Many rewards are derived from meeting with the diverse array of tour groups that travel Route 66. Next to friendships made, the greatest of these are the questions asked that force me to think rather than regurgitate, the questions that challenge me to move beyond my perception of normal.
A Chinese tour group hosted by Open Road Productions.
Why is Route 66 important to you? Why is it numbered 66? Why is Route 66 so popular? Why do people choose to live in the desert? What does Route 66 represent to you? What does Route 66 mean to other foreign visitors? How is it possible for a federal highway to become private property? If it was private property, how did the government build the highway on it? Is the railroad private enterprise or government owned? Do passenger trains use the same rail lines? Why are our trains so antiquated? Who is responsible for the maintenance of Route 66? Why don’t communities appreciate their history? Are American youth interested in Route 66?
This afternoon I was privileged to speak with a tour from China led by Open Road Productions in association with Dr. Nick Gerlich. It was a lively and inquisitive group with an honest as well as sincere interest in Route 66, America, and the desert but there was a chasm of language and culture to span. As a result, some of the questions, and perhaps a few of my answers, appeared quite blunt.As a wise old sage once quipped, the best tonic for ignorance is travel. There is a second option for those of us fortunate enough to live along iconic Route 66; we can travel the world, broaden our horizons, and never leave home.This summer alone my dearest friend and I have been privileged to visit with people from Germany and Australia, New Zealand and China, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, Japan and Russia, France and Norway, Italy and South Africa, Brazil and Canada. Isn’t it amazing how this storied old highway lures people from the very corners of the globe? Isn’t it even more amazing that it is able to bridge barriers of language and custom?Next week a delightful microcosm of the Route 66 experience will unfold on the streets of historic Kingman as enthusiasts from Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and many states as the international is added to the Route 66 International Festival. It is my sincere hope that you can join us for the festivities. It is also my sincere hope that can bring a friend who isn’t familiar with the alluring charm of the double six.