Like a patient archaeologist peeling back the layers of time with each shovel full of sand, with the Route 66 encyclopedia project I have been digger ever deeper to uncover the hidden secrets and forgotten history of America’s most famous highway, Route 66. It has been a grand and exciting, as well as tedious and frustrating, adventure but not one I would have missed for all the pie at the Midpoint Cafe.
Two of the most infamous sections in Route 66 lore are the Jericho Gap west of Jericho Texas, and La Bajada, a steep hill on the road between Santa Fe and Albuquerque on the pre 1937 alignment. In 1915, Emily Post motored west and chronicled here adventures in a book published the following year, By Motor to the Golden Gate.
Of the road between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, a road that became Route 66 eleven years later, she noted, “The best commentary on the road between Santa Fe and Albuquerque is that it took us less than three hours to make the sixty-six miles, whereas the seventy three from Las Vegas to Santa Fe took us nearly six. The Bajada Hill, which for days Celia and I dreaded so much that we did not dare speak of it for fear of making E.M. nervous, was magnificently built. There is no difficulty in going down it, even in a very long car that has to back and fill at corners; there are low stone curbs at bad elbows, and the turns are all well banked so that you feel no tendency to plunge off. A medium length car with a good wheel cut under would run down the dread Bajada as easily as through the driveways of a park!”
Perspective is an interesting thing. Did she see the road as being marvelous because of what had traversed en route from New York City? Did Route 66 travelers see it as a nightmare because they were already used to better roads than this and had their cars already evolved to a point of being poorly suited for such an adventure?
This project has led to a number of new additions to my library; Directory of Motor Courts and Cottages, 1940, AAA Hotel, Garage, Service Station and AAA Club Directory, 1927, Western Accommodations Guide, 1954, Service Station Directory, 1940, and Directory of Auto Courts, Motels, Cottages, and Hotels, 1950. Each is a veritable treasure trove of tantalizing threads in a dazzling array of colors. 
“Koronado Kourts, 1717 West 7th St. on US 66 (Joplin). A thoroughly modern court of 60 cottages, all with bath, nicely furnished, steam and safety controlled gas heat; well ventilated. Air conditioned Kornado Coffe Shop, open 6 a.m. to midnight. Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner at moderate prices. Cottages have hotel service, also service station for car attention. Five minutes drive to business district and theaters. Rates $2 to $2.50 per day for two persons, . Western Union branch office and telephone service. Member United Auto Courts.” 1940
The recommendations for Victorville in the 1940 directory are, to say the very least, colorful. “Green Spot Motel, $2.50, Kleen Spot Auto Court, $1.50, Orange and Black Auto Court, $1.50 and up, trailers fifty cents.”
For this project I have become a weaver instead of a writer. My job is to weave a tapestry that portrays the evolution of a society as seen from one magic ribbon of asphalt.

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