Geek's guide to Route 66, part 1

A blogger with an iPad 2, hybrid car, two digital cameras, a Bluetooth keyboard, and a pair of five-toed shoes heads out to uncover the geeky goodness that lurks around the bend on Route 66.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
Route 66 trip gear
I'm getting my gadget kicks on Route 66, beginning tomorrow. Amanda Kooser/CNET

It's packing time. A jumble of tech gadgets will be my road companions as I head out on the highway, looking for adventure, and whatever comes my way. Beginning tomorrow, I'll be traveling in my Toyota Prius from Albuquerque, N.M., to Chicago on Route 66, with a side trip to Carbondale, Ill.

Route 66 screams retro. It whispers Elvis' name. It reflects long, chrome-laden cars and poodle skirts at the local drive-in. It comes from a land before cell phones. That might make some high-tech gadget hounds feel a little out of place, but I've always been happy to park my Prius right behind my 1956 DeSoto and call it harmony.

I'm taking a small pile of gadgets to get me through. Notably, I'm going to attempt to navigate, work, book hotels, shoot video, and amuse myself with a 32GB iPad 2 with Verizon 3G. I was going to leave my cranky old Asus Netbook at home, but it's coming with me because I'm worried about running into limitations with the iPad 2. I'll let you know after I get back if that turns out to be the case.

Other geeky goods I'm taking along for the ride are: the Canon PowerShot SD850 IS Digital Elph and the Sony Cybershot DSC-T100 digital cameras; an Olympus DS-30 digital voice recorder; an Asus Eee PC 1000HE; a Samsung Convoy phone; an Apple Camera Connection Kit; an Apple Wireless Keyboard; a CaseCrown Vertical Neoprene Skin Case for iPad; and Vibram Fivefinger KSO shoes.

The changing times haven't completely left Route 66 in the dust. Many of those neon motels now offer free Wi-Fi. The Big Blue Whale of Catoosa, Okla., has a page on Facebook (where it's listed as "self employed"). Roadside America has become an online repository for road trip buffs to share sightings of giant fiberglass muffler men and the world's largest rocking chair, map, totem pole, etc.

I'll be posting updates from the road over the next few weeks. Let me know in the comments if you have a recommendation for an iPad app I should test out. Got any special Route 66 requests? Would you like a report on the Cadillac Ranch in Texas or the Bucky Dome in Carbondale? I'm all ears. See you on Route 66!