The mother of all roads

by Ian Begley
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EMBARK on the quintessential great American road trip all the way from Chicago to LA with an unforgettable 17 night holiday from Travel Department.
Constructed in 1926, Route 66 became known as the “Main Street of America” or “The Mother Road”, as it wound through towns, trading posts and small communities across the United States. Originally a major trucking route for American agriculture, it also became the main road for migrants travelling from the Dust Bowl to California during the years of the Great Depression.
On this once-in-a-lifetime journey, head out on the highway and travel from east to west across eight states, passing through the heart of America along the way.
Enjoy a full day of exploration in the “Windy City” of Chicago, where you will discover the extravagant shopping district of the Magnificent Mile, before crossing over the Chicago River to the downtown core, aka the Loop.
From Illinois and into Missouri, the first state to place a historic marker on the old Mother Road.
Historic St Louis is well worth a stop-off while in the Show-Me State, with its famous Gateway Arch towering over the Mississippi River.
Next states up are Kansas (for all of about 10 miles) and Oklahoma where the venerable highway’s old charm has been carefully preserved.
Heading west, you will cut across the top of Texas, passing through quaint towns like Shamrock and Amarillo, and into New Mexico, where the wild west landscape looks almost lunar.
Then it’s Arizona, home of the Grand Canyon, where you’ll no doubt want to stretch your legs with a walk along its magnificent South Rim, one of the highlights of this amazing trip.
A less known gem in Arizona – but one for the bucket list – is the Petrified Forest National Park, an eerie yet beautiful place that got its name from the fossilised wood found there which dates back to the late Triassic period, around 225million years ago.
Continue along the famed Route 66 to Las Vegas, the gaming capital of the world, glittering like a mirage in the desert.
Here, you can visit a casino, sip drinks by the pool, see a show such as Cirque du Soleil, or simply wander down the dazzling four-mile long Las Vegas strip, before enjoying a guided tour of the power plant at Hoover Dam the next day, which is one of the largest dams in the United States.
Your final stop on this epic journey will be the playground of the rich and famous – Los Angeles. Take a guided tour of the city where you will see everything from countless movie locations and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, to panoramic city views from the Griffith Park Observatory and the infamous Hollywood Boulevard.
Then, continue to the exclusive Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive, followed by the nearby Santa Monica to indulge in some time at leisure by the Pacific Ocean, a walk along the boardwalk, or some souvenir shopping.
Prices start from €3,799 for 17 nights including return flights from Dublin, three-star and four-star B&B hotel accommodation, transfers, excursions and taxes and charges, with flight departing on May 3, 2017.

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