ROUTE 66... A WAY TO HISTORY – Lastwolf Store

ROUTE 66... A WAY TO HISTORY

ROUTE 66... A WAY TO HISTORY
For some time, my father - who has recently retired - and I had been planning to take a trip together. A trip that will reconnect us both as father and son, with our family history, and with the cultural legacy of our land. We wanted it to be a memorable and special trip. That's how we decided to tour the Historic Route 66.
My grandfather always told us all kinds of stories and adventures in his years as a truck driver, behind the wheel of his brave and reliable International model 1940 on that road that my grandfather traveled countless times transporting almost anything. This trip would be an excellent tribute to his memory.

 

Old truck on road 66

 

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.

 

start route 66

 

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.

 

inmigrants

 

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.

 

route 66 bike ride

 

We followed the historic route from Chicago to Springfield along Highway 55 and although today it is no longer possible to follow the original route uninterruptedly, we were able to travel extensive parts of the original road that are very well-preserved and have maintained their yesteryear essence.  It is a great adventure to carry out by car, camper, or motorcycle, crossing a large part of America to discover picturesque tiny towns, friendly and incredible people, and the immense landscapes that sometimes are just breathtaking.  Numerous places on this thoroughfare have been anchored in the time.

 

Military convoy route 66

 

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.

 

route 66 old map

 

So, we continued our magical journey into the past through St. Louis, Oklahoma, Amarillo, Santa Fe, Holbrook, and finally Los Angeles. Knowing mythical places, service stations that stopped in time, hotels in the shape of Indian tipis reflecting the historical architecture of the 50s, and many museums along the route that preserve the historical memory of the time in interesting collections of objects and items.  We also enjoyed a wide gastronomy of dishes representative of each region and iconic fast-food restaurants that helped the growth of large chains like Mc Donald's.
A dream, a myth, an adventure? Traveling the historic Route 66 from the East Coast of the United States to the West Coast for 14 days meant a reunion with the history of my family and the history of this nation. It is a journey through time and a different and wonderful way of getting to know the country, its way of life, and its most representative landscapes. Route 66… The Main Street of America

 

aabandoned old route 66

 

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.


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