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© 2007 Emily Priddy. All rights reserved.
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For Madeleine, who might have been;
Sweet Baby James; and the firefly girls, Adeline and Georgia.
A trip down Route 66 very well may be the perfect family vacation. From the bustling streets of downtown Chicago, the old road runs south through the Illinois prairie, past cornfields and classic car lots, drive-in movie theaters and doughnut shops, on its way to the mighty Mississippi River, where it crosses the world’s longest pedestrian bridge and heads west into Missouri’s Ozark Mountains, passing tourist traps and wineries, cutting across the corner of Kansas and slipping quietly onto Oklahoma’s red clay for the long run past pecan groves and cattle and Cherokee trading posts on its way into the Texas Panhandle, and across the open, windy Panhandle to the ghost town of Glenrio, where the flat Texas terrain suddenly gives way to the magical vistas of New Mexico, and billboards advertising steak dinners are replaced by signs touting “Tucumcari Tonite!” On it goes, across the aptly-named Land of Enchantment and into the colors of Arizona, through the Painted Desert and past motels shaped like tepees on its way to the vast Mojave -- John Steinbeck’s “bright and terrible desert” -- and across the desert and into the green and prosperous land of palm trees and glitter where it finally runs out near the Pacific Ocean.
Along the way, the Mother Road offers her children a host of kid-friendly attractions: cowboys and Indians, frozen custard, fiberglass giants, amusement parks, dinosaurs, horses, neon signs, tacky souvenirs, and a thousand other delights no kid can resist.
This updated edition of Route 66 for Kids is available exclusively as a free download from my Web site, www.kidson66.com, and is designed to be printed out and slipped into a three-ring binder, which will allow it to lay flat in the car. Other Route 66 guidebooks for parents seeking to take their children down the Mother Road are on the market, but I strongly urge you to compare them to this one before you buy, as I am aware of at least one book comprises material plagiarized from this publication and duplications in listings. Caveat emptor.
To get the most out of this book, it is advised that you purchase the following items and add them to your binder:
• Economy-weight sheet protectors. Inexpensive and readily available at most discount stores, these are a must if you are using an inkjet printer, because they protect the ink from spills, rain and other damage. Insert a few extras into your binder to protect children's artwork, brochures collected along the road and other items you plan to keep to remember your trip.
• Business-card sheets. Business cards are among the best souvenirs you can find on Route 66, because they are small, free, and invaluable in settling family arguments later, when you're trying to remember exactly where you had those terrific hash browns for breakfast. The only problem with business cards is that they tend to get left in pockets to be eaten by the washing machine, vanish under floor mats or disappear into that hole in the space-time continuum that seems to exist in the bottom of Mom's purse. Plastic sheets made for the purpose of storing business cards will help you keep track of these tiny souvenirs, which are especially useful if you want to stay in touch with the new friends you meet.
• Small zippered storage pouch. Designed for organizing school supplies in a child's binder, these inexpensive plastic or nylon pouches are indispensable for carrying extra pencils and postcard stamps, not to mention storing small souvenirs such as matchbooks, ink pens, feathers, bottlecaps, pebbles and the like.
This book is intended to help you plan a memorable journey with your children, but it is in no way a complete list of all the activities available on Route 66, nor is its accuracy guaranteed. Phone numbers, Web addresses, hours and admission fees were accurate at press time, but things can change. If you find an error or discover a great roadside attraction not listed here, drop me a line at email@example.com; I just might use your input in future editions.
$ = Free admission.
= Located on Route 66.