Travel Historic Route 66 on a Winter RV Vacation

Picture of a Route 66 Sign

Picture of a Route 66 Sign

Drive a historic trip along Route 66 on an RV vacation to experience all the wonders of the American Southwest. This is a perfect adventure for winter months, as the weather and road conditions will cooperate. Historic Route 66 does not appear on current road maps, but is signposted off I-40. You will begin in Glenrio, NM which sits on the New Mexico/Texas border. You will travel across New Mexico all the way to Topock, Arizona, near the California State line.

From Glenrio to Santa Rosa, follow the best routes so you don’t run into trouble on the rough roads with your RV. When you reach Tucumcari, be sure to take your family photo by the Route 66 sign. Montoya is also a must-see, a ghost town where you can even visit a boot hill cemetery.

Santa Rosa, New Mexico is known as the “City of Natural Lakes.” This oasis is a great place to stop for a while and sight see. If you are a scuba diving enthusiast, you will want to try out the Blue Hole. Leaving Santa Rosa and driving to Tijeras, there are many sights to see. Stop at Longhorn Ranch to view the ruins here, and get a real flavor of the Old West.

You will likely want to follow the post 1937 alignment of Route 66 as you move from Tijeras to Grants, New Mexico. But the choice is really yours. Study your maps carefully. In Albuquerque you must see Old Town as well as the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History. At the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center you will absorb the fascinating history of our Native Americans, and at the National Museum of Nuclear Science History you’ll learn all about the Atomic Age.

In Grants, you can enjoy some great meals out (if you are tired of cooking in your RV). Then take a side trip to Bandero Volcano and the Ice Caves. From Grants to Manuelito, you will move through more haunting landscapes. When you reach Gallup, you will find a long list of attractions, and if you are visiting in December, you simply must go to the Red Rock Balloon Rally.

The next phase of your trip is in Arizona. Traveling from Lupton to Winslow is filled with anticipation as you approach some of the most famous sights in Arizona. At Houck, you will want to bring back some memories by seeing the old fort built just for the television show, the F-Troop. See the ruins of the Old Querino Canyon Trading Post.

Of course, for amazing stretches of desert and colorful views, drive into the Painted Desert a ways. The lavender, gray, red, pink and orange hues simply take your breath away. And the Petrified Forest has a 28-mile drive that will take you to some of the most popular parts of this National Park area.

Next, Winslow to Flagstaff is a drive to remember. Winslow is filled with Southwestern history. Visit the Old Trails Museum. Stop on the corner of 2nd Street and Kinsley and sing that old Eagles’ song – “Take it Easy“. This was the corner referred to in the song.

To view one of the largest “accident” sites in the world, stop at the Meteor Crater. A huge meteor crashed into Earth about 50,000 years ago, making a gigantic crater of one mile across and more than 550 feet deep. Check out the former observatory and stop in the Visitor Center on the rim.

You will continue on your trip, from Flagstaff to Seligman, only wishing this vacation will never end. The desert expanses give you the feeling sometimes that you are on the moon. At Flagstaff, take a side trip to the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument where you can view old extinct volcanoes and the black remnants of lava flows. Contrasting colors and the jagged fields of old lava invite you to experiment with your camera to capture the unique scenes.

When you come to Williams, Arizona, you are really close to the Grand Canyon, so you can make a 60-mile side trip here if you would like! Everyone loves the Grand Canyon’s beauty and the scenery between Williams and this amazing wonder of the world.

The last leg of your journey is from Seligman to Topock, AZ, with more beauty and spaces stretching before you. It is a shame to be done with your Route 66 adventure, but this highway continues on all the way to Los Angeles. If you feel up to it, you can drive this historic route onward – a winter trip with nothing to compare.

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