Saturday, September 5, 2009

Romancing the Road

I love to read The National Geographic, it is so entertaining and informative, I don't know a person that does not enjoy it. I have enjoyed it for the last fifty years, the articles in each and every issue is really great, and they have covered every nation and it's people, and has given us so many interesting facts, that we might have never known.

Tired of the interstate's green-sign, fast food sameness? Head for Arizona where a long stretch of old Route 66 survives, offering a nostalgic journey through one slice of Americana. The storied road once linked big towns and small from Chicago to Los Angeles

The road that carried generations of Americans west, became a relic of sweeter, calmer, slower times in 1984 when the last stretch of Interstate 40 was completed outside Williams, Arizona. Something precious was taken from us that day, the serendipity of travel. What romance could there be in speeding from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Ocean on five connecting superhighways? How could we dream if there wasn't even time to dawdle? Route 66 never really died, no matter what the maps may say. The road lives on in our memories of an era when the great adventure was getting there, not just being there and nights on the road were full of neon signs and round-the-clock diners and melancholy exhilaration of being alone and rootless and going someplace, anyplace.

Historic Route 66

So coming back onto the old ghost road, the 158 miles in Arzonia from east to Seligman to Topock on the Californis border, this is one of the longest drivable segments left of the original Route 66, designated now as a historic state highway. The people still living on Route66 know they are living in yesterday, but people love the old road because this is where you go looking for who we used to be.

Along this road west it is written a requiem for the nation's westward migration, on a highway the spanned nearly 2,500miles from the corner of Michigan Avenue and Jackson Boulevard in Chicago to Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, California, reaching across three time zones, eight states, and hundreds of towns. Parts of the highway followed the ancient Osage Indian Trail. Route 66 had many names Postal Highway, Will Rodgers Highway. and etc., but only one stuck: the mellifluous 66, bestowed by the federal government in 1926.

Route 66, this stretch in Arizona, ends near a bluff overlooking the Colorado River, only the stone foundation remained from the old Red Rock Bridge, the first railroad trestle ran over this bridge, it hadn't survived as part of the road west either. It was now painted white and now supports a natural gas pipeline. There weren't any markers around to retell the history of a restless nation's journey. But reaching across the river was a new wide span, part of I-40, and over it sped a stream of cars and trucks to remind us how much times have changed.

(excerpt from National Geographic, September, 1997, issue)


Joops said...

I love the title of this post, it tells a lot of adventurous journey!

A.Marie said...

I love Route 66!

This link brings up all kinds of info about Illinois Route 66. We are about 15 miles from Lexington. Just copy and paste it into your search engine!

Great post! :)

Patty said...

Old Route 40 is a nice road to travel also. Can see a lot of scenery, compared to the interstate. But I've never been much of a traveler. I do all right on short trips, I just don't care for long car trips. Had a family get together today. So tomorrow when Abe and I are here alone, I will be doing our laundry and also damp mopping the kitchen floor. Now that sounds like fun, doesn't it. LOL Then again, I may just wait until Tuesday. LOL Being retired means you don't always have to do something the day you think you'll do it. I go back to the eye doctor Thursday, want to find out when I can have the other eye taken care of. It's amazing how much better my eye is now, how well I can see, how bright and colorful everything looks. Happy week end to the two of you.

A New Beginning said...

Thanks Margaret, this is quite an interesting post :)Have a great week ahead!

caspersmom said...

Hi Margaret, long time no see. Sometimes it's hard to get Mom to post for me. She's had some hard times lately, but she is doing O.K. Mom told me all about Route 66. She said when she was a kid her Mom and Dad went to Nashville Tenn. visiting relatives quite often and they always went Route 66. They would go off it for awhile to see the Grand Canyon and Carlsbad Caverns, but always ended up back on it again. Mom loves to travel. Mom and Dad had a dream vacation in 1995, stopped when they wanted to and went when they wanted to. One day they only went 25 miles and longest day was almost 500 miles. Coming back home they did take the old Route 66 in Arizona for old times sake. Mom loved the Burma shave signs. They were gone for six weeks and I was stuck with Daughter bean. I was a lot younger then so I didn't care if I went or stayed.


Anonymous said...

Interesting post, Margaret. I went from Tucson, Arizona to Palm Springs, California once, by bus, and the road we were on was right beside the old stage coach road. It was the most interesting piece of history I ever saw. I saw places where some of the log beams were exposed and others where they were partly covered. I am guessing they were put there to make the road less sandy and easier on the horses and the coach and the passengers.

Puss-in-Boots said...

We've had a few tv programmes on Route 66...a diverse highway through America indeed.

Babli said...

I liked your post very much. The title of the story is very catching. I love to travel and thats the reason I enjoyed reading your lovely narrated story.

Merle said...

Dear Margaret ~~ I thought I had commented here
but obviously not. A very interesting post and some history. We used to see the TV show, "Route 66" years ago. Glad you enjoyed the C-nile virus and the auditor joke and Mother Teresa's quote.
Take great care, my friend and have a good rest of the week. Love, Merle.

Linda said...

I love the title of this post as well and you always provide the most fascinating history lessons. I had forgotten how much I used to love National Geographic. My Dad received a bunch of issues from a neighbor, back when I was between the ages of 10 - 16 and I used to love to read those.

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