In this post I share a collection of books about Route 66, including the best Route 66 guide book. In all honesty, I don’t think we could have done Route 66 without EZ66 by Jerry McClanahan. It’s AMAZING. Seriously. Everyone should go out and buy it if you’re planning on taking the trip. The other Route 66 books are just fun reads about other travellers’ experiences!
The Best Route 66 Book
EZ66 Guide For Travelers – Jerry McClanahan
Route 66 starts in Midwest USA in Chicago, IL and spans 2448 miles all the way to the West Coast to its finish point in LA, California. It was removed from the Highways System in 1985 when it was bypassed by the Interstate. For this reason, following the old route can be kind of tricky.
Not all the States it passes through has maintained signage, sometimes it leaves you wondering if you are on the right Route at all, but thanks to EZ66, it literally holds your hand every step of the way! In this post I’m going to share with you some of my favourite parts of the guide book and exactly how I utilised it during my trip!
Using EZ66 for Pre Trip Travel Planning
Before we even set foot in the States, I read the whole guide book from front to back…I then re-read it again but with a highlighter!
The most awesome feature of EZ66 is it gives you the EXACT driving instructions for all 2448 miles, including side trips (for example; the Santa Fe loop). It’s broken down into easy bite sized chunks.
Each State is a new chapter and then there are sub-chapters, showing a map of around 60 miles of the route, followed then by a couple of lines of directions on each page and zoomed in maps of each of the towns you pass through!
I highlighted parts of the directions that I thought would be the most important during the trip, such as certain turnings, signs to look out for, road names etc. As said above, I don’t think we could have done the trip without these directions. Whenever we used SatNav/GPS, it just wanted to send us back on the Interstate, this book kept us on the original road.
Must See Attractions
The majority of each page is jammed packed with advice on the must see attractions and recommended food and accommodation stops. In a different colour I highlighted parts of the description that mentioned cool things that I thought would be of interest to me and my family. I then bookmarked these pages with Post-it Note Arrow Flags so I would be able to tell when the attractions were coming up as we were driving.
Travelling On A Time Scale
As part time travellers we were pushed for time. We had 2 and a half weeks to complete the route and do side trips to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. This meant that we HAD to be making a certain amount of miles a day. I used a paper clip to mark the page where we planned to reach each day.
We had booked the majority of our accommodation in advance, this meant we could make the most of the daylight hours as we knew we had a room ready and waiting for us whenever we arrived. We didn’t have time to do everything along the Route, but planning in advance meant that we were prepared and could prioritise. For example, there are loads of car/Route 66 museums. We researched each of them and decided what ones we would skip if we were running short on time.
Using EZ66 Route 66 Guide Book On The Road
It may sound silly but another helpful feature is that the book is spiral bound! As you’re following along and complete the page, it’s easy just to turn the page over and it stays out of the way. At each stop, the book can just be chucked on a seat or the dash and you know that you won’t loose the page.
As you can see, we treated our EZ66 a bit like a scrapbook/souvenir. It’s covered in highlighter pens and little notes. When I was driving and my Dad was navigating, he simply ticked off each instruction as we got to it so he could keep track of where we were. It could be used again but I think I’d be tempted to buy a newer addition just in case things have changed. The mileage guide also helped us to roughly guess how long it’d take to get between towns.
Some of the towns along the Route look pretty nondescript. It’s good to travel with a guidebook that will give you facts about each place, it makes the journey more interesting!
There are also suggested car games throughout the book! Most involve things like being the first to find so many place names that begin with a stated letter or count the number of a certain Route 66 signpost design.
Eastbound (LA – Chicago) Travellers
Don’t worry Eastbound drivers! As shown in the picture below (bottom page), the top box has the Chicago – LA Westbound directions, but the bottom box has the Eastbound directions, just read the book from back to front!
EZ66 can be purchased on Amazon through this link:
Brits on Route 66: A Very British Guide to the World’s Greatest Road Trip – Vicki Graves
This book was written by my friend Vicki! It’s written in the style of a travel memoir/journal with helpful tips and inspiration along the way. Brit’s on Route 66 is aimed at overseas visitors and those that want to follow along with the journey. Rather than a travel planning tool, it shows what day to day life on the road is like.
Billy Connolly’s Route 66: The Big Yin on the Ultimate American Road Trip – Billy Connolly
Billy Connolly is a British comedian and actor who travelled the route as part of a TV show series for ITV1 in the UK. The book is the written version of the journey that he took on a custom built trike. Like Brit’s on Route 66, it’s written in the style of a travel memoir, rather than a guide book. I find it very interesting to see what different people get from a trip.
Travel can be such a personal experience and something that one person may enjoy, may not be what another traveller enjoys. With a trip such as Route 66 there are hundreds of attractions and people to see and meet, places to eat at and stay in, no two trips will ever be the same!
Here It Is! The Route 66 Map Series
The Here It Is! Map series is created by Jerry McClanahan and Jim Ross. We bought them along with the EZ66, but as a navigation tool, we found the EZ66 a lot more user friendly and in-depth. The maps come in a set of 8, one for each state, and has driving instructions and historical information. These may be a popular option for those that want something less bulky than EZ66.
Route 66 Splendor: An Adult Coloring Book – Jo Ann Kargus
Something a little different, Route 66 Splendor is an adult colouring book! I have really enjoyed colouring in the Route 66 landmarks illustrated by Jo Ann Kargus. There are 50 colouring pages all together with both landmarks and state collages. You could free style and let your imagination run wild, but I like to use my own photos that I took along the route, or search for the places on Google, to make the colours as accurate as possible!
All My Route 66 Articles
You can find all of my Route 66 guides and articles HERE