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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Taking Route 66

I'll be taking my annual trip to the Albuquerque, New Mexico area in about 10 or 12 days and I'm looking forward to the drive. I made the drive last year and it wasn't bad at all. I got there in two days and I was able to stop and rest overnight in a motel along the way. But I've been dreaming about another trip lately and I don't know why.

I've been thinking that, in the perfect world--in which money nor time was an issue--I'd like to start at one of end Route 66 and drive all the way to the other end. Yeah, I know it was de-commissioned in 1984 and that only 85% of it is drivable now, but I'd still like to do it. I'd probably start in Chicago and make my way west toward California. Sadly, many parts of the Route are no longer actually marked, but from what I can tell, maps of the modern day version of the Route still exist.

I'd bring along several moleskine notebooks to journal in as I went and of course, I'd bring a digital camera. I'd stop whenever I wanted to. I'd keep a full accounting of my trip. And I wouldn't just write about the timeless places I'd visit. I'd write about the people I'd meet who could tell me the history of those places. And I'd do my best to forget about arriving at a certain place along the Route by a certain day or time.

According to this website, some of the old towns along the Route haven't changed since they were bypassed by interstates. According to the pictures you can see on the same website, many of the businesses look to be frozen in time. And according to this website, many of the businesses have been restored.

One of the motels along the way is called the "Blue Swallow Motel." It's located in Tucumcari, New Mexico. You can see a picture of it here and here. When was the last time you stayed in a non-chain hotel? It's been a long time for me. When my grandparents used to take my sister and I to Arkansas to visit relatives, we'd stop at places like this for the night and they were always an adventure.

One of the cafes on the Route, located in Litchfield, Illinois, is called Ariston Cafe. Here's a picture. It's been located on Route 66 since 1924 and it's still in business. How cool would it be to stop in for a home cooked meal and 80+ years of stories you could surely hear from the staff?

I don't have the time or money to make such a trip right now. But maybe someday.


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