Saturday, June 19, 2010

Route 66

I have a weak spot for the U.S. Route 66. First of all, I love byways (especially scenic ones) and whenever possible I prefer to drive on the side roads rather than main highways. Side roads usually go through more interesting landscape and have less traffic. Thanks to that one can feel closer to the nature, the *real* world and *real* people.

I remember that once while traveling in South Africa and Namibia in 2006, we were faced with a choice whether we should take a safe, fast main road or if we should pick "the road less travelled". We were leaning towards the fast route as we were runing short of time. That evening we went to the cinema and randomly picked a movie to watch (We did not watch a movie for more than 2 months then!). The movie we watched was Pixar's "Cars"... Because of specific circumstances in which I watched that movie, it affected me a lot and I made a decision then to always pick the roads less travelled...

Second reason why Route 66 is special to me, is because of a good friend of mine whose ambition is to drive its full length. Hence, this post is dedicated to him.

U.S. Route 66 goes by the name "The Mother Road", which was given to it by John Steinbeck in his novel "The Grapes of Wrath". The route was established in 1926 and disappeared from the maps in 1985, after being replaced by the new interstate highway system. Portions of the road that passed through Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, and Arizona have been designated a National Scenic Byway of the name "Historic Route 66" and in such form they started returning to maps:

The original route was 2'448 miles long and passed through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, connecting Chicago with Los Angeles:

Behind Anil you can see a few cars moving along I-40 that replaced Route 66 and in front of them remnants of the old Route 66 in the form of electric posts:

Historic Route 66 in Santa Fe, NM: