Route 66: Main Street USA
by Nick Freeth
Release Date: September, 2001
I absolutely relived my tour on route 66 in august of this year. The author gives a beautifull description of every enjoyable feature on this road. He shows you great full-color pictures, the beautifull countryside en great architecture and collector's items. Besides that the book shows and tells you the history of one of th� most historic roads in the world.
The book gave me the feeling that I got when I visited in august this year: The USA are a beautifull country, with outstanding architecture that you should preserve and with very nice and warm people living in it.
Hope to visit you again soon! And keep the faith in these difficult times.
Greetings from the Netherlands, Europe!
'Route 66 came closer than any other highway to becoming the National Road.'
'And in the halcyon days of US 66, it became the most magical road in all the world.'
I grew up about 1 mile from Route 66 in San Bernardino, California, and loved to hear the name of our town in the famous Bobby Troup song. I was even more thrilled when I found Route 66 in The Grapes of Wrath.
But the ultimate for me was when the television series, Route 66, ran from 1960-64.
For anyone with nostalgia or curiosity about Route 66 in its heyday, this pictorial tribute will be very rewarding. I recommend the book for personal pleasure, as a gift to those who loved Route 66, and to show to your children who missed the experience of this great road.
Many more dimensions of Route 66 are captured here than in any other book I have seen, including:
the speed traps; gangsters who made their getaways on the road; Burma Shave signs; water bags on car radiators; Phillips 66 gasoline signs; buses; diners; motels; and truck stops. To add to this color, you see photographs of classic automobiles and motorcycles, tourist sights, bridges, gas stations, drive-in theaters, and meet many of the famous people who operated well-known businesses along the route.
Route 66 started in the east in downtown Chicago, near the headquarters of the Santa Fe Railway (the company where my father worked), and there's a nice photograph of the building here. You then mosey through Illinois (including Mitchell, Illinois), Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California through to Santa Monica. Each state's section shows you the names of the key towns passed through, the mileage to each one, and visual highlights from many of these areas.
For my own home area, I was delighted to see a nice section on Cajon Pass, just a few miles northwest of my childhood home, a photograph of the Wigwam Motel in Rialto (about 10 miles away) where I always wanted to stay overnight on my birthday (until I found out how expensive it was to stay in a small concrete teepee), and the first McDonald's restaurant on E Street in San Bernardino (about a mile from my home) where I began eating fast food hamburgers and those great french fries in 1948.
Sadly, the Interstate Highway program was begun in 1956 and began to replace Route 66. Two of the first sections were from San Bernardino to Los Angeles and Barstow (through Cajon Pass). We loved the speed of the new roads, and our lives have been busier and faster ever since. Sometimes when I'm back in Southern California, I'll take a slow, relaxing drive however down Foothill Boulevard, which was Route 66 in this area. I enjoy those trips enormously!
Route 66 was decertified as a federal highway in 1985. You will still find signs along parts of its route letting you know you are on 'historical Route 66.) The roads glories are fading now, as the many seedy motels and rundown diners will show you in this book.
But, if you should be near any of these sights, take time to go see them. And say hello to the people described in the book who operate them. I particularly recommend the Genuine Giant in Elwood, Illinois.
What did you enjoy doing when you were young that is disappearing today? Have you taken time lately to stir up a little reunion with those happy experiences?
Stop, look, and listen . . . for America's romance with the open road!