Depart London Heathrow – 11:50
Arrive Chicago – 13:55
Journey Time – 8 hours 30 minutes
You arrive at Chicago International Airport and transfer on your own to your hotel. In Chicago you are in the biggest and most exciting of the Great Lake cities. Chicago has a skyline to rival any city’s – a gamut of top-rated museums, restaurants and cafes, and innumerable bars and nightclubs that pay homage to the city’s strong jazz and blues heritage. Tonight you will enjoy a great Welcome Dinner and celebration with your fellow riders, and a great night of luxury in one of Chicago’s finest hotels, The Drake, before kicking off your dream Route 66 journey in the morning.
Overnight – Chicago
Chicago to Springfield
This morning you pick up your bike and are off to the ultimate American road trip. Parallel to I-55, the legendary Route 66 began its run right here, cutting through the state before running all the way to the Pacific Coast – you will get a glimpse of it, as some of the old-time diners and other Americana still stand. From Chicago you head south, pass the old truck stop town of McLean, and roar through the coal-mining area of Illinois – along the Pontiac Trail, the original name for this bit of the road here – toward Springfield, the Illinois state capital. Enjoy your stay tonight at the Hilton Downtown Springfield or the historic Abraham Lincoln Hotel, both of which are just steps from the site of Abraham Lincoln’s Illinois home.
Overnight – Springfield
Springfield to St. Louis
Your ride will take you further south as you head toward St. Louis, which is one of the significant cities here. There will be numerous Highway towns, which invite you for a stop en route – you should definitely see the famous Dixie truck stop, “Our Lady of the Highway Statue”, Litchfield and the “Paris Stop Café”. Take time to visit Meramec Caverns as you head for the Mississippi River and don’t miss the famous “Chain of Rocks Bridge”. You are in Missouri now, the state where the forests meet the prairie and the Mississippi River meets the Missouri River. Enjoy the short ride today into the “Gateway to the West,” St. Louis. This amazing city rests along the shores of the mighty Mississippi River and is home to some of the best live music and BBQ ribs in the country. Our hotel tonight is the beautiful Hampton Inn, which offers incredible views of the St. Louis Arch.
Overnight – St Louis
St. Louis to Joplin
Try to get up early to walk across the street today and enjoy an early morning view of the St. Louis Arch and Mississippi River before we hit the road. We quickly leave the city in mirrors as we settle in to enjoy the rolling Missouri hills that make this area so beautiful and fun to ride in. Now get ready for a lunch stop in the middle of nowhere that serves up some of the best BBQ you will ever sink your teeth into! Tonight we will enjoy a stay in Joplin, a city that was hit very hard in 2011 by a massive tornado. We’ll hang with the locals in the small downtown area and hear some amazing stories about what it was like to be in the eye of a massive tornado!
Overnight – Joplin
Joplin to Oklahoma City
From Joplin you head west through Oklahoma and follow the contour of the land as if it’s always been there. You cover 100 miles of the Old West’s Indian country between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. In the 1830’s all this land, held to be useless, was set aside as Indian Territory – a convenient dumping ground for the so-called Five Civilized Tribes who blocked white settlement in the southern states. The Choctaw and the Chickasaw of Mississippi, the Seminole of Florida, and the Creek of Alabama were each assigned a share, while the rest was given to the Cherokee from Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. Today, the state has a large Native American Indian population – “Oklahoma” is the Choctaw word for “red man”. Further west you ride through El Reno – over the mile-long bridge, near Bridgeport and into Oklahoma City, the heart and soul of Route 66 country! Enjoy your stay tonight in the heart of Oklahoma City’s Bricktown Neighborhood, full of lively restaurants, bars and shopping.
Overnight – Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City to Amarillo
This morning you should rise early for your journey into the Panhandle, the southernmost portion of the Great Plains, often called “the real Texas”. It certainly fulfills the fantasy of what Texas should look like…once the buffalo – and the natives – had been driven away from what was seen as perilous and uninhabitable frontier country, the Panhandle began, around in the 1870’s to yield great natural resources. Helium, especially in Amarillo, and oil, as well as agriculture, did bring wealth to the region, which is home to some of the world’s largest ranches. Amarillo may seem cut off from the rest of Texas, but it stands on one of the great American cross-country routes – I-40 (once legendary Route 66), roughly 300 miles from Albuquerque and 250 miles west of Oklahoma City. Amarillo takes its name from Spanish and it means “yellow”, the color that is so characteristic to this region. Our hotel tonight is the famous Ambassador Hotel in Downtown Amarillo. Our good friends from “The Big Texan Steakhouse” will pick our group up at the hotel in a fleet of old Caddies with giant bull horns across the hood and take us to enjoy the absolute best steaks in Texas!
Overnight – Amarillo
Amarillo to Santa Fe
Today you leave Texas and are on your way into “The Land of Enchantment”, New Mexico – after passing through the world famous Cadillac Ranch. How about the ghost town of Glen Rio, where you can stand with one foot in New Mexico and the other one in Texas? With 5 states behind and 3 still ahead, you ride your bike through the land of Comanche Indians and into Tucumcari, the biggest town between Albuquerque and Amarillo. You head up into the High Plains and altitude of Santa Fe in central New Mexico. Santa Fe is one of America’s oldest and most beautiful cities, and will be your base for the next two nights. Enjoy our hotel in the heart of Old Town Santa Fe, and just steps from the historic town square and mission.
Overnight – Santa Fe
Today is at leisure to rest and enjoy the distinctive flavor of this nearly 400-year-old city. The blend of cultures here becomes evident in the southwestern architectural style so closely associated with New Mexico’s capital city. Perhaps you would like to take a ride along the river valley to the old Native American Indian town of Taos, enjoy a sunrise hot air balloon ride, or play cowboy for a day on a horseback ride along a mountain or canyon trail.
Overnight – Santa Fe
Santa Fe to Gallup
This morning you head south, down to Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest city, with a third of the state’s population. Albuquerque is sprawling at the heart of New Mexico, where the main east – west road and rail routes cross both the Rio Grande and the old road south to Mexico. You cross the Rio Grande and head west – out into the open country and the hues of the Navajo wilderness. You are skirting mesas and bluffs on into Laguna. Further on ride through Grants and along Cibola National Forest towards the famous Route 66 town of Gallup – an old railroad town and Indian stronghold. Enjoy your stay tonight with a host of fellow riders from around the world at one of the many biker friendly hotels in Gallup.
Overnight – Gallup
Gallup to Grand Canyon
From Gallup it’s only about half an hour to the Arizona border – you enter the state of Arizona and enjoy a very scenic ride through the Petrified Forest, a fossilized prehistoric forest of gigantic trees that has been unearthed by erosion. Just a dozen miles further west you get to Holbrook and Winslow – two old Route 66 towns that are kept alive by transcontinental truckers. While most tour groups stop in Flagstaff or Williams, Arizona, we will ride on to spend our night just one mile from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon! Tonight you will sit with a cold drink in your hand and enjoy the sunset over the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The dream is coming true.
Overnight – Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon to Kingman
For those looking to get a real “Bird’s Eye View” of the Grand Canyon be sure to let us know and we will arrange a morning helicopter ride over the heart of the South Rim. Later, we will have plenty of time to ride along the rim and stop for amazing vistas and photos. We will leave the Grand Canyon and pick Route 66 back up in Williams, Arizona before heading stops in the famous 66 towns of Seligman, Peach Springs, and Hackberry.
Overnight – Kingman
Kingman to Las Vegas
Today is a quick ride for a little detour to take in the incredible sights and sounds of Las Vegas…but first we ride through the Old West Ghost Town of Oatman. We spare no expense in Las Vegas as we are treated to a first class experience at some of the most famous hotels on The Strip. One thing is for sure, your time in Vegas may be short, but it will sure be sweet! Try to get a little bit of sleep because we pick up Route 66 tomorrow right where we left off yesterday.
Overnight – Las Vegas
Las Vegas to Victorville
Today it’s off to California, the final state on your ride down legendary Route 66. You cross the Devil’s Playground and ride along the Mojave Desert, which offers some of the most dramatic scenery in Southern California…rolling with lush grasses, startling volcanic formations, large stands of Joshua trees, and even in some spots, pinon pines. From the desert you get right into the cool pines of the San Gabriel Mountains. Head for Victorville, which is your base for tonight.
Overnight – Victorville
Victorville to Santa Monica
Today you are on your way to the final destination of your legendary American road trip – Los Angeles. You head for Santa Monica, as Historic Route 66 ends on Santa Monica Boulevard. Santa Monica is the oldest and biggest of LA’s resorts – once a wild beachfront playground, it’s now a self-consciously liberal and healthy community. Spend the afternoon sightseeing and enjoy Hollywood with the famous Chinese Theatre, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, and much more. Riders always have mixed emotions as they stand at the “End of the Trail” sign on the
Santa Monica Pier. There is a sense of joy and elation at having completed a journey most people on dream about, and a sense of sadness at the thought of the ride having come to an end.
Overnight – Santa Monica
Depart Los Angeles
Today your exciting trip will conclude in Los Angeles.
Depart Los Angeles – 17:45
Arrive London Heathrow – 12:00 (Next Day)
Journey Time – 10 hours 20 minutes