|A happy group from Holland traveling
with U.S. Bikers at the Dambar with Jim
and Judy Hinckley
Take that train of thought one step further. This means that many people traveling the road, buying books about it, or that join tour groups to explore it have no association with the road when it was a U.S. highway.
Here is a dusty little town that withered on the vine with the bypass of Route 66. In less than five years of the severance of the communities lifeline, the population plummeted, businesses closed, and the downward spiral began.
Now, however it is on a fast track toward becoming a destination for international travelers. The forthcoming “Rockabilly” festival is one indication. The TripAdvisor ratings for the Motel Safari and Blue Swallow Motel is another. And yet another is the recent purchase of a long closed motel that will be undergoing restoration soon.
Still, the underlying theme behind the rebirth of Tucumcari or Cuba, Pontiac or Galena, however, is the same. It isn’t just the historic sites, restored buildings, or festivals. It isn’t just restaurants or restored neon.
The key to the rebirth of communities, and as a result, Route 66 is the people; the ones who travel it, the people who preserve its history, the people who create a unified sense of community and community spirit, and the people who serve as its stewards. And this is the key to understanding the ever growing popularity of Route 66, it is an opportunity to savor life at its very best.
If your new to the Route 66 experience, I would like to suggest you consider a trip to Kingman in mid August for the annual Route 66 International Festival. In one location you can experience the camaraderie of an international family reunion, complete with crazy uncles and eccentrics, talk to representatives from each of the eight state Route 66 associations, and immerse yourself in a Norman Rockwell world with WiFi access.