Posted by: redforkhippie | February 23, 2008

Road Tip 7

Thanks to reader Tyler, whose question prompted this week’s road tip: How to pack for a Route 66 trip.

For intergalactic hitchhiking, you should always pack a towel. For Route 66 trips, you can leave the towel at home — but DO NOT pull out of the driveway without a camera.

I generally pack a week’s worth of clothes; for longer trips, just stop at a laundromat once a week. I also bring a plastic bag to hold dirty clothes. Route 66 goes through diverse climates, so I pack things that can be layered: tank tops, a flannel, a baja jacket, and a barn coat. I also try to take along one relatively nice outfit in case we get a wild hair to try an upscale restaurant.

Being a photographer, I’ll do just about any gonzo thing to get a good shot, so I wear clothes and shoes that will withstand things like crawling under barbed wire or climbing up rock formations to get a better angle, and I always bring my leather Harley gloves, which are warm and also good for protecting fingers during such activities.

A bottle of all-in-one shampoo and conditioner will stand in for shower gel and shaving cream. Get the tearless kind so you don’t blind yourself while adjusting the water temperature in an unfamiliar shower. I like L’Oreal for Kids, because the bottle is an efficent shape for packing.

Route 66 is not on current maps and atlases, so bring a good guidebook with turn-by-turn directions. I recommend Jerry McClanahan’s E-Z Guide. I also keep a copy of the Route 66 Dining and Lodging Guide in the car. Both books are available from the National Historic Route 66 Federation. Keep a standard road atlas in the car in case you get lost or decide to take a side trip (Las Vegas or the Grand Canyon, for instance).

Other good things to keep in the car: notebook and several pens; iPod; four-way lug wrench; Fix-A-Flat; ice scraper; cell phone and charger; Sharpie pen; Swiss Army knife; paper towels; Windex; cooler full of water or Gatorade; tape measure; bottle of hand sanitizer; duct tape; travel pillow; blanket.

Emily,
a hoopy frood who knows where her towel is at

P.S.: Someone asked about bringing spray paint for the Cadillac Ranch. I wouldn’t; if it’s sunny out, the car can heat up quickly and make the cans explode. Just buy some when you get to Amarillo.

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