ROUTE 66 – A RAY OF SUNSHINE ON A DARK DAY

As the governments of Greece, Spain, and Italy struggle with harsh economic realities, and while the Untied States government valiantly plays another round of trying to keep those realities at bay, there is a growing sense of storm clouds looming on the horizon. In the gloom of a pre storm gray, even a dim light shine bright and as a result, the neon star that is Route 66 shines quite bright.
Perhaps this explains a bit of the old roads growing popularity. When driving, or riding, this almost magical highway, the world seems a much happier place. To a large degree this is why in interviews, such as this one in the Kingman Daily Miner, I often describe Route 66 as a living, breathing time capsule with an overlay of Disneyland.
Yes, there are other highways that are more scenic and many have a history that is every bit as colorful as the legendary U.S. 66. However, they are NOT Route 66, they are not the Main Street of America or the Mother Road.
In the research and writing of the current project, a book that chronicles the rise and transition of Route 66 from highway to icon as seen through the promotional material developed along the way, I have developed a deeper understanding of how deeply the road is ingrained in American culture of the 20th century. Likewise I have become enthralled with the development of the promotion that is the foundation of such popularity.
In turn this has led me to believe that now more than ever the old road needs a rebirth of the U.S. Highway 66 Association, the pioneering organization the initiated promotion of Route 66 being the Main Street of America in February of 1927, just months after the highways certification.
As I have a very active imagination (surprise), this takes the form of a product mobile, a vintage car adorned with the slogans of corporate sponsors, as well as classic locations on the road. This vehicle would be used to distribute promotional material along the road, as a back drop for interviews, as a promotional vehicle at events such as Cuba Fest and the Route 66 Fun Run, and as beacon to attract international media focus.
Part two of my idea would be a Route 66 Information Center, a clearing house for all things Route 66. The physical office would have available rack cards and all manner of promotional materials from businesses as well as museums available. In addition, there would be books, post cards, t-shirts and the usual paraphernalia.
This clearing house would be available for those planning a trip on the double six, to assist tour companies, to assist with communities in need of authors or artists, and with press seeking information. All of this would be funded through carefully selected corporate sponsorships, the sale of memberships, donations, and, possibly, memberships.
Okay. What are your thoughts?



2 Replies to “ROUTE 66 – A RAY OF SUNSHINE ON A DARK DAY”

  1. Jim,
    You can count me in as a far American East contributor, it would be an honor. Love to tell someone about my first trip down the double 6 and almost getting duped into breaking into a Route 66 landmark in Pacifica, Missouri. “Hill Billy dupes city slicker”.

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