It’s the most famous highway in the world. It is home to many American diners, HD motorcycles, Hell’s Angels, Harley Davidson and The Marlboro Man and all things that stand for living on the edge of live. Route 66 is a rite of passage – if you will – that many people feel they need to take. It’s the highway that crosses the United States, passing some of the most notorious towns and places in the entire country. A Route 66 road trip is a bucket list member.
Several movies and television series have taken the name Route 66 because of the lifestyle that is associated with it. The rugged manly edge of men with beards, moustaches, beer bellies, Harley Davidson motorcycles, leather jackets, scuffed safety boots and tassels hanging off their handlebars are immediately paired with the celebrated highway.
The Father of Route 66
Cyril Avery was known as the father of Route 66. He was charged with implementing the highway system in the United States after the federal government realised that the road systems needed major improvement. Employment was booming and people needed easier travel routes to keep the business escalation going. Originally different organisations from all over the States were trailblazing and routing maps according to their travel routes, but it was found to be extremely confusing because as each company made their own maps based on their own travel routes, it all started to go pear-shaped and some order was called for.
Avery plotted the most important highways in the country, connecting all major cities and towns but his biggest ambition was to have the major highway from Chicago to Los Angeles pass through Oklahoma, his home town. Avery knew that the route would boost the economy of the state and continued to be a fervent supporter of it. Finally Avery was successful and he was given the go-ahead to establish the main thoroughfare we know as the famous Route 66.
The previous main roads and few highways were named for past presidents and major parks, but that all changed with the systematic numbering came into being and all highways were labelled accordingly. Route 66 was the route that Avery so desperately wanted to go through Oklahoma. It was one of the major highways that could carry a nation from one end of the United States to the next.
Nobody could have foretold the amazing stories that Route 66 would birth. Years later it’s still the most celebrated road in the world. It’s carried war veterans home, soul-searchers to their undecided destinies and it has seen love, hate, despair and triumph drive over it during sunsets, sunrises, through deserts, cities and fields. There is no other place like Route 66.
Vida Denning loves writing about a variety of topics. She loves travelling and her safety boots have traipsed through many foreign lands. Her next trip is a Route 66 road trip.