Monday, July 14, 2014
United States Route 66, also known as Will Rogers Highway, Main Street of America, and the Mother Road, was opened in 1926. It ran approximately 2500 miles from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California.
It was the road used by seekers of a glamorous life in California, and the not-so-glamorous exodus of dust-bowl farm families.
I first heard about Route 66 from watching a black-and-white television series by the same name in the early sixties. It starred two handsome men who could get in and out of trouble in an episode and happily ride off into the sunset in their Corvette.
The interstate highway system was built, and Route 66 is no longer a popular route unless one is traveling for the nostalgia. In most of the states it passes through, it is listed as Historic Route 66.
For many, many miles through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, Route 66 runs parallel with Interstate 40, with very easy on and off access. The towns along the way have the iconic signs and buildings of the 1950s and 1960s.
Some of the motels popular in the sixties still exist, offering weekly rates and rooms for $29.99 a night, their Vacancy sign blinking on and off in red neon.
If you have driven far enough and long enough, this looks as good as a Marriott.
It was fun being able to stop along the way to see these places built after World War II, when people who had survived the depression finally had the financial means to travel long distances from home. I'm glad these small towns are still there, with their neon lights brightening up the night sky.