Route 66 #1

Route 66 #1
Route 66 Museum

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Welcome Back Everyone!

Hello again! Before we really get into full swing on the old route I wanted to give everyone a quick true and false test on their Route 66 knowledge. So have fun, and I hope you take something away,

True or False

•If you where alive in 1984 you lived while Route 66 was still a recognized US Route?

True, Route 66 bypassed Williams, AZ in 1984. It was the final town to be bypassed by I-40.

•The interstate system completely replaced the US Route system?

False. The US Route system is alive in kicking. I'm sure wherever you live there is probably a US Route nearby. For us in the Chicago area there is US 12, 14, and 45. In Chicago US 45 has the world famous moniker "Lake Shore Drive".

•All the original sections of 66 lay intact near I-55, I-40, and I-44.

False, some sections of I-40, 44, and 55 are lie on top of old sections of 66. Some of the newer sections of 66 where divided four lane highway, as the interstate system was implemented these sections where repaved to meet interstate specifications and/or newly signed to meet interstate specifications. There are many examples of this across country there are sections through New Mexico, and Arizona where this is visible.

•The US Route system was the first system of cross country roads?

False. The US Route system was the first government funded and maintained cross country route system. It was preceded by the named system of privately built and chartered roads, the "Lincoln Highway" is the most well known of these.

•There are multiple alignments of Route 66.

True. Oklahoma, and Arizona have some of the best examples of these, but the other 6 states have other alignments as well.

•Route 66 was known as "Bloody 66" in it's heyday?

True. In it's heyday 66 had many traffic control issues, and with it a huge amount of traffic fatalities. These issues forced the government to replace the busy route with an interstate system.

I hope you learned something today. As my blog progresses I hope to cover these topics more then the little snippets. There are a lot of cool facts about 66 out there.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Route 66 for the Modern Family - Welcome!!!!!!

Well, welcome everybody! I have been trying to start this blog for months, and I finally had to make it a New Years resolution in order to start on it and take it seriously. So welcome to my blog centering on US Route 66 from a different perspective. Something I hope to be covering in depth in my upcoming book.

Although Route 66 is as much a part of a culture in the United States as Baseball, Football, and the 4th of July for many its a mystery. Those in the know about Route 66 are those who live on it, those who traveled it in its heyday, foreign tourists, and bikers looking for a great cross country trip. Route 66 tourism is mostly based on serving those latter 3 groups, but what is often over looked is a whole different breed of of 66 tourists, one of which I am a member of and I hope you are too.

Who are we? We aren't bikers, we aren't old men in antique Corvettes re-living 18, and we aren't Europeans looking for the real America. We are families. Most of us aren't old enough to have seen the route at its apex, whether as the parent or the child. Yet, we represent a new generation that has an interest in the road, and in its future. A new generation that wants to understand what was, in comparison to what is, and that understands that this is a 2000+ mile stretch of highway is as historically significant as the Oregon Trail, or Transcontinental Railroad path. We are literally the old roads future, and our love for the road is being passed on to our children as the travel with us.

So why did I start this blog? I feel that modern families are a hugely overlooked group of travelers on the road. Something I find ironic considering the significance of Disney/Pixar's "Cars" with getting children and families engaged in the history and conservation of Route 66. Even more ironic is that some of the most iconic sites on Route 66, like the Wigwam Motels, the Blue Whale of Catoosa, and Maramac Caverns to name a few where originally tourist destinations aimed at attracting families, by capturing the imaginations of the children.

Now, I'm not trying to say that while traveling the route with your family you should expect to be mistreated, or unwelcome. As a matter of fact I will venture to say (through previous experience) that you should expect the opposite in 99% of the places you venture to. There are places where I felt unwelcome traveling with a child, but you'll probably find the same on any kind of road trip. What I am trying to say is that the route associations, magazines, authors, and route authorities tend to market the road with certain types of tourist in mind. and usually those types don't include families. I don't think this is done to be exclusionary in any way, it's just that we families aren't considered a major source of tourist income.

Families have no particular distinguishing characteristics, we don't come on motorcycles, on tour buses, or in antique cars, so we are seen as transitory, and casual tourist on the route. We could be traveling the route, on the way to see Grandma, on the way to Disneyland or any one of a million locations a  modern family would travel to. Add on to that the fact most modern families don't travel accross country by car anymore and the potentiality of a family on the route actually traveling the route fully seems highly unlikly, especially to those in the know.

My goal in this blog, and in my upcoming book is to bring families back to the route, and to show the above mentioned route associations, magazines, authors, and route authorities that its time to see families as route travelers. As I continue to write this blog I would like to hear what you have to say, to share stories of your jouneys, and even chime in if you need a little help planning your trip, or finding your way. Well keep reading and I here from you soon.