Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bucket List Dreaming

Today is a day I will never forget.  It was on this day in 1985 that Route 66 ceased to be an official U.S. highway.  All of my life I have felt the magnetic pull of  U.S. 66(East to West Hwy - even numbered).  and U.S. 1(From Maine to Key West - odd numbered - North to South and I HAVE achieved this much of my bucket travel list).  Even as a little girl I was fascinated by this great highway, its dust bowl stories, the music, and would proudly tell everyone of the grand adventure I was going to have one day there.  I had researched it at the library(before the days of internet), had watched many movies about it, and I guess at a terribly young age....before I even knew what one was....this was my first bucket list item.  I know you are sitting there saying...."come on girl, it is just a road."  That is true...but it is more than any is a special road, filled with magic and music.  It is the Mother Road!   Did you know that Cyrus Avery, a successful businessman from Oklahoma, became famous because wanted to improve road conditions in his state....and his state alone.   Avery, now known to many as the father of Route 66, was charged with establishing what would become the U.S. highway system, by plotting and mapping the most-important interstate roads in the nation. The Associated Highways of America developed a plan for the nation’s highways. They laid out a highway system, organized a maintenance plan for those highways, established a systematic numbering system that replaced the previous tradition of naming roads (Lincoln Highway, National Old Trails Road, etc.) and a system of standardized, uniform directional, warning, and regulatory signs for the U.S. highway system. Cyrus Avery became one of the strongest supporters of the Chicago to Los Angeles route, a route that he wanted to pass through his home state of Oklahoma. "But....that did not happen because supporters of the major east to west route from Chicago to Los Angeles wanted to follow the Old Santa Fe Trail, which would by pass Oklahoma. This road would be linked with the Old Santa Fe Trail across the Southwest, which would then be connected to Beale’s wagon route through California to form the National Old Trails Road. Avery knew that a major highway through Oklahoma would boost that state’s economy so he relentlessly pushed for an alternate route. Cyrus Avery used a little known trail from the California Gold Rush that ran through Oklahoma, as he drew plans for the route that would become Route 66. He was successful in his bid to have the new route pass through his home state. This route was designated U.S. Highway 66. On November 11, 1926 a bill was signed in Washington creating the American Highway System. Route 66 along with the rest of the early two-lane roads became a reality. Our country had entered a new era. Great roads were to be built. Roads to carry a nation on the move, through hard times, war, and rebirth. Route 66 would become the most celebrated and famous of these two-lanes. Route 66, the "Main Street of America." Now it is simply a hit and miss highway.  Gone are the days of the wonderful two lane highways, replaced by interstates.....and many towns have been forgotten....and faded away.  But....back in its day...if you started in Springfield, Ill you would begin....where President Lincoln was born.  You can still get there today.....if you exit now....but then, then you went right through it.  Are you already hungy?  Are the kids in the back seat crying out, "Are we there yet?   How about a real road original, the Cozy Dog? The Cozy Drive-In in Springfield is another classic place that serves up a memorable (in a good way) meal to the Route 66 road wanderer. The one-of-a-kind family owned establishment actually predates Route 66 by about a hundred years, Funk’s Grove? Funk’s Grove is home of the world renowned Funk’s Grove Maple Sirup. Yes, that’s how it’s spelled. That’s the real old fashioned way to spell Syrup, and Funk Grove Maple Sirup is definitely the real thing!  In Missouri there are the old barns with painted tops that read "See Meramac Caverns."  There is also the Chain of Rocks bridge, Ted Drew's frozen custard, mom and pop motels....and no you don't get any skymiles for staying there....what you do get is a wonderful piece of americana that the interstates of our country took away from us.  Kansas is the next state you pass through if you plan to drive the entire length and there you will see 12.8 miles of the Mother Road.  In its day service stations were scattered among the way....remember those?  That was back when some man would come out and actually "service" your car.  The road was designed for Oklahoma.  Woodie Guthrie sang of this road, Will Rogers name was given to it, Catoosa had a blue whale and even from the beginning....and the great migration during the American Dust Bowl period, Oklahoma and Route 66 played a major road in the formation of our country.  Texas holds the Cowboy Motel, Britten Tower in Groome, the Bug Ranch ( and no it is not creepy crawly is VW beetles half buried in the ground.)  In New Mexico mom and pop business sprang up everywhere.  Motel Row with its neon signs were splattered across the scenery.  You will cross the continental divide here.  The road through New Mexico is not as good as the one through Texas...but the government is studying it (and we know how that is). Arizona was Indian country and everywhere there were touristy opportunities to see Native American life at its best, the Grand Canyon, and Canyon Diablo.  The end draws near and Route 66 actually ends right in front of the Santa Monica pier in Los Angeles.  That is actually one of the few sections of the road I have seen.  Yep, I am seriously going to plan this bucket trip....Europe will just have to wait.  I am going to set out to finish finding America....a little at a time.  Let me see.....I lack Alaska, Vermont.....and Route 66.  How much of America have you seen?  Last night on an episode of Undercover Boss one of the people told a story about her dad wanting to see the Grand Canyon.  Part of the reward she got for good service...was a trip to the Grand Canyon for her honor of the dad....because he never made it.  I have stood on the rim of the Grand Canyon....and let me tell took my breath away.  Happy Monday. 


Queenie Jeannie said...

You always have such interesting posts!!! There is so much to see in our country, and the world!! Never enough time, huh?? Hugs!

Xazmin said...

The entire time I was reading this post I kept thinking of the movie "Cars"! Do you love that movie?

I have not seen much of anywhere - I am not very well traveled. But I LOVE reading about other peoples traveling adventures!

How are you? I hope you are enjoying your summer!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

My father drove the Route 66 from Illinois to California, I think I was around 8 years old. My husband and I have lived off of Route 66 most of our married life. It was the main street near our house in Western Springs, IL and also a main street right next to our subdivision on Fontana, CA. I have a Route 66 sign in my office here at home.