PONTIAC — The road trip has been deemed the most American form of travel and one of the top 10 trips in the world runs right through Central Illinois. The Lonely Planet, which publishes guidebooks for independent travelers, named Route 66 as one of the top 10 road trips in the world. It called road tripping "the ultimate expression of freedom in America."
The 328-page book, "The Bluelist," named the top things to do and places to go in 2006 in the entire world. The list is the first for the company, which has published hundreds of books on places to travel to all over the world.
"I think that is pretty dang good," said John Weiss of the Illinois Route 66 Association. "This makes Route 66 the best road trip in the U.S. That’s bragging rights."
Other road trips of note were in Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.
Weiss and his wife Lenore found out about the book and were excited to get their hands on a copy. Along with working on preserving the Mother Road, the Weisses host bus tours and other events promoting Route 66.
The Bluelist was released in December. The book highlights 400 unique travel experiences, maps and a calendar of the best places to go and things to do.
Even the authors admit the lists and destinations were hard to come up with. The introduction reads, “It’s no easy task coming up with the debut list of things to do and place to when you have the whole world to select from.”
Weiss said that makes the local honor even more important.
"It’s just great," he said. "It’s just a simple list, and that is what makes it so great. The world will be coming to visit."
Route 66, a now-decommissioned highway that ran from Chicago to Los Angeles, continues to be a tourist attraction, drawing people from all over the world.
The Lonely Planet previously released a guide book on Route 66 that marks attractions and things to do along the 2, 450 miles of road.
The book highlighted Illinois’ part of the Mother Road as having historic gas stations, motels and diners. The Route 66 guide called the former highway part of the American Dream.
Things to do
What: “The Lonely Planet Bluelist: 618 Things To Do and Places To Go in 06-07”
List price: $19.99
Features: Route 66 as one of the Top 10 Road Trips in the world
Where: Available at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Bloomington; Borders Books, Music, Movies and Café, Normal.
What else: Create your own bluelist at www.lonelyplanet.com/bluelist/
On the Net: http://www.lonelyplanet.com
Compiled by Karen Walters