I am being chased by schedules, commitments, and deadlines, but there is so much happening along Route 66 it is impossible to resist the urge to share. With that as an introduction, lets get started.
Carolyn Hasenfratz has again harnessed the power of the Internet to link Route 66 with the modern era and fuel the flames of resurgent interest in this amazing old highway. Her first endeavor, John’s Modern Cabins, continues to be an invaluable directory. Her latest enterprise, a site entitled Sell 66 Stuff, provides small town shops and businesses with an international market for their products.
It is with eager anticipation that I await the second edition of 66 The Mother Road, an e-zine that presents this iconic highway to a 21st century audience. John and Judy Springs are the masterminds behind this bit of innovative thinking.
To a degree I have jumped on the electronic age band wagon. First with the blog, and now by offering signed copies of the latest book, Ghost Towns of Route 66, through the blog by offering the convenience of credit card payments made with Paypal. The button for ordering is in the upper right column.
I can now also offer signed copies wholesale, as well as prints. Please send an email for  further details.
While we are on the topic of using the era of the Internet to introduce a new generation to the wonders of Route 66, Emily Priddy has made her contributions in two forms. The first is for those who do not wish to have their Route 66 state of mind interrupted with a generic chain motel at the end of the day, and the second is to keep the younger set busy on the road as well as inspire a new generation to savor the pleasures of a Route 66 adventure.
One of the slickest items to come down the pike in quite some time is the Arizona Route 66 Passport. A souvenir in itself, this little booklet becomes a treasured heirloom with acquisition of the various stamps from businesses along the route.
If your planning a trip through the Grand Canyon State on Route 66, you can order the passports by contacting Josh Noble at the Powerhouse Visitor Center in Kingman. They are also available at 4 Women on the Route in Galena, Kansas, the Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, Texas, the Enchanted Trails RV Park & Trading Post in Albuquerque, and the Wigwam Motel in Rialto, California.
I hope that other associations follow suit. Even better, perhaps an enterprising organization can create a passport for the entire route!
There are three great entities that could create such a device, perhaps they could join forces in such an endeavor. One is the Route 66 Alliance with co founder Michael Wallis. Another would be the National Historic Route 66 Federation, your one stop source for guide books including the EZ 66 Guide, 2nd edition, by Jerry McClanahan. Then there is the fast rising star of the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce.
Route 66 is most definitely alive and well. Try it for yourself and see what all of the excitement is about.


Even though the essence of the Route 66 experience is about slowing the pace and savoring the moment, the reality is the fact that most of us have schedules. We do our best to forget them as we motor along America’s most famous highway but in the back of our mind the clock is ticking.
As a result, we seldom allow our focus to be shifted from the road signed with two sixes and the myriad of attractions found along its storied route. However, if we accept the fact that the highway is always changing, and that we will never be able to experience all that it has to offer with just one trip or a dozen, we can begin to enhance the experience of each trip with the slightest of detours. 
The Navy Pier in Chicago, as well as the Museum of Science and Industry and the studios of Frank Lloyd Wright, are not on Route 66 but including these attractions will add stunning depth of experience, and a scrapbook or two of memories, to your journeys. See, Route 66 is more than a destination, it is a portal where the past and present flow seamlessly but it is also the gateway to stunning wonders and awe inspiring discoveries.
After you check out the myriad of treasures found along Route 66 in Odell, Bloomington, and Springfield, Pontiac, Lincoln, and Funks Grove, it is but a thirty five mile drive to Decatur, site of the intriguing Macon County Historical Museum and Village. In between Route 66 and Decatur is the intriguing little village of Illiopolis, a name alone that makes a visit worthwhile. 
St Louis is a veritable treasure trove of dusty gems, relics, and unusual attractions. Most everyone is familiar with the “arch” at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial National Historic Site but how many Route 66 adventurers discover the lost civilization preserved at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site or the frontier era Cahokia Courthouse State Historic Site?
Missouri is a wonderland of villages, historic sites, and natural wonder. Many line the Route 66 corridor, but a few are only found with the slightest of detours. The next time you are motoring west through Rolla and Doolittle, follow highway T south a few dozen miles but don’t plan on making this little detour in one hour, or two.
Kansas may only have thirteen miles of the old road but here to the journey will be enhance with but the slightest of detours. Less than 20 miles north of Riverton, on highway 160 in Pittsburg, you will find several little cafes that specialize in barbecue worthy of the the best Kansas City has to offer.
Route 66 in Oklahoma is truly the gateway to wonder. Will Roger’s home in Oolagah is less than thirty miles north of Claremore, the time capsule of Guthrie is less than twenty-five miles north of Tulsa, the Chisolm Trail Museum is less than thirty miles north of El Reno, and the majesty of the Black Kettle National Grasslands, with the solemn Washita Battlefield National Historic Site, is less than thirty miles north of Sayre.
In regards to Route 66 mileage, Texas competes with Kansas but this has little to do with the wonders found with the slightest of detours. If time allows for but one of these, make Amarillo your base camp and set aside at least a day to experience the awe inspiring majesty of Palo Duro Canyon State Park.
From Glenrio in Texas to Hesperia in Califonria, the opportunity to enhance the adventure with the slightest of detours is only limited by the imagination, and the ticking clock. That, however, is a story for another day. 


The trend of transforming Route 66 into America’s longest attraction (thank you John Springs) shows no sign of waning if the excitement conveyed by the new owners of the iconic Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari or by Dan Rice, 66 to Cali on Santa Monica Pier, is any indication. Further evidence that this old road is still America’s most famous highway is found in the number of travelers from throughout the world who come to immerse themselves in the spirit of this tarnished time capsule with its overlay of the glitter and glitz of Disneyland.
We are mere days away from the release of the second edition of the exciting new e-zine, 66 The Mother Road published by John and Judy Springs. This publication is a perfect example of how this iconic highway is fast becoming a bridge connecting the past and the future.
My efforts to bridge the gulf between past and future is being made manifest in making it possible for fans of the highway to purchase signed copies of the new book, Ghost Towns of Route 66, through the blog, and links that allow for following this blog on Kindle. The next effort to bridge the chasm of time will be a Facebook book signing, with Route 66 question and answer forum, and the means to order signed copies of this book. Details will be forthcoming soon but a tentative date is Saturday afternoon, July 23.
There have been quantum leaps in regards to technology since Route 66 was certified in 1926. Still, the old road is still about cruising and the virtual world can never replace the thrill of a road trip along legendary Route 66.
If you are new to such adventures, or are planning to motor west toward the end of July, you might consider inclusion of the 2011 New Mexico Motor Tour in your travel plans. Immerse yourselves in the mystique and culture of Route 66 with a few hundred fans of the highway and you will never be able to enjoy a drive on the interstate highway again.
If the schedule doesn’t allow for experiencing Route 66 from end to end, and your plans are to explore Illinois or Missouri, you might want to set your sites on Pontiac, Illinois, and the opening of the new Pontiac (automobile) museum. The museum is scheduled for a July opening and will be a showcase for all things Pontiac.
In Missouri there are a number of festivals scheduled but it is the fall mural tour in Cuba that has grabbed our attention. We have loose plans for driving Route 66 around the first of October to gather material for the new book, a Route 66 encyclopedia, and have this on our list of possible dates.
One of the more exciting aspects about the resurgent interest in the old road, and the resultant economic viability of refurbishing old properties, is the fact that when the sun goes down you don’t have to put the Route 66 frame of mind to bed. In Missouri you have a number of lodging choices but the crown jewels are the Wagon Wheel Motel, circa 1936, and the Munger Moss.
Oklahoma and Texas, as well as New Mexico, have some great places as well, such as the El Rancho in Gallup. Still it is tough to beat the Wigwam Motels, one in Holbrook and one in Rialto, California, for the real feel of Route 66.
This summer discover, or rediscover, the charm and wonder of life in the slow lane. Take to the Main Street of America and get inspired.


My dad mustered out of the service in the spring of 1966, and after almost forty years of winters spent in Michigan, on ice breakers in the Great Lakes, and months spent at sea, he was ready for some place a bit warmer and a whole lot dryer. To that end he took a map of the United States, folded it in such a manner that there was no coast or border showing, and threw a dart.
Kingman in Arizona was closest to ground zero for his 1965 dart toss. That gave him almost a year to buy some prime desert property, unseen.
Well, come June of 1966, the family consisting of my two sisters, mom, dad, me, and a very unhappy parakeet, piled into the dark blue, four door, 1964 Ford Fairlane purchased the previous summer and that was now packed in a manner worthy of the Joad’s in their westward migration, and set out for our new home. The first leg of the journey was miserable but tolerable.
Of course it was less than a few hundred miles from Port Huron to Jackson, both in Michigan. Still, the stop at grandmothers was greatly appreciated.
The next day we made it to Niles, another run of a hundred miles or so, before we got another reprieve. This time it was the changing of a tire that required unloading the trunk that required first unloading the stuff piled on top of the truck.
Now, my dad and I weren’t really strangers but for the majority of my life up to that point in time, he had been away for long periods of time. So, the flow of colorful words that culminated with a reference to Sears & Roebuck, the store where he had bought the tires the week before we left, and where the store manager would find the tire if we were to return to Port Huron, presented me with a confusing revelation that led to the asking of various questions pertaining to anatomy.
Everybody was pretty miserable but in retrospect, my sisters were the most miserable of all. My older sister had just graduated from high school, and my little sister was just short of her third birthday. For reasons not understood at the time my mother was rather indifferent to us kids so my older sister seemed more of a mother than a sibling to both of us, but especially when it came to my little sister.
Dad had a tremendous gift for ignoring distractions while driving be they pleadings for a bathroom break, squabbling siblings, a bitterly complaining wife, or things falling off the roof of the car onto the highway. We picked up U.S. 66 south of Chicago, crossed into Missouri on the Chain of Rocks Bridge, another opportunity for dad to display his prowess with expletives and a great memory I will share someday, and called it quits for the day somewhere west of St. Louis.
The next few days were a repeat of the second. Stifling heat. Crying sister. Complaining mother. Ignoring dad. Hour upon hour on the road. Pit stops to pee, pit stops to get supplies, pit stops to make sandwiches.
Still, oddly enough, I also remember some pretty neat stuff, like the sound of the bell at the service station, the beads of sweat on the coke bottle that felt so cold in my hand, the smell of the wet pavement as it mingled with the scent of rubber, of grease, of gasoline, of hot engines, and sweat, and the swishing noise of tires on cars rolling by out on the highway. I remember a motel in Oklahoma where the neon sign presented the illusion the cowboy was really riding a bronco.
I remember with absolute clarity the ancient and dirty little service station in New Mexico where I first heard Spanish. It was in the same town where I ate my first real taco, and the first time I saw the Indian of the movies with long braids, a stern, weathered face, and a battered hat with a feather.
At first I had trouble understanding why the memories of this particular trip had rushed back with high definition quality this morning. I knew that in part it was triggered by a simple memorial service for my little sister, who passed away this past December, requested by her middle son who recently rotated stateside.
Throughout the day as I made phone calls, worked on the Route 66 encyclopedia, resolved issues at the office and those associated with the promotion for Ghost Towns of the Southwest, the memory of this trip kept pushing to the forefront of my thoughts. A short while ago it came to me, this was the last time we traveled as a family, a really dysfunctional family but a family nonetheless. This was the beginning of my Arizona love affair. And, as with so much of my life, tying it all together was Route 66.
Shortly after we arrived in Arizona, dad hitchhiked back to Michigan to get the truck and trailer to haul the family goods west. Almost immediately after his return, my older sister moved on and started a life of her own.
We stayed in Arizona for five years before moving on to New Mexico and my sister who seemed more like a mom, soon became a memory. In New Mexico we stayed a couple of years before making the reverse migration to Michigan.
With each move the cracks in the family had became more noticeable and this one turned the cracks into chasms. It was now only a matter of time before each of us chose a different course.
This trip on Route 66 was our last moment as a family. Route 66, my trail of dreams.