Passing through Barstow and through the Mojave Desert we saw a sign for Route 66 and drove beside it for several miles. We didn’t see a single vehicle on it, though, so this stretch of beat up highway is probably treacherous. However, as we get closer to Arizona and New Mexico we hope we’ll be able to drive some of it.
Route 66 is the National Old Trails Highway and was opened in 1926. It followed the trails laid out by early explorers, the railroad and the Gold Rush immigrants to California. It also provided hope to the farmers of the Dust Bowl era who were seeking a new life in the west, and was called the Mother Road by John Steinbeck. This iconic strip of highway still embodies the American spirit, conjuring up thoughts of freedom, adventure, opportunity, and the open road.
Route 66 joins the interstate outside of Needles, so we actually drove on what was once part of the original road. A few miles later you can exit I-40 and enter the city on Front Street, but we don’t venture down unknown byways in the motorhome.
Tomorrow we’ll arrive early in Williams, Arizona, the last town to be bypassed by the Interstate. Williams not only survived but is at the heart of a Route 66 revival. So we’ll unhook the tow car, visit the Grand Canyon, and then explore Williams, check out the souvenir shops, and get our kicks on Route 66.