Believe it or not I started this blog nearly three years ago in 2011. I was only able to write four posts that first year, and could just never find the time to sit down and get more post out even though I was unemployed at the time. What's ironic about this is that since June of this year I have written nearly 63 posts, and on top of that I have a very demanding full time job. But, I digress I know I should be talking about this year.
What I have enjoyed the most about writing this blog, is watching the way it has evolved this year, and also the way in which my own thought processes have evolved too, as I learn more about Route 66 and its history. It has always been my goal to see Route 66 in a different light then what is traditionally been put out there, and that for me has been something I have been able to see and do with far greater clarity then ever before this year.
One thing I've come to realize this year is that perhaps my point of view's and need to connect events historically are a bit swayed by my identity as a Chicagian. I don't mean to say that I scoff at the myriad of small towns on Route 66 regarding them as podunks filled with hicks, but rather I see it as part of the many rail, highway, water, and air routes that sprung forth from the crossroads that make Chicago what it is. In a way the Sears (Willis) Tower seems to stand as a symbol of Chicago the symbol of the western most of the great eastern cities, a bastion district set out on the prairie representing the old and new United States. But what I find interesting is the location of the Willis sits between Adams and Jackson, west and eastbound 66 respectively. In a way the westward looking face of the Willis looks almost like a person, it's shoulders erect, it's left arm resting, and high up accentuated by "The Ledge" one can't help but detect and almost stoic looking face that gazes westward as the tower and city itself look out if the lands it's railroads, roads, and catalog houses created in 19th and 20th century's. Most importantly it's looking west down Route 66.
I've also come to realize this year that there are places that just get burned into your memory on Route 66. For me Winslow, AZ and its La Posade Hotel and Turquoise Room drift into my memories a lot. As does the Mesalands Dinosuar Museum and Wigwan Curios in Tucumcari, NM. I also think a lot about the friendly folks out in Needles, CA. But there are a lot of great places out there and by no means am I intentionally leaving those folks out.
This year has also made me realize that if Route 66 is to survive, a new generation must take the wheel even if the previous one isn't willing to give it up. Don't get me wrong the previous generation of baby-boomers who traveled the Route as kids and as young adults have left us a legacy, and have been careful to document the Route as they remember it. Times are changing though, and years are passing and the Gen Xer's and older Gen Y's are ready to take on that legacy. Perhaps we don't remember it as it was, perhaps our first trip out west was on an inter-state, and perhaps we never saw Bob's dinner on Route 66 in Hometown USA when it was open, but none the less history cannot stay alive unless the culture that bares it, keeps it alive and hands it on to the next generation. Yes, some of the sentimentality will be lost, but for the most part it will be the unimportant parts that really serve no one but those exact few remembering.
For Route 66 to stay alive as the older generation wishes they need to realize the uniquely American nature of Route 66. That Route 66 is America, it's our point if view, our culture, and our society on a 2500 mile stretch of highway. When visitors from foreign countries come to visit Route 66 they come to visit it becuase of how American it is, not becuase if it's international appeal. International visitors are welcome to visit as much as they like, but if the routes appeal and history is to survive then its time for the next generation of Americans to take over and keep it that way.
Last but not least, and not to blow my own horn, I've realized how important a blog like this is. Having been exploring and researching Route 66 for years, I know how much information is it there. I also no how much of it is junk, and how very little help there is out there for someone looking to travel Route 66 as a family.
So I would like to thank all of you who follow me directly or on Google Plus, and for reading my articles when you can. For now I wish you a Happy New Year, and I look forward to writing more in 2014.