Get your kicks touring Route 66 -- in a group or alone


November 11, 2007|By SAN JOSE (CALIF.) MERCURY NEWS

I've always wanted to drive Route 66, starting from California. Is there a group or club that makes an annual caravan?

You can find tours making the Chicago-to-Santa Monica, Calif., trek on historic Route 66, but you'll have to wait a bit if you want to join them. Both have completed their trips for this year. In any case, its unlikely you'll find any caravans or clubs going west to east, primarily because they prefer to stay true to the path traveled by migrants who made the long journey to find work in California.

The route, commissioned as a U.S. highway in 1926, ran 2,448 miles, and although you can still travel most of it, the development of the interstate highway system replaced many sections of the route.

Two tours you may want to look into: Evelyns Excursions of Ohio (evelynsexcursions. com), which makes an annual 16-day trip on a luxury bus, and Sports Leisure Vacations of Sacramento (, which does a similar tour every other year. Its next trip is in 2009. You also can find tours at Route 66 Magazine's Web site ( Michael Wallis, who wrote the book Route 66: The Mother Road, suggests traveling it yourself in sections.

Can you explain the service charges that are collected on cruise ships? I thought it was up to the passenger to tip.

Most cruise lines allow passengers to tip at their own discretion. If a cruise line puts an automatic tip or service charge on your bill, you can go to the pursers desk and request that it be removed. This will allow you to tip individually.

There is some confusion with Norwegian Cruise Line, which adds a fixed service charge of $10 per person per day to your onboard account. The cruise line says money from this charge goes to the crew and that tipping is neither required nor recommended. You can still tip NCL crew members if you feel they've offered exceptional service. And some staff positions, the concierge or bar server, for example, are not covered by the service charge. So you should always tip them.

San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News

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