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.