Five Strange (and Free) Stops Along Route 66  

There are many beautiful and special roads around the world. South Africa has the Garden Route and the United States has Route 66. route 66

Along the Mother Road (nickname for the Route 66) there are more stops than days in a year. Stretching across eight states, it is a roadtrip of a lifetime. Here are five stops that you should not miss during your trip. And they are all free.

By Annika Majak

1. Tow Tater became Tow Mater in Disney’s movie Cars

Pic 2 - Cars

On a drive, director John Lasseter saw Tow Tater, a car parked near a gas station that serves as a coffee shop. That probably left a smile on his face and when it was time to make the animated movie, Cars, Tow Tater was the inspiration for the film character Tow Mater. Whether you are traveling with children or by yourself, this is a must-stop. There are many cars along Route 66 worth taking pictures of, but these cars are definitely some of the cutest. How many times have you seen a car with teeth?

Address: 119 North Main Street, Galena, Kansas. 

2. Slug Bug Ranchslug bug ranch

Most people have heard about one of the Mother Road’s most famous work of arts: the Cadillac Ranch – a field with ten Cadillacs lined up and planted nose down in the dirt. Some people thought it might be fun to make a parody of the Cadillac Ranch and planted five Volkswagen bugs in a similar way. And just like the real deal, these are also covered in graffiti. This attraction is not quite along the Route 66, you will have to do a little detour to see the Slug Bug Ranch. And make sure to leave your own print on the cars while there.

Address:  I-40 Frontage Road, Panhandle, Texas.

3. The Amboy Shoe Tree
The Amboy Shoe Tree

To call this a shoe tree might be a little misleading because the weight of the shoes and the weather in Oklahoma has transformed this tree into a woodpile mixed with loads and loads of shoes. Sneakers, high heels, flipflops and boots, tangled together with shoestrings on dry branches. It is hard not to be impressed by it all. “Shoe Trees” are not unique phenomena in the United States, but this one is worth stopping at.  Work of art or waist of shoes? That is up to you to decide.

Address: about ¼ mile east of Roy’s Café and Motel in Amboy, California.

4. Bottle Tree Ranch

You are most likely to hit the breaks once you see this place and it will truly be a new feast for your eyes. The Bottle Tree Ranch is a work of art – the art of a man named Elmer Long. When he was a little kid he used to go with his father to collect bottles and to this day he is collecting them and making art with them for everyone to admire. As if the ranch itself is not impressive enough with all its details, the true magic happens once you meet the man behind the madness.  Meeting this man leaves you in awe.

Bottle Tree Ranch

“Growing up, my parents were both deaf and because my parents could not hear, it was always quiet at the house,”  Elmer said and smiled. “This made me a bit shy,” he confessed.  When you meet him however,  there is not a shy man standing in front of you. He is a humble and welcoming man who is proud of his work.

Address: National Trails Hwy, Oro Grande, California.

5. Santa Monica Pier – The End Of Route 66Pic 6 - Santa Monica Pier

On approach, you’ll see the “End of the Route 66” sign. You’ve made it – all the way from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica. And after taking your picture with the sign, make sure to stroll around and enjoy the view and the legendary pier. Except for being the end of the Mother Road, this is also an iconic location that is featured in many movies. It was for one featured in the movie, Forrest Gump and the TV show 90210.

Address: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California.

Annika MajakAbout the author: Annika Majak is a freelance journalist. Born in Sweden but calls the whole world her home. (Shares her travel on her website Photo Credit: Daniel Majak.

Annika Majak

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