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

Fort Stockton – Respite along I-10

Fort Stockton – Respite along I-10

As one travels through the desert corridor between El Paso and San Antonio, Texas, you get the feel there isn’t much there except Interstate 10, mountains, open terrain with rocks and sand interspersed with patches of brown and green.

Even the GPS friendly voice remains silent as the miles click away, although seemingly at slow speeds. Occasionally there seems to be a gradual turn in the Interstate.  Otherwise, the road looks very long ahead.  You even have doubts at times of the opportunity for relief.

One of the respites from the mundane travel along the historic, scenic route though appears as the signs for Fort Stockton announce this encouragement and the feeling of civilization in sight.

So, what’s so special about this little place along I-10?  I needed to check it out further.

According to the Texas State Historical Association Online, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hff02, Fort Stockton evolved around Comanche Springs, at one time the third largest source of spring water in Texas.  It was also near the military fort that was found in 1859  – named after Lt. Edward Dorsey Stockton.

Comanche Springs no doubt was a favorite rest stop for weary travelers through the native land – on the Comanche Trail to Chihuahua, the Old San Antonio Road, the Butterfield Overland Mail route, and the San Antonio-Chihuahua  freight-wagon road.

The fort was rebuilt  by the U.S. Army in 1867 following a short possession period by the Confederates during the Civil War.  During this time the fort provided protection for travelers and settlers from the Indians as well as employment for the area.  The fort was abandoned in 1886.

Today Fort Stockton is the county seat of Pecos County with a population of 8,283 in 2010.  Little has changed since 1980 when the population was 8,868 and an economy based on oil, gas and Sulphur production and distribution.

Much has changed since the 1800s, particularly the mode of travel.  While some traveling this corridor at 80 miles per hour, and sometimes faster, may pass this once vibrant respite without much thought, Fort Stockton remains steadfast and ready to serve the weary along life’s highway.

One of the highlights on this particular journey is K-Bob’s Steakhouse, almost within a stone’s through from Interstate 10.  Depending on where one exits from I-10 the family restaurant is east or west.  The atmosphere is pleasant and the décor remains a tribute to the area’s history.  Some of the proud heritage of Pecos County Ranches – past and present – is displayed with brands of these ranches.

A wagon–designed salad buffet is an instant attraction upon entering the first main dining area.  The eye appeal and taste are commendable.  The restaurant certainly lives up to one’s expectation of being a steakhouse.  Steaks are prepared to this traveler’s taste and expectation.

One thing for sure as modern-day travelers scurry along the open road on this Interstate, Fort Stockton provides a glimpse of history and a modern day taste of great food at K-Bobs.

K-Bobs
K-Bobs provides qualify food along I-10 at Fort Stockton