Long, long ago U.S. 66 transcended its original purpose to become Route 66, an American icon of epic proportions. This amazing old road may not be the most scenic or the most historic but it has always had the best press and in recent years this trend has catapulted it into the realm of international stardom.
The seeds for this were sown by visionary men and women such as Cyrus Avery who in February of 1927, mere months after certification of the highway, launched the U.S. Highway 66 Association and an advertising campaign promoting Route 66 as “the Main Street of America.”
Fast forward to the second decade of the 21st century. Route 66 has morphed into a living, breathing time capsule with an overlay of Disneyland. The charming and colorful essence of the old road from the glory days of the 1950s has been distilled into a magic elixir of music, photos, small town diners with blue plate specials, friendship, neon, scenic wonder, history, excitement, adventure, and fun that is addictive as well as intoxicating.
Route 66 has become a linear corridor where small town America circa 1955 seems unaffected by the intrusions of the modern world. Along its course from the inland sea of Lake Michigan to the shores of the Pacific Ocean there are still malt shops, neon lit nights, a ribbon of asphalt that flows through the heartland of America rather than violently slicing through it.
If you are unfamiliar with the charm and transforming wonder of legendary Route 66, I encourage you to make a voyage of discovery this year. And if you are familiar with its wonders, and will be following it to adventure this year, welcome home.