If you ask people what the best guidebook to Route 66 is, the answer you’ll probably get most often is Jerry McClanahan’s EZ66 Guide for Travelers (sometimes called the Route 66 EZ Guide). Currently, on its fourth edition (with a fifth edition in the works), the EZ66 Guide has been the gold standard for guidebooks to Route 66 since its first release.
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What is the EZ66 Guide for Travelers?
Route 66 is probably the most famous road in the United States. The highway originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, to Los Angeles, California, covering 2,448 miles. Route 66 traveled through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
While most of the original Route 66 is still driveable, about 80%, parts of it aren’t well marked anymore. That’s where the EZ66 Guide comes in. The EZ66 Guide for Travelers is a guide to Route 66 that includes maps and directions that are pretty easy to follow.
Jerry McClanahan wrote the book; it is 216 pages long and is published by the National Historic Route 66 Foundation. The EZ66 Guide is spiral-bound, making it easy to keep open while driving.
Review of the EZ66 Guide for Travelers
I’ll start this review by stating that the EZ66 Guide for Travelers (available on Amazon) is without question the best guide book for traveling Route 66. It is filled with so much information, and a lot of what you’ll find in this book you won’t find anywhere else. With that said, while this is the best guide to driving Route 66, it might not be the best book for everyone.
The guide is indispensable if you are planning a trip on Route 66 or are currently traveling on the road. While you can find a lot of information on Route 66 online, the guide puts everything in one place and does a much better job than any website on helping you retrace the original road. But, if you are just starting your trip or aren’t as familiar with Route 66, the book won’t work as well.
While the EZ66 Guide has plenty of drawings, there are no photos in the book, and the descriptions of various attractions don’t go into much depth. That is fine for people who have a general idea of Route 66, but for someone new to the road, it might be hard to see what makes it so special just from this book. For the Route 66 beginner, a more visual book is probably the better way to learn about The Mother Road.
With that being said, once it’s time to start planning your trip or you are out on the road, the EZ66 Guide is the book to have. The book has detailed directions and includes long bypassed highway sections that won’t appear on most online maps.
Speaking of online, these days, you can find pretty much anything online. The big advantage to this book over just using the internet is everything is all in one place in an easy-to-use and follow format. I’m unsure if any website will provide you with as much information as this guide, all in one place.
There is also the problem that there are parts of Route 66 where you may not get phone service, making checking anything online that you haven’t already printed or saved difficult. Having the book in hand means you aren’t dependent on where the nearest cell tower is.
A Recent Trip Using the EZ66 Guide
We always carry the EZ66 Guide with us when we know or think that we might be traveling on Route 66, even if it is a section we’ve done a number of times before.
Recently we decided to drive the portion of Route 66 between Kingman and Seligman in Arizona again. We’ve driven this section of the road a number of times in the past, but by checking the guide we are always able to see something we may have otherwise missed.
In Peach Springs there is an old cobblestone building that is home to the Hualapai Tribal Forestry Dept. right off the north side of the road. Without the EZ66 Guide we’d have never known that the building was once a trading post that actually predates Route 66.
The book also informed us as we passed through Crozier Canyon that the last section of Route 66 in Arizona to be paved in 1937 was there. That is certainly something we wouldn’t have known otherwise.
Alternative to the EZ66 Guide for Travelers
As far as guidebooks go, I don’t think there are any real alternatives out there. At least none that will give you as much information and allow you to experience as much of Route 66 as this book does.
One guidebook that I like and I feel is far more beginner-friendly is The Best Hits on Route 66: 100 Essential Stops on the Mother Road. This guidebook is well written, has a lot of photos, and includes maps making it easy to follow the road. The EZ66 Guide is better if you want to explore every inch of Route 66, but this book is perfect if you are just dipping your toes into Route 66.
Another book that I highly recommend, and probably my favorite on Route 66, is Ghost Towns of Route 66: The Forgotten Places Along America’s Famous Highway. This book is written by Jim Hinckley, who has authored a number of books on Route 66. As a fan of both Route 66 and ghost towns, this was an easy pick-up for me, but I was blown away by the detail in the book and the fantastic photographs by Kerrick James. It isn’t really a guidebook, but if you are interested in some of the abandoned places you’ll find along the road, this is a must-have.
Jerry McClanahan’s EZ66 Guide for Travelers is, in my opinion, the best guidebook for traveling Route 66. It has turn-by-turn directions and is good for both westbound and eastbound travel. If you are heading out on Route 66, it is a must-have.
The EZ66 Guide For Travelers is available on Amazon (click for current price) and you can also find it at numerous gift shops along Route 66.