Wednesday, 21 February 2018


1. Poster's Plus in Chicago @ the very start of Route 66. This is at the corner of Michigan Ave. and Adams (Westbound 66), directly across from the Art Institute.
If you were standing on the steps of Chicago's Art Institute and looking directly across the street from this famous landmark, you'd be looking at the very start of Route 66. America's Main Street begins in Chicago at the corner of Michigan and Adams, and "Poster's Plus" is on this very corner. In addition to some artistic posters, canvas artwork, renowned literature, and artistic type t-shirts, you can find the high quality of "66-to-Cali" brand t-shirts here as well. Grab one of our "Historic 66" shirts to start your trip and begin your adventure down the Mother Road!

First stop: A photo at the sign across from Poster's Plus that marks the beginning of Route 66!


2. The Ariston Cafe in Litchfield, Illinois
The Ariston Cafe has been around since even before Route 66 was born! Nestled snugly away in Litchfield, Illinois, the Ariston Cafe is owned by our friends Nick and Demi Adam, who took it over from Nick's Dad, Pete. Today, Nick's son Paul is readying to take it over from Nick...and the legend will continue!

The Ariston Cafe is where "66-to-Cali" owner, Dan Rice, first met the President of the Route 66 Alliance, Jim Conkle, on a chance stop over for dinner. In many ways, the Ariston Cafe is also where "66-to-Cali" came to life, because it was here that Jim stated, "You've made the finest quality shirt on the entire Mother Road, and trust me, I've worn them all!" We knew right then that we were on to something with our ultra soft cottons. We also knew we'd found true patriots and supporters of American labor, when Nick and Demi decided to carry our "Made-in-the-USA" shirts right there at the Ariston Cafe!

Site to see at the Ariston Cafe: the Dessert Tray! It's the best one I've ever seen...period. I dare you to resist it...then again, don't. Everything there is delicious and life is too short. Why deny yourself?


3. Route 66 State Park Museum in Eureka, Missouri
Seeing is sometimes not believing...when you venture into the museum here, you appear to be surrounded by a rural state park area that has never been touched by man. In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth.

stateWhile you can't see it now, this used to be the location of the resort town of Times Beach on the famous Meramac River. Kids laughed and played, road their bikes, and swam in the warm summer waters of the river here. Because the roads around the cabins, cottages, and homes were dirt roads, a man was hired to spray oil on them in the summer to keep the dust down for residents. What wasn't known at the time was that he was hiding a horrific secret.

In 1982, it was learned that the oil he used was bought on the cheap and contained cancer causing dioxins. Unfortunately, this was only learned after the Meramac River had risen and flooded much of Times Beach. Those dioxins had now been swept up from the roads and scattered over the entire area of the town. It was now completely contaminated, quarantined, and unlivable. What was once a fun resort town had been destroyed and worse yet, was now an environmental threat to everything downriver. Work crews were forced to bulldoze every structure in Times Beach into huge piles of debris.

The entire town was then incinerated into history.

Fortunately, the past decade's soil testing reveals that emergency crew efforts were successful. The area has been safe for many years. Today, only one structure remains as a monument to what used to be. Protected high on the hill, far above the Meramac was the building that now houses the Route 66 State Park Museum. While it's staff remains healthily dedicated to protecting the history of Route 66, it also makes sure that they educate its fans and the public alike so that the history of Times Beach never repeats itself. Unfortunately, not all of Route 66's past was so merry.

Must see: The Times Beach Dedication Section in the Museum.


4. Fanning Outpost in Cuba, Missouri
Here's one of the newer gems along the Mother Road that breaks all the records. I'm not kidding. At the Fanning Outpost in Missouri, adventurers get to see what the Guiness Book of World Records has recorded as the World's Largest Rocking Chair. It's mere feet from Route 66 and really does rock! But here's the best part...Inside the Outpost, you'll find a great winery provided by Owners Dan and Carolyn Sanazaro..

Just make sure you don't go to the winery before seeing the rocking just might think you imagined the whole thing!

The chair went up in 2008 and already, several community events happen around it, including an annual run that finishes at the chair. Jeff and Jackie, who work at the Outpost with Dan and Carolyn, are great people too and extremely friendly. Make sure to say "hi" from us when you get there and you may just get a free glass of wine. The warmth of friendship that exists here is felt as soon as you walk in the door and it's one of the classiest places on the entire Mother Road. In a log cabin setting that pays tribute to the Midwest's heritage of sportsmanship and the great outdoors, the Fanning Outpost, like the Rocking Chair out front, really rises above the crowd.


5. Route 66 Interpretive Center in Chandler, OK
The Route 66 Interpretive Center in Chandler, Oklahoma is a really modern museum unlike any other. Uniquely based in the old armory, and including progressive displays that intertwine media with fantastic photography (by some of the greatest legends on Route 66), this place is in a class by itself. It's a modern museum that takes Route 66 from the past and relocates her right to the present day and into the future. Check out the gift shop here for some really great southwestern art and sculptures. If you're like me, you'll like the homemade jams and jellies from this part of the country. I overdosed.. 249

6. The Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, TX... this is the very middle of Route 66.
MidpointCafeThe Midpoint Cafe - If you're standing in front of the Midpoint Cafe, then you've made it to the midpoint of Route 66! Congratulations!! You're standing in front of the best, most authentic and original diner on all of Route 66, and it's been there forever. Inside, it gets even better. Not only will you find one of the most down-to-earth, friendly staffs on the entire Mother Road, you're also going to find one of the best, most mouth-watering, beautiful pies you'll ever taste! Fran, who owns the Midpoint Cafe has been one of my best friends on the Route, and she cooks the best hamburgers you're going to find on your journey, so make sure you don't leave before getting one. Not only has Fran been a great supporter of us and our company "66-to-Cali" since the first day we met, she's also sold more of our shirts than any other place on the road! She is a huge patriot and great American! If you haven't gotten one yet, now's your chance, but no matter what, make sure you get some of that food! If you get lucky, Joann, who makes those sweet sensational pies will be there too, and you can thank her for the wonderful work she does. Her pies come from her Grandma's recipes, and when Joann first started baking them (although they turned out delicious), she says they looked horrible. Over the years, and several thousand pies later, you'd be hard-pressed to find one that looks better. Still, the name she gave them in the early days, "Ugly Crust Pies," stuck, and people come from around the world to taste them. In addition to the great food, Fran has a great little gift shop attached to her place that her friend Tommy and his wife run. Tommy is one of the friendliest, most people friendly guys you'll come across on your travels, so be sure to pay him a visit and a "hello" from us while you're there.

Before you leave: Eat some pie. Not only is it what the Midpoint is famous for, if you don't, you'll miss one of the legendary items on Route 66. Kind of like seeing the Fonz without his leather jacket. Still cool. Just undefined.

Midpoint FriendsMidpoint Sign

7. The El Rancho Hotel and Motel in Gallup, New Mexico
El Rancho Hotel & Motel - You've reached Route 66 Royalty when you've reached the El Rancho. The grandeur here is fitting of Route 66's greatest glory days. Originally owned by the brother of famed Hollywood director D.W. Griffith, this opulent hotel has hosted all of the biggest stars of Hollywood's Golden Era. Think about it...when you've watched Westerns in the past, what did the landscape look like? That's right, the deserts of New Mexico. In fact, most of the classic Western Movies were filmed near the El Rancho. What that meant was the stars of those films would need a location to stay at when off-set that was fitting for Hollywood's elite. Certainly, El Rancho filled the bill! It doesn't matter the room...if you stay here, you will end up staying in a room where one of your childhood heroes also stayed and breathed the air. In fact, some of these stars were such regulars there that they became quite comfortable at El Rancho with the locals and staff. Legend has long been known of John Wayne riding his horse right inside the hotel. Ronald Reagan also stayed here, as have many, many more household names and icons from the Golden Age of Cinema. You simply can not pass El Rancho by.
Must see: The breathtaking lobby of El Rancho. You'll understand as soon as you see it.

ElRancho ElRanchoSign1

8. La Posada Hotel in Winslow, AZ
LaPosada 1La Posada - Now you've come to one of my personal favorites on all of Route 66. La Posada was built in Winslow, Arizona at the dawn of the Great Depression. Designed by famed architect Mary Coulter for proprietor Fred Harvey, it was one of his last and greatest of Harvey Houses. For those who don't know, Harvey Houses were hotels along the railways in the days when the affluent traveled by train.

When a train pulled into a town and a traveler needed a sandwich for lunch or a bed for sleeping, it was a Fred Harvey House that they stopped in front of. When Mary Coulter designed La Posada for Fred Harvey, she already had quite the reputation. Not only was she educated in a day when women didn't regularly get educations, she was considered the best in her architectural field. But she wasn't just an architect, she was an artist and equisite storyteller. She designed La Posada with a story in mind and that story went like this: La Posada was originally the home of a modestly successful cattle baron.

But it wasn't long until he became more successful, and as that happened, he added onto his house. The era had changed since the original construction, so the floors were constructed of more expensive materials. The furniture became custom-made. As he became wealthier, he added onto his home again, and this time the addition reflected yet a newer style.

Finally, he'd become so wealthy that he added 30 rooms onto the end of his home so that when his family came to visit, each of them would have their own room to stay in. Unfortunately, this was the Great Depression and the wealthy cattle baron's fortune didn't hold and he lost everything, eventually having to regretfully sell off his family home to a hotelier which became La Posada. Well, the truth is that there never was a cattle baron. Mary came up with the story before they'd ever broken ground. The sad parallel to the cattle baron's story is that by the 1950's, with the passage of the railroad travel era, the Harvey Houses weren't immune to hard economic times. La Posada went out of business. Eventually, it became property of the Santa Fe Railroad, who auctioned off the custom furniture, put in drop ceilings and cubicles and basically stripped every part of Mary Coulter's ambience away from La Posada before putting in their very stark train offices. In the late 90's, having used up what they thought was all her value, La Posada was condemned to be destroyed and her grand history was slated to fade away.
Enter Allan Affeldt, an architect from Southern California, who learned of La Posada's fate and swung in to the rescue like an "Errol Flynn hero" of old. Allan went to the Santa Fe Railroad and pleaded with them not to destroy La Posada but asked instead that they'd sell it to him. For peanuts, they agreed. Since 1997, Allan and his wife Tina have worked tirelessly to restore the singular beauty to La Posada that existed in the time of Mary Coulter. I'd like to say they've succeeded! They've ripped out the drop ceilings and cubicles and have gone so far as to find out who the furniture was auctioned to...and have attempted to buy it back...piece by piece. La Posada is amazing! She's still reachable by train, with two stops each day at the hotel's adjoining depot. And I don't mind saying that before you die, you owe it to yourself to stay at this one of a kind, gorgeous hotel.
Allan has become a good friend over the years, and when I began my company, he was the first person to buy an order of our shirts. Allan is as pro-American as you can be, so if you get the chance, thank him for his patriotic commitment to preserving this unique piece of American History...La Posada: the last of the great railroad hotels!
Before you leave La Posada: Enjoy the best breakfast in all of Arizona. The orange juice is the freshest and best I've ever tasted. The baked eggs in the "Corn Maiden's Delight" are my absolute favorite on the menu. I promise, you won't be able to get enough.

9. Dominique's on the Corner in Winslow, AZ
Dominique's on the Corner; Winslow, Arizona - If it wasn't for this place, I wouldn't be in business. In 2004, I was so charmed by the owners of this great gift shop that I went back to Winslow over and over again trying to recapture that experience. John and Karen Harvey defined to me the perfect definition of what it means to have a true "Mom & Pop" shop on Route 66. Of course, during its heyday, there were many places like theirs, but in the lean years, when no one was traveling it, John and Karen kept up the same old-fashioned service with a personal touch that kept 66 alive in the hearts and minds of anyone who just happened to veer off the new interstate. It was the spirit of the old road that they passed onto me that first night I met them, and it's the same spirit that I try to pass on to my own guests when they visit me on the Santa Monica Pier.

When I visited them a few years ago, and John told me he was ready to retire and put his old store on the market, I couldn't imagine the next owner would ever be able to measure up to the legacy of kindness, generosity, and friendship they'd leave behind. What a great surprise it was then when I learned their daughter Sandra Myers and her husband Don had taken the reins and kept "Dominique's" wagon rolling. In fact, if it wasn't for Sandra, I'd have had no idea how to build my store on the pier. Not only did she inherit every bit of kindness and decency her parents gave every customer who walked through their daughter, she also possesses a keen insight into the best things a guest could want when traveling Route 66. She goes out of her way to make sure anyone who walks in her store, leaves happier than when they came in. Her insight has been invaluable to me the last few years, but her friendship has been even more priceless. I'm proud to call these people friends, and you will be too.
Don't forget: Across from Dominique's is the famous corner that the Eagles sang about in their song "Take it Easy." You remember the line..."I was standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see..." Everybody sing! And don't forget to take your picture while standing there too.

Heres Jay Standin On A Corner

10. White Horse Trading Company in Williams, AZ
389The White Horse Trading Company - It wasn't long ago that the town of Williams, Arizona resembled a poor reflection of itself. Then my friend John Peasley and his two brothers came along. Before long, Route 66 was starting to look like Route 66 again. John and his brothers bought several of the old forgotten properties in Williams and started restoring them to their glory days. Nestled away in the high mountain country of Northern Arizona, Williams is a town with a railroad identity that is proud of her Route 66 heritage.

John and his brothers can proudly say they've helped keep it that way. Whether you're in Cruiser's Cafe, a 50's style diner with amazingly good food (fajitas anyone?), the Grand Canyon Brewery (when's the "End of the Trail" brew coming, John?), or the White Horse Trading Company (an amazing shop of high quality southwestern jewelry, leathers, apparel and more), you are in one of the Peasley Brother's many places in Williams. John is a former veteran and he knows what this country is about. No big surprise that he wanted to support America by carrying our shirts for his customers at the White Horse. These days, John's also a family man with a wife and two kids and a brewery that just went big-time. You can now get beers from the Grand Canyon Brewery all over the southwest. But it started here. And they never tasted better than coming straight out of the tap. Just don't drink and drive. There are great hotels all over Williams.
Ladies: If you don't think you like beer, wait 'til you try the "Raspberry Wheat."

11. Angel's Barber Shop in Seligman, AZ
AngelTheLegend AngelCutAngel's Barber Shop - If Washington D.C. is the capital of the USA, and the White House is where the President lives, then Angel's Barber Shop is the closest thing we have to it on Route 66...and Angel Delgadillo is the President forever! That's because Angel is truly what his name says...he was Heaven-sent to save Route 66. That's right. When the Government was readying to bypass our beloved Mother Road with the Interstate system, it was Angel who protested. He told them that what they were doing was wrong. By building a highway with no exits to any of the towns along it and old Route 66, he reasoned that they were going to be turning these towns into ghost towns and putting hard-working Americans out of work.

These people, he reasoned, were the people that helped build this country, and Route 66 had been its backbone. How could the Government do this to such good people? But they didn't listen to Angel and the interstate opened anyway. For ten long years Angel has told me what it felt like to be forgotten. He watched as businesses closed and people had to move away.

The Route started to die.AngelChat

But a funny thing happened at the same time. The state tax revenue died with them, and suddenly, the very government that had put all these people out of business suddenly realized that they needed those businesses they'd driven out. What to do? They panicked. But Angel had an answer for them. He'd form the "Historic Route 66 Association" and be the first President right there in the little town of Seligman. In 1987, Angel got the Arizona Legislature to designate and preserve Route 66 in Arizona as a historic highway. From that point, the other states along Route 66 followed his lead, and suddenly a movement had begun. Route 66 was reborn, but make no mistake about it, it was Angel who saved it, and Angel who can be credited with "fathering" it back to health.

For the past 33 years, he's passionately promoted his beloved Mother Road, and somehow along the lines, I became friends with him. Everytime I go through Seligman, I make sure to have him cut my hair and share whatever wisdom he can give. I don't imagine I'll ever meet anyone who did something so monumental for the world who got so little in return, but I'd bet if you asked Angel, he'd say he was content. His family has become dear to me over the years, and Angel has become the man I try to emulate more than any other in my business. He is quite frankly, the best role model anyone could ever hope for. A decent, kind, generous family man with an amazing sense of humor. He defines Route 66, and not only that, Angel has become an icon known the world over. Well deserved.
Your mission while in Seligman: If you can, thank this amazing man for saving the road we all know and love.
Another stop in Seligman: Angel's brother Juan owned the "Snow Cap" just up the street. Now his nephew John carries on the fun tradition. And if you go, make sure you ask for a straw and ice with your root beer. Trust me.

snowPictured left to right, Jessica, Dan, Angel, Angel's daughter Clarissa, Angel's son-in-law Mo.

12. The Hotel Brunswick in Kingman, AZ
The Hotel Brunswick - This famous landmark has opened and closed several times over the years, and unfortunately, it's in a block of Kingman that just hasn't been well cared for by the city. Without question however, this place has a fantastically grand history and is just waiting for the right Route 66 fan to come bring back her sparkle. The potential is here for great things, and until recently, we sold our shirts here. It also had an adjoining restaurant that was ranked in the top 25 of Arizona!

Unfortunately, the owner didn't really "get" Route 66 and so she hadn't tapped into the essential Route 66 market that would have supported her. Before it closed in 2010, we'd stopped a year previous and created a drink with Ryan (the really fun bartender there) that she'd put on the Brunswick's bar menu...called the "Happy Coconut." Recently, we stopped again and Ryan was no longer there. The Happy Coconut recipe had somehow not gotten written down in the bar's recipe book, so sadly, it disappeared with her. You may have to wait until there's another owner who can open the place back up to get one, but once they do, we'll pass on the recipe again for you. It'll be worth the wait, but I guarantee you'll need to stay the night. About two of them and you'll understand why the Coconut is so "happy!"

13. California Route 66 Museum in Victorville, CA
Whether it's Betty or Chick or Paul or Larry or Darleen or anyone at this great California Museum, make sure you tell them we said "Hi" and that we sent you. These are truly some great people, all volunteers, who put their passion and love for Route 66 into their work. Check out the Hula Girl and "bottle trees," but mostly, just make sure you talk to the people who work here! They don't realize it, but they are the BEST THING ABOUT THIS MUSEUM!! Just like everything on Route 66, by the time you get here, you'll have figured out that it's not really about the places, it's the people! This place is no exception. From the moment I first entered there, I felt I was amongst friends...and I was! I sat and talked with Betty and Chick for probably two hours the first time we met. There's not much they don't know about Route 66 in California, so instead of fumbling around yourself and trying to take it all in, have one of them or any of the others guide you around with their own impressions and commentaries on America's Main Street. You'll be glad you did.

14. 66-to-Cali in Santa Monica, CA on the World Famous Santa Monica Pier...the End of the Trail
You've reached the "End of the Trail" and the Beginning of Dreams!" We opened our shop on the pier in July of 2009, and it's been an amazing journey. Until we opened, there'd never been a shop on the pier dedicated to Route 66...hard to believe isn't it? Yes, and for me it was always anti-climactic. I've been told that's been the overwhelming sentiment of many Route 66 travelers over the years..."How can there be nothing at the end?" Well, I agree. All I can say is that L.A. is a fast moving place, and people get distracted by all there is to see and do here. It took an outsider to come in and show them how wonderful it was what they had. The finale of Route 66! It should be like an exclamation point on a 2,448 mile long sentence! But now that we are here, people are starting to take notice, and you can suddenly find more than just us celebrating Route 66. When Jessica and I found the long, lost "End of the Trail" sign our first summer, we couldn't have imagined what would happen next.

Long story short, by November 11, the Route's 83rd birthday and just 3 and a half months after we opened, we put that sign back up where she belonged...Right in the center of the Santa Monica Pier! She'd been gone for over 50 years, and suddenly we had every major network, ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX there to cover it happening. The event made the NBC Nightly News and the New York Times. It was written about in "The Independent" in the U.K.! From there, it was syndicated to Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa! All told 60 Million new people heard about Route 66 that day. From that big event, I have had more fun than I could ever describe. Whereas in the past, I used to go out on Route 66, now Route 66 comes to me. We have the nicest, most friendly customers anyone could ever imagine, and everybody is happy.

Either they're ecstatic to have just finished one of the most exhilarating roadtrips ever, or they're ready to start one, but either way, everyone's excited to be there. We are having a blast...and while we're at it, we're promoting America, history, Route 66 in Santa Monica, and the most amazing terminus anyone could ever imagine. At the same time, we're able to talk about all our friends out on the road while selling our proudly Made-in-the-USA t-shirts. What could be better? I know! Watching the surf roll in all day and watching a different California sunset every night. Oh, wait...we get to do that too. Simply put, we're living the dream that everyone who drove Route 66 back in the heyday made possible for us. What a way to make a living! Thanks so much for your support!
And before you leave: Make sure you get a picture in front of the "End of the Trail" Sign! You can't miss it!"

Pier Store 003


The Official 66 To Cali Store
Open 7 days
Summer - 10am to 10pm
Winter - 11am - 7pm
Located on the World Famous Santa Monica Pier

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