ROUTE 66... A WAY TO HISTORY
Route 66 is one of the most emblematic highways in our country, and undoubtedly the iconic one. Today, almost 100 years after its inauguration, this highway has become a tradition and a historical element of great relevance due to its integration into the United States Federal Highway Network in November 1926.
Promoted in 1923 by Cyrus Avery when early talks of a national highway network were beginning, the U.S. 66 was marked in 1927 and was one of the first roads of the United States Federal Highway Network, however, it was not completely paved until 1938.
The original trajectory ran from Chicago (Illinois), through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona until ending in Los Angeles, California.
And so, we started planning our big trip. We established what our route would be, as well as the most important cities and places to visit. And promptly departed at the end of last summer from Chicago, bound for Los Angeles. We prepared comfortable, but warm clothes because the cool autumn weather was already beginning to be felt. A few pairs of jeans, sneakers, t-shirts and of course a good leather jacket. We packed up our Duffle Bags and the essential backpacks and headed to Adams and Michigan in my dad's Cherokee Truck that we had tuned up and prepared for the starting signal for our long-awaited journey.
The 2,448 miles of Route 66 was, in the 1920s, the way to get to California from the East Coast. Route 66 was the main route for emigrants going west, providing a way for many farming families (primarily from Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas) to work in agriculture in California, sustaining the economy of the areas the highway passed through.
Traffic grew on the highway due to the vast territory it covered and its essentially flat layout, making it a popular trucking route since the 1930s.
During World War II, migration increased to the west due to the war industries in California. Route 66, already popular and fully paved, became one of the main itineraries and served to transport military equipment. Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri was established near the highway, where two separate lanes were immediately created to improve military traffic.
The people who prospered during the highway's growing popularity were the same people who fought to keep it alive years later when construction began on America's new Post- WWII Network of Interstate Highways.
Sadly, US 66 (Route 66) was delisted from the United States Highway Network on June 27, 1985, after it was decided that the highway was no longer relevant and had been replaced by the United States Interstate Highway Network. Like many other engineering works from old times, Route 66 ended up being swallowed up by time, development, and the proliferation of highways that occupy part of its original layout.
But, thanks to various initiatives that have arisen in the states through which it passes, it has made it possible to recover a large part of a route that today has become on the dream-trip that every motor lover must do in life. Now parts of the original highway have been marked with "Historic Route 66" signs, and it has reappeared on highway maps in this form.
A great tradition to keep, get your leather jacket, and a pair of jeans and hit Route 66, just like us, you will build memories that last a lifetime.