Jesse Chehak

The actress gets her kicks on Route 66. T+L goes along for the ride.

Dani Shapiro

“I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Route 66 was always a part of my life. But it wasn’t until I became an adult that I started to appreciate its history. When I moved to Los Angeles as a young actor, I used to drive back to Oklahoma on I-40 because I felt like I had to get there fast. In the last ten years or so, though, I’ve found myself wanting to slow down and enjoy the experience. I had never driven the entire length (it’s around 2,400 miles), but since I’m a spokesperson for the World Monuments Fund, and Route 66 is one of the sites the WMF wants to protect and repair, I flew to Chicago with my son and we took the trip of a lifetime together.

“On a two-week drive, you really begin to understand America’s vastness: from the lushness of Illinois to the plains of Texas, the mesas of New Mexico to the cacti of California. The most beautiful driving is around Sitgreaves Pass, in Arizona. It’s like going back in time, through winding roads and rock formations. My son just kept looking out the window. Whenever we stopped, people wanted to talk. ‘Where are you going? Where are you coming from?’ The journey doesn’t end.”

Jeanne Tripplehorn stars in the HBO series Big Love, as well as in Morning (in theaters spring 2010). The World Monuments Fund has partnered with American Express (T+L’s parent company) to provide funding for Route 66 projects.

 

“The Ariston Café (lunch for two $20) opened in 1924, and it’s never really changed. It’s the oldest restaurant on Route 66.”

 

“We stopped at Pops (sodas from $2), which has a 66-foot-tall pop-bottle sign out front and sells over 500 types of soda.”

Cadillac Ranch (free admission) is a truly American art installation. Ten grafitti-covered Cadillacs are buried halfway in the ground.”

“I picked up a silver belt buckle and Indian turquoise bracelets at Richardson’s Trading Co.

Great Value “Rooms at La Posada Hotel (doubles from $99) are named for famous guests. We slept in the Amelia Earhart suite.”

Pops

Pops — a combination gas station, diner, and soda shop north of Oklahoma city, has added a futuristic twist to the iconic highway. With its dramatic cantilevered steel canopy and 66-foot bottle sign, the store is impossible to miss from the road. Inside, more than 400 different sodas line the walls, making this the fizziest pit stop in all of Oklahoma. Enjoy domestic brands like Coke or try Peruvian Inca Kola and German Afri-Cola.

La Posada Hotel

This restored 1920s Spanish-Colonial property, filled with antique hand-carved Mexican furnishings and hammered-tin mirrors. The on-site Turquoise Room restaurant is known for its upscale southwestern cuisine.

Ariston Café

Opened in 1924 (and not much changed since), this is the oldest restaurant on Route 66.

Cadillac Ranch

A truly American art installation, the ranch consists of ten grafitti-covered Cadillacs buried halfway in the ground.

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