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Experience America’s “Mother Road” as Route 66 Preps for its Centennial

When considering fall foliage, history and updates to the modern era,  U.S. Highway 66 – popularly known as Route 66 or the “Mother Road” – tells diverse stories through shared heritage and historic places. Each are reminders of the past. As Route 66 nears its centennial in 2026, it’s time for travelers to begin thinking about how they can experience and connect to the history of America’s most this famous highway.

Here’s a primer:

Kingman, AZ is developing into the ultimate destination where visitors can experience Route 66 of yesterday and today with the World’s First and Only Electric Vehicle Museum (Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum).

In 2014, Kingman hosted the International Route 66 Festival, which included the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation’s transporting of electric vehicles to the festival from all over the western US. At the conclusion of the event, the Foundation provided 10 vehicles to be displayed indefinitely, and today the collection has grown to more than 100 spanning over a century of electric vehicle history. Currently, less than one-third of the vehicles are on display due to space constraints at the Arizona Route 66 Museum, however, the city recently purchased another building about five times larger and is working with a design team to renovate it into a new Electric Vehicle Experience.

Route 66 Drive-Thru Shield

The Route 66 Drive-Thru Shield fdebuted at the 1991 Route 66 Fun Run, an annual classic car show and rally. Fun Run participants could drive under the temporary structure only one day out of the year, but no longer! The permanent Route 66 Drive Thru Shield was opened on National Drive-Thru Day – July 24, 2021. Ever since, it has become a landmark in which travelers commemorate their Route 66 road trip.

Kingman Route 66 Fest

Kingman is planning a big celebration for the Route 66 centennial in 2026. To prepare, the city began an annual event called Kingman Route 66 Fest. The festival celebrates all things Route 66 and includes live music, a car show, a biker show, vendors, food trucks, craft beers from regional Route 66 town breweries, and Mother Road era demonstrations. Each year, more is added to the event in anticipation of the grand centennial celebration.

New to the Kingman Route 66 Fest this year (October 14-15) are the Queen of the Mother Road Pin Up Contest, the vintage trailer Tow ‘N Show Camp-out, a road-sign graffiti contest, euro-bungee, monster slide, and presentations by Route 66 experts. Live performers at this year’s event include Cash’d Out Premier Johnny Cash Show, The Jonathon Lee Band, The Nicki Park Band, and Robert Kramer.

 A Walkabout Kingman with Jim Hinckley

The Walkabout is an interactive and audio-narrated self-guided tour of significant sites along Route 66 and in historic downtown Kingman. Tour locations include Hotel Beale, where Charles Lindbergh, the first person to fly solo and nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean, stayed when he flew into Kingman in 1929 to dedicate Arizona’s first commercial airport, and the original St. John’s Methodist Church where American actor Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were married in 1939. 

Dude Ranches

Dude Ranches began as family-operated working ranches that opened to the public and invited guests to eat, sleep, learn, and play. Today, the experience is typically all-inclusive, and a family-friendly vacation packed with activity.

Dude ranches require no experience prior to arriving to participate, their trained staff will teach you all you need to know! From horseback riding to roping, penning, and ranch operations, no stone is left unturned during these experiences.

For a luxury dude ranch experience that is great for the whole family, visit Rancho de los Caballeros. With an award-winning golf course, peaceful spa, horseback riding, nature hikes, archery, Kids’ Club, and more there is something for everyone on this Wild West adventure!

Check out these Dude Ranches on your next trip to Arizona!

Circle Z Ranch                              Double R Ranch                           

Tanque Verde Ranch                       Rancho de la Osa                         

Cowboy College                            Sprucedale Guest Ranch

Flying E Ranch                              Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch

Tombstone Monument Ranch       White Stallion Ranch                                                   

 

High Country Motor Lodge

The newly opened High Country Motor Lodge is inspired by the vast beauty of Northern Arizona. Melding vintage style, contemporary design, and an adventurous spirit, this respite off Route 66 is a place to re-energize after a long day. Guest rooms vary from classic accommodations inspired by vintage Americana to rooms overlooking the tranquil waters of the outdoor pool. Guests can also stay in one of the Cosmic Cottages, a modern nod to mountain cabins with a cozy floorplan and deluxe amenities. 

High Country Motor Lodge is home to Arizona’s first Nordic Spa experience – an old tradition alternating hot, cold, and relaxation to soothe the mind and body, improve circulation, eliminate toxins, and alleviate fatigue, tension, and stress. 

 

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