Route 66 is twenty-five hundred miles of pure Americana that meant the world to people living in the 1940s and 1950s.
Though officially taken out of the U.S. Highway system in 1985, it continues to generate nostalgia and give birth to new generations of travelers who long for the old glory days of Route 66.
Beginning in Chicago and ending in California, a Route 66 trek is dubbed the quintessential road trip even today. Motorcycle and auto clubs regularly schedule group road trips following the Mother Road and indulging “in relaxed walks through historic, western-style downtowns, getting lost between dusty antique items, sipping a root beer in an authentic soda fountain, and enjoying an open-air movie before spending the night in an authentic mom and pop motel of the 50s.”
How did one road mean so much to so many people in the years past and even today?
I believe the answer lies in the very DNA of our citizenry and represents the great spirit of the American people.
In short, it signifies freedom both yesterday and today.
- Freedom to travel when and where one’s heart wanders.
- Freedom to believe in change and the hope of tomorrow.
- Freedom to see new places and people, and to enjoy them at leisure.
- Freedom to connect with others who love to travel or move or sightsee.
The automotive and transportation explosions are aptly represented by Route 66. Wars and ends of wars changed circumstances and opinions in this country, and they also affected how Americans looked at travel. It became more than getting from place to place, but also a way to change their lives.
Looking for change?
Take to the roads.
Need a better tomorrow? Hop in the car and go find it.
Looking for adventure? Look no further than the highway stretching in front of you.
Route 66 offered something different to each and every seeker.
Of course, John Steinbeck used this famous highway to symbolize the grit, desperation, and migration from the Dust Bowl regions, calling it a Highway of Flight. It was truly that, and more. Capitalism at its best was represented by the multitudes of businesses springing up like garden weeds to service the droves of people traveling East to West and West to East. Motor courts, service stations, cafes, tourist camps, grocery stores . . . all found a way to thrive along the busy road.
“In the 1950s, Route 66 was a genuine celebrity. Families could actually leave their homes in the East or Midwest and drive out to the Grand Canyon or the Painted Desert. They could go all the way to the Pacific on a highway that passed through towns where Abe Lincoln practiced law, Jesse James robbed banks, and Will Rogers learned how to twirl a rope.
“They could cross Mark Twain’s great river into lands where outlaws hid in dark caves, and drive through picture-book countrysides where cowpokes still chased dogies into the sunset.” Michael Wallis, Route 66, The Mother Road
Route 66 is the representation of democracy alive and well on our highways, over our bridges, in our vehicles, and in our hearts.
May it survive and thrive!
Jodi Lea Stewart is the author of a contemporary trilogy set in the Navajo Nation and two historical adventure-mysteries. More are on the way!
Want to see where Route 66 took a mom and her teenage daughter who were escaping the abuse of the mom’s husband? These two went out of their way to go North from Texas to connect with the Mother Road in Oklahoma City. Live the sights and smells along the historic road as they head into one adventure after another.
A teen and her mother escaping an abusive situation tumble into the epicenter of crime peddlers invading Arizona and Nevada in the 1950s. Stranded hundreds of miles from their planned destination of Las Vegas, they land in a dusty town full of ghosts and tales, treachery and corruption. Avoiding disaster is tricky, especially as it leads Kat into a fevered quest for things as simple as home and trust. Danger lurks everywhere, leading her to wonder if she and her mother really did take The Accidental Road of life, or if it’s the exact right road to all they ever hoped for.
Trouble sneaks in one Oklahoma afternoon in 1934 like an oily twister. A beloved neighbor is murdered, and a single piece of evidence sends the sheriff to arrest a black man Biddy, a sharecropper’s daughter, knows is innocent. Hauntingly terrifying sounds seeping from the woods lead Biddy into even deeper mysteries and despair and finally into the shocking truths of that fateful summer.
“Beyond the humor and entertaining antics of the main character, Biddy Woodson, BLACKBERRY ROAD has depth and meaning as it explores stirring universal themes that we expect in great literature” ~ D.B. Jackson, acclaimed Historical and Western author
BLACKBERRY ROAD is engaging, entertaining, and a book that is sure to linger with you . . . the trip is well worth the time ~ Cyrus Webb, Host of ConversationsLIVE, president of Conversations Radio Network, tv show host, author, and publicist
AN ADVENTURE-MYSTERY TRILOGY YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS! SILKI, THE GIRL OF MANY SCARVES trilogy has no age limits.
Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas to an “Okie” mom and a Texan dad. Her younger years were spent in Texas and Oklahoma; hence, she knows all about biscuits and gravy, blackberry picking, chiggers, and snipe hunting. At the age of eight, she moved to a large cattle ranch in the White Mountains of Arizona. Later, she left her studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love, and exactly what she DIDN’T want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised three children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles, and served as managing editor of a Fortune 500 corporate newsletter. She currently resides in Arizona with her husband, her delightful 90+year-old mother, a crazy Standard poodle named Jazz, two rescue cats, and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants.
Just for fun . . .
“Honey, I was her consultant. After all, she’s practically writing about me.” Love, Marilyn