While continuing to drive westward in Arizona toward the Grand Canyon it becomes obvious the open terrain that is combined with the natural beauty.
Coming from a populated area in Florida, along with the heavy foliage, I enjoyed seeing the openness where you can see for miles.
The long trains looked so lonely as they regularly covered their routes going west and east. I’m sure the train engineers appreciate the rails where they can “cruise” and not encounter so many crossings in metropolitan and rural locations.
I didn’t research the impact of rail to the rural towns as compared to the Interstates but I think the rail actually helped the smaller towns.
I published an earlier post about a town in Louisiana and the impact of Interstate 10. The train’s running through the town were eventually negatively affected by the Interstate expansion as well as the town.
Even as the trains continue to run through rural routes I doubt you’ll find one stopping in the towns as compared to years past when passengers would travel on them. Many towns now don’t rely on trains for their individual supplies neither.
What about Native Americans? We still don’t recognize the impact of our progress and growth to their lives.
Progress happens. It’s what we do with it that makes the major difference.
I still enjoy the remaining beauty though; and I’m thankful for efforts of our society to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us.
Route 66 has been an interesting ride in this series. There is so much to see and interpret. I can’t do it justice with the few posts I provided – only tidbits. I’ll close out my focus on Route 66 with this post by providing a little history; although the next few posts will still be along Route 66 (I-40) in Arizona.
After being intrigued about Route 66’s origin, I found out its birth was long before the development of cars.
According to https://www.theroute-66.com/history.html, the history of Route 66 began shortly after the U.S. incorporated the southwestern territories it had acquired from Mexico after the 1846 -1848 War.
The U.S. Congress commissioned Amiel Weeks Whipple (1817 – 1863), a Captain of the Army Topographical Corps, to survey a proposed transcontinental railroad, resulting in development of wagon trails in the far west.
“Four years later, Congress instructed Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Beale to mark a route between New Mexico and California. His expedition charted a route which would be used by thousands of migrants on their way to California. And was the basis for the roads which would later cross the region, like Route 66.” https://www.theroute-66.com/history.html
Although automobiles had been around since the late 1800s, they began to become more popular toward the end of the first decade of the twentieth century.
The automobile experienced a boom in the early 1920s passing from 180,000 registered vehicles in 1910 to 17 million in 1920. The increase in cars led to a growing demand for better roads and a coherent network of highways. (Route66.com)
No doubt the increase in travels westward triggered the first legislation being passed in 1916, the “Federal Aid Road Act”, which was the beginning of federal government assistance for state highway costs. It was meant to improve any rural road over which the U.S. mail was carried. It obliged the states to have highway departments to design, build and upkeep the roads. (https://www.theroute-66.com/history.html)
The Federal Highway Act of 1921 set up a multi-year plan of federal funding for the program. Congress passed this Act to create a National highway system funded by the Federal government. It was to be an interstate network linking the country.
As the automobile became more popular, the masses took to the roads, and what was once an adventure for the wealthy (and the brave), became commonplace. Americans could now roam across America, free and unchallenged.
Who would think that a person certified to be a school teacher in 1893 in Missouri, and moving to Oklahoma City around 1897 to be an insurance agent, would become the father of Route 66? Yet that is what Cyrus Avery did. You can read more of his story at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_Avery.
Avery was impressed with the Good Roads Movement going on in Missouri and became involved with various commissions and associations to learn more about these endeavors – pushing toward a federal level of roadways.
Because of the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains, Avery argued that the new route requested by Congress from Virginia to California (U.S. Highway 60) should go through Tulsa and Oklahoma City, continue west across the Texas Panhandle, New Mexico, Arizona, and southern California. Apparently his argument had merit and was adopted. It was also beneficial to commercial development.
After the highways were routed, a decision was made not to name the highways but instead follow the pattern of numbering them as established in Wisconsin and Missouri.
The east-west routes would be even numbers, and the north-south would be odd. Major routes would be one or two-digit numbers ending in either “1” or “0” depending on the route.
Route 66 was almost named Route 60.
To avoid a “U.S. 0”, U.S. Highway 2 was treated as a “0” highway and U.S. Route 101 would be treated as a two-digit highway to expand the number of available routes north-south. Avery, arguing that the Chicago to Los Angeles route would be a major highway, numbered the highway US 60.
U.S. 60 vs. U.S. 62
The Virginia Beach–Springfield route had been designated as U.S. 62 and actually terminated south of Ozark, Missouri at U.S. Highway 65. Kentucky would be the only state without a “0” highway. They countered Avery’s US route by pushing for US 60 to run between Virginia Beach and Los Angeles; the Springfield to Chicago section could be “U.S. 60 North”. Avery returned with “U.S. 60 South” for the Springfield–Virginia Beach alignment. Kentucky threatened to walk completely out of the new highway system (individual states could not be forced to participate in it).
Finally, Kentucky offered a compromise: connect their highway with Avery’s in Springfield and give their highway the number 60. Avery could have his Chicago–Los Angeles highway if he would accept the number 62 which was originally assigned to their road.
Avery disliked the number 62, found out 66 was not used, and designated the Chicago–Los Angeles highway as U.S. 66.
Route 66 was launched as the nation’s first Federal highway system. It was intertwined with local, state and national roads.
I believe these changes began an every-increasing growth out west as people began falling in love with their automobiles and traveling farther distances. The territories along Route 66 increased with travelers exploring the vast homeland. The Petrified Forest was one of the popular landmarks.
As we “happened” to travel through Holbrook, Arizona we were surprised to see Route 66 influence there as well.
Since it was time to eat we stopped at a restaurant that looked like a typical Route 66-themed place.
Wow! We had no clue about the connection of the restaurant and the town of Holbrook and the entire area toward creation of the movie “Cars.”
If you haven’t seen the movie “Cars” it is funny, entertaining and highlights a little of the historic changes along Route 66. Check out the Historic66.com webiste for a movie trailer and additional information. “Route 66 inspired the movie Cars, produced by Pixar and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. The working title for the movie was in fact “Route 66″. The crew traveled the old Mother Road quite a few times for their research. Route 66 experts acting as consultants guided some of these trips. Evidence of the research trips is found both in the movie itself and in several Route 66 businesses that were visited by the crewmembers.”
The town Radiator Springs is fictional. According to Historic66.com “There is no town anywhere along Route 66 called Radiator Springs. And yet, many a small town resembles it a lot.” One can readily see that then the Interstate opened towns and businesses were significantly impacted.
“If you want to see Radiator Springs, you can either head to Disneyland and visit the fictional recreation Cars Land, or you can go for the real life version on Route 66.”
As we left Joe and Aggies, we were elated to see the influence in Holbrook alone. Since it was later in the evening we didn’t get to travel around the other towns but I enjoyed seeing some of the “flavor” before heading back to the Interstate.
Before wrapping up the “Cars” impact and Route 66 I wanted to add a little modern day twist to racing. Lightning McQueen was heading to a big race in California (Route 66 ends in California) when he rolled out of the back of the tractor/trailer and was lost as he rode to Radiator Springs.
Lightning McQueen eventually made it to the race which makes me think of Daytona in Florida, closer to home. Daytona has one of its major races as part of the 4th of July celebration. The race in 2018 is July 7 and is Coke Zero Sugar 400. http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/ ,
I’m not there but here are a few photos of the raceway. Are you a race fan? I enjoy attending when I can or at least watching on TV.
I wonder if Lightning McQueen will show at the race today if he was able to divert from Route 66?
All the best,
(All photos except as otherwise noted are by RonLin Photography for Tittle Thoughts.)
America’s Highway, Route 66, continues as a picturesque and interesting ride as we traveled from New Mexico into Arizona.
We rode along Route 66 heading for the Grand Canyon and began noticing the beautiful, painted landscape. Isn’t it amazing how many interesting places we can find even without looking – just taking the time and making the effort. This time it is the Painted Desert. And…I didn’t even realize it at first.
According to https://www.visitarizona.com/uniquely-az/parks-and-monuments/the-painted-desert-1 , “for an unforgettable encounter with Arizona nature, enter into the Painted Desert, where art comes to life. A broad region of rocky badlands encompassing more than 93,500 acres, this vast landscape features rocks in every hue – from deep lavenders and rich grays to reds, oranges, and pinks. It’s like you’ve been transported into a painting. Located in Northern Arizona, the Painted Desert stretches from the Grand Canyon National Park eastward to the Petrified Forest National Park, with a large portion lying within the Navajo Nation.”
HISTORY & NATURE
A natural canvas millions of years in the making, no one event shaped the Painted Desert. Instead, the area is evidence of Earth’s volatility. Home to some of the nation’s most memorable formations and features, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, and sunlight, all combined to create the Painted Desert. Deposits of clay and sandstone, stacked in elegant layers, reflects the setting Arizona sun in an altering display of colorful radiance. A remarkable sight that helps make Northern Arizona so unique and picturesque.
The Navajo and Hopi people have lived in this region for hundreds of years, but it was Spanish Colonialists who gave it the name we know it by today – El Desierto Pintado.
Explore a small section of the Painted Desert that is located in the Petrified Forest National Park, just off Interstate 40 around 25 miles east of Holbrook – to get in touch with the natural landscape.
See the beautiful color striations of rock formations and mesas. For the quintessential Painted Desert experience, don’t miss the sunset – it’s when the rocks morph into an awe-inspiring canvas of fiery color.
At least when you travel Route 66 today you’ll find ample businesses, service centers and restaurants to ease any fears of travel through the “desert.”