Connie Moody, CTA, DS is a travel and cruise specialist, but when it comes to notable trips, she’s quick to talk about the iconic and historic Route 66. Connie made the eight state journey by motor coach, which she split into two different trips. Although many people enjoy taking the voyage straight through, Connie felt that she would benefit from spending more time in each of the small towns along the way to take in the history and the interesting characters.
Staying in a different hotel in a new town almost every night, was an incredible way to experience and get a sense of America. Connie’s trip started in Chicago at the Palmer House, close to where Route 66 begins. They stayed there for two nights, which enabled them to visit the Art Institute, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home tour and his studio, along with other walking tours of the city and a local theatre.
As the trip progressed, the famous statues and sculptures that we’ve all heard so much about came to life for Connie in massive fashion. Route 66 continues to attract its visitors due to its over-the-top and very large signage, figures, and thought-provoking scenery. But just as impressive as the background, Connie explained that the characters she met along the expedition were equally fascinating.
For example, a gas station owner in Missouri, Gary Turner (an icon of the road), operates an original Sinclair gas station museum and gift shop. He also lends the garage out for others to repair vehicles, and the station still has the old original Sinclair pumps and antique signs.
Connie and her group also met a 90-year-old barber in Arizona named Angel Delgadillo, who interestingly established the Route 66 Preservation Society, and his work is still extremely important to him, even at his late age.
All along the road from Chicago to Santa Monica the sites are full of things like the world’s largest rocking chair, a giant spaceman, the big blue whale, and of course beautiful grasslands and mountains, all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
When you reach the statue of the man with the guitar standing on the corner of Winslow, AZ, you sure know it’s time to “Take it Easy.” Not far from there, Connie stayed at the La Posada hotel, which was reopened in 1998 with all of the original charm and elegance. Mary Colter was the architect that designed the hotel for Fred Harvey back in the early 1900’s. She was the first of a few female architects and highly recognized for her skillsets and talents.
Of course, Harvey was notably famous as well, as he began a successful career creating restaurants, hotels and dining cars along the western trail to fill the void. He recruited young women from the eastern states to work as waitresses for him in the Wild West. The women lived together in boarding houses and enjoyed offering tasty meals, along with the fellowship of westbound men that many of the ladies eventually married.
Connie pointed out that we as Americans often take for granted our country and the entire Americana experience. She found it surprising and inspiring that on both of her Route 66 trips, she met travelers from different countries. On the eastern portion of the excursion, they encountered a group of Norwegian Motorcyclists that equally enjoyed the journey, and on her second half of the trip, in the western states, they engaged in delightful conversations with a group of Australians.
From the Lincoln Museum, capital building, and the law offices of Lincoln himself in Springfield, IL, to Seligman, AZ, where everything beams Route 66, to Santa Fe, NM’s International Art Museum, every part of the road has some unique and distinct charm to it. Even the food is iconic from Adrian, TX, where they visited and ate their fare share of pie at the Midpoint Café, to a private barbeque at Bigfoot BBQ in Flagstaff, Arizona where the group feasted on a whole pig with all the typical sides. Connie told us, “Traveling Route 66 releases you to do things you wouldn’t normally do otherwise.”
Right on the rim of the Grand Canyon, Connie stayed in the Bright Angel Cabins. Her cabin had a porch, which overlooked the southern edge. The early morning sunrise offered spectacular beams of light throughout the entire canyon and surrounding area.
Outside of Albuquerque the group visited Acoma Pueblo and Haak’u Museum. A highlight is going to Sky City, built on top a tall mountain. With ample amounts of visitor centers selling local crafts, like top quality pottery and jewelry, you never grow tired of seeing new things. One of Connie’s favorite places was Richardson’s Trading Post in Gallup, NM, which is 100 years old. There, the group rummaged through blankets, saddles, rugs, and various knick-knacks the entire morning with the owner of the shop.
If you’re in need of a life-changing experience, contact the experts in travel and call Preferred Travel of Naples to converse with a travel consultant like Connie, who truly knows about these journeys first hand. Whether you’re looking to travel with a group along Route 66, take a cruise down the Danube, or experience an African Safari, Preferred Travel of Naples is the go-to travel specialist, and they are ready to plan your trip of a lifetime. Your options are endless.
Images by: Barbara Winzeler
To find out more about all of their fascinating destinations, please contact Preferred Travel of Naples at 239-261-1177 or visit preferrednaples.com.