Sunday, June 16, 2013

Westward Ho on the The Mother Road!


 "If you ever plan to motor west
Travel my way, the highway that's the best.
Get your kicks on Route 66!
It winds from Chicago to L.A.,
More than two thousand miles all the way.
Get your kicks on Route 66."
~lyrics from the famous song by Bobby Troup
Route 66 has always intrigued me.  Maybe it is because I never had the childhood experience of a family vacation traversing the country on the Mother Road.  I have heard many stories of what traveling along Route 66 was like in its heyday: Mom and Pop establishments, cafes, souvenir stands, motels with sparkling neon lights… It always sounded like such a big part of our American heritage and an amazing adventure to me. 

Two months ago, after I sold our Indiana home, the time came for me to make the trip out west to join my family in our new home in Arizona.  I had to get my car there, and what better way than to load it up, pal up with a photo buddy of mine, and spend 4 days heading west and exploring the historic places along Route 66? 

Today, I-40 is the main road that follows the course of Route 66.  While so much of the original road is long gone, we did our best to take any and all detours from I-40 to original segments of the road in order to see what is still remaining along the first highway that linked Chicago to Los Angeles.  
We stopped in small established towns sporting weathered neon signs in front of boarded up hotels. We saw nostalgic signs in front of empty lots which once housed drive in motels.  We stopped in ghost towns with a few dilapidated and rustic building shells marking an era of days gone by.  We drove through the rush hour traffic of large cities where vintage signage mingled with logos of modern day corporate establishments. 

All of the nostalgic sights sparked the imagination of what road travel was like driving across the country way back when… 
 This was the road we picked up in St. Louis, Missouri and followed until Flagstaff, Arizona where we turned south toward my new home.  Someday soon, before what is left of Route 66 becomes only a memory, I would like to head back to Flagstaff, make a left-hand turn, and finish my journey to the end of the Mother Road. 

Thanks to the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, the historic remnants of Route 66 are being preserved for current and future generations to get a taste of the history along "The Main Street of America." 

More images from our 4 day trip can be seen HERE

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