Route 66 News, link above, is a great clearinghouse for all things related to the legendary highway designated with twin sixes. News updates, blogs and comments keep things informative, current and lively.
The fascination with this highway never ceases to amaze me. As a veteran of Route 66 when it was a major highway (pre interstate era) my memories are not that fond.
Granted, today, it is an enjoyable drive. It is now possible to enjoy the highway largely because the majority of the traffic is on the interstate.
I am fortunate to live at the center of one of the longest remaining uninterrupted portions of the highway. On drives east I always follow Route 66 until it dead ends at I40 near Ashfork, this adds twenty miles to the drive but it allows at least ninety miles of the trip to be relaxing.
Another aspect is that we as Americans, and as humans, tend to wax nostalgic about the past somehow glossing this over giving history a shine like a red apple. This, however, is an illusion. There were rainy days then as now.
We reflect with fondness the “good old days” of the 1950s but forget that many folks used the Negro Green Book for Motorist to avoid possible problems.
In all honesty who would trade travel today for travel as it was in 1955, 1940, or 1930? I enjoy old cars, I use them as daily transportation, and I have taken long trips in vehicles even older than I am.
I also have rented new cars with satellite radio and more comfort features that are available in my home. I cannot say the enjoyment of my trip was diminished by this.
To paraphrase a famous writer, my thoughts are this is the best of times and the worst of times. We can enjoy the backroads and the illusion we are traveling in a simpler, more generic time. Then we can enhance the trip with the trappings of the modern era from high speed travel to a standard of lodging that takes out the guess work.
My suggestion, the next time you decide to get your kicks on Route 66, is take a detour or two on the backroads. This is the best opportunity I know of to experience Route 66 as it was not as we have recreated it.
With that thought in mind, at the risk of sounding vain with a little self promotion, I hope my upcoming book, Route 66 Backroads, encourages you to do just that, explore the backroads as well as Route 66.
Well, I like to think George Bush would approve the efforts made to ensure my newest book, Route 66 Backroads, elevates the standard for titles that pay homage to that iconic highway. Time, and the number of copies sold will tell the tale after it hits the shelves next spring.
Now its on to the next major project, Ghost Towns of the Southwest. This is a book I have waited forty years to write.
It looks as though 2008 will be a busy one in regards to writing. There is the final edit for Route 66 Backroads, the new book, my role as a feature writer for Cars & Parts, occasional submissions to Old Cars Weekly and Hemmings Classic Car, and entries here at Route 66 Chronicles. Without meaning to I have turned writing into a second job. Now the challenge is to turn it into one that pays!
Meanwhile, here on old Route 66, the weather has taken a turn towards the cold side. We are still a long ways from the record cold of last January when temperatures dipped to near zero and our sewage was out at work necessitating the use of a port-a-john!
Just in time for winter, I figured out how to operate the heater in the old Adventurer. And as with the rest of the truck it works fine.
With recent rains I was able to put the old work horse to the test. To say the very least it earned its keep pulling trailers from the quagmire. This is sure a neat truck, I just wished for a little better fuel economy.
The Christmas season is upon us and as always it looks as though it will be a busy one. I hope in the rush of the season you don’t loose track of what is behind this holiday we call Christmas.