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Route 66

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S: Gettin Our Kicks on Route 66 Road Trip 2007 Goss

FC: Road Trip 2007 | Gettin' Our Kicks On...

1: In the summer of 2007, my daughter Alexa and I embarked on the trip of a lifetime. It's a family tradition in our house that when one of our children turn 13 or 14 years old, they get to pick a trip to go on one-on-one with dad. Alexa had heard me talk about Route 66 for years. We have owned classic cars since the kids were small and Alexa was always my "car show buddy". Mom would often stay home with the "little ones" while we, Alexa often on my shoulders, walked up an down the rows of gleaming chrome and bright paint jobs. We loved to hear people tell the stories of their old cars, and often these stories involved memories of family vacations driving up and down "The Mother Road". We bought some videos portraying the history of Route 66 and what it meant to our nation at that time. To many youngsters it was the pathway to new discoveries and exciting places. To others, as portrayed in The Grapes of Wrath, it meant survival. The road took you to California, the land of milk and honey, to find work and escape the dust bowl conditions of the Oklahoma plains. To us it was much simpler than that. It was an opportunity to get off the Interstate and experience life the way it was when these old cars were new and their old drivers were young and full of dreams. Little did we know... | Finally, we made it a rule that we could not eat or sleep at any place that didn't exist when the road was in its "hay day". That meant every hotel and every restaurant had to be original to the Mother Road. Thanks to our research that was fairly easy to accomplish. For the most part the food was absolutely wonderful, but Alexa often commented that the old motels "smelled funny". We spent three weeks traveling from our home in Michigan to Chicago, then on toward St. Louis and points west. Alexa was always at the ready with her lap full of travel guides as we searched out famous roadside attractions, witnessed the vine and tree-covered motor court signs, photographed ruins of old service stations and bridges, and absorbed mile after mile of neon and Burma Shave signs. All the while building memories that would last long after these relics had collapsed and faded into history. This was more than a road trip. It was an adventure of discovery as I spent hours learning about the incredible person my daughter was becoming. This book only contains a portion of the 863 photos we took, but I carry every moment spent with "Lexi" around with me. | I laid out a few ground rules ahead of time. FIrst, Alexa had to complete a "history lesson" of sorts. I gave her some books to read and videos to watch so she could learn about, and appreciate, what she was about to see. Second, I asked her to keep a journal of our trip so we could read about and remember what we had seen and done. As for me, I spent months studying books, maps, and the internet in order to make our trip as pain-free as possible. Route 66 follows basically the same route that Interstate 40 occupies now. Meandering from Chicago to Los Angeles, the road once boasted 2,450 miles of paved or concrete surface. Over the past half century, however, many parts of the road had become impassable or even non-existent. By most estimates approximately 80% of the old road remains in one form or another. In some areas it's a frontage road to I-40. In other areas it remains Main Street through town after town lying off the beaten path. In still other places, most commonly in New Mexico, it was sold off to private owners or traded for land to accommodate the Interstate. Once I was confident I had a pretty good grasp of our route, we were ready for the adventure to begin.

3: Left: Getting ready to leave home. Right: Beginning of Route 66 at Michigan and Jackson Streets in Chicago, Middle Left: Launching Pad Drive in, Wilmington. Middle Right: Abandoned stretch of Route 66 in rural Illinois. | Bottom Left to Right: Route 66 pavement marking near Bloomington; Parked in front of the Ariston Cafe in LItchfield; Chain of Rocks Bridge in Madison; Funks Maple Syrup in Litchfield; and Millers Standard Oil service station circa 1932 in Odell, IL. | I L L I N O I S

4: Clockwise Left to Right: Historic Route 66 sign outside of St. Louis. These signs often included placards showing what year that particular alignment was used (1935-1965 in this case); St. Louis Arch; Route 66 Motors in Joplin; Alexa standing next to the Meramec Caverns sign in Stanton. Center: World Famous Ted Drews Frozen Custard in St. Louis. | M I S S O U R I

5: Top Row: Old abandoned service station outside of Joplin; Abandoned business, most likely a bank, near Lebanon; 66 Drive-In in Carthage. We were going to see a movie at the historic drive-in but they only held shows on weekends and we were there on a Tuesday. Oh well, some day... | Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon, MO. This was one of the "smell funny" hotels but the desk attendant, and owner, was a great lady who was always quick to talk about the old road and the guests she has served for decades. | Wrinks Market near the Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon. Wrinks Market served travelers on the Mother Road with cold sodas and fresh sandwiches since opening in 1950. Sadly, Wrinks closed for good in August of 2009 just two years after we passed through.

6: Left: Route 66 sign along a stretch in Kansas. Historic signs were brown in color and would become welcomed traveling partners as they assured us that we were on the right path. Right: We met this young lady who had traveled from Brazil to take her motorcycle down the Mother Road. We would run into her from time to time along the way. | K A N S A S | Left: An old depot, now an information center, in Galena. Below: This photo was in the window of an old wrecker at a KanOTex Station in Galena. The wrecker was used as the inspiration for "Tow Mater" in the Disney movie "Cars". The photo was placed in memory of Joe Ranft who created the Tow Mater character and was later killed in an automobile accident. | With only 13 total miles, Kansas contains the shortest stretch of old highway compared to any other Route 66 state. Despite this fact, there were several landmarks that we would not have wanted to miss including several that were used for the inspiration of the movie "Cars". | Left: The only remaining ranbown arch bridge on Route 66 is still in use in Baxter Springs, KS. Built in 1923 the bridge provided a crossing for motorists over Brush Creek

7: Clockwise from upper left: These photos were taken in and around Miami (pronounced My-a-muh) Oklahoma. Waylan's Hamburgers The Ku-Ku located just off Route 66 on Main Street. This is the last remaining restaurant in the '60's chain that once boasted over 200 locations; Abandoned motor court on the old road; Middle right shows one of the last remaining "narrow" road sections. These were the last sections of Route 66 to be paved in the 1930's. Only one lane was paved because of the rationing of concrete for the war effort; Restored Coleman Theater Beautiful circa 1929; Restoration almost complete on one of the last remaining original Phillips 66 Service Stations. | O K L A H O M A

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  • By: Brian G.
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  • Title: Route 66
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  • Started: over 5 years ago
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