ROUTE 66 – “THE MOTHER ROAD”

Uploaded 6 Sep 2010 — 36 favorites
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© Richard Knight
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More of Richard Knight's Photos

  • ROUTE 66 – “Hackberry” [For the ILMW-F School and Ronnie Ginnever]
  • ROUTE 66 – “THE MOTHER ROAD”
  • JEROME, ARIZONA – WEST OF SEDONA, EAST OF JAVA
  • JEROME, ARIZONA [# 2] (For Debrah Leonard and Dana Iordan)

Photo license: © All rights reserved

[August 2010]

From Jerome, I drove to Prescott, another one of Arizona’s famous “old west” towns, and then to Ash Fork, where I turned west on legendary Route 66 – “The Mother Road.” I stayed on Route 66 until I reached California.

Route 66 was completed in 1926. Connecting Chicago in the east and Santa Monica in the west, it stretched for 2,400 miles across eight states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

My experience with Route 66 traces to 1956, when we drove from Virginia to California. We followed this iconic highway from Petrified Forest NP to Kingman – 260 miles total, all of it in Arizona. We then turned north on U.S. 93 to Hoover Dam.

I remember the drive. We saw the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, and the Meteor Crater. There were a few noteworthy towns – not many – including Holbrook (the “tipi” motel), Flagstaff (“old west” town), and Williams (gateway to the Grand Canyon). But, Route 66 was mostly miles and miles of motor courts, bungalows, greasy spoons, juke joints, feed stores, and filling stations.

The Interstate Highway system rendered almost all of Route 66 obsolete. Today, fragments of Route 66 still exist, thanks to the “Route 66 Associations.” Some of the longest unbroken stretches of road lie between Holbrook and Topock, Arizona – a distance of 289 miles.

Route 66 has been romanticized. Bobby Troup’s iconic “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” is an American standard. In truth, Route 66 has flat lined. There are lots of decaying motels and diners to shoot, but – overall – the Road is “low yield.”

From Ash Fork, I drove west to Seligman, a tourist trap specializing in schlock. There were hundreds of tourists there – French – and I wondered what they might be thinking.

I took these photos in Seligman. Despite the look of relative prosperity, just about every business in town was “for sale.” Poverty lurks just beneath the veneer.

There is a part of Route 66 that still matters: The 44-mile stretch from Kingman to Topock via Oatman. I will save those pix for last.

********************

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts on whether to continue using collages.

I am in the middle of a 1,300-mile drive to Maine. I will be gone for the rest of September and will have very limited access to the Internet. However, I will catch up with all of you when I find free Wi-Fi and then when I get home.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

38 responses

  • dana iordan

    dana iordan said (6 Sep 2010):

    Love the busyness, the flurry of signs and stickers! And found myself counting how many "66"s I can spot : ))

  • Donald Garrett

    Donald Garrett   gave props (6 Sep 2010):

    Iconic American and wonderful!! Hope you have a marvelous trip to Maine! Stop in NY on Oct. 1 and we'll have dinner together.

  • stuart s

    stuart s gave props (6 Sep 2010):

    I've only been on the part of the "Route" in Arizona but remember the drive fondly. Sounds like quite the drive. Enjoy.

  • Betty Maxey

    Betty Maxey   gave props (6 Sep 2010):

    Great pics, despite whats lurking! You know, we all get to enjoy the trip through your pics and wonderful narratives, so keep them coming. I like them either way!!! Safe trasvels cuz!!

  • Nancy Richard

    Nancy Richard gave props (6 Sep 2010):

    Perfect format to display the variety of nostalgia on this famous road. I, for one, feel that sometimes the collages are appropraite.

  • Susan Littlefield

    Susan Littlefield   gave props (6 Sep 2010):

    I think it would have been difficult to capture the 'feel' of Route 66 in a single photo, so the collage works very well here--Americana at it's finest!! Since you're driving in 500-mile increments, I don't imagine we'll be seeing many images from your journey to Maine; however, I am excited to see your meet-up photos, and hopefully some wedding photos! Have a terrific journey!!

  • Gail Anderson

    Gail Anderson said (6 Sep 2010):

    I remember the drives between California and Kentucky every other year of my childhood. (the KY family drove to CA the odd years) Particularly I remember the year we added "air conditioning" to our car... it sat up front between the seats. You added ice and plugged it into the cigarette lighter. We were really traveling in style that year. We left SoCal and I remember my dad wanting to get past Oatman before night. A few years ago, we took a drive out there and while driving the switchbacks east out of town, I knew why dad wanted to travel that part in daylight! I think the nostalgia of my childhood continues to draw me back to Rt. 66, tho it’s so different now. I think it’s sad that the townships who so faithfully served the driving public back then, are trying to eek out a living by enticing people via the nostalgic market for all things Rt. 66. Your photos of Seligman are a perfect example. it’s so interesting for me to see pics of places along the route… or to travel it myself and imagine being 10 and viewing the same gas stations and motels that still stand, in one form or another. Thanks Dick for the walk down memory lane.

  • Winky Vivas

    Winky Vivas (Deleted) said (6 Sep 2010):

    An outstanding collage and narrative...

  • Yasmina Baggili

    Yasmina Baggili (Deleted) gave props (6 Sep 2010):

    Wonderful!! The famous road all over the world :)

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (6 Sep 2010):

    Lots of interesting things to see on this collage...and I'll bet it was a fun experience..Have a good trip!

  • Leslie Hunziker

    Leslie Hunziker   gave props (6 Sep 2010):

    Love this! A wealth of history and memories on Route 66.

  • elfriede fulda

    elfriede fulda gave props (6 Sep 2010):

    Great collage,,love all the comments too...the song is great,,even the t.v. show a long time ago,, when I was very very young LOL

  • Suzanne McGeady

    Suzanne McGeady said (6 Sep 2010):

    Lovely to see Marilyn 'sittin' in a great spot for viewers!! A great collage Richard. Route 66 is such an iconic road. Many a memory was made, I'll bet, on this road. You've done it proud. Safe journey!

  • Karen K Smith

    Karen K Smith gave props (7 Sep 2010):

    Wonderful collage and great story Richard..looks like you are having fun!

  • Debrah Leonard

    Debrah Leonard (Deleted) gave props (7 Sep 2010):

    wishing you safe travels and congratulations to Lizzie & entire family

  • Carol Arntsen Masiak

    Carol Arntsen Masiak gave props (7 Sep 2010):

    safe travels and check in when you can - and I see you are vacationing with MM too! :)

  • Andrew Lorimer

    Andrew Lorimer (Deleted) gave props (7 Sep 2010):

    So well done Richard I feel like I am right there thanks for the nostalgia and Route 66 :)

  • Lanis Rossi

    Lanis Rossi gave props (7 Sep 2010):

    Quite a Road Trip You Are Having!

  • Deborah Downes

    Deborah Downes   gave props (8 Sep 2010):

    Excellent, Dick. You really captured the look and feel of this route. At age seven I traveled it from where I lived in Chicago to California. I remember much of that trip.

  • Litz Go

    Litz Go gave props (8 Sep 2010):

    as always, you give us a wonderful photo essay/tour! Love it!

  • Maria Mutch

    Maria Mutch (Deleted) gave props (8 Sep 2010):

    Legendary road--a great collection! Have an exciting (but safe) adventure.

  • dp *

    dp * said (8 Sep 2010):

    Wonderful memories for sure and better times. Very colorful and yet the past can not be denied. Lovely series.

  • Shirley Valencia

    Shirley Valencia said (8 Sep 2010):

    Master Richard, I love this collage, please keep up the great work. Like I said, I am taking a 1,300 trip and don't even have to leave my home.......... lol Glad to be one of your fav Great Grannies..lol

  • Ronnie Ginnever

    Ronnie Ginnever   gave props (9 Sep 2010):

    Fabulous, Richard. I've done all of Route 66 - it's nice to be reminded. I love Marilyn on the lower right.

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham gave props (9 Sep 2010):

    This is so great!! I so love the backroads and this one seems filled with great stuff. A terrific and colorful collage. Safe trip BB!!

  • JanElle

    JanElle   gave props (9 Sep 2010):

    I'm enjoying this trip too, so do keep the collages coming. I agree with Yasmina.. this road is famous world-wide.. and you have brought it to life for many of us. Great job!!

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (9 Sep 2010):

    Tychtastic series. Todd and I drove parts of Route 66, but when I'm on a hunt I don't stop to gather such delights. Thanks for filling me in.

  • Judy and Wayne Wanamaker

    Judy and Wayne Wanamaker gave props (9 Sep 2010):

    Wonderful pictures of that legendary road. We took that route in Summer of 1956 as well, and saw many of the things you mentioned. I remember having altitude sickness in Flagstaff! LOL! Around 1960 there was a great tv show called Route 66. It is so sad to know it has been reduced to such poverty. Thanks for the great collage, Dick.

  • Oregon Curly

    Oregon Curly gave props (9 Sep 2010):

    Nostalgia at its best! Keep using the collages, but toss us singles once in awhile as well. Hope you are having a grand trip. (ditto Susan's above comment.)

  • Carlo Pagan

    Carlo Pagan gave props (10 Sep 2010):

    Fantastic fantastic!!!!

  • peggy maguire

    peggy maguire said (10 Sep 2010):

    Enjoy the rest of your trip and keep the history coming....Peggy

  • Steven Schutz

    Steven Schutz gave props (13 Sep 2010):

    What an experience...thanks King Richard for shring and writing in a way that makes the reader feel like they had experienced the photo and trip themselves...

  • Linda Houghton

    Linda Houghton   gave props (14 Sep 2010):

    I love Route 66 - this is awesome!

  • Sonia Adam Murray

    Sonia Adam Murray gave props (18 Sep 2010):

    Cool!

  • Kathleen Battan

    Kathleen Battan gave props (5 Oct 2010):

    Great way to honor "Americana". Nice job

  • Marco Martinez

    Marco Martinez gave props (17 Oct 2010):

    Excellent work. The place comes alive for me (having never been along this stretch of American lore) through the narrative and the images you brought to us. Excellent work.

  • Paperini Renato

    Paperini Renato gave props (13 Aug 2011):

    As always, I read with great interest your travel reports, this isjust mythical, perfect stranger to these places and my Italian nationality, is inconceivable to me a long road to 2400 miles, which would then be about 3800 kilometers. Italy is about 1200 kilometers long and the longest road is the highway of the sun that goes from Bologna to Naples. Yours is a vast country and its wonderful natural beauty, ours is small but full of art, ancient history and monuments. The world is beautiful because it is varied. A sincere hug Richard

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