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In what season / month should I travel Route 66?
Right from the beginning, you’ll be faced with the tough decision on how many days you can afford to spend on the road. Take this advice - 15 full days is the bare minimum for the complete experience. Add one day to acclimate yourself and get over the jet lag in Chicago after the long flight, and at least two days in Los Angeles after the end of the trip. If you can afford a longer trip, spend at least three to four weeks on Route 66. You won’t regret it.
You can visit Route 66 from spring to late fall. In spring and fall, count on unstable and rainy weather with the risk of tornadoes; in the summer, with abnormal heat compared to Europe.
Winter may be unpleasantly long in the eastern part of the US. In the spring of 2018, when this article was being written, Route 66 was still covered in snow in late April. But we’ve traveled Route 66 in November as well – unpleasant rain followed us from Chicago to the Texas border and it was 4 – 10°C; yet temperatures rose rapidly as we advanced further west, enjoying the sun and temperatures above 20°C in New Mexico, Arizona and California. And in these three states, Route 66 is good for traveling on in good weather almost all year round. Even on a motorcycle! However, remember that it is very windy at that time, especially on such a vehicle.
September seems ideal for a trip across Route 66. The 43-45°C heat ends in the desert and the temperature drops to 38°C, while ranging between 23°C and 32°C in other parts of the USA.
But don’t forget that you’ll travel across hugely different landscapes – you start in fertile Illinois and gradually pass through the prairie to desert areas. And the weather can change dramatically on the 4,200 km stretch Route 66 runs along. Also prepare for exhausting heat with extremely humid areas, and on the contrary, with extremely dry air in the prairie and desert.
During our September trip we did not get wet once, but the bikers who rode out of Chicago one day later were caught by a strong downpour. This shows that the weather can be unstable and bikers in particular must always be ready for the changes. Actually, it can’t be overplanned: you’re either lucky or not.
September is also suitable because the main holiday season ends in the US and you have a much greater chance of getting a bike or a car of choice at a rental company. On the other hand, expect some of the attractions and restaurants on Route 66 to be closed in September. The decline in the number of customers is being radically handled by the Americans – the business simply closes and awaits a new season.
Make sure the date doesn’t further change. You will need it not only for taking days off of work, but also for the plane tickets and for the motorcycle/car rental.