More Kicks Now Available on Route 66

It's really just a "spiritual" road extension.

Tourists can now get their kicks all the way to the Santa Monica Pier.

Santa Monica tourism officials Wednesday will designate the pier as the western terminus of Route 66. Tourism officials and Route 66 enthusiasts will unveil an "End of the Trail" sign as part of a 9 a.m. ceremony.

The event includes 66 vintage automobiles and motorbikes. The ceremony comes on the anniversary of the numbered highway system -- but you already marked that one on your calendar.

The original Chicago-to-LA end-point was 7th Street and Broadway in downtown LA, according to the Route 66 Preservation Foundation. The road was extended in the 1930s to Olympic and Lincoln boulevards in Santa Monica.

Glen Duncan, president of the Route 66 Preservation Society, told the LA Times he's ok with the designation. He called it a "spiritual end of Route 66," but added that calling it the official end of the road "confuses people about what is historic and what isn't."

Jim Conkle, chairman of the Route 66 Alliance, said the road's terminus is primarily a tourist's concern. They don't know where to stop getting their kicks.

The problem is that Olympic and Lincoln is just a few blocks east of the ocean. Anybody making the 2,100-mile journey from Chicago probably doesn't stop a few blocks from the Pacific to say, "Well, let's head back."

"We aren't trying to rewrite the history books," Conkle told the Santa Monica Daily Press. "The accepted end or beginning is going to be the Santa Monica Pier; it gives a tourist and tour groups a place to start and finish."

As for its start-finish point in Chicago, that's on Jackson Drive at Lakeshore Drive. The original eastern terminus was a few blocks west at Jackson Boulevard at Michigan Avenue, according to the Historic Route 66 website. The Historic Route 66 people have some cool maps with turn-by-turn directions there, too.

What's your take on this? Are you ok with designating the pier as the end of the road? Let us know by leaving a comment.

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