Route 66 means different things to different people, but freedom is a common theme. For families like the Joads, it proved an avenue of escape from dust bowl stricken farms. For troops heading to the battlefronts of World War II, it provided a means to combat world tyranny. For countless American families, it held the promise of a new life out West or an old-fashioned family road trip. Known during its heyday as America's Main Street, this byway holds a special place in the collective consciousness as the herald of a new era of travel.
Decommissioned in 1985, the route is fragmented and sections of it no longer exist. The Mother Road is enjoying a restoration as part of the National Scenic Byways program in Illinois, New Mexico and Arizona, making large portions of the Route 66 adventure easily accessible and well signed. Traveling the route through the states between Illinois and New Mexico is a challenging adventure, so pick up one of the many route-specific guidebooks or maps and hit the road.
During the post-war economic boom, many young people felt restless and disillusioned. They sought solace on the open road away from the big cities and suburbia; pointing their car towards the West and driv