Route 66, USA

Dates: June 16–24, 2018

Begins: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
(airport: OKC)

Ends: Santa Monica, California
(airport: LAX)

Leaders: Jeffrey Chapman & Winslow Lockhart

Maximum Participants: 10

Tuition: $3,400

Accommodation: Included
(single supplement: $600)

Meals: Not Included

Average Daily Driving Time: 3 hours

Payment Policy: 3 Installments
     • $500 deposit to confirm participation
     • 50% due by November 1, 2017
     • Balance due by March 1, 2018

This photographic adventure begins in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and ends in Santa Monica, California. Tuition includes hotel accommodation (based on double occupancy; single occupancy is available with payment of a single-occupancy supplement). It does not include car rental, gas, parking, meals, entrance fees, souvenirs, laundry, hotel resort/destination fees, insurance (travel, medical, cancellation), nor any personal expenses.

This photographic road trip is suitable for all levels of photographic experience. Participants must be in good health and able to spend each day walking and carrying their own equipment.

Reserve your spot below.

Route 66 Within The Frame Photographic Road Trip

Route 66 Within The Frame Itinerary

Route 66 is iconic. Known as “Main Street of America” and nicknamed “The Mother Road” by John Steinbeck in his 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath, it is the quintessential US road trip that is as much about people as place. It is a microcosm of historic roadside America. Along Route 66 one discovers vintage motels, bustling diners, neon signs, colorful trading posts, picturesque towns, old cars, even older gas stations, Cadillacs sticking out of the ground, giant dinosaur sculptures, wild and kitschy signs, ghost towns, wigwams, goats, donkeys, incredible landscapes, nostalgic murals, antiques, American Indian reservations, numerous cultures, and always the unexpected. It is never the same twice.

Route 66 runs from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. The Route 66 Within The Frame Photographic Road Trip will explore the most interesting and diverse section from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Santa Monica, California. During this road trip we will photograph in five states: Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, including some more famous places as well as less famous but equally interesting places (like Tucumcari, Winslow, Oatman, etc.). We will stay in some luxurious accommodations as well as in some iconic Route 66 motels. We will eat homemade hash browns and berry pies in diners where time will seem to have stood still. We will encounter characters that seem just as timeless. We will photograph many of the iconic sites along Route 66, but we will be open to serendipity. We will work to find our own visions and our own interpretations of this historic “Mother Road” as we Get “Our” Kicks (and pics!) on Route 66.

This is not going to be a rushed road trip, running from trading post to roadside diner and ghost town to wigwam to grab a quick photograph as proof that we were there. We will go slow and linger as we work our way across this beautiful part of the country. The journey is our destination. We’re not going to rush it. Point B won’t be our goal for the day; it will just be where we’ll eventually end up. Our goal is the journey—to be open to what we encounter, whom we meet, what we see. We will average just three hours of driving per day—roughly half before lunch and half after lunch. We will have plenty of time to take our time when we find a place, a face, some element that we wish to photograph.

This photographic road trip is about the passionate discovery and photography of people, place, and culture, with emphasis given to going deep not wide, and pursuing that most elusive of photographic necessities—our vision. It is appropriate for photographers of all levels, and you will be free to photograph independently or always with the assistance of the leaders.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (Day One)

We will arrive in Oklahoma City in time for a meet-and-greet to finally get to know each other in person, an orientation to discuss our itinerary for our adventurous road trip, and a welcome dinner.

We will stay at the inspiring 21c Museum Hotel for the night. This former Ford Model T factory is now both an art museum and boutique hotel that was listed by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the “Best New Hotels in the World” in 2017. It’s the perfect artistic setting at which to begin our photographic road trip.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Shamrock, Texas (Day Two)

After breakfast, we will begin photographing in Oklahoma City along historic 23rd Street, at Buckminister Fuller’s geodesic dome, the Tower Theater, etc. Just outside of Oklahoma City, in Yukon, there is a great grain elevator. Then we will come to Lucille’s famous Route 66 gas station in Hydro.

Our afternoon drive will take us to Clinton, OK (Mohawk Lodge Indian Store & Trading Post, Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, a handful of 66-era motels and diners, and Jiggs Smokehouse, where you might want to stock up on beef jerky), through Texola, OK a ghost town with a tiny one-cell jail, across the border into Texas, and into Shamrock, Texas (Conoco Tower, U-Drop Inn, Devil’s Rope Museum, and Magnolia fuel station).

We will stay the night at the iconic Route 66 Inn in Shamrock.

Shamrock, Texas to Tucumcari, New Mexico (Day Three)

In the morning, we will continue across the Panhandle of Texas to McLean (Phillips 66 station and Neon Cactus Inn Motel sign), Panhandle (VW Slug Bug Ranch), and Amarillo (Cadillac Ranch at which the cars poke out from the cattle-country range, huge pair of legs sculpture, and Cowboy Gelato).

The halfway point of Route 66 is in Adrian, and we’ll likely stop at the MidPoint Cafe for lunch in Adrian as we work our way towards New Mexico, the “Land of Enchantment.”

New Mexico is beautiful with its spreading plains, purple mountains, and cloud-filled skies, but this is just the backdrop to centuries of history and tradition that permeate the land. It has been inhabited by farmers, ranchers, miners, Indians, Spaniards, etc. They have all left a lasting impact.

Tucumcari, once called “Six-Shooter Siding” got its start as a rowdy railroad camp filled with saloons and outlaws. When you see the curio shop in the form of an Indian teepee and the restaurant shaped like a Mexican sombrero you’ll hardly believe that there are still places like these, but on Route 66 there certainly are!

Following the “Tucumcari Tonite” signs,  we will overnight in Tucumcari at the Blue Swallow Motel, which has been operating since 1939.

Tucumcari, New Mexico to Albuquerque, New Mexico (Day Four)

We will start this morning photographing at two ghost towns: Newkirk and Cuervo. Once thriving towns, both are now mostly ruins with just a few inhabitants. Then in Santa Rosa, there’s the Route 66 Auto Museum and the famous “fatman” sign at Joseph’s.

By afternoon we’ll have arrived in Albuquerque, which has some wonderfully historic Route 66 spots—like 66 Diner, where we might decide to have breakfast the next morning. Maybe we’ll head to El Ranchero Cafe just outside of Albuquerque in Milan for some Mexican food for dinner. Also just outside Albuquerque, we’ll find the To’hajiilee Indian Reservation. It is a part of the Navajo Nation and was a recurring location in the television series Breaking Bad. In fact, one episode in the final season was called “To’hajiilee.” Actually, there are a number of sites in Albuquerque that are significant both for their Route 66 heritage as well as for scenes in Breaking Bad, including the Dog House Drive In sign and Loyola’s Family Restaurant, which could be another good choice for breakfast.

Tonight we will spoil ourselves a bit, with an overnight stay at the elegant “urban oasis” Hotel Parq Central. This boutique hotel is the perfect blend of contemporary comfort and historic elegance. It’s an urban oasis.

Albuquerque, New Mexico to Winslow, Arizona (Day Five)

Today we will drive through some absolutely spectacular landscapes. And the towns along the way offer some of the best old signs of Route 66, particularly in Grants. These signs have been disappearing at a steady pace as developers buy abandoned properties and tear them down—often without any consideration for their historic value.

As we continue westward we will cross the Continental Divide, pass the Navajo Travel Plaza, Indian Kachina Statue in Gallup and then the Yellowhorse Trading Post in Lupton (after crossing into Arizona). This will also bring us to the Painted Desert and one of the most famous billboards on Route 66 (Jackrabbit) and the iconic Wigwam Motel in Holbrook.

We will arrive in Winslow, AZ where you can Take it Easy, while actually standing on “THE corner” just as the Eagles famous song lyrics suggest.

Our hotel for the night will be the lovely La Posada, which was the last great railroad hotel built in 1929 by the Santa Fe Railway. We will likely dine in the hotel’s excellent Turquoise Room restaurant.

Winslow, Arizona to Kingman, Arizona (Day Six)

Today brings three options: visit the Grand Canyon, visit Sedona, or stick to Route 66.

The Grand Canyon Railway from the historic Williams Depot (built in 1908) is a great option for visiting the Grand Canyon. The train departs at 9:30am and arrives at 11:45am. One has just about four hours at the Canyon before departing again at 3:30pm and arriving back in Williams at 5:45pm. There are various types of cars on the train, but the best option has to be one of the upstairs dome seats.

Sedona is about 40 minutes off Route 66. It is an oasis of desert colors, vegetation, and red rock formations. It’s a wonderful place for a relaxing lunch in a beautiful location.

Our “Point B” for the day is Kingman, which is home to a UFO crash site. While that’s a rumor, the beautiful neon signs (like the El Trovatore Motel sign) that hum in the evening are very real. We will spend the night at El Trovatore. It started in 1937 as a service station and rooms were added in 1939 (at which time cost $3 per night!) and was the first motel in Arizona to have air conditioning. It was originally owned by John F. Miller, who also owned the first hotel in Las Vegas (The Sal Sagev, which is Las Vegas spelled backward).

Kingman, Arizona to Barstow, California (Day Seven)

A highlight of this morning will definitely be Oatman, AZ, including the incredibly picturesque drive to get there. Oatman, past saguaro cacti and loose boulders, has been described as a “terrifically weird place.” It’s a true old west mining town where abandoned burros beg for carrots in the street and where gunfights are staged daily. It’s beautifully camp. It is named for Olive Oatman, who was kidnapped by Tolkepayas Indians as a young girl and was sold as a slave to Mohave Indians, with whom she lived for five years.

The old Oatman Hotel is where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard came on their honeymoon in 1939. We won’t honeymoon there, but we will probably have lunch there.

Later, after crossing the Colorado River, we will finally arrive in California. This section will offer some beautiful desert landscapes as we are just south of the Mojave Desert. In fact, one could choose to detour through the Mojave to arrive in Barstow.

In Barstow, we will stay at the “world famous” Route 66 Motel.

Barstow, California to Santa Monica, California (Day Eight)

Morning stops might include the California Route 66 Museum in Victorville or the McDonald’s Museum in San Bernardino at the site of the first McDonald’s on our way to the outskirts of greater Los Angeles. Some of the more famous places once in LA include the Sunset Strip, Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Hollywood Sign. Eventually, we will end up at the western end (and beginning) of Route 66. There are actually two. The historic end is now at the corner of Lincoln Blvd and Olympic Blvd (it was originally a bit further inland), but there is nothing particularly noteworthy about this corner. So many now consider the official end to be Santa Monica Pier. We’ll end at both.

In Santa Monica, we will stay just off Santa Monica Pier at the beautifully chic, luxurious, beachfront Ocean View Hotel, as a fitting reward for having completed our iconic road trip at the nearby pier.

Santa Monica, California (Day Nine)

On our final morning, we will reluctantly say our goodbyes, return our rental cars, fly home, and begin planning our next adventures.

Although this represents the photographic adventure’s planned itinerary, it is subject to change at the discretion of the adventure leaders.

Reserve Your Spot

A $500 deposit is required to confirm your participation. Click on the Pay Deposit button to reserve your spot. You will be able to pay the deposit via PayPal or credit card. To pay by other methods (or if you encounter difficulties), please fill out the Registration Form and request an invoice in the comments. Please read the Cancellation Policy and the Release of Liability.

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