Some of them even had my directions posted years before I put my OWN server up! But I had a pretty good guide to begin with- I'd examined a number of books, and also Swa Frantzen's web page who'd mapped it from Chicago to Los Angeles. Since I was heading the other direction, I reverse-engineered his directions from west to east, and made notes along the way.

I can say that if you have a chance to travel the old highway, I recommend that you do so. My friend Ed McCeney and I rode it on motorcycles, and it was thrilling, challenging, nostalgic, and even a little bit frighting in places (due to our being on two-wheeled vehicles). Since we were on bikes, we generally tried to avoid dirt and gravel sections. Some weren't bad, and I've made notations where it's okay to ride a street bike on the unpaved sections.

There's a bad 17 mile section just west of Glenrio, Texas. Ed lost a tire on his bike there due to some baling or barbed wire. (we hadn't intended to travel THAT far on dirt, we'd expected it was only two miles long!)

I'd be glad if anyone traveling Route 66 corrects any errors or adds clarifications to these directions. It's my hope that after a few revisions this document will be comprehensive. No doubt I'll update it the next time I travel it, but I have no idea how long it'll be before then.

Have a good trip, and remember to take lots of film with you!


My step-by-step directions of Route 66

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