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Past the Interstate 40 interchange and a settlement called Essex, Route 66 joins with the National Trails Highway, a coast-to-coast road (known also as the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway) built in 1912 from Baltimore and New York City to several destination points in California. Route 66 joins this highway for the ride west.

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Near Essex, you can detour to a place where the temperature is always around 65 degrees Fahrenheit – quite a feat in these parts. You can find it at Mitchell Caverns, a series of limestone caves with stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, and other limestone formations of interesting shapes and sizes.

Cavern tours, lasting an hour-plus are available to the public, except for mid-June to mid-September. The caverns are part of the Mitchell Caverns Natural Preserve run by the State of California.

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