The last week of June, my husband, Eric, and I took a road trip across the United States, traveling from Tennessee to California. For a good portion of our journey, we traveled on Interstate 40, paralleling in many places the old Route 66.
You may be too young to know about Route 66. It was one of the first highways within the U.S. Highway System constructed in 1926. Its length was over two thousand miles, stretching originally from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California.
The narrow highway was the main thoroughfare from east to west until it was officially removed from the U.S. Highway System in 1985, replaced by the Interstates, one being Interstate 40.
Bobby Troupe, an American songwriter, wrote the words of the song. “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66” first recorded by Nat King Cole in 1946. I found out he wrote the lyrics with the help of his wife when he and his wife were on a ten-day journey to California, where Bobby hoped to build his song writing career in Hollywood.
My husband, born in 1948, quoted the words of this popular song as we journeyed along much of the same route.
I was intrigued to find out the history of Route 66 when we stopped at a museum along the way and as I searched the Internet while Eric was driving. When Interstate 40 was built, many people who made their income with businesses along the Route 66, had to either relocate or go out of business. It was a dark time for many.
Good news! In the last several years, there has been a movement in many of the states along the route to restore parts of the old road, with signs marking “Historic Route 66”. Many communities are being rejuvenated by the tourist trade of areas designated a National Scenic Byway.
Eric and I were blessed with time to stop along the way to appreciate several of the unique places. My “kicks” are best summarized in these photos. I hope you enjoy the scenes and captions. I pray they inspire you to take time in the coming year to have your own adventure.
Anyone who has ever traveled parts of this historic westward route most likely has a story to tell. I’d love to hear your story.
For more pictures visit Grand Landforms Along Route 66.