I’m James, a new graduate from the University of California’s commencement ceremony. I have my trusty backpack and a map in hand as I start The Mother Road- Route 66 journey. With no one to accompany but myself, I’m set out on his journey after graduation.
After daydreaming about life post-college for hours on end and meeting some interesting people along the way, I reached Los Angeles!
How it all came?
I was in my final year of college and I wanted to do something special for myself before graduation. I had a lot of big plans for after school, but none that would be as memorable or exciting, so this seemed like the perfect time to take on an adventure.
My family vacations always consisted of trips through Route 66 so it sounded like the best place to go; also because it’s one of America’s most iconic roads.
The only thing harder than planning out my route was choosing what tools and gadgets I should bring with me. And the toughest decision I had was picking which car- just kidding! The hardest part was figuring out how much money I needed and how many days’ worth of food to pack into my backpack.
I had never gone on a big adventure without my family, so I was really nervous and excited at the same time. But when it came down to it, all that mattered is how much fun I would have in those few short days before settling into reality again.
10 Days Before the Journey
I made a rough plan of the route that would take me through all sorts of different landscapes.
I knew I wanted to stop and eat at some food joints along the way, but when it came down to deciding where- again, just kidding! It was really hard for me to pick out which places were best because there are so many good ones.
I would have to do a lot of reading and research before finally settling on where I want to go!
Here are the places that made it onto my list:
– Dust Bowl Brewing Co., Tulsa, Oklahoma
– Rialto Square Theatre (Joliet, Illinois)
– The Cozy Dog Drive-In (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
– Mimi’s in the Marigny (New Orleans, Louisiana)
– Cactus Jacks Bar & Grill (Flagstaff, Arizona)
I also wanted to stop at various points of interest. I’ll need to use my map for that!
– The Grand Canyon
– Hoover Dam
– Route 66 Museum (Tulsa, Oklahoma)
– Southwestern University (Georgetown, Texas)
I also wanted to do some hiking so I looked up places where I could go mountain climbing. Some of the ones that caught my eye were:
– Mount Lemmon (Arizona)
– Mount Baldy (California)
Day One – The Adventure Begins
I started on the next day of my graduation journey, Saturday, June 17th and I am starting from Chicago.
I will be taking the old-fashioned Mother Road Route 66 to Santa Monica Pier in California.
So far my journey has been going well. Already on day one of this journey, I have found some interesting things such as Cicero’s Pizza in Alhambra and The Route 66 Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
I also had a great visit at Southwestern University and I got to meet some of the students there.
The journey is going well so far but it’s only day one! The adventure has just begun!
Day Two of the Adventure
I woke up in Gallup, New Mexico on Day Two of this journey, Sunday, June 18th. I was tired from the previous day’s drive but it doesn’t matter much because Route 66 is an old road with so many different places to explore.
Along my way today, I discovered some beautiful lakes and some other great scenery such as red rock formations.
I am also looking forward to visiting Meteor Crater in Arizona tomorrow, as well as the Grand Canyon.
Day Three of the Adventure
Today was a long drive East from Gallup, New Mexico into Texas! I stopped at many places along Route 66 including Carlsbad Caverns National Park and the Santa Ana Pueblo.
Tomorrow I have a very long drive of about 12 hours west towards California where there is much more waiting for me!
Accessories that accompanied me during my journey
Following are the accessories that helped me
- My trusty backpack with my laptop, camera, and other gear!
- The map of Route 66 provided by the National Park Service.
- A pair of Aviators to keep me cool in the hot desert sun.
Route 66 has been a great journey so far! I have learned a lot about myself and what I am interested in. It’s a great feeling to know that I have the rest of my life ahead of me and I want to explore as much as possible!
– James, a University graduate from UCLA on Route 66