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Road Trips: The Mystique of Route 66


Just pull up next to your own cozy tepee and turn in
for the night at the Wigwam Motels in Rialto,
California, and Holbrook, Arizona.

Lucille Hamon’s gas station served travelers along Route 66 near
Hydro, Oklahoma.

 

 

 

TIMES CHANGE

 

Life became busier, and the slower, more scenic route began losing its appeal. The hurried world wanted faster, more direct thoroughfares. Ask any old-time roadside business owners when the interstate bypassed their town and they probably can narrow it down to the hour of the day their once-busy streets became eerily silent.

 

By 1970, Old Route 66 was almost entirely bypassed by modern, four-lane highways. She ultimately gave way to the interstate system in 1984, when the last vestige of the original road was overtaken by Interstate 40 at Williams, Arizona. Looking at a road map today, the delicate, wavy line that was once Route 66 appears frail and broken by the mighty interstates that cross its path.

 

 

SEEK HER SPIRIT

 

But don’t let the old lady fool you. Though entire sections of her roundabout trail are missing, she still delivers the journey of a lifetime. An abundance of books and Web sites guide travelers who seek the spirit and romance of this historic highway. Every Route 66 state boasts its own nostalgic tales and spectacles. Driving through the dusty towns – many dried up and abandoned, others alive and well – has become part of her legacy.

 

If you get the chance to travel this legendary byway, take time to do a little homework before you go. Pick a unique stretch of the Old Mother Road. Savor the sights and sounds as you bump along the faded asphalt. Explore a quiet town that was once a horn-honking metropolis. Find a neon-trimmed burger joint and treat yourself to an egg cream or a steaming cup of joe. And, by all means, seek out the people in these towns whose lives and legends are the lore of Route 66. Through their stories, the magic lives on.

 

 

LINKS TO MORE ABOUT ROUTE 66

 

 


The Marsh Arch Bridge was part of the 13.2 miles
of Route 66 that passed through Kansas.

 

National Historic Route 66 Federation
www.national66.org

 

Up-to-date news and events about America’s Mother Road
www.route66pulse.com

 

Photographic images from all eight Route 66 states
www.sightandsound.com/route66

 

 

 

 

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