Fold the top of your convertible, feel the wind in your hair, enjoy the freedom of travelling without any commitments. Monotonous scenery distracts you from everyday problems. Being on the road makes you re-discover simple pleasures – a night spent in a roadside motel or an unsophisticated meal. Your plan has only one point – the legendary Route 66 road trip.
During our West Coast road trip, the Mother Road (the other name of Route 66) was something we just couldn’t miss. Each and every year thousands of tourists ride their Harleys from Chicago to Los Angeles (or the opposite). What is so special about this road which makes driving it a trip of a lifetime?
THE LEGENDARY ROUTE 66 ROAD TRIP
Since the 20’s of the last century, it was the most important link between Chicago and Los Angeles, mostly thanks to geographical conditions – highway was located mostly in flat terrain, which facilitated truck transport. Family-run business followed this high increase in traffic – new gas stations, motels, inns started popping up. Some curiosities appeared as well – like accommodation in wigwams or restaurants offering 2 kilo steaks. All these small things created a one of a kind microcosmos, which made the Mother Road legendary.
All good things come to an end. In the 80’s it turned out that Route 66 didn’t meet the standards for interstates and eventually was replaced by a highway I-40 in 1985. As a result, all these roadside businesses became ghost-towns.
ROUTE 66 NOWADAYS
Currently, one of the most popular parts of Route 66 in Arizona is the one between Kingman and Seligman. It is conveniently located and can be visited while driving from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. Our piece of advice – watch out for the signs! We got a bit distracted and all in all, we turned to Route 66 just in Seligman.
Our impressions? The whole town gives you the impression of a fake “museum” full of attractions to delight tourists. The number of links to Route 66 per square meter here is extreme. I had this strange feeling that some business-oriented locals came up with the idea just to pile up all abandoned things from the neighborhood, add this fancy Route 66 sign and money will start growing on trees. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with authentic essence of this road.
FEEL THE MAGIC
Yes, we finally felt this magic of Route 66 road trip. Actually, it was two days earlier, in a different place. In California.
Driving from Palm Springs to Las Vegas, we turned right Amboy, towards Needles. I was staring at the crater appearing in the distance, what a surprise in this monotonous desert landscape. Suddenly Michal interrupted my contemplation: “Here it is, look, look!“.
It was her. The Mother Road.
Driving forward, we passed by abandoned, run-down gas stations, houses, motels. We could feel the atmosphere of old good times. However, everything seemed as in fulfilled post-apocalyptic vision, which was strengthened by the fact that road runs across a bit creepy Mojave Desert. Route is surrounded by the great wilderness, you can only see a few trailers from time to time.
In front of one of these ruined buildings someone was standing still. Why he was there? Stray tourist? The spirit of the past? I do not know. What I know is that it is definitely worth getting lost in these surroundings and face the legend of Route 66 by yourself.
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