As you may guess by today’s title post the primary topic of discussion is icons of Route 66. Specifically, two icons that have come to symbolize the modern incarnation of that legendary highway.

 Technically, Radiator Springs is not really a place on Route 66 but as many of the locations and sites on that highway served as models for the ones in the film, Cars, that is a moot point. This film has introduced a new generation to a highway that has entranced Americans for almost a century and in the process has become a modern classic.
The second icon of the modern era is the unique artistry of Bob Waldmire, from murals to post cards, the artist, and his internationally recognized VW bus. Henry David Thoreau would have approved of Bob and the simple life of a happy vagabond on the most famous highway in America.

When seen together we have a near perfect snapshot of Route 66 in this, the modern era. The old double six is no longer a highway that has to be driven and as a result it is now a destination. It is a whimsical blending of history, a romanticized vision of what once was, and an increasingly rare opportunity to step back from the hurried pace of modern society and savor the simple pleasures of life.
The movie Cars, and Bob Waldmire, capture the very essence of Route 66 today just as The Grapes of Wrath did in the 1930s. This brings us to one of the most fascinating aspects of this amazing highway – its ability to evolve, to be something special for every generation.

That is why the highway continues to grow in popularity even though it is truncated and broken, lined with empty places and ruins, and, in places, is a series of dead end roads. That is why people buy condemned service stations in forgotten towns and transform them into colorful blendings of the historic and the romanticized. That is why places such as these can become internationally recognized destinations.
Perception shaped by icons such as Bob Waldmire and the movie Cars enable people to see somethig special in these things that are usually overlooked, or even avoided, if they were not associated with legendary 66. It is this ability to look beyond the faded facades, the darkened neon, and the narrow roadways with sharp curves and steep grades that make event such as the Route 66 so popular.
To say the very least, Route 66 is alive and well. It might even be said that it is more popular today than ever before.

Now two quick notes pertaining to an upcoming event that might be of interest and some breaking news for enthusiasts of legendary Route 66. The Beale Street Brews & Gallery will be hosting a Route 66 exhibt for the entire month of May and the featured artist will be Bob Waldmire.
Chris Durkin, president of the Kingman Downtown Merchants Association and member of the Kingman Route 66 Association, is currently working with the Waldmire family to obtain unique material for the showing. He is also in negotiation with Jim Conkle to have Bob’s legendary van displayed as well.
Needless to say this would add a unique dimension to the annual Route 66 Fun Run scheduled for the first weekend in May. It also exemplifies just how iconic Bob Waldmire and his work have become.
The final note is one we have long been waiting for – Jim Conkle is on the road and is distributing the latest issue of the Route 66 Pulse, a special edition that is a tribute to Bob Waldmire.

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