Route 66 in movies from the classic Ace in the Hole to Easy Rider and Grapes of Wrath have played a pivotal role in our perception of Route 66. Likewise with Radiator Springs and Radiator Springs made manifest at a California amusement park.
As a result, the modern era of renaissance on this storied old road is transforming it into a fascinating and colorful blend of myth and reality, history and romanticized perception. It is on the fast track to becoming a living, breathing time capsule, a repository of American history in the 20th century with an overlay of Disneyland, a 2,000 mile linear community where the world of Mayberry and Norman Rockwell prints collide with that of the 21st century.
It is America’s longest attraction. It is also proving to be an exciting catalyst for the transformation and recovery of long faded rural communities.
From Santa Monica to Chicago there is a palpable and invigorating sense of excitement and enthusiasm that breeds an optimism about the future that stands in stark contrast to the world that presses in on the old road. As a result, its international popularity continues to grow exponentially.
|Jim Hinckley and visiting Australians.|
I have had a front row seat to the highways transformation from road to icon since 1959 when we first motored west to the Grand Canyon state. My Route 66 odyssey began just as the curtain was closing on that highways glory days. I witnessed the rise of a generic tide that swept across America washing away the mom and pop businesses, and I have watched this amazing old road rise from the ashes like the mythical Phoenix.
Now, through my published work as well as tours, I have an unprecedented opportunity for introducing an almost endless stream of international visitors to the real America as they get their kicks on Route 66. As a bonus, I am awarded the opportunity for world travel without leaving home!
At times when I meet with our foreign guests there is an overwhelming sense of having been tasked with an almost sacred mantle of responsibility. Still, I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world as my association with Route 66 is the ultimate adventure.
As many of my readers are fans of the double six, I am preaching to the choir. If, however, you are new to the world of Route 66, I suggest you make plans for the adventure of a lifetime soon.
And to all fans of the double six, I suggest you plan a Route 66 adventure that includes Kingman next August. The celebration of America’s most famous highway that is the annual Route 66 International Festival will be e memory maker in 2014.