Gettin' Your Kicks On Route 66




Jack's Flight Club ✈️ Travel News & Inspiration

Howdy, JFC-ers,

Firstly, we’d like to wish a very happy St. Patrick’s Day to anyone celebrating! May your clothes be green, your Guinness have the perfect head, and your snakes be driven away.

Next up, we’re coming right at you with a controversial opinion: sometimes, we just want to follow the beaten path. We want to see the places we’ve read about for ourselves, experience the same as those who came before us.

This week’s Detour is focusing on exactly that, with tips and inspiration for Elena and Monish, who are planning their honeymoon along Route 66. We’re covering everything from the birthplace of corn dogs to Sedona swimming holes, so keep reading below.

Our Flight Finders have been at it, too. Over the last few days, they’ve been digging up trips from across the UK and Europe perfectly designed for anyone considering tackling one of the Caminos de Santiago (turns out there’s more than one route—who knew?!).

Premium members can find all the info on our app or portal, or free members can upgrade now to check it out!

Slàinte Mhaith and happy wandering,



Gettin’ Your Kicks On Route 66

Firstly, congratulations to you both! If ever there was a good excuse for an epic road trip, a honeymoon is it. The JFC hive mind is exactly the place to start gathering tips, so we’re delving into the JFC Facebook Community to see what our members have to say.

Let’s take a second for a little history. Dubbed "The Mother Road" in John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath, Route 66 started life as the path to a new home for Americans migrating west in the 1920s and ‘30s. But as the years went on, the Route gained pop culture fame in songs and on screens, turning it into one of the USA’s most popular road trips.

The old Route 66 as we know it no longer exists, having been replaced by new roads over time. You can still follow the historic route all the way from Chicago to Los Angeles, just don’t expect to be on the one road all the way. Plus, you’ll need to make some essential diversions en route to catch sights like the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley—you can hardly be an hour away and not pop by!

Tackling the full 2,400 miles is a big task, so you’ll want to start off with a hearty breakfast at Lou Mitchell’s in Chicago. It’s located on Jackson Boulevard, right by the route’s original starting point, and has been there since before Route 66 even opened. Don’t let the queue put you off—it’s worth the wait.

By the time you’ve made the obligatory visit to the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac, you’ll be on your way to Springfield (sadly not that Springfield). Some may say the most important sight there is Abraham Lincoln’s house, but we’re inclined to say it’s the Cozy Dog Drive In, the birthplace of the corn dog on a stick. It’s also a time machine, sending you straight back to the ‘60s.

We reckon Atlas Obscura’s map of historic eateries along the Route should lend a hand when it comes to munching your way west. Some are hard to miss (the 66-foot glowing soda bottle in particular), while others are a little more underground. Literally. But if it’s some good ol’ Texan barbecue you’re after, hit up Big Texan in Amarillo. Beware their "free" 72 oz steak, though—it’s a trap!

In terms of National Parks, Route 66 only actually runs through two: Gateway Arch National Park in St Louis, and Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. Of the pair, Petrified Forest National Park is the one we’d save time for. It’s littered with fallen, petrified trees (bet you didn’t see that one coming) that date back 225 million years. As well as examining the glittering quartz-filled logs, get your hiking boots on for a trail through the mountainous otherworldly landscape.

As mentioned above, there are more landmarks not far off the Route that you simply have to make a detour for (and you know we love a Detour around here). Most of these appear on the stretch between Denver and LA, so our JFC-ers recommend staring from Colorado if you have limited time.

Headlining our list are the well-preserved cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde and the towering red rocks and canyons of Sedona, which is said to be a deeply spiritual area with intense cleansing energy. Can’t hurt after 1,600-odd miles on the road. It’s also a good spot for hunting down romantic swimming holes with epic views and wildly contrasting turquoise waters against the red rock and blue sky. Utterly dreamy!

There’s one final gob-smacking natural wonder we have to mention–The Wave. Its smooth, natural sandstone formation looks fluid enough to surf on, with a visible grain resembling moving water. But, dear reader, there is a catch—you can’t just rock up (excuse the pun).

You need a permit to hike in the Coyote Buttes North area, which you can only get your hands on via a lottery. The advance lottery gives you a shot at securing a permit 4 months in advance, while the daily lottery offers a last ditch attempt to gain entry in a couple of days’ time. So if this is on your must-see list, keep trying!

Once you hit California, you’ve got the famous Joshua Tree and its serene desert landscapes right within reach. But we reckon it’s time for a man-made beauty spot to balance out all that nature.

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch could be described as a forest, an art installation, an alternative recycling method—or all of the above. Walking through rows and rows of trees made from glass bottles in the desert is certainly a unique experience, both eerie and beautiful.

You’re also back into big city territory, meaning there’s probably a street food vendor right around the corner. Strolling the boardwalks and side streets, just following your nose, is the most fun way to pick your dinner—but sometimes you need to know exactly where to find those rainbow elotes. Heading downtown to Korea Town will also guarantee a party in your mouth. We can taste that traditional BBQ already!

With the big drive at an end, you might want to ditch the RV and avoid the grim LA traffic. Our JFC-ers suggest staying in a beach town like Venice or Santa Monica and holding onto your vehicle a day or two longer. Public transport around the city isn’t always the most efficient option, and you could find yourself relying on a ride-sharing service.

When it comes to RV hire, we’ve got a few top tips:

  • If you’re not based in the US already, booking through a broker in your own country guarantees that you’ll have the right insurance coverage as a non-US licence holder.
  • Many RV companies charge an additional fee per mile. Look for prices including unlimited mileage to make sure you don’t end your trip with an unwelcome surprise.
  • JFC-ers recommend El Monte RV and Cruise America for price transparency.
  • Don’t pay extra for a newer model unless you want to spend your whole trip panicking about damaging it!

Member Jackie suggests planning your route around the National and State Park camp grounds, since you’ll probably be stopping by many of them anyway. Pitches in a State Park tend to be cheaper, but unsurprisingly, they’re pretty popular and book out early in the summer months. Reserve ahead of time if you can! You might also save a few bucks by grabbing a National Parks annual pass if you decide to hit as many as possible.

We trust that’s given you plenty to help you Get Your Kicks, readers! And in case you’re wondering why we didn’t mention any of the Oklahoma stretch here… skip on down to our State of the Week.

Have an amazing time on your all-American road trip, and don’t forget to send us a postcard!

Did we miss your favourite bit of Route 66? Let us know via [email protected], so we can tell Elena & Monish before it’s too late!


Gettin' Your Kicks... Off Route 66

In case you missed the memo, the USA is huge. And that means there are even more spectacular road trips out there than you might imagine. Here are a just a few of the favourites pinned on the wall at JFC HQ.

New York to the Florida Keys: East coast all the way, giving you the chance to grab a Philly cheese steak before hitting D.C.’s Smithsonian Museums and hiking in the Appalachians. Into the South, you’ve got beaches for days, as well as historic cities and the most haunted city in the USA. And all that’s before you even reach Florida’s Space Coast, Little Havana, and end up 90 miles from Cuba. Phew!

This trip is ideal in June, when you have the best chance of great weather throughout your trip. Plus, more hours of daylight means more time to explore!

The Pacific Coast Highway: It’s hardly a well-kept secret. But it might tempt you to swap the RV for a cabriolet, and let the wind run through your hair on cliff-top roads overlooking the ocean, just like they do in the movies. You’ll be travelling California end to end, or you can make it your own and carry on north all the way to Seattle. Heck, you may as well keep going to Vancouver at that point (just make sure your insurance covers you across the border!).

The California portion is best during spring, after the rainy season but before the heat of summer. We’d suggest holding out until May if you want to keep heading north—driving a convertible loses a bit of its charm in the snow.

The Great River Road: Why follow the coast when there’s so much to see inland? Following the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Louisiana will guide you through everything from national parks, to cute riverside towns and the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll. Unsurprisingly, opportunities for sports like kayaking and fishing are in no short supply on this route. But by the time you finish up in New Orleans, you better be ready for live music and gumbo.

Obviously, timing your arrival in New Orleans to coincide with Mardi Gras would be quite the welcome—and with an RV, you’ll avoid the crazy accommodation prices. That said, the northern portion of your trip would likely be pretty chilly. Instead, September is celebrated as Drive the Great River Road Month, with fall foliage, festivals and farmers markets all the way.


Around The States In 50 Editions: Oklahoma

Each week in 2023, we’ll be going on a whirlwind tour of a different randomly selected US state. This week, we’re heading to Oklahoma.

🎵 Oooklahoma! Where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain, and the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet, when the wind comes right behind the rain 🎵

Now you’ve got your theme tune for the entire state sorted, let’s focus on the best places to sing it out loud. We’ll start off in Tulsa, where you better keep up that musical mood.

The Woody Guthrie Center celebrates the artist’s life as a writer of protest songs and a committed activist, most famous for his song "This Land is Your Land". Then right next door, you’ve got the life and work of another legendary musician in the Bob Dylan Center.

Let the creative mood keep you going as you emerge into Tulsa Arts District. You can fall into one of the many bars with live music, get a boost in a cute coffee shop, or head straight back indoors to the Museum of Popular Culture. Musicians beware: Tulsa Violin shop and Guitar House of Tulsa are right around the corner, so enter at your peril (and if you’re prepared to pay for extra checked luggage on your way home).

Round it all off with a trip to the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, and you’ll be laughing (or humming constantly). Although it’s currently closed for renovation, we’d still take a stroll past to see the amazing art deco building it’s housed in.

Now we’re on to Tulsa’s more unusual side. On the city’s outskirts, right by a pond in Catoosa, there is a whale. A big, metal whale. Originally built by a man named Hugh Davis in the 1970s as a gift to his family, the whale quickly became a tourist attraction. It remains a popular picnicking spot to this day, and even has a gift shop where you can by Blue Whale merch!

Totem Pole Park is another weird Oklahoma must-see, located just a few miles off the historic Route 66. There are 11 totem poles and 1 totem pole-shaped building in the park, each one more colourful than the last. Just don’t look too long at any of the faces painted on the big totem—they may or may not be able to see into your soul.

Oklahoma City offers up an entirely different variety of attractions for the less musically inclined. Sure, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum will give you a taste of frontier life, and the city’s lakes are ideal for romantic walks and kayaking, but we’re particularly coo-rious about the American Pigeon Museum


Our Pick Of The Clicks

All the important (or silly, or strange) travel news from across the web this week.

Change of plans for anyone heading to Bali—the government has announced plans to ban tourists from renting motorbikes. The move is an effort to prevent accidents, with officials saying visitors often ride recklessly, without valid paperwork or helmets.

Spain has extended its free rail ticket scheme until the end of the year! Anyone, including visitors, can travel for free on trains across the country, provided you take a minimum of 16 journeys by the end of the year.

Cabin crew are fed up with our nonsense, as more and more passengers avoid paying to choose their seat, yet still expect to sit where they want. According to one crew member, parents flying with children are the worst offenders, regularly asking other passengers to move so that their family can sit together.

Maybe airlines just shouldn’t charge us for seats, then, eh?

And finally, ever wondered which airline offers the best food? Well, the jury’s in, and Emirates leads the pack with multiple courses and tasty sides. And if you’re in a fancy mood, a glass of champagne will "only" cost you $20. Bargain.