Featured in the pantheon of American culture, Route 66 is still very popular with Americans and foreigners visiting the United States. And if it no longer has an official existence, it retains a formidable notoriety. She is even nicknamed The Mother Road » or « Main Street USA “. Many American associations have been created to ensure its preservation and there are also signs bearing the words “ Historic Route 66 ».
Leaving from Chicago (Illinois) to reach Santa Monica (California), it is 2,280 miles (3,670 kilometers) long and crosses eight states from east to west. With such a length, it is logical that it is crisscrossed by many tourist sites that are worth visiting such as Collinsville (Illinois) where the largest bottle of ketchup in the world is located, Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park in Chelsea (Oklahoma) or the ghost town of Callico (California).
Diving into forgotten America
Of the many towns crossed by route 66, Kingman (Arizona) is one of the places of pilgrimage where it is necessary to stop. Located 1.5 hours from Las Vegas and 2 hours from Grand Canyon National Park, this city of 30,000 people claims the title of the heart of Route 66 (« The Heart of historic route 66 “). The museum dedicated to it is one of the must-see tourist attractions. Housed in the city’s former power station, it features many exhibits that tell the story of this iconic road, from its use as an indigenous trade route to its peak in the 1950s. It’s a true dive into a America sometimes forgotten.
Throughout the year, Kingman also hosts various activities around American culture. On May 27, the city organized the very first “ National Road Trip Tour Day (national road trip day) with, among other things, a car exhibition, concerts and a guided tour of the historic city centre. Also mark your calendars for October 14 and 15 when, for two days, Kingman will be the scene of the Kingman 66 Fest. On the program: sales of goodies, tasting of local beers, exhibition of old cars… In short, something to delight all lovers of America of the 50s and 60s.
One foot in London in Lake Havasu City
Less than an hour’s drive south of Kingman is Lake Havasu City, known for its lake and nature preserve. With a population of more than 50,000 inhabitants, this agglomeration attracts many tourists since it is a mecca for water sports but also for hiking with many trails such as the Pilot Rock Trail or the Cupcake. Mountain Trail.
But if this city is recognized, it is also and above all because you can find the authentic London Bridge there. Dating from 1831, this bridge once spanned the Thames in London, before being dismantled in 1967, and replaced by the one that the English walk on every day today. After its dismantling, the bridge was bought for $1.2 million by Robert P. McCulloch, an American entrepreneur and founder of Lake Havasu City. In 1971, the reconstruction of the bridge was completed and it then made it possible to cross the lake in the heart of the city. This historic architectural work has become the second most visited tourist attraction in Arizona, after the Grand Canyon.