by Kristin Nador/@KristinNador
Did you have a good 4th of July? Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays, for a number of reasons. In spite of all our troubles America is still a great country, where you can do just about anything and succeed, or screw up and try again. 4th of July is one of those feel-good holidays and it has a casual commitment level as compared to Christmas or Thanksgiving. You can go for the gusto and march in a parade, shoot off fireworks, have a cookout for your entire family, or just stay in and watch the orchestras play the 1812 Overture during the DC fireworks on TV. It’s also a great holiday for reminiscing about history and the good old days.
I didn’t do any of those things to celebrate, except my regular tradition of watching my favorite cheesy sci-fi movie ‘Independence Day’ and stand in my driveway watching all my crazy neighbors shoot their fireworks during a drought and burn ban, hoping none would land on my roof. Instead I thought what better way to commemorate our country’s 236th birthday than to travel along The Mother Road, or at least my little piece of it.
Write Anywhere #45: Route 66
Route 66 was one of the original highways within the U.S. Highway System. It was a major corridor of travel from Chicago to California until the Interstate Highway system made Route 66 obsolete. It carried the wagon trains before there was a road. Later it carried the hopes and dreams of Dust Bowl survivors looking for a better life in California. During its heyway in the 50’s and 60’s it opened the western states to new ideas, development and family driving vactions. It even was the basis of an iconic television series.
There are still portions of Route 66 in use, including a section here in Tulsa, OK. I took a drive along the route for a fun afternoon. There is still evidence of its travel history with car lots and motels reflecting a 60’s flavor along the way.
Some structures, like parts of the highway itself, are in disrepair.
Others have been restored, like the Meadow Gold Sign.
I lost my way once I reached all the downtown road construction, so I pulled over and got out my notebook.
Thinking about it, I realized I’ve had a strange connection to Route 66 for most of my life. I grew up a few blocks from the Route 66 leg that runs through St. Louis. I worked at a store on Route 66 in high school. Summer nights spent at the Route 66 Drive-In. Our first apartment as a married couple was located one block south of the busy thoroughfare. I drove a 26′ U-Haul truck while 8 months pregnant through Route 66 towns like Oklahoma City, OK, Amarillo, TX, Tucumcari, NM and Barstow, CA when Keeper Hubby was stationed on the West Coast.
Many years after that when we first came to Tulsa with all our earthly belongings stuffed among three little kids in a beat-up station wagon, we stayed at a lovely motel on Route 66 whose claim to fame were roaches the size of your thumb. We moved up from that station wagon, and the motel moved on. This is how it looks now.
I’ve travelled back and forth from St. Louis to Tulsa so many times now I know the towns by heart: Joplin, Springfield, Lebanon, Cuba, Rolla, St. James, Union, Pacific, Valley Park, Fenton, Sunset Hills, Kirkwood, Webster Groves, St. Louis. Last year I took a weekend trip with Artist Daughter on the Chicago loop of what used to be the Mother Road and had more adventures.
I think Route 66 embodies all those things that are distinctly American: the pioneer spirit, adventure, freedom, entrepreneurism, quirky individuality, and our ultimate interconnectedness as Americans. Of course I had to write a little flash fiction starring Route 66.
Not as good as this little ditty.
Where did you write this week?
Have you ever travelled on Route 66 or its newer incarnations, Interstate 55, 44 and 40? Any adventures?
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