I'll update with more as we find more unique stops.
There are so many unique things to see along Route 66, but I thought I'd highlight one or two so you can get a little flavor.
Forest of Bottle Trees in Helendale, CA
The forest of “bottle trees” is something you really can’t find anywhere else. Hundreds of bottles, hanging on sticks, is what Elmer Long calls “folk art.” The trees are special to him because they are made up of things he has collected since childhood. And lest you think this is something of bygone years, shiny bottles can be found amongst the dirty, allowing one to think this is a work in progress.
Wigwam Village Motel, Holbrook, AZ
At one time, there were several Wigwam Villages across the country, but only 3 still remain: Cave City, Kentucky (#2); Holbrook, AZ (#6); and Rialto, CA (#7). The one in AZ is pretty well known simply for its popularity over the years. It’s also been placed on the National Register of Historic Places (in 2002).
The property consists of 15 “teepee” motel rooms, each free standing and shaped like, well, a teepee. Each one has a small bathroom and two double beds.
The Wigwam Village in Rialto has been recently restored and is also worth a look.
“Corner” in Winslow, AZ
You know that song by The Eagles, it goes, “Standin’ on the corner in Winslow, Arizona…” Well, there you go, that about sums it up. There’s a particular corner in Winslow, Arizona, apparently, that this song is about. Imagine that!
Blue Swallow Motel, Tucumcari, NM
The Blue Swallow is known as “the friendliest motel on Route 66” and from what I hear, they live up to this pretty well. Oddly enough, this famous Route 66 motel was built in the 1940s from surplus WWII cabins. And it gets better! Later it was presented as an engagement present to Lillian Redman, the proprietess for many years, by her soon-to-be husband Floyd.
Leaning water tower, Groom, TX
Not all that unique, but definitely interesting, is the Leaning Water Tower of Groom, Texas. No one knows exactly why it is leaning, but it sure has created some rumors! Apparently two legs are actually off the ground and it leans at a 45 degree angle! I have to question how much longer this thing is going to stand…? – Update: Apparently the water tower has been demolished as of Sept. 2007. Bummer.
Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, TX
You’ve probably seen a picture of it and just didn’t know what it was called. Well now you do. Ten graffiti-covered Cadillacs (models from 1949 to 1963) are buried nose-down into the sand near Amarillo, Texas. People are encouraged to come and visit and leave their own message. Quirky. Weird. Just my style.
Snow Cap Drive-in, Seligman, AZ
Another one for those who love “quirky.” The establishment, owned by the Delgadillo brothers (well, one passed away), is simply a fun atmosphere, with the proprietors telling jokes and odd signs hanging on the wall. And it’s an eating establishment—so fill up on fun and food at the same time. From what I hear, it is a one-of-a-kind place.
Lincoln Motel, Chandler, OK
Another special old mote along Route 66. Couldn’t find much information but the stay is apparently well worth it. I’ll let you know when we get there.
Chain of Rocks Bridge, St. Louis, MO
Originally part of Route 66 used to cross the Mississippi River, it now is only open to pedestrian foot traffic. It is well known for its 22 degree bend in the middle. It was closed to traffic in 1968 when a new (and better?) bridge was built. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Meramec Caverns, Stanton, MO
As a way of advertisement, Meramec Caverns painted the sides of barns along Route 66 to attract visitors. Though most of the barns have disappeared, a few remain luring curious tourists to this once popular roadside attraction. So what is more famous? The barns advertising Meramec Caverns or the caverns themselves? It’s probably worth a visit, so long as it isn’t too narrow to walk through…
The Spindle (a.k.a Cars-on-a-spike), Chicago, IL
I have to admit, the first thing I think of is Wayne’s World but I guess The Spindle really is real. In fact, so real that if you have $50,000 you could be the proud owner of it—it’s on sale at eBay.
If you’re unfamiliar with the classic Wayne’s World (oh so good!), The Spindle is a 40-foot spike with eight cars impaled upon it.
Funks Grove Sirup, IL
That isn’t a typo. The Funk family has been making their sirup for over 100 years. You can be sure I’m buying a few bottles of this special sirup. Mmm, pancakes… waffles…http://www.funksmaplesirup.com/