The Mother of All Road Trips: Route 66
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A time capsule highway
Cynics don't last on Route 66. Some may start the drive in Chicago skeptical of travelers who gush about this time capsule of a highway hiding cheerful truck-stop waitresses, kids playing on tire swings and restaurant owners personally serving up plates of comfort food.
But it doesn't take long to see that warm-hearted cliches stubbornly survive on the Mother Road. And when contemporary stresses leave you longing for a shot of American idealism, Route 66 delivers.
It's only natural to start in the Midwest when following Route 66's 2,448 miles across eight states. The road, which had an official life from 1926 to 1985, began in Chicago and, like the country's dreams, headed west all the way to the Pacific, ending in Santa Monica. The Midwestern portion takes you as far as Tulsa.