We’re sharing our 2,500+ mile road trip down Route 66 from Chicago to LA. See Part I and Part III!

BETWEEN OKLAHOMA CITY AND SANTA FE. The drive from OKC to Santa Fe was, by far, the longest leg of the journey with a straight 10 hours in the car. Neither of us have ever been to the southwest, so we were excited to hit the road early! We wove around (really, really) hilly roads, passed through the Texas panhandle, and sprayed our initials on the existing thick, gloopy painted cars at Cadillac Ranch.

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SANTA FE TO ALBUQUERQUE. We spent only one morning in Santa Fe, but luckily, there was a street festival going on around the corner from our hotel! After grabbing brunch at Cafe Pasqual’s, we walked a lap around the fest, and we hopped back in the car for a drive down the Turquoise Trail, a scenic byway connecting us to Albuquerque. It was at this point that our surroundings really started to change, and we were all, wait, stop here! Let’s take a picture! (5 minutes later…) Wait, stop here! Let’s take a picture! And so on, as we do.

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ALBUQUERQUE. Man, do we love Albuquerque! Having both grown up in the Midwest, we were in awe of what could (but definitely shouldn’t!) be considered commonplace – the cacti, the adobe everything, the mountain backdrop and the vibrant colors tucked into road signs and highway underpasses. We toasted the city with brews at La Cumbre (which Scott insists is the best IPA he’s ever had), and we vowed to not be those people that drive by Walter White’s house. We did, however, breakdown and take our rental car through his wash. So, we sort of failed. Albuquerque favorites: La Cumbre Brewing, the Nob Hill neighborhood, the southwest salad at Bistronomy B2B (OMG), brunch at Grove Cafe.

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BETWEEN ALBUQUERUE AND FLAGSTAFF. The drive towards Flagstaff felt so magical; the landscape is so, so pretty! It’s sort of what I imagine a summery dream reel to look like – a repeating loop of blue skies, cotton candy clouds, fluffy foliage and low mountains. On the other hand, we did stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, and we were rewarded by no less than ten mosquito bites. That’ll show us.

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FLAGSTAFF TO SEDONA. With Flagstaff as our home base, we took a day trip down to Sedona to see Red Rock State Park. Not surprisingly, the drive was out of this world gorgeous, and every time we thought we’d seen the best of those red rocks, we’d drive another minute and see something even more stunning. It just kept getting better and better! It began raining before we had a chance to take a mini hike along Bell Rock, but it only made for more vibrant reds and greens. I didn’t take as many photos in Flagstaff, but we still have our highlights. Flagstaff  favorites: brunch at MartAnne’s, pizza at Pizzicletta, drinks at Lumberyard. 

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Tomorrow, we go off the beaten (Route 66) path – just a bit – and finish up at the Santa Monica pier!

18 replies on “Driving Route 66: II of III”

  1. Awwww…thank you for posting the pictures of Albuquerque. I went to graduate school at UNM and lived in Nob Hill. I really miss that place! Your trip looks amazing!

  2. I live in Phoenix now, but I went to college in Flagstaff and I had so much fun living up there. It’s such a beautiful area! Thanks for sharing your trip. Your pictures are making me want to visit Sedona again!

  3. I love cacti! My sister and I took a whirlwind trip to Arizona many years ago (we drove 1,000 miles around the state in 4 days) and the landscapes we saw were amazing. Your photos are making me want to dig up the ones I took at the time and make some cactus paintings. :)

  4. Your photos are gorgeous, and I’m so glad you loved Pizzicletta! Welcome home.

    1. Thanks! Pizzicletta was seriously the world’s cutest date night spot. It was an excellent suggestion. Can’t thank you enough!

    1. Thanks, Josh. A whole trip to Arizona alone would’ve been well worth it. Wish we had time to get down to Phoenix… but I guess that means we’ll just need to go back, right?!

    1. Haha, thanks, Julia! The kids hanging out by the potties were the “cool kids” at the pop up carnival, for sure. It made me weirdly nostalgic for being a teenager again.

  5. You’re photography is amazing! I am so impressed. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Glad you liked Le Cumbre! These photos are absolutely breathtaking–you definitely did this part of the US justice. Hoping 1 or 10 make it to the print shop(!!!)

  7. Red Rock is definitely one of the most beautiful places on earth. Loving all your shots from this trip, it must’ve been so crazy hard to narrow them down!

  8. i’m in the middle of planning a trip from detroit to grand canyon via route 66-kind of having a hard time finding a map of route 66. it looks like its partially on main highways and partially not? how did you plan for this trip? finding a route or whatnot? or are they signs for being on route 66?
    also, do you remember how long it took you to get from chicago to grand canyon?

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