Route 66: A Photography Guide To America’s Weirdest Road
Wherever there’s a road, there’s a story. In the US, there’s approximately 4 million miles of roads and a further 8 million miles of lanes – so that’s quite a lot of stories!
It’s funny, however, that most of the stories come from just one road. The big road. The one that everyone in America is familiar with – Route 66.
For an outsider, Route 66 looks like any other road. A bit long, perhaps. A tad dusty. But for those in the know, this road has an energy that makes it completely unique. Whether it’s ghosts in the night, missing hitchhikers, or beaming lights in the sky, there’s always a story to be told and an experience that seems so… unnatural.
This could be terrifying for the average reader, but it’s a terrific opportunity for us photographers. There's an electricity about Route 66 that is infused into the asphalt, which makes it perfect for photographers who want to put the edge back in their portfolio.
Whether it’s to post on Facebook or put into a Facebook photo book, a journey across Route 66 can give you the vibe of photography again, helping you to forget about technique for a moment and instead look for atmosphere in your scenes. That is, after all, what great photography is really about.
So what exactly should you photograph on Route 66? To help you out, here are all the best legends on America’s weirdest road and how you can capture them:
Visit The Ghost Town Of Madrid
You know those old ghost stories that take place in a dead, abandoned town? Well, they were seemingly all based on Madrid, New Mexico. While in the early stages of a Route 66 road trip, you’ll come across several old homes and churches on the outskirts of Madrid, all of which are haunted by the ghost of an old mine worker.
The most common sightings come in the Madrid Cemetery and the Mine Shaft Tavern – making this place perfect for those who know how to take atmospheric photos and tell a creepy story with visuals alone!
Lasso Some Cadillacs In Cadillac Ranch
This one is not so much a spooky location but a cool one! The Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, is a public art installation involving several sculptures of Cadillac cars bursting from the sand.
Well, we say it’s not creepy, but if you get the angle right, you could still come away with something pretty unnerving. Everything is unnerving on this road, you should know that by now!
Get To Know The McPike family In Alton, Illinois
Ever wanted to visit a family of ghosts? Us too! In Alton, Illinois, Route 66 takes you past a beautiful family home that has been abandoned since the 1950s.
According to the website, the McPike family built and lived in the house until 1936, and it is now known to harbour their spirits. What’s more, you can even go inside. There are several tours that show you around the house and even feature time with a professional medium. Apparently, she knows the family well…
Travel The Zombie Road… But Only In The Daytime
The most haunted road in America is the Al Foster Trail in Wildwood, Missouri. Initially a hangout spot for teens in the 1950s, there have been so many paranormal sightings that it has since been renamed “Zombie Road”... subtle, right?
Because it is so haunted, the police actually issue tickets to anyone wandering the area after dark – although there may be another, more realistic reason for that. Thankfully, that means you only have to visit the area during the day, so you’re safe, and you can picture some of the beautiful local scenery too!
Try A Fiery Dinner In Ranch House Cafe
Wanna hear a spooky story? Around ten years ago, a traveller named Peter Wallace was journeying down Route 66 at around 10:00 PM at night. Ahead of him, he saw a light in the distance. Initially thinking it was just another car, he paid it no mind, but then he saw the light turning red.
As it got closer, the light turned out to be a truck in flames, so Peter veered off the road and let it pass. When he turned around, it was gone, and when he put his foot down again, he saw the same truck, now burned out and abandoned, lying next to a dilapidated Ranch House Cafe… Sound a little far-fetched? Visit Ranch House Cafe and see for yourself…
Snap The Photograph Of A Lifetime In Quapaw, Oklahoma
All of these locations can give you some brilliantly spooky images to upload to our photo book maker, but if you want to be in with the chance of capturing something paranormal, then you have to visit East 50 Road in Quapaw, Oklahoma.
According to legend, Native Americans would often spot a strange, orb light hovering underneath the Ozark Mountains. Since then, hundreds have claimed the same thing, and the Army Corps of Engineers have tried and failed to debunk it. Is it a spirit? Is it aliens? Is it photographable?! You’re gonna have to go there and find out!
Party With Marilyn At The Hollywood Roosevelt
Toward the end of your Route 66 journey, you’ll find yourself in Los Angeles, California. Not that haunted, right? Well, visit Hollywood Roosevelt, and you might think again. According to several reports, lights often turn on and off on their own, phone calls are made from empty rooms, trumpet players blast out music from the basement, and Marilyn Monroe waltzes down the corridors.
Hold on, this just seems like a massive paranormal party! Oh well, we suppose there are worse ways to round off your Route 66 journey…