Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Reliving My History on Historic Route 66

It was late August of 1966, and I was returning to Iowa City to begin graduate school after visiting relatives from San Francisco to Riverside, CA. I was traveling on Route 66 when I reached the crest of a hill west of Albuquerque. It was a scene similar to the one below that greeted me. I had to stop, pull off the highway, and just soak up the view. A few days ago, a had the opportunity to relive that experience this time with the accompaniment of a full moon. This is the view from Central Avenue, which is a portion of the original Route 66.

As you might guess, many businesses along Central Avenue have capitalized on the association with Route 66. Some were one-of-a-kind businesses, such as the sale/rental of videos,

the rental of storage space along the Avenue, and

a garage.

A couple of short-term residential sites--apartments and

this hostel--also tied their identity to the old Route 66 with a semblance of success.

On the other hand, these motels paired with Route 66 for many years seem to have fallen on very hard times. This one with the Route 66 and the "For Sale" signs propped in the window

and this boarded-up one that had been "the purest Route 66 motel surviving."

But it was the relationship with food establishments that seemed the most common--from the the speciality malt shop

and other beverage shop

to Duke's

a diner (more on this diner tomorrow),

and a casino.

It was good to travel Route 66 again--if only for a short distance.

Answer to yesterday's question: "What made my hometown of Plainfield, IL unlike any other town?" is: It was the only town through which both Route 66 and Route 30 (Lincoln Highway) passed. This was a big deal--it was a small town (less than 1500 in 1954).

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