Do you remember that classic cinematic moment when Dorothy realizes that she is no longer in Kansas? The stark black and white tones of her world have been replaced with vibrant colors and unimagined wonders are all around her with nothing but the ruins of her home as a tangible link to the past.
I suppose most of us experience a similar moment in life, that point in time when with absolute clarity we realize that, somehow, we have stepped from the world of familiarity into one of unnerving freshness. We are not sure if it is an improvement but we do know it is different. 
I am unable to define the exact moment when the realization that the world of familiarity had been replaced with a brave new one overtook me. However, I do know that with the passing of my mother, and a few recent glimpses into my own mortality, there has been a growing hunger to seek tangible remnants from the America I knew as a youth.
This is not to be confused with a passion for the good old days or a longing to be set free from the entanglements of the modern era. It is more like the need for a tether before setting out into the deeper, uncharted waters of the future.
As these thoughts begin to dominate my thoughts it seemed that as road trips were an integral part of my life, perhaps on a road trip I could find that lifeline needed to face the uncertainty of what lies ahead. The proper vehicle for such an important odyssey would be crucial.
Initially, I looked toward a 1931 Ford pick up truck. This would allow me to experience a bit of the world my grandfather knew while seeking remnants off my past.
As the idea began to take tangible shape the vehicle of choice became a late forties or early fifties Nash or Hudson, or perhaps a late fifties Rambler station wagon. Then it came to me, I own the perfect vehicle for this adventure.
Under the fuel injection and electronic ignition the engine that powers our Jeep Cherokee is the same one that powered the Gremlin, the Pacer, and the Rambler. In fact, many internal components are interchangeable.  Here was a time machine encased in the trappings of the modern era, here was a rolling link between the past and present.
Now, I needed a road for this voyage of discovery. Route 66 has to figure into this plan as it has played a starring role in most every aspect of my life this past fifty years.
Here too, the Jeep is the ideal vehicle. To visit the ghosts of my past many of the roads we will need to travel have been washed from the maps by the tide that has transformed the America that I once knew.
In an instant it came to me, US 6 would ideally serve as the road to transport me back to the present. This forgotten cousin of legendary 66 cuts through the heartland and in its obscurity links the past and present.
We could journey east along the path of memories on US 66 where the past as it was collides with the past as we wish it to have been. In Joliet we could turn toward the setting sun on US 6 and follow it across the fruited plain, over the Rockies, and through the desert sands to Bishop, California.
It was here that US 6 was truncated in the 1960s. We could then follow its now renamed appendage, highway 395, to Bakersfield, follow 54 to Barstow, and make the rest of the journey on legendary Route 66.
If I am to find the America I knew, if I were to find the tangible links from my past that are needed for my moorings, they would be found on such a trip. I wonder if …

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