As one of the most famous stretches of road in the world, Route 66 is synonymous with countless locations, experiences and stories. These are many of the reasons behind millions wanting to immerse themselves in the glory of Route 66.
Of course, Route 66 isn't just about what you see on the tourism websites. It's also built on different facts and figures that all tell their own story. So, what are the most important numbers of Route 66?
We think you could have guessed that this one would be at the top. But do you actually know why Route 66 has the number 66?
Basically, all US Highways are assigned numbers. Those east-west are even numbered, while north-south are odd numbered. Back in 1926, the number 66 was allocated to the Chicago-to-Los Angeles route after Congress passed plans for national highway construction.
However, this wasn't without controversy. One of the entrepreneurs of the route, Cyrus Avery, believed the highway should be allocated the number 60 so people could easily remember it. This number, unfortunately, was already planned for a coast-coast route (Virginia Beach-Los Angeles). After some robust debate, the double-digit 66 was deemed easy to say and hear so was locked in.
The original Route 66 stretch covered 2,453 miles or 3,948 kilometres. As one of the longest highways in the United States, Route 66 passed through no less than eight states from east to west including Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
What you'll notice on a journey with Route 66 Tours however, is that not all state segments are the same length. Route 66 covers just 13 miles (21km) in the state of Kansas, while passing a massive 392 miles (630km) in New Mexico!
It's important to remember that this number has probably changed thousands of times since 1926. Road infrastructure has been diverted in each state to accommodate more traffic – most commonly with new interstate highways that parallel the original route.
If you have ever wondered what the highest point of Route 66 is, it's the Arizona Divide which sits at 7,335 feet or 2,237 metres above sea level. Just west of Flagstaff, the Arizona Divide is surrounded by snowy mountains, pine forests and desert.
During the winter, the section of road will be covered in snow and has been closed countless times due to poor conditions. Keep an eye out for the official elevation sign, then it's all downhill towards Los Angeles!
As for the lowest point, you'll find this at Santa Monica, California which sits at sea level – the end of Route 66.
While exploring Route 66, you'll no doubt travel across thousands of bridges. Of course, just one takes the prize for the longest, and that is the incredible Canadian River Bridge (Pony Bridge) in Geary, Oklahoma which spans 3,944 feet or around 1.2km.
Built in 1933, the bridge takes you over the South Canadian River in Caddo County. As you traverse it, you'll notice 38 'pony' truss sections which span 100 feet each. These 'camelback' shaped trusses are both strong and light – supporting the structure over the last 85 years.
If McDonalds in Australia sold hamburgers for 15 cents, how many would you buy in a week? While you consider that number, let us explain why McDonalds in San Bernardino, CA sold burgers this cheaply.
In 1948, the McDonald brothers opened the world's first McDonalds – which happened to be along Route 66 in California. Originally a BBQ restaurant, the brothers decided to move towards serving food faster to customers and added burgers, milkshakes and sodas to their menu. If only they knew what this small restaurant would eventually turn into!
Sadly, you can't buy a hamburger for 15 cents anymore, as the site has been turned into a free museum. Venture inside to see the inner working of the world's first McDonalds – historic stuff!
To see Route 66 for yourself, we have three different options at your disposal.
As we have explored in this article, Route 66 is expansive holds historic secrets and stories unlike any you can imagine. To see Route 66 for yourself, we have three different options at your disposal – bikes, cars and driven.
If you love motorcycles, join up on a tour and cruise down the highway with the wind in your hair. If you prefer a more standard vehicle, select an SUV or a limited range sports vehicle and drive yourself along the tour. Alternatively, we can drive you along Route 66 so you can sit back and enjoy the sights out the window.
For more information about visiting Route 66, feel free to get in touch with our friendly team today.