Route 66

Route 66 was the very first highway stretching 2000 miles across America from Chicago to Los Angeles. Many years ago, students at McGinn Elementary School pedaled 2000 miles aboard an exercise bike throughout the course of an entire school year while learning all about Route 66, at a pace of 20 miles per day.

These are the pictures from my personal travels while riding along Route 66 through the years.

 

Today, much of Route 66 has been replaced by the Interstate Highway System. This lonely stretch of Route 66 in Illinois has been preserved and is now protected by the local Route 66 Association. This is an actual stretch of highway that measures only 8 feet wide… that’s a single lane of road!

 

Gateway Arch, St. Louis, the largest city between Chicago and Los Angeles.

 

Can you imagine some of the nations latest and modern bridges and roadways dotting Route 66 back in the 1920’s? Today, many towns along Route 66 are working to preserve these historic spans.

 

Devil’s Elbow Mountain Pass, Missouri, one of the highest points along Route 66

 

There was a time along Route 66 when the latest in advertising and marketing dotted the highway. Here, a circa 1950’s neon sign adorns the highway at a local rest area in Missouri. The motel is still in business today.

 

At the time, billboards did not exist along Route 66, but local residents allowed their barns to promote local businesses.

 

Look familiar? This “dumpy” tow truck was the inspiration behind the Pixar movie Cars when the director was on a cross country vacation with his family. If you own the DVD, be sure to check out the additional features where he talks about the challenge of creating a movie about a highway that no long exists today!

 

 

The Blue Whale, Enid Oklahoma, a slide leading into a local watering hole.

 

In an effort to promote Route 66, a 2000 mile footrace was held in 1923. The winner would win a house built anywhere along Route 66. The winner resided in Foyil, OK, and here is a statue honoring his stamina and tireless effort.

 

 

Traveling down Route 66 today, many local towns have attempted to preserve local filling stations and converted into Welcome Centers and Route 66 Gift shops. Remember, Route 66 was conceived at a time when traveling a significant distance from home by car was simply unheard of.

 

Abandoned road signs privately owned and on display along Route 66.