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Southwest Vacation Packages - Build Your Own Southwest Vacation Package

“Get Your Kicks on Route 66”

route road american trip

Looking for an adventurous, affordable summer road-trip? With the economy still weighing heavily on most family pocketbooks, consider putting together your own affordable Southwest vacation package; plan a trip down the infamous Route 66. The 2,300-mile stretch of road between Chicago and Los Angeles is rich with history, vintage Americana and some say other worldly adventure. Historic Route 66 traverses Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

By-passed by interstates and eventually decommissioned as a federal highway, Route 66 is still 85% drivable and 100% fascinating. It’s an American snapshot frozen in time. In many ways, Route 66 is emblematic of American economic cycles. The idea of building a “super-highway” to link small town America to big cities began in the heady, roaring 1920’s. Construction on this “Gateway to the American West” began in 1926; however, when the stock market crashed in 1929, construction stopped as The Great Depression settled on the country.

Following his election in 1932, President Franklin Roosevelt (FDR) responded to the growing economic crisis with a massive infusion of federal capital spending on infrastructure projects to revive the economy and return massive numbers of the unemployed back to work. One such capital-spending project was Route 66, and construction re-started in 1933. By 1939 John Steinbeck’s Depression era novel turned movie, The Grapes of Wrath, immortalized Route 66 in the American psyche as the “Mother Road.” A few years later, hundreds of thousands migrated West via Route 66 to escape the Dust Bowl devastation of the Midwest. During World War II, Route 66 was a critically important transportation route for troops and equipment. After the War, Route 66 became the road home for thousands of troops. The highway was a symbol of hope and opportunity for a better future just a little further down the road.

By the 1970’s most of “super-highway” Route 66 gave way to newer, bigger Interstates bypassing the “Mother Road.” The completion of Interstate 40 essentially eliminated any need for Route 66. Following its 1994 decommission as a federal highway Route 66 was erased from most maps. Just finding Route 66 is part of the adventure in putting together these Southwest vacation packages.Fortunately many of the Southwestern states along old Route 66 have erected “Historic Route 66” markers along portions of the route. The National Historic Route 66 Federation is a helpful resource. It has published the EZ66 Guide for Travelers – 2nd Edition, an indispensable guide for trip-planners.

Driving back in time to another era of American life is vintage, earthy, adventurous, and even educational. For those with a yen for ghost hunting, there are books to guide you through the many ghostly tales associated with Route 66. Arrange your own Southwest vacation package to travel as much or as little as you like along Route 66. You may want to savor the trip, and enjoy Route 66 in stages over the course of your next few vacations. Hear that voice whispering, “Go West, young man,” maybe this is the perfect time to try it.

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