At first a trickle, then eventually a flood, 66 has seen literally millions of Americans on the move.
In the early years, drivers were on their own. They needed to carry their
own food, bedroll and tools. Inevitably, whole industries sprang up to
service these hungry, tired travelers and their vehicles. In their efforts
to bring in the tourist/traveler dollar, motels, gas stations and cafes tried
all sorts of tricks to get people to notice and frequent their establishment
. Gimmicks such as traveling restroom inspectors, huge, gaudy neon,
and buildings shaped like sombreros were once the norm.
But as time and the interstates progressed, far too many of
these establishments found themselves in the backwaters of the U.S. highway
system. Travelers and businesses dwindled. Paint peeled, broken neon
flickered, then went out forever. A long twilight seemed destined to bring
permanent nightfall to the once proud, lively road.
However, the generations that
grew up with 66 are starting to rekindle their love for the cherished
route. As a seeping sameness spreads across the land, people are
remembering the fun of what once was. I'm thankful for that sunny Flagstaff
afternoon when I first met Route 66. At first, I was only vaguely aware of
old 66, but as time went on, I became fascinated by its history and flair. Its stories and
images of a different time evoke a not-so-vague longing. In my mind's eye, I can, for awhile at least, take a drive in an
swing on in to a drive in, and spend the night in a room with a blinking, pink
neon flamingo out front! It's been a fun trip, and I hope you enjoy these
pages as well.
Author's note: I realize some of these pages may be a
little slow due to their size, but it's worth it!