What's The Big Deal About A Road?
Historic Route 66 is part of the mythos of America. Although decommissioned as a U.S. Highway in 1984, the purr of the well oiled automobile engine and the rumble of diesel trucks crossing this great American Highway still echoes in our blood. It was the backbone of economic development as it passed from Chicago through Midwestern communities, down through the Southwest and over into California. For hundreds of communities dotted along its concrete and black top two-lanes, it was the lifeblood flowing, bringing with it people, resources and materials. It was Steinbeck who immortalized this great east-west connector as the "Mother Road."
During the days of the dust bowl, it was U.S. Route 66 that carried folks to new hopes and dreams in the west. During World War II, it was the transportation link moving troops, ammunitions, equipment and supplies nationally to protect the country. And, after WW II, the road bustled with returning servicemen and their wives setting out to be part of a new frontier of development and start their families with a fresh vision.
The search for faster more effective means of transport birthed the Interstate system in the mid 50s to mid 60s. Where our older blacktops curved, dipped, climbed, and flowed with the landscape, the new Interstates carved straight through, efficiently moving Americas goods and needs in rapid time. The older Scenic Routes became Byways and their associated communities were left behind in the construction dust of a "progressive" and growing nation.
Those sections of Route 66 that still remain navigable hearken back to a gentler more languid America, real or perceived, that at times we all nostalgically wish for. Along the deteriorating asphalt can be found the remnants; motels, gift shops and gas stations, that serviced our families' needs as we traveled for business or recreation, of what seemed like then, a much larger nation.
New Mexico's 465 mile portion of historic Route 66 is missing some sections. Its two different alignments in many areas are still travelable, linking many of our small communities. In fact, because of its North/South alignment being rerouted East/West in 1937, New Mexico, in downtown Albuquerque, has the only place where Route 66 actually crossed itself. In many cases you can still find the classic Route 66 architecture and its sites and buildings still functional. For New Mexicans, the highway is our history, our legacy and our economy and we welcome you to travel and stay with us as you share our part of the story.