The New Route 66: 5 Must-See Stops on Your I-40 Road Trip
Photo: "Cadillac Ranch" by Richie Diesterheft via Wikimedia Commons.
The third longest interstate in the country, I-40 runs from Barstow, California to Wilmington, North Carolina. Paralleling or overlaying part of the old historic Route 66, there are quite a few places that might be worth a stop or even warrant a overnight. Here are five places to get your cross country trip planning started.
Cadillac Ranch – Amarillo, Texas – Mile Marker 62
This is a great site to see if you just happen to drive by, but the real joy is stopping by, taking a picture, and spray painting all of the Cadillacs. Yes, you can actually go and spray paint them yourself! The Ant Farm, a collective of artists who created the installation in 1974, always intended it to be an interactive exhibit.
The Cherokee Trading Post – Clinton, Oklahoma – Mile Marker 71
The Cherokee Trading post is now in its fourth generation of family ownership and it is still going strong. Everything you could probably imagine is for sale here. The staff is nice and they have a restaurant as well. Check out the authentic Native American art, pottery, and artifacts. This is a great place to stretch those legs, grab a bite and hit the bathroom.
Route 66 Museum - Clinton, Oklahoma – Mile Marker 65
Photo courtesy of user “big red one” at http://www.mocgb.net/ .
Just a few miles down the road from the Cherokee Trading Post is a must-see stop for all those nostalgia fans: The Route 66 Museum. Journey through the history of the highway and everything it took to bring it from dream to fruition. You can hear big band music being played while learning about how the road was the soldier's way home from the Pacific and the vacationer’s road to relaxation. The museum also offers rotating exhibits about the historic highway and its impact on the American way of life.
Related: Find What’s Lost on Route 66
Sandia Peak - Albuquerque, New Mexico – Mile Marker 167
North America’s longest aerial tram is located just five miles off of I-40 adjacent to the Sandia Peak Ski Area. If you are here in the summer, there are plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails available. If you are here in the winter, the skiing is great. Even if you don’t plan on getting out in the elements, there is a restaurant at the top of the 2.7 mile tram ride. High Finance offers up sandwiches and burgers for lunch and steaks, seafood and vegetarian options for dinner.
Barringer Meteorite Crater - Winslow, Arizona – Mile Marker 233
The world’s best preserved meteorite impact site on Earth is located right off of I-40 and a mesmerizing site to see. Nearly a mile across and more than 550 feet deep, the crevasse is the result of a meteor hitting the planet about 50,000 years ago. In addition to the impact site, there is an interactive discovery museum, a gift and rock shop, and an astronaut memorial park located at the crater rim.
It is a long road, and these are merely five places along it. What is your favorite stop along Interstate 40? Let me know in the comments below.
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