South Africa has the Garden Route, Norway has the Troll Ladder and the United States has The Route 66. There are a lot of beautiful and special roads around the world and along the routes, there are numerous attractions. Along the Mother Road (nickname for the Route 66) there are more stops than days in a year. Stretching across eight states it is a road trip of a lifetime. Here are five stops that you shall not miss during your trip. And they are all free.
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Tow Tater who became Tow Mater in Disneys movie Cars
On a drive, director John Lasseter saw Tow Tater, a car parked near a gas station that serves as a coffee shop. That probably left a smile on his face. When it was time to make the animated movie Cars, Tow Tater was the inspiration for the character Tow Mater in the movie. Since then Tow Tater has gotten a few friends and is no longer the only car parked here. This is a must stop whether you are traveling with children or not. There are a lot of cars along Route 66 that are worth taking pictures of but these cars are some of the cutest, that’s for sure. And how many times have you seen a car with teeth?
Address: 119 North Main Street, Galena, Kansas.
Slug Bug Ranch
Most people have heard about one of the mother roads most famous work of arts, the Cadillac Ranch – a field with ten Cadillacs lined up and planted nose down in the dirt. Some people thought it might be fun to make a parody of the Cadillac Ranch and planted five Volkswagen bugs in a similar way. And just like the real deal, these are also covered in graffiti. Ok so they are not in a beautiful or peaceful place as the original cars but it is definitely a different stop. A great stop along your road trip.
This attraction is not quite along the Route 66, you will have to do a little detour. Make sure to leave your own print on the cars while there.
Address: I-40 Frontage Road, Panhandle, Texas.
The Amboy Shoe Tree
To still call this a shoe tree might be a little misleading. The weight of the shoes and the weather in Oklahoma has transformed this tree more to a woodpile mixed with loads and loads of shoes. Sneakers, high heels, flipflops and boots, tangled together with shoestrings on dry branches.
Even though it is hard not to be impressed by it all. “Shoe Trees” is not a unique phenomenon in the United States. It is still worth to stop here and admire the creators = all the people that leave their shoes here. Work of art or waste of shoes? That is up to you to decide. If you believe it is a work of art – contribute by bringing a pair of shoes and leave them here. If you believe it is a waist of shoes – give your shoes to someone who needs them more than you do.
Address: about ¼ mile east of Roy’s Café and Motel in Amboy, California.
Bottle Tree Ranch
Bottles, bottles and some more bottles. Bottles on poles, bottles in trees, bottles everywhere is a thing that you can not miss while on Route 66. You are most likely to hit the breaks once you see the place and it will truly be a new feast for your eyes. The Bottle Tree Ranch is a work of art – the art of a man named Elmer Long. When he was a kid he used to go with his father to collect bottles and to this day he is collecting them and making art of them for everyone to admire.
True magic happens once you meet the man behind the “madness”. This is more than a hobby to Elmer. It is a way of life.
“Growing up my parents were both deaf so we did not have anyone that came to visit us, no doorbell at the door, because my parents could not hear it was always quiet at the house” Elmer said and smiled.
A humble man that is proud of his work, will talk to you and make your visit to the Bottle Tree Ranch a memorable stop.
Address: National Trails Hwy, Oro Grande, California.
Santa Monica Pier – The End Of Route 66
The main focus here is the “End of the Route 66” sign. This means you made it – all the way from Chicago, Illinois to here. Ok, so a lot of people start their Route 66 from here and drive to Chicago, either way, this is a great stop. And after taking your picture with the sign you are not done with the pier.
Except for being the end of the Mother Road, this is also an iconic location that is featured in a lot of movies. For example, it was featured in the movie Forrest Gump and the tv-show 90210.
And if you want – take a ride in the Ferris wheel at the amusement park (Pacific Park) on the pier. This is a Ferris wheel that is run on solar power. For this attraction, you will have to pay but to walk around on the pier costs you nothing.
Address: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California.