It was a delightful, warm October evening with just the faintest hint of fall in the air. Acclaimed author Joe Sonderman and I, along with Rich Dinkela and Dean Kennedy, were lounging on the rear deck of the historic Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri and discussing Route 66.
Wagon Wheel Motel, Cuba, Missouri
The catalyst for this gathering was to promote the recent refurbishment of this magical roadside time capsule through a book signing as well as a meet and greet session. During this conversation Joe made a very astute observation about this old highway when he said, “The myth has become a reality.”
Route 66 is not the longest, the most historic, or even the most scenic highway in America even though it has elements of all of these in spades. However, almost from its very inception it has had the best press.
In early 1927, Cyrus Avery and a band of visionaries created the U.S. Highway 66 Association and commenced marketing the highway as the “Main Street of America.” The rest, as they say, is history.
Long ago this storied highway transcended its original purpose to join great American icons in the pantheon of mythical legends such as Paul Bunyan and Pecos. The difference is, as Joe put it, on the double six this myth has now become a reality.
Our recent trip was a refresher course in the highway and its culture. One of the lessons learned from this adventure is that this amazing old road has an incredible ability to bridge chasms of culture, language, or even economic status. It is truly the highway of dreams and of dreams made manifest.
Funks Grove, Illinois
On this legendary road the past and present ebb and flow as a gentle tide. Inspiration, hope, excitement, and exhilaration are as palpable a sensory experience as a stroll among the fall colors in Funks Grove.
It is almost as though the highway is a living, breathing entity. The interestate highway is a soulless creation that, in time, will suck the life from all who drive it. Route 66 has the ability to restore that life and renew the spirit.
Countless times I have touched upon these themes in this blog as well as in my books and in feature articles written for various publications. However, this recent excurison renewed and magnified these thoughts.
Perhaps the reason I return to these themes so often is my inability to find words to convey the depth of the sensory overload that comes with an adventure on Route 66. With that said, I leave you this morning with a few simple thoughts.
Do not allow time or budget constraints keep you from experiencing the wonder and rejuvenating qualities of Route 66. Travel it in part or in length, but travel it, savor it, and allow it to transform you.
This is the highway of dreams. Unleash yours today.