What drives the fascination with Route 66? What has transformed a U.S. highway signed with two sixes into a delighful and eccentric blending of the Yellow Brick Road, Disneyland, and the Santa Fe Trail? How did this highway become an American icon with international appeal that bridges cultural, language, and age barriers?
To say Route 66 has received excellent press over the past seventy years or so would be a gross understatement. However, during the glory days of the old road it also received a great deal of negative publicity. 
So, what is there about this old road, a highway that is not the longest, the most scenic, or the most historic, that demands such reverance, passion, and such international acclaim?
My personal experience with the old double six spans the period beginning at its zenith in the late 1950s, through its replacement and abandonment to its rebirth. Still, I have trouble grasping the idea that this old stretch of asphalt is now an integral part of the American experience, that it is hallowed ground on a par with Tombstone, Monticello, or the Oregon Trail.
Even for an old salt such as I, the palpable excitement that comes from driving the old highway, from talking to those experiencing it for the first time, or sharing a cup of Joe in a diner that has met the need of roadies for a half century or more is difficult to explain with mere words.
For the unitiated the fascination with a road peppered with forlorn and empty places may be very difficult to underrstand. Route 66 is something that must be experienced, that must be savored like a fine wine or a good meal with friends.
This year, in spite of the trying economic times, I suggest discovering or rediscovering the wonder that is Route 66. Cast aside preconceived notions, make the journey and not the destination the focus.
Linger over a cup of coffee and a piece of pie at the Mid Point Cafe, don’t look at your watch while talking to the folks at Afton Station, and take the time to walk amongst the ruins of the Painted Desert Trading Post at sunset. Rediscover a world free of the fetters of the modern era.
You may not come any closer to understanding the mystery of the popularity of Route 66 but you will see the world in a whole new light.
The first place to begin your adventure is with a knowledgeable and passionate guide. I suggest Jerry McClanahan.

If you enjoy Jim Hinckley\'s America, take a second to support jimhinckleysamerica on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!