Tips On Traveling Route 66 in 1927

Ok, so we're a-going on a highway 66 road trip, say from Springfield, 
IL on to visit the kin folk out there in "Injun" country - somewheres in
Oklahoma, down west of Joplin.
Mama's in the house a-packing up the clothes, young-uns and 
whatever and dear old Dad's out in the yard checking the gear that's 
gonna be needed to make this trip. 

This is what he's gotta check:

1 short wrecking bar, alligator bag of ample proportions and 1 soldering iron, 1 small blowtorch, solder and flux, grinding compound, resin (for slippin' clutch), friction tape, 1 set of 10 open end wrenches, box of assorted nuts, bolts, lock, washers, screws and springs, 1 large monkey wrench (might be handy to use on the kids after the 3 millionth "Are we there yet!!), 1 small monkey wrench, box of cotter pins, 1 large pipe wrench, 1 medium pipe wrench, 1 small pipe wrench, sand paper, emery cloth, box rivets, spark plug terminals, 1 ball-peen hammer, heavy primary wire, light secondary wire, 1 riveting hammer, water pump packing, 1 set of four cold chisels, 1 set of three cape chisels, tire valves and caps, small bundle baling wire (no duct tape back then), 6 punches, 1 center punch,  3 pairs pliers, pair Bernard side cutting pliers, canvas gloves, 1 pair lineman's pliers, overalls, 1 pair long nose pliers, mechanics' soap, 1 cotter key puller, 8 files (flat, round, three-cornered, half-round, assorted sizes).
If all this aint enough you might consider this additional equipment: 
3 spanner wrenches, rope for winding around tire to get out of mud, 2 tire irons, a jack or two, boards to use to get out of mudholes, can of cup grease, 1 hacksaw and blades, fan belt, oil can, oil gun of syringe type, folding canvas water bucket, 1 small portable vise, funnel, chamois for straining gasoline, 1 bearing scraper, plenty of cotton waste and rags, 1 claw hammer rags, tent (might have to camp out).
And all that really might not be enough for our trip down the 66 highway. 
You wonder where all this stuff would be packed - well, in this case we're a-makin this trip in a 1915 Hudson Model 6-54 touring car. Believe me, those motorcars are road locomotives.
Alex Burr
                                                       Submitted TIPS for a Route 66 Trip

Be sure to considering packing a laptop computer.

Yes, I know the whole idea is to "get away" from technology for awhile,
but consider that you can load maps, directions, favorite photos, links
to Route 66 sites of interest, your favorite music (which you can play
while cruising), PLUS, you have a DVD player to entertain the kids
while at a motel (some channels may not be suitable for youngsters).
Don't let the kids use it while traveling though. The view from the
car will be much more educational and entertaining.

If you take lots of digital photos (and you will), you can copy them
from a camera’s full memory chip into the laptop and thus have room
for more photos.

Many doctors now have your records on their computer. Take along a
copy of your family's medical records on a "flash" drive, and maybe
drug prescriptions and dental records too. This information could be a
real time saver in the event of an illness or accident, traveling
anywhere away from home.

A cell phone with a car charger is also a good idea, and equip the kids with inexpensive FRS walkie-talkies when they are at attractions or large events. See, technology is not so bad after all.

And now, know the basics that you should take - swimsuits, books, car games for the kids, sunscreen, bug spray, camera, power cords, shorts, sweaters for the mountains.  I found Jerry McClanahan's EZ 66 Guide for travelers to be a big help.  It contains excellent maps and suggestions.
You may be camping or staying in motels. A lot of campgrounds have laundry facilities.
* Small size laundry soap - no sense in paying for those tiny so take some laundry detergent or purchase packets at vending machines.

Other items to consider are:
* Dryer sheets
* Spare batteries
* Flashlights
* First aid kit
* Maps of the places to plan to visit and pass through “off” the Route. AAA is worth it for these, especially if you need to find your way around someone else's local streets. 
* A road atlas,… pick your favorite brand. An RMcN is not a bad
choice and the ones from major big box chains give you a store
directory if you are in need of supplies and can't find a local
store you like. Consider buying a Delorme atlas if you plan to
spend a lot of time in an area. 
* Swimsuits - many places have a pool, and it's hot out there in the summer. Consider adding a beach towel per person - the towels in the rooms are usually just good for showers.
* Umbrella - keeps the rain off you or the sun.
* A box of trash bags.
* Paper towels
* Wet wipes
* Large Ziploc baggies for carrying important papers
* Camera (a Ziploc bag is good protection from rain and dust).
* Spiral bound notebook and pencil - memo size is okay, so you can keep a journal of your travels. 
* 2 rolls of quarters-- for laundry and toll roads and bridges. 
* First aid kit tailored to your family's needs (aspirin for Daddy, Tums for Mom , cute bandages for the little ones, car sick medicine, etc)
* hand sanitizer
* Lysol spray (for when a clean restroom can't be found) 
* Windex for windshield

Good lists...especially the quarters and hand sanitizer. We bought a Rubbermaid12 volt cooler at Target to keep some flavored water cool and veggies to munch on...plugged it into the power outlet that is controlled by the ignition switch....I didn't trust the low battery protection feature. Had the AC/DC converter to keep it cooled in the motel room at night. The 12 liter cooler cost around $56 and the converter was around $ was a good investment for us and the cooler fit perfectly between the second row seats in the Town & Country minivan.

AAA maps for the large cities are good...their state maps are one step better than nothing. The road atlas has more of the medium size city maps.....AAA puts two states on a map and there is no room for city maps. Buy the new Lodging and Dining Guide because it promotes the Route 66 establishments. I had the AAA guides....hardly used them and could have done without them as they list mostly the box motels and restaurants at the interstate interchanges. One of the items on my "to do" list is visit the local AAA office and see what information they do have for Route 66 travelers... .I think it is very limited and AAA could and should promote Route 66....maybe as an individual program. 

Don't pack as many clothes as you are going to think you are going to use down the road.
My reasoning is this....... I like to by souvenir shirts down the road..... Wear those as you are traveling, you will save space that way.
Make sure you have a pair of pants in case it gets cold out. When you are traveling, you never know. I was in Amarillo in Oct. Jeff Meyer and I arrived on a very nice balmy night, I had shorts on and a T shirt and was very 
comfortable, we woke up to a "Blinding Snowstorm!" 
As far as rain is concerned, bring the big plastic garbage bags, you can cut a whole out of the top and it keeps your clothes dry, if you take them out of the box, they don't take up much room either.
Bring at least one sweatshirt per person, it can get cold up in the mountains, on the other hand, if you don't have any, you can always purchase them. When you are outwest, they were fairly cheap, as people don't think about 
being cold in the West, cheaper that T-shirts at some point, if in the IL area they can run up to 50 dollars!
Make sure you have empty luggage and room for them. They will fill up quickly with as Becky Ransom from "The Big Texan" calls them and I love this phrase, "Road Treasures"Shirts, books, things you find along the road.
Darren found a Ford hubcap along the road, he picked it up. He is going to remember when and where 
he acquired it and it didn't cost him a penny. I have a few of those treasures 
that mean a lot to me!
Zip Lock baggies. These are to me one of the most important things to have when traveling.Yes, they are good for keeping important papers. They are good for a lot of other things as well.
When you are at a motel, with a pool and you are hitting the road and don't have time to let things dry? Pack it! There you go, don't let it sit for more that 24 hours as it starts to smell bad.
When you pick up a 'road treasure' that might be dirty? Stuff it into a bag and it won't ruin other things. There is not a laundry available tonight. Stick your stinky socks and unmentionables They save your other stuff.
The smaller bags are good as well. You have camera film? If you don't have digital, but this comes into play as well. Keep your film and batteries in little or big bags, a pen and stickers that can identify the film.
They are great for storage stuff and staying organized.

If you have digital, think about keeping batteries and the little plugs, the name escapes me now, as this is a whole new world to me. You have electronic equipment?, think about keeping it safe in a bag! One of the best things that I got for advice, you don't think about this before hand.

Keep and extra extension cord with you.... I used to blow dry my hair, curling iron, etc.. Sometimes the outlets were in a bad position, this also comes into plan as plugging in your chargers for your phone? Video Camera? or any other electronic equipment? Just a thought here, think about it.

I like to keep a journal of the days adventure. I need a lot of light, I always have, to write about the days adventures. Thru the years, lights have been not up to par. If you need a lot of light, bring some light bulbs with you.
I remember being in Barstow at The El Rancho, it is a wonderful place but the bulb was dim. I inserted my light bulb and I could see what I was trying to write.

My last piece of advice is that if you have room for this.
Bring your own cooler......again the zip lock bags come into here.
You can have ice to cool you down and you can bring pop/soda to quench the thirst of young ones. I keep water in my cooler.  If you want to stock up on supplies? Keep them in the zip lock bags.... stick them in the cooler.
You want to travel like the "old days" go to the local market and get sandwich stuff, pull over to a spot in the road and enjoy Mother nature at it's finest. Make it an adventure! 

This is a thought from myself and Bob Waldmire. When your ice is all water and not conducive for your well being? Yikes!  Don't dump your water in the parking lot or the sink or drains. Take it outside and water the plants, trees, or flowers that might need that water.
If you buy lots of stuff, think about sending it home UPS. I did, It was like Christmas when I got home. OMG I forgot that I bought this and that, it was very cool!

I've heard that you should get out all the clothes you plan to take, get the money you are taking, then put back half the clothes and get twice the money. I'm bad at locking the keys in the car myself. I keep an extra key 
around my neck at all times on a road trip, that has saved me twice! Sometimes you get so exited and distracted by what's around you that - uh oh....

I have an old vehicle though. Do most people even use keys any more? ; )

If you're still old-fashioned enough like me to listen to CDs in the car, one of those CD holders that goes on the visor really makes it easier. And if you're still old-fashioned enough like me to use film for your camera, I usually mark my film containers with a sharpie marker to show what speed it is, that way I don't have to open all the 
containers looking for the right one each time I want to put in a new roll of film.

Sharpie markers are also good for a Route 66 trip because you will run into a few places where you're allowed to grafitti on things, and if one isn't provided you can avoid disappointment by having your own!

And one of those cooling scarves is good for keeping your neck cool on a walk in the hot sun, and don't forget the lip balm with sunscreen, if you remember to put sunscreen everywhere else and forget the lips you will find out in a hurry. I always do that once per trip it seems!

I considered attaching to the dashboard with velcro little hanging tabs for pouches for storing all my electronic devices, so they'd be within easy reach. I ran out of time before my recent trip - I might revisit that idea some time. And they all have their own connectors and converters. I need a better way to keep all that straight, yikes!

Interesting Articles:  Tips on Traveling Route 66 in 1927, and Today!
THE SHORT LIST  for today's traveler  by Emily Priddy (Route 66 Roadie)

1. Travel light.
2. Dress in layers -- conditions change rapidly, and it's important to be able to adapt quickly.
3. Don't overplan. A detailed itinerary can ruin a perfectly good road trip.
4. If you pee there, you buy something there. No exceptions.
5. Be kind, be patient, and be understanding. If this is your standard M.O. on the road, Problems tend to vaporize, and doors will open for you naturally and automatically. View every interaction as an opportunity to make life better in some small way for a Route 66 business owner, and you'll find that favor returned in a thousand little ways.
6. If you're on a budget, eat breakfast. It's cheaper than lunch and fuels you a long way.
7. Drink plenty of fluids. The road, the altitudes, and the desert can all dry you out. Plan accordingly.
8. Sunblock is your friend.
9. Slow down.
10. Keep a camera handy at all times, and stop to use it whenever the impulse strikes. 
11. If you're going to buy beef jerky, buy it in New Mexico.
12. If you're a vegetarian, string cheese and V-8 will compensate for a lot of sketchy meals.
13. Before hiking La Bajada Hill, jogging in the Kaibab, or climbing Amboy Crater, fill your 
pockets with packets of peanut butter and honey from the hotel breakfast bar. They will
stand in very nicely for carb gels and such.
14. Museums, QuikTrips, and Starbucks all have reliably clean bathrooms.
15. If a shaved-ice stand serves something called "white pina colada," order it.
16. If a business is selling groceries, hardware, and bait, it's probably worth a stop.
17. Always order pie for dessert.
18. If you haven't eaten at the Rock and slept at the Blue Swallow, you haven't done 66.
19. Always stop to visit with friendly dogs.
20. The best tacos come from panel trucks with colorful paint jobs.

If you drive a sports car, you may need a trailer for all your "stuff"!
Health and Safety on Route 66 by Laura Chapman

Driving Route 66 is a dream harbored by many, and unsurprisingly so, because it is by far one of the best ways to see everything the US has to offer. Like any road trip, Route 66 is best enjoyed with the wind in your hair, the perfect music playlist, good company, plenty of snacks, and no time constraints. It’s all about the freedom, so let yourself forget about the schedules and see where the road takes you. To make sure you arrive happy, healthy and in one piece, do a little planning beforehand so that once you set rubber to road, you don’t have a thing to worry about.

Driver Safety

Before you set off, take some time to make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape. Check the tire tread and pressure to make sure they’re roadworthy and fully inflated. Fill up not just your gas, but also water, oil, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid. Don’t forget to check on your windshield wiper blades too – new blades can make a world of difference in a Midwest storm. And finally, while you don’t need to have your entire car washed, make sure that your windows, windshield and mirrors are sparkling, to give you the best visibility possible.

On the road, your best bet to stay safe is to stay alert. Driver distraction and fatigue are, along with alcohol, the biggest causes of road accidents. While many people consider drinking and driving absolutely out of the question, many more are quite happy to drive on very little sleep, or fiddle with the radio while driving. Don’t make these mistakes. Make sure you drive during normal hours for your sleep schedule, and if you haven’t had enough sleep, let your co-drivers take a shift, or catch a nap and start a little later. Don’t rely on huge amounts of caffeine to get you through – a fatigued and jittery driver is a dangerous thing. To help you stay alert, play a road game with your passengers, listen to an audiobook or podcast, or keep your playlist interesting, by playing music that is complex and varied, or that you haven’t heard before.

Phones and driving are a one-hundred percent no-go area. While a hands-free kit for your phone can help to keep your hands on the wheel, there’s evidence that even talking on a speaker phone while driving can be dangerous, so if you need to have a conversation, rather pull over. The same goes for texting or looking at a map.

While you’re driving, remember to stick to the speed limit: research shows that risk of accident increases the further away from the general traffic speed you are. Keep a safe following distance from the cars around you, and remember to turn your headlights on when it starts getting dark, or in inclement weather. Build flexibility into your trip so that you don’t feel obliged to rush from one stop to the next.

Stay Healthy

The opportunities for over-indulgence on a road-trip are myriad. Not only are there the rest stops promising all manner of fried and fatty foods, but there are also the sugary and fatty snacks we pack for snacks on the road. While it’s probably not realistic to expect yourself to eat like a saint the entire time, try to limit your indulgences to one per day: either the bacon cheeseburger or the giant hot fudge sundae, but not both. If you’re working hard to maintain healthy habits in your day-to-day life to reduce your risk of lifestyle-related illnesses, remember that a week or two of serious over-indulgence can easily bleed into the everyday and set your good habits back considerably. In restaurants, look for grilled food and veggies on the menu, and try to shake the mentality that healthy food is boring: what’s boring about a grilled steak with deliciously cooked veggies? Opt for healthy choices for your on-the-road snacks, choosing easy-to-eat fruit like bananas and apples, trail mix, and water instead of sugary drinks. When you get coffee, go for black or white with low-fat milk, rather than a concoction of whipped cream and syrups. If it’s good coffee, it’s nicer to taste the actual coffee anyway. Keep your snacks in a cooler pack in the car, where it’s likely to be cooler than in the trunk.

Healthy habits on the road go further than just eating. Perhaps most important of all is remembering to wear sunscreen and to protect your eyes with good sunglasses. Other healthy habits that are good to cultivate are taking frequent breaks to stop and stretch, and using lumbar and neck support cushions to help the driver to stay comfortable throughout the journey.

Be Prepared for Emergencies

Finally, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for the worst. Make sure your cellphone is charged and carry a car charger with you, as well as change for a phone box. While electronic GPS systems are amazing, make sure you also have low-tech back-up: paper maps and guide books don’t turn off when they get tired or malfunction. Keep a spare tire in good condition, and a disaster kit including medications, a card with your emergency contacts, a first aid kit, a flashlight, cash, a blanket, and a small battery-operated radio. If something goes wrong, pull as far off the road as possible to wait for help. Try to keep someone updated on your progress so that there’s someone who knows where you are at all times, and who will realize if they should have heard from you and haven’t. Joining a good roadside assistance program is always a good idea.


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“Cell Phones and Driving : A Prescription For Disaster”, Smart Motorist. (

“Safety Impacts and Other Implications of Raised Speed Limits on High-Speed Roads”, National Cooperative Highway Research Program. (

Mary L. Greaney, Faith D. Lees, Geoffrey W. Greene, Phillip G. Clark., “What Older Adults Find Useful for Maintaining Healthy Eating and Exercise Habits,” Journal of Nutrition for the Elderly 24 (2004): 2. (

"Complete Video Guide to Heart Disease”, (

“Food Safety Tips for Road Trips”, (

“Roadside Assistance: Who You Gonna Call?” (