So What Is a Motor Tour Anyway?

You've probably noticed that we've mentioned our upcoming Motor Tour with increasing regularity lately. That's because we are very excited about it! Are you wondering exactly what a Motor Tour is? If that's the case, this is the story for you!

Our Motor Tour is an annual three-day event sponsored by the Route 66 Association of Illinois (that's us). Since 1989 the event has been scheduled for the second weekend of June. The Motor Tour provides an opportunity to drive and appreciate the attractions along our stretch of Route 66.

So each year we plan a trek down the road, inviting all to come along for the ride. Although we'd love you to join our Association, you need not be a member to join in on the Motor Tour.

The Motor Tour kicks off on Friday evening of the weekend with on-site registration at a local restaruant. We eat a wonderful meal, then meet and greet our fellow Route 66 enthusiasts. The Association blocks off rooms at a couple nearby hotels with a special rate for Motor Tour participants who wish to wake up on Saturday near the start of the "on the road" portion of the Tour. You must book your hotel room in advance - information about hotels and their rates is included in the Motor Tour Flyer we prepare for each tour. You can register for the Motor Tour in advance by downloading the Motor Tour registration form when it becomes available for the current year.

We meet Saturday morning at a location at one end of the road. (We alternate between a South start and a North start every other year.) Registered participants receive a dashboard plaque (to identify your vehicle as a Motor Tour participant), a decal and an informational guidebook, or "passport" as they check in. When the appointed time comes, we get in our cool cars, new cars, vintage cars (or on our motorcycles, bicycles, roller skates or whatever rolls you down the road) and form a procession along Route 66. Thus begins the Motor Tour. We drive along Route 66 at a leisurely pace, enjoying the sights and attractions as we "tour." Our guidebooks will show and tell us the way as we drive along the Mother Road, as well as inform and entertain us with stories of the people and places that made Route 66 beloved. Whether it's your first ride along the road or your thousandth, you'll discover the "hidden history" of Old 66.

Along the way, there will be "passport stops" which are featured attractions at which you are encouraged to stop and explore. At each passport stop, Association members will be waiting to stamp the passport page in your guidebook, signifying your arrival at the attraction. Bear in mind that the Motor Tour is just that - a tour - and not a race. The guidebook provides an itinerary and approximate window of time when volunteers will expect vehicles to arrive at the passport stops. The times are not engraved in stone, however, so do travel at your own pace so you can have an authentic Route 66 experience. While we begin the tour as a group, each vehicle travels independently and is free to join or leave the tour at any time.

At noontime, the group stops to enjoy a lunch break at a predetermined destination. After lunch, the band of merry travelers continue along the Mother Road with more attractions to be enjoyed.

Come Saturday evening, it's time for the Hall of Fame Banquet. This event is held at a banquet facility near where the Tour stops for the night. Tickets to the Hall of Fame Banquet must be purchased separately from your Motor Tour registration if you wish to attend. The Hall of Fame Banquet honors those who have served Route 66 through their contributions to its character or their preservation efforts. The Association will again have blocked off rooms nearby for you to book in advance at the Motor Tour rate.

Sunday brings the final leg of the journey along the Mother Road. At the final stop we bid our fellow Roadies a fond farewell and a hearty, "See you on the Road, Friends!"

The Motor Tour is the highlight of our Route 66 year. People from all over the world join us for this celebration of the people and places that make the Mother Road our special treasure.

You're cordially invited  to join us on a journey along a nostalgic slice of Americana every June. We think of the Motor Tour as a "Scenic Sampler" of the attractions that make Route 66 special and worth preserving. We hope that after experiencing a "taste" of the Mother Road that you'll come back for a second - and third - helping!

The Motor Tour makes a great family vacation! We guarantee you'll meet wonderful folks and make new memories while experiencing some old-time charm. We look forward to seeing you on the Road!

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Historic Maps

Highway GuideWatch Route 66 evolve into The Mother Road  with maps and highway guides from 1917-1992 courtesty of the official Illinois Digital Archives.