In writing Ghost Towns of Route 66, I discovered a number of excellent reference and guide books. Here are reviews of the best as well as my thoughts on vintage maps.
If you are planning a trip on legendary Route 66 and want to make the best of your time this guide is the best I know of. The research, the detail, and ease of use place this book at the top of my list for guide books to the iconic double six.
Now, as to the history of the highway Legendary Route 66: A Journey Through Time Along America’s Mother Road is a must for any library. The depth of research involved with chronicling the roads history, origins, and future is quite impressive.
However, it is the wide array of historic images that really grabs the attention and has you turning pages. All aspects of the highways, including its dark side as seen in vintage photos of wrecks along the road, are captured making this book more time capsule than dry, historical collection of facts.
You won’t have to be a fan of Route 66 to enjoy this book. Anyone who has a fascination with the evolution of American society as reflected in its transportation will find this book a welcome addition to the library. book, Route 66 Backroads, is special as I wrote it to share a few of my favorite places and to encourage travelers to see Route 66 as more than a destination unto itself. From Chicago to Santa Monica there are an amazing array of sites and attractions only found with short detours.
The idea for the book came from an old picture post card that showed a billboard on the Arizona/New Mexico state line. The billboard was sponsored by the Route 66 Association of Arizona and proclaimed the sites to see in the state along US 66 as well as with detours, places like the Grand Canyon and Sedona.
I expanded on this idea by applying the concept to the entire route. So, in addition to being a tour guide to the sites along Route 66 it is also a guide for those wanting a bit more out of their trip.
Counted among the detours in this book are the stunning landscapes of Palo Duro Canyon south of Amarillo, Death Valley in California, Roswell in New Mexico, the treasure box that is Galena, Illinois, and Supai in Arizona. Perhaps the two best examples I can offer of amazing attractions often missed are Supai and Palo Duro Canyon.
The former is the most remote community in America nestled in an awe inspiring land of towering canyon walls and thundering waterfalls. The latter is a wonderland of buttes and mesas that comes as quite a surprise to those cruising the vast plains of the Texas Panhandle. on the list is a deviation from travels on Route 66 to another legendary road, the Lincoln Highway. Michael Wallis sparked the resurgent interest in Route 66 with his classic work chronicling that highway and its demise som twenty years ago.

In this book he turns his attention to the Lincoln Highway. Like good wine, Wallis improves with age and if this book does not encourage wanderlust you might want to check to see if the adventuresome spirit still has a pulse.

This next title is also a bit off track in regards to Route 66. Still, it is another title that is more than mere shelf filler. This an excellent snap shot of a forgotten chapter in the evolution of the American highway system and an interesting read.

I found this book to be quite fascinating on a number of fronts. Specifically, I have developed an interest in the period that spans the closing of the frontier era and the modern age.
This book chronicles the history of a coast to coast motorized military convoy in 1919. Covered bridges that had to have their tops removed, bridges that had to be reinforced, and roads so deplorable covering twenty miles in a single day left the men completely exhuasted.
Enhancing the well researched text that reads like a novel are a number of photographs, many never before published. These alone will give pause to ever refering to this period as the good old days.
I am unable to give an honest review for this next title, Greetings From Route 66 as it has yet to be released. However, the sneak peak I had as well as the list of contributing writers leads me to believe this will enhance any Route 66 collection.
This little book by Jack Rittenhouse may not have sold very well when it was first published in 1946 but today it is a coveted by Route 66 enthusiasts everywhere. Fortunately it is available as a reprint.
This is an excellent travel companion that will add a new dimension to any trip on Route 66. So, if your motoring west or east on the double six you might want to pick up this guide book for a then and now look at the roadside., a final note on maps. In an effort to ensure accuracy and to decipher the confusing alignments of Route 66 over the years I purchased a number of vintage maps on Ebay.
For obvious reasons using a map from 1929 to plan a trip is not the best idea. However, to enhance an adventure these old maps are an endless source of possibilites.
They are a bit more expensive but my preference is the RandMcNally Atlas over service station maps. They seem to be a bit more accurate and often have some interesting detail not often found with other maps.
Here is to a summer of road trips and adventures on Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, and the road less traveled!