Category Archives: GPS Itinerary Planning

Day 32 – Thursday 1 June 2017 Pontiac – Chicago

We made it!  Distance travelled today 124 miles.  Time on the road just under 8 hours.

Just like Santa Monica, there are two start points in Chicago and Pauline managed to catch this one as we drove by in heavy traffic.  Note to Self – avoid Rush Hour in big cities!  She never managed to catch the other one, as it was behind us as we turned a corner.  However, we will be visiting both sites tomorrow.

Some basic stats:

  • Distance travelled from Santa Monica – 3,516 miles.  2,448 is the official mileage, so our side trips, and meandering along pretty well every different alignment as we came to it, certainly added some extra miles!
  • Cost of fuel – 281 USD so approx £225!
  • Photographs taken – over 6,000
  • Hotels/Motels stayed in – 22 + 1 Resort Apartment
  • Days on the road – 32

We were up and out early this morning so that we could visit the Pontiac sights before we got going on the day’s journey.  This is outside the, now disused, 1941 State Police Office on Old Route 66 South of Pontiac.  It is next to an original alignment of the Route.  I have not posted a photo of the Station itself, as it is fairly nondescript from ground level.  However, from the air it is in the shape of a Derringer pistol!

Pontiac is another small town that it was a pleasure to visit.  A whole collection of Museums, including Route 66, and some really good murals.  I have only posted some of our pictures as there were so many:

The owner of this converted School Bus, the late Bob Waldmire, used it to cruise up and down Route 66, and he was a major contributor to the Pontiac Museum:

Little cars like these were all along the pavement around the Museums:

Rose who told us all about the Museum and Pontiac, and she gave us a free badge each:

This VW Campervan was also owned by the late Bob Waldmire:

A Steak & Shake Diner Table:

I always grab centre stage!  This will keep me in Pauline’s Good Books for many years to come!

Some more murals after we left the Museum:

The approach to Odell:

A beautifully restored Standard Oil Gas Station:

Next to the Gas Station was this 1953 caravan just like the one Pauline’s parents used to have in their garden:

Another Gas Station in Dwight this time:

We met the owner of this bike at Ambler’s Gas Station, also in Dwight, and he was from Iowa and had ridden across to Chicago to start his trip down to Santa Monica.  He has allowed a month for the trip, and he will certainly need it judging by the amount of interest his copper plated bike was generating:

Amblers Gas Station:

The Mining Museum in Godley:

In Braidwood, we stopped at the famous Polka Dot Drive In where I had a Shake so thick and full of fruit that I had difficulty finishing it!  When we signed the Visitors’ Book we were given free key rings which was a nice gesture:

Then it was on to Wilmington.  The Green Dinosaur was much bigger than the Guide Books had suggested:

and then we had all three!  The Gemini Giant which is just along the road from the Dinosaur:

When we reached Elwood we spotted their monument to Munitions Workers who died in a massive wartime explosion:

Joilet.  A large city but with a small town feel to it.  Used to be called Juliet, and was next to the town of Romeo,  However, Romeo changed its name to Romeoville so Juliet chnaged their name to Joilet:

Joilet’s 1926 Vaudeville Movie theatre:

The Jefferson Street Lifting Bridge:

On the “Must See” list:

A very inviting looking Ice Cream Parlour – but I had already had a Milk Shake! Not a brilliant picture (fast traffic again) but you can just see the Blues Brothers dancing on the roof.

Dell Rhea’s 1938  Chicken Basket in Willowbank.  Its iconic sign is being refurbished and is being re-erected in July:

The former Snuffy’s 24-Hour Grill on Joliet Road in McCook:

The Cindy Lyn Motel in Cicero:

Approaching Downtown Chicago:

Traffic was very heavy, and fast, going into Chicago, so we could not take photographs of all that we wanted to as we passed by.  We finally reached our destination, and here it is again for good measure:

and we then set off for our hotel for the next three nights.  Very tall buildings and SatNav’s do not mix very well!  The GPS signals can’t always reach the receiver, and we ended up doing a lot of random turns, but arrived eventually.  Very tired and very happy, until we checked in.  Over 1,100 USD for the three nights and we were charged extra for parking!  No breakfast provided either!  Corporate Greed.

Day 17 – Wednesday 17 May 2017 Oklahoma City

Distance travelled 58 miles – quite a lot when all we were doing was going backwards and forwards across the City for the day.

Watching the news last night, and again this morning, all of the talk was about the tornado that ripped through Elk City, where we spent the night, during the late afternoon, destroying over 100 homes, and then another one that went through Clinton, where we spent the early afternoon, later on.  During our drive yesterday the sky was looking ominous the whole time, but we never realised what was coming behind us.  We did pass a school in one small town that had its own “Tornado Shelter” which illustrates how dangerous the weather can be. Tomorrow, we are heading for Tulsa where “severe thunderstorms” are forecast through until Friday…  Hearing about yesterday’s baseball size hail stones is a bit perturbing too!

Fairly lazy day today.  On the way in yesterday we passed an old Route 66 bridge, that the modern highway had bypassed because it would not be able to cope with the traffic, so we retraced our steps to it.  We would not have been able to stop yesterday as we were in high speed, rush hour, traffic.  Built in 1925, the Lake Overholser Bridge is still open to local traffic:

We then headed for the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, just outside Oklahoma City, and, having been raised on a late 50’s and  60’s diet of Western Movies, it was really enjoyable.  Even Pauline enjoyed it.  We chatted to the Cowboy, who was a volunteer greeter at the entrance, and despite being about the same age as me, he said that he had only ever seen one tornado.  He did confirm that the wind never stops blowing though!

John Wayne guarding the entrance!

There was a whole section devoted to actors, and actresses, who had starred in the Western Movies, with a lot of the exhibits being donated by them or their families.  John Wayne, in particular, had a very large section devoted to him, but that is not surprising when considering how many iconic films he starred in.

Ronald Reagan before he went into politics:

Charlton Heston:

 

The Museum even has a small mock up of a Wild West town:

The Marshall’s Office:

After we left the Museum we travelled about 14 miles to where we should have found a huge golden dome.  It wasn’t there!  This has happened a few times, and I have to seriously question whether the guide book authors ever actually visit the places they feature in their books.

Finally, we headed for a small park, not far from Downtown, to see the Centennial Land Run Monument that commemorates the 1889 land grab.  Some amazing sculptures:

 

Day 14 – Sunday 14 May 2017 Tucumcari – Amarillo

Distance travelled 120 miles.  Time on the road 5 hours.

Before we set off for the day, we had the pleasure of meeting Ben Labaree, the owner of the red Corvette in yesterday’s pictures.  Sandy, Ben’s late wife, started the Corvettes Conquer Cancer Tour charity when they realised that Sandy had incurable cancer and, before she sadly passed away in 2000, they covered over 50,000 miles touring Corvette events to raise money for the charity.  Since then, Ben has continued with the Tour, and he has covered hundreds of thousands of miles.  I have met a lot of people in my time, and admired a few.  Ben falls into that category, and Sandy would too, had I been lucky enough to have met her.

Although we did not travel far today, it was a really interesting journey, and we crossed into another time zone when we entered Texas.

We had a leisurely start and went to ”Kix on 66” for breakfast and, as it is Mothers’ Day here in the States, it was very busy.  After breakfast, we drove slowly along Route 66 through Tucumcari to get a few more pictures of the many murals, old motels and gas stations.

We have seen old Whiting Bros. gas stations all over the place.  They must have had quite a business empire.

Half a plane in the garden!

Is this the way?

Once we were out of Tucumcari we headed for the Glenrio ghost town which pretty much straddles the New Mexico/Texas border.  For most of the day, Route 66 paralleled the Interstate which often appears to be the case.

Spotted this motel en-route, which must be the smallest we have seen so far:

We then got onto just over 14 miles of old dirt road towards Glenrio.  Bouncing is not ideal just after breakfast!

The dirt road ran parallel to an old railway line:

and we crossed a number of old wooden bridges ourselves:

Probably the most interesting Route 66 relic before reaching Glenrio was this old Rest Area:

We knew that we were entering Texas as the sign telling us that we were about to come off the unpaved stretch of road, was full of bullet holes!

Although Glenrio is a ghost town, I had read that it has one resident who keeps a couple of aggressive German Shepherds and, as I could hear them barking, we did not get out of the car to take our pictures!

Just after we crossed into Texas we spotted 4 or 5 wind farm windmills, between two hills, and I made the mistake of saying to Pauline that it appeared that a lot of effort had gone into making the wind farm discreet by putting them in a valley.  She then spent the next 50 miles; it was literally that big, with hundreds of windmills stretching as far as the eye could see, teasing me about how discreet they were.  She came close to walking…

We stopped for lunch at the Midpoint Café in Adrian, and had to wait quite a while for some seats.  It is not particularly big and, as well as more than a few Mothers being taken out for lunch, a large party from the local Baptist Church were there too.  We had some of their “Ugly Pie” and a drink.  Pauline had Pecan, but mine was an exotic mix of Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Banana and, whilst that might sound revolting to some, it was delicious.

The actual Midpoint mileage is 1139 and ours was 1681 at that point.  Even accounting for our side trip to Las Vegas, we have obviously been on more of the alternative alignments than we realised!

A few more pictures on the way out of Adrian:

To give a sense of scale, Pauline stood as near as she dare to this old house.  However, raised off the ground meant that snakes were a possibility…

In case it is not clear, the sign reads Crock of Gin!

and then on to Vega to “Dot’s Mini-Museum” which was closed for the Winter!  A great shame as I have read some excellent reviews.

Some of the small towns, that don’t get much of a mention in the Route 66 guide books, are often the most interesting, and Vega certainly had a lot to offer the tourist:

A restored Magnolia Service Station:

The arrow marks an old Comanche campsite:

Our final stop before our run into Amarillo was at the famous Cadillac Ranch.  It was hot!

Unfortunately, to stop off at the shop, to buy spray paint to make your own contribution to the art work on the cars, you need to be travelling in the opposite direction to what we are.  The “Second Amendment Cowboy” outside the shop.:

 

 

 

Day 11 – Thursday 11 May 2017 Gallup to Albuquerque

Distance travelled 182 miles.  Time on the road just under 6 hours.

No wonder Bugs got confused.  There are so many Left Turns on the way to, and within, Albuquerque, that my brain would be hurting if it were not for our trusty TomTom.  She (Yes, I have assumed her gender because, despite her name being Tom she has a distinctly feminine voice) only got into an endless loop once, and we broke her out of it by going in a completely different direction along a different alignment.  Eventually, after about 30 miles of trying to make us do a U Turn, to get back to where she wanted us to be, she re-routed us along the route we were now on.

Despite only being on the road for under 6 hours, I am shattered.  Out of the 182 miles, probably about 140’ish were on old alignments, which is a far higher percentage than on previous days.  Although the surface was really good in places, every bumpy stretch jangles the body, and we had occasional winding stretches to rival some of the mountain passes we have been through.

Some amazing scenery in New Mexico, plus some very long stretches between the places we wanted to visit.   These pictures don’t even begin to do justice to what we were seeing.

Pauline likes a good Sky picture.

Even ruined motels and gas stations were not nearly as frequent as they were in previous States, but we still saw plenty.  Old businesses and the inevitable Indian Trading Stores were also much  thinner on the ground than normal.  One or two that we stopped to photograph might have had some renovation underway as there were definite signs of life in them.

No sign of any ruins, just a lonely sign next to a dumping ground for road repair materials.

This old gas station is being reclaimed by the land.

This motel seemed to be undergoing some repair work.

Not just an Indian Trading Post, but one that straddles the Continental Divide.

We are not sure, but this may have been an animal feed store in its day as there was a just readable list of big animals to the right of the door.

A close up of the door to illustrate what was probably once a very colourful mural.  Very noticeably on our travels, most of the old businesses are decorated, presumably to catch the eye in the days before mass marketing.

The Tomahawk Bar East of Gallup.  Still very much in business!  The only other nearby building is a school which must cause some issues at licence renewal time!

I was half way out of the car to take pictures of Herman’s Garage when Pauline noticed the dog, and its friend who is out of the picture, approaching rapidly, so I quickly got back into the car!  Only medium sized, but they can still bite and, given that we have seen lots of signs about poisonous snakes, insects and sundry other dangerous animals, these dogs were probably a rare breed of poisonous critter whose sole aim in life was to terminate mine.  Pauline was still in the car, otherwise I could probably have distracted the dogs by throwing her to them whilst I took my pictures.

On all of the “must see” lists.  This place has such an interesting history that I recommend following this link to read about it.

Not really sure what business this was, but it was in the middle of nowhere so deserved to be photographed.  Interesting murals again.

 

 

 

 

Day 10 – Wednesday 10 May 2017 Holbrook to Gallup

Distance travelled 183 miles.  Time on the road just under 7 hours.

If I had to sum today up in one word, it would be “wet”.  We have spent the day either in downpours, and I do mean downpours, or heading towards the next one through small gaps in the clouds.  For all that, it has been an interesting day, and we crossed over into New Mexico, and a new time zone, and advanced our clocks one hour.

I am going to start my photos out of sequence today to show you this one:

Someone, okay it was me, messed around with the SatNav so much that we completely missed our turn off for the Painted Desert National Park, and when we realised, sorry when I realised, we had to double back 33 miles, back into the worst downpour of the day, because an “Historical Route 66 Trail Marker” had to be photographed!  It was not an option.  A round trip of an extra 66 miles (a fitting number) to photograph a bog standard Route 66 sign!  We were expecting something exceptional.  Earlier I said “when I realised” because at least once per mile during the detour Pauline aka “The Navigator” was spurring me on with comments such as “I told you we should have turned off” etc.  It was only the thought of the Restrooms and Café at the Park’s Visitor Centre that kept me smiling, and Pauline in the car.

Back to our chronology:

We drove out of Holbrook past Joe & Aggie’s Café where we had our dinner last night.  I opted for a Mexican meal and intrigued by the offer of either Red or Green chilli’s with the dish, I asked our Server for her recommendations as to which was the hottest/tastiest, and she replied that as she can eat chilli all day long, she liked them both.  “So can I” I said.  “You can have them both if you want” so, ignoring lessons from the past I did just that.  I honestly did not find the heat much of a challenge, but I was wide awake in the middle of the night with excruciating indigestion.  I never learn.

We stopped for breakfast at the Hilltop Café on the road out of Holbrook, and then got on the road for the day.  It was only supposed to be a short drive…

The terrain was so flat that we could see for miles, and the sky looked huge, but the downside of being able to see a long way is that you can see the storm clouds ahead!

First stop was the Painted Desert Indian Centre and, although it was a shop, with outside displays, the quality of some of the products was up to museum standard, and the plastic entombed Rattled Snake was intriguing.  To me, if not Pauline.  We spend quite some time looking around, and I got a fridge magnet whilst Pauline bought all manner of expensive items for herself.  Pattern developing?

After we left there, and should then have gone to the Painted Desert, we spent quite a while on an old alignment heading for a bridge over the Rio Puerco which was opened in 1923, and which is one of the Route 66 sights to tick off a To See list.  On the way we past the usual disused motels and gas stations, falling into disrepair, and the Stop & Go Gas Station features on most tick lists too.  Back in the 20’s and 30’s Route 66 must have been incredibly busy as it sometimes seems that the old motels and service areas are only a few hundred yards apart.

After the bridge it was time to retrace our steps to the Painted Desert and, had it not been raining so heavily, we might have been able to get some beautiful landscape pictures.  Mother Nature was not smiling on us though.

You may as well see this one again as so much effort went into getting it:

An explanation of Route 66 – a few yards from our new and favourite sign:

The Painted Desert Inn which is a National Historical Site.

This would have been a stunning view had it not been raining so hard:

A picture of the kerb that Pauline took in her rush to get back into the car:

Indian Trading Posts are everywhere along the old route, so we stopped at just a few to take some pictures.  Eventually, we came to a Road Closed sign and, although we saw someone drive around it and into the distance, Pauline would not let me, so we had to get back onto the Interstate for our drive into Gallup.  One mile beyond the barrier was another “Historical Marker” so I will lay awake all night wondering whether it was a better one than the one in the National Park!

Murals painted on the rock behind this one:

The site of some cliff dwellings, but we could not get close as the gate was locked.

We crossed the State Line just along from the last Trading Post:

Tomorrow we have to decide whether to take a left turn in Albuquerque.

 

 

 

 

Day 7 – Sunday 7 May 2017 Las Vegas – Topock – Oatman – Kingman

Distance Travelled 186 miles   Time on the road 6.5 hours

A really good day today.  We were up and out of our hotel in Vegas before 0800, with almost a straight road of 130 miles to Topock where we arrived just as the first few cars were finishing the Fun Run from Kingman.  It is a bit of a shock to the system when you suddenly have to engage your brain and start dealing with turns in the road after so long driving in a straight line!

Two days ago the temperature was up to 110F, but today the high so far has been 58F!  Very windy, overcast and trying to rain, and the weather forecasters on the TV this morning were in raptures over the unexpected weather ahead of us for the next day or two.  Topock was very flat, with nothing to slow the wind down, so we did not stay too long.

However, the classic cars were starting to trickle in and we knew that we would see many more on the road ahead.  Once we were back on Route 66 towards Oatman we saw more vintage Mustangs than I knew existed, and everything else from beautifully restored classic cars, motorcycles and old camper vans, through to big muscle cars with exhausts so big that a Mini could park in one.  Pauline was busy with the camera through our ever dirtier windscreen!

Oatman lived up to expectation.

What was once a busy Black Mountains mining town is now, unashamedly, a tourist trap for those travelling along Route 66, and we were happily trapped by all that was on offer.  Wild Burros were wandering around, wanting to be fed by the tourists, but most of the shops had signs saying that they did not sell Burro food.  Some even had signs saying that they did sell the food, but didn’t!  We suspected that the shop owners are more than a bit fed up of the mess the Burros leave everywhere.  I didn’t just get one T Shirt, I got 2, and with Pauline’s blessing, so I am now filled with suspicion about what she is planning to buy for more than the few Dollars I was allowed to spend.  There is always method in her madness.

The town was full of Fun Run cars and motorcycles, plus the regular Route 66 tourists like us, but we managed to get a bowl of chilli in one of the small restaurants for lunch,

and we then carefully threaded our way through the town’s single street, and got back on with our journey.

The road climbs the Sitgreaves Pass, at an elevation of 3,550 ft. above sea level, and which is the highest point on Route 66, and then down the other side towards Kingman.  In total, including the run up to Oatman from Topock, we were on a narrow winding mountain road for 47.4 miles, with lots of tight hairpin bends and very rarely did we see a guard rail between the road and the sometimes sheer drops into the canyons at the side.  The speed limit was normally posted as 15 mph, dropping to 10 mph in a couple of places, and we stopped at two of the Route 66 “must do’s” after we left Oatman.

Ed’s Camp.  The remains of a very small town.

Cool Springs Cabin – a restored Gas Station which is more of a museum than a shop (usually the other way around)

and we met Pearl who was exhausted after a morning of visits by all the Fun Run people!

Day 4 – Thursday 4 May 2017 Barstow to Bullhead City

Distance travelled 209 Miles   Time on the road  7 hours

A good day today.  It started really well with the SatNav trapping us in a loop before we even got out of Barstow, and then it tried to take us straight through a US Marine Base.  The Police Officer on the gate was really nice about it, and reassured us that, technically, the road runs straight through the Base, but we could not!  He pointed us in the right direction to skirt around the Base so we did not lose too much time, and before long the city was behind us and it was great to get out into the wide open spaces where it felt as though we were finally on America’s Mother Road.

Distances seemed vast, but the road was marked every few miles to reassure you that you were where you wanted to be, and long stretches across the desert had been resurfaced very recently, so that made up for the bumpy bits!  Stopping to take this picture was not a problem; in the first hour in the desert we only saw a coach going the other way, plus a couple on a tandem bicycle heading our way – and the temperature got up to 107F!  We came upon them so quickly that Pauline never had a chance to take their picture as we overtook them.  The sun was really fierce so they must have been feeling it.  It was making us uncomfortable in an air-conditioned car.

We saw a lot of old ghost towns, abandoned petrol stations and stopped for a break at Roy’s Motel & Cafe in Amboy which is one of the “must do’s” on Route 66.

Ludlow – effectively a Ghost Town apart from a couple of enterprising tourist traps as you enter from the West.

The first abandoned Motel sign we came to.  The Interstate that killed off Route 66 is in the background as, in many places, the exact same route is followed.

Someone used to live here – quite sad when you think about it.

1930’s Rest Area.

The famous Bagdad Cafe.  We never called in as we had only been on the road for about an hour.

Long trains!  When Route 66 was first laid down it followed the main railway lines for convenience, and we saw a lot of very long trains.  The longest (not this one) had 5 engines pulling it, and 3 pushing, and it seemed to take forever to pass it.

Abandoned Petrol Station.  Presumably fenced off to keep souvenir hunters out.

In the middle of nowhere!

Another abandoned fuel stop.

The iconic sign.

The old Motel.  The Reception area was furnished with what looked like original 30’s items, but it was locked (for obvious reasons) and photos through the glass did not really work, so I have not included them.

Pauline in the Cafe.  She went to the nearby Public Restrooms just after this, and was more than a little freaked by the large numbers of massive black beetles that appeared to head straight for her.  When I went, I trod on one without realising it, and it was so crunchy I thought a piece of glass was stuck in my heel.

PS  I bought a T Shirt!  My collection is starting to grow.

Route 66 East of Roy’s is closed for bridge repair work, so we had to give Chambles and the Cadiz Summit a miss, so our next stop was Goff, via Kelbaker Road and the Interstate.

The restored 1914 Goff School House.  It was closed and only opens by appointment!  Will we ever get into a museum?

A display about the School, and there was a nearby dispenser full of free literature about the School and Goff.

And then an abandoned building next to the rail crossing in Goff:

After leaving Goff it was on to Needles where every corner seemed to be Route 66 related.  Just a few of our pictures:

We had a late lunch in Needles, having randomly circled the town a few times trying to get to where the eateries were.  We could see the signs, but getting there was a nightmare as even the SatNav was getting baffled.

Then it was on to Bullhead City, Arizona, which is nothing to do with Route 66, for an overnight stop, before heading for Las Vegas tomorrow for our side trip.  We will be meeting up with a friend of about 30 years, Barry Schofield, and his Partner, Malia, who we have not met before.  Barry and Malia live in Phoenix, Arizona, which is a 5 hour drive away but, as Barry says, 5 hours is nothing in America.  Although we never served together, but met after we both left the Royal Navy, Barry served as an Aircrewman in the Fleet Air Arm.  Pauline has heard all of our reminiscences many times before, so she can concentrate on sympathising with Malia who has it all to look forward to!

5+ Weeks to Go – Our Itinerary has firmed up (again)

With a little over 5 weeks to go we are starting to get more than a little excited.  Our Itinerary has changed yet again to accommodate events that we have noticed are taking place en-route:

  • If we leave Las Vegas early on 7th May, we will get to Topock in plenty of time for the end of the annual Route 66 Fun Run which should be quite a spectacle,
  • In Tulsa on 18th May they are staging their MayFest which is an outdoor music and arts festival, so we are looking forward to that, and
  • We are leaving Branson a day early to head back to Springfield MO for the NSRA Mid-America Street Rod Nationals where we will spend 26th May.  I suspect this will be one of the highlights of our trip (Pauline does not necessarily agree!) as one thing Americans do well is customising and restoring vintage cars.
  • We have added a Day Trip, from Chicago to Shipshewana, on 3rd June, as we would really like to visit an Amish town as a part of this trip.Note    Any readers of this page who can suggest other events that will fit in with our Itinerary, please feel free to make your suggestions using the email address on our Contact page.

GPS – The TomTom Nightmare

When I first started to plan this trip I read into the subject in some depth as you may imagine.  What quickly became apparent was that, without a GPS, staying on  Route 66 would be nigh on impossible, particularly when trying to follow the original alignments through busy cities like LA, St Louis and Chicago.  Having a car full of maps would be a nightmare and, much as we love each other, Pauline and I would soon be at each others throats trying to navigate with the maps whilst on the move.  The wide open deserts and plains would be very straightforward by comparison, but we might still miss important turnings and go miles out of our way.  Much as it might offend the purists, a GPS seemed to be the solution we needed.

Having decided that we needed a GPS, the TomTom nightmare began!  From my research it appeared that some models support itinerary planning, but some do not, and it was obviously important to get one that does.  In addition we would need one pre-loaded with the maps of North America.  Fortunately, earlier this year we were at Vancouver Airport where one of the outlets was selling TomToms, obviously loaded with the right maps.  Before making the purchase, a quick Google search for the user manual, for the model concerned, found one straight away and it had a whole section on Itinerary Planning.  Great I thought as I handed over my Canadian Dollars.

Once back in the UK I hit the forums and downloaded the free Tyre software which was highly recommended for planning complex and lengthy routes, and it was so good that I quickly parted with the few Euros it cost for the Professional version to unlock the extra features.  I also searched Tyre to see whether anyone had a Route 66 Itinerary to share, and quickly found one with over 900 Waypoints designed to keep the traveller exactly on the right route.  It went from Chicago to Santa Monica but we have decided to do the journey in reverse i.e. Santa Monica to Chicago, so I spent many an evening reversing the Waypoints.  It is a fairly straightforward exercise to do this with Tyre, but getting the Waypoints onto the correct carriageway took a very long time indeed, with me drilling down practically to street level in some places.  If it was on the wrong carriageway you could find yourselves going huge distances to get to the next Waypoint as the route looped all over the place trying get onto the West bound route.  At one stage Pauline was more than a little amused to find me on drilled right down on Google Earth trying to work out how to make a right turn off a particular road where one was not immediately apparent.   Incidentally, once we have “proved” our West to East Route I will add it to the Tyre Library as a quid pro quo for making use of the East to West one.

Back to the “Nightmare”.  Once your itinerary is ready, it is a simple task to get it across to your TomTom using Tyre.  Although I had owned the kit for a couple of months by now, I had never even opened the box at this stage.  I opened it, turned it on – No Itinerary Planning Menu!!!   I double checked the online User Manual and there it was – Section 11 Itinerary Planning.  Hit the forums again, and soon found that TomTom had “simplified” their menus and this was one of the features they had removed, even though the manual I had used as the basis for my purchase still contained the feature.  I did find mentions of others having the same problem as us, and TomTom had unlocked the missing features for them, so I contacted TomTom Support for help.  To cut a very long and frustrating story short, they refused to help and in, essence, I should have referred to a different online manual, without the Itinerary Planning, which they sent me a link to!  The fact that the original manual was the first to appear in a Google search was of no interest to them and they denied that they could unlock the missing features for me as they didn’t exist.  Whilst this email argument was raging I was back on the forums, and I soon found that hacks written by TomTom users themselves were in the public domain so I downloaded and loaded one, and my TomTom now has the missing features we needed!  I fired off one last email to TomTom to tell them this, and they had the cheek to ask me to send the fix to them!  Needless to say, I did not.