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escorted coach tour of route 66

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london
posts: 222
reviews: 7
escorted coach tour of route 66

I am thinking of doing the route 66 road trip via an escorted tour. Let someone else do all that driving!

Has anyone done it? Can you recommend a good tour company? I see Archers Direct seem to be the cheapest for this, has anyone used them before? Only thing I am not sure of is only having one or sometimes two days in each place. Is this enough or are you rushed? Any info would be very welcome to hep me decide if its worth doing. Marilyn.

Wickenburg, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Wickenburg
posts: 2,535
reviews: 537
1. Re: escorted coach tour of route 66

are you planning on doing the whole original length? that is definitely NOT worth it, as most of it, especially the eastern half, is modern freeway or interstate today. It would only be worth it for scenery in general, and even that ... well ... there are more alluring areas. The longest 'original' stretch is in Arizona. You could start, say, in Flagstaff, and then head west on I-40 and then 66. When you reach Williams you could actuallydetour and see the grand canyon, just an hour's drive from Williams. Ropghly 20 miles wes tof Williams, after Ash Fork, historic 66 loops away from I-40 and will take you through old towns, many of them living on their Route 66 history for the tourists these days. You'll get into Kingman, cross I-40 and get another stretch of historic 66 thurgh Oatman, the old mining tiown with the wild burros and the old buildings now torned shops, down to Topock where you cross the river into California. There's another fairly short stretch there before 66 rejoins the interstate across the Mohave, which is a lot of wide open space with not much of anyhting to see except sand and rocks and craggy ranges on the hazy horizon. I'd say your best bet and most scenic stretch is across Arizonas.

tucson az
Destination Expert
for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
posts: 12,244
reviews: 58
2. Re: escorted coach tour of route 66

Esty, the OP is talking about an escorted tour by coach/bus from Chicago to Los Angeles. And likely has no choice of where to stop. This is something promoted in the UK and Europe. But I do agree that Route 66 itself is not worth traveling the full route. Here's an example of such a tour:

bon-voyage.co.uk/holidays/escorted_tours_and…

To the OP, some of these tours have itineraries online. From what I see, no, they do not spend enough time in many of the locations.

To the OP, in the late 60s, there was a movie called "If It's Tuesday, It's Belgium." Can you see London in a day? You can't see Chicago in a day. One of these types of tours goes to the Navajo Reservation and then Grand Canyon one day, then leaves the next morning. An afternoon is not sufficient to see GCNP.

So, if you did this tour, you would have a sample or taste of a lot of places but the only place where you really spend any length of time is Branson Missouri (????) which is a modern phenomenon of a vacation land of country music and odd museums and has nothing to do with the Route 66 era. Make sure you get an exact itinerary including the specific hotels where you will stay.

What would be an alternative? One that I see would be to plan a trip by Amtrak rail pass stopping at areas that interest you, or planning a tour where you would drive yourselves but by either means spend more quality time in fewer places.

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 51,294
reviews: 42
3. Re: escorted coach tour of route 66

Maybe check out the Road Trips forum and search for R66 tours.

Phoenix, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Phoenix
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4. Re: escorted coach tour of route 66

Yes, do check the Road Trips forum. But also, I glanced at the tour in question - looks like it's over 1,700 GBP (nearly $3,000) - that's a lot of money to spend just to rush through the cities and spend hours driving mostly on the interstate highways.

I like Bob's idea of Amtrak instead, or even Esty's idea of simply coming to Arizona and driving yourself along the Arizona portion of Rte 66.

tucson az
Destination Expert
for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
posts: 12,244
reviews: 58
5. Re: escorted coach tour of route 66

And that's one of the lower priced tours. They go up to 2500 GBP or about $4000 and more. All the ones I saw have the same itinerary.

tucson az
Destination Expert
for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
posts: 12,244
reviews: 58
6. Re: escorted coach tour of route 66

I have not checked timetables closely but here is an example of a similar trip that could be done by Amtrak that goes to the best of the places on the Route 66 tour, and more, and provides more time to actually see things. Amtrak has a 15-day rail pass which allows 15 travel days and 8 travel segments during a 180 day period, $389 for an adult. I would not compare Amtrak to the best of UK and European trains on which I have traveled, but Amtrak trains are comfortable, have dining cars with quite good food, snack bars, beer, wine, mixed drinks, dome cars for viewing, bathrooms. And the regular coach seats are quite large and actually comfortable to sleep. There are also bedrooms available on the Southwest Chief for extra charge. The best thing about being on a train is that you're not trapped in your seat and can get up, move around, make friends, chat.

So here's my "stab" at an Amtrak "Route 66" trip.

Fly into Chicago - stay 2-3 days; museums, shopping, lakefront

From Chicago take Texas Eagle train to St Louis - 1-2 days in St Louis; Gateway Arch, more museums

Take Missouri River Runner train to Kansas City to connect to

Southwest Chief train to Albuquerque to connect to

New Mexico Rail Runner (not part of Amtrak) to Santa Fe 1-2 days

NM Rail Runner back to ABQ

Southwest Chief to Williams AZ (from ABQ to LA the rail route parallels the old Route 66)

Grand Canyon RR (not part of Amtrak) to GCNP; 11 AM; overnight stay at GCNP; GCRR back to Williams

Southwest Chief to Los Angeles, 1-2 days

Coast Starlight to San Francisco, 2-3 days

There are special rail travel planners in the US, and one may even already have a similar trip including lodging reservations. There may even be already rail journeys similar.

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
posts: 39,976
reviews: 134
7. Re: escorted coach tour of route 66

Sooner or later the folks across the pond need to realize that RT66 is no longer there and it is impossible to drive the old road across the country. Bits of it remain, and the towns that have these bits attempt to capture some of the charm and romanticize it all, but it's not the same, and it never will be. Not for any amount of money.

The best way to attempt to trace it would be in your own car, and allow a couple of months. Otherwise, you're passing by the best aspects, just as the interstate highway system was designed to do.

Wantage, United...
posts: 1,428
reviews: 10
8. Re: escorted coach tour of route 66

hi,

just fly out and do the canyons and valley`s and tie in the best bits of 66 yourself.

hire a car and drive yourself, its real easy ! it`s the best way to see it, you see what you want to see and not what they want you to see !!

plus you will save money which you can see/ do more at your own pace.

redrox,bob b, tet and the others will all help you to plan your trip !

rgds ..

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 51,294
reviews: 42
9. Re: escorted coach tour of route 66

Driving and see R66 can be fascinating but I'd always avoid a guided tour and do it on your own and at least take 3 weeks for it. Problem with trips like this it can get boring after a while seeing all the R66 relics and I always would plan a trip that includes visits to Chicago, St. Louis, OKC, ABQ/Santa fe and many more places like Sedona, Grand Canyoin, Las Vegas, Los Angeles etc etc. And then 3 weeks will be very short.

Tet

Auckland
posts: 48
reviews: 64
10. Re: escorted coach tour of route 66

I have to say all your comments have helped me gel together the idea of doing Route 66 . Main problem is I a) do not feel confident of driving on the wrong side of the road, no matter how easy people say it is and b) as a older female (may be travelling with another female friend) and a bit cautious about being on my/our own.

So how about the Greyhound bus from place to place (I know it is not driving the road BUT) stopping at places of interest and taking trips out from the main centres.

Is that a good idea or not?

I really am not bother about the old bike/old car scene = just fancy going that distance across America and touching the places we all heard about in our youth.

Dot