What is Main Street USA?

Route 66 plague near Painted Desert

Ever heard of Route 66?

Route 66 was born in 1926 and is a highway with more than 2,400 miles long that ran from Chicago through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California – ending in Santa Monica.

Route 66 road sign in Oklahoma

Nicknames for the highway include “The Mother Road”, Main Street USA”, and “Will Rogers Highway”.

Well, I think it’s about time I provide a few blogs about one of our trips through parts of Route 66.  This is the first of my blogs to highlight the famous route.

Route 66 map
NPS map of Route 66.  Route 66 was launched as the nation’s first Federal highway system.  It was intertwined with local, state and national roads.

The National Park Service also has excellent information and history on this “special place in American consciousness.”  https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/route66/maps66.html

I still recall as a young person the move series and couple of guys riding Route 66 in a Corvette and the motto “Get Your Kicks” on Route 66.  Here is a video clip of Nat King Cole’s song that may trigger some memories.

 

As I think back about the movie I recall the simpler times, local-small businesses, restaurants, cafes and gas stations that catered to the new found freedoms on the road.

That was part of our experience as we attempted to locate Route 66 during our travels into Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona.  I actually “stumbled” on the highway initially when I noticed the first sign, and then tried to follow the route as much as possible.  It was interesting and fun.

Route 66 Glenn's Bakery

I’ll just provide a few highlights along the route we traveled.  I was taken back in time as I noticed the historic sites and reminders of our past when people were just taking to the road with the new, influential automobile.

Route 66 motel

Smithsonianmag.com lists Route 66 as an endangered site as the highway is easing into the past and not aging gracefully.  https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/endangered-site-historic-route-66-usa-52145829/.

Here is another result of societal and roadway improvements – this time being set aside by the Interstate System.  I’m glad we have the Interstate but I also like the back roads too – encouraging me to slow down some and take in the sites and sounds.

Route 66 abandoned business

It’s sad in a way as history seems to just dissolve away.  Some of the old restaurants naturally can’t stay in business without help.

I propose groups and businesses take a special interest in keeping this important part of our history.

My next Route 66 blog is coming soon.

With Love,

Ron

11 thoughts on “What is Main Street USA?

    1. Great! Come along on the ride. The song still resonates within me. Actually, while checking on short Route 66 movie clips I kept thinking of the song. Thanks.

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