Sunday, August 3, 2014

get your kicks on (old) route 66

I ran across this post on Twitter a few weeks ago, finally got around to watching it (it was originally aired just before Memorial Day) and felt I needed to share it. Unfortunately, the embedding won't work, but I'd urge you to go to "Modern-Day Kicks on Route 66", on the NBC site.

I grew up relatively close to old 66, in southern St. Louis County.  I even lived a block away from the decommissioned route for a few years, in Marlborough - old 66 is now MO-366, Watson Road.  I thought it was really cool that you could drive down Watson and see all these old, tiny motels, right on the shoulder of the widened road, with their rusty neon signs and odd names.  Coral Courts was still standing (sadly, demolished in 1994) and Ted Drewes was only a few miles away.  I always thought it was so interesting that a big part of national history was only a half a block away.  It makes me sad that you cannot see the old gates to Coral Court anymore behind a fence and overgrown trees along Watson.

The Pixar movie Cars really sparked renewed interest in old Route 66, and I think more people drive the historic route because of that movie than ever.  I'd love to do the whole thing, and I've already travelled a couple of the Chicago to St. Louis alignments, as well as from St Louis to around Waynesville, through Hooker's Cut and Devil's Elbow.  It's not easy sometimes to find the old route, but there are books and maps to help.  One of my favorite is Route 66: Traveler's Guide and Roadside Companion by Tom Snyder - I think I have the 2nd or 3rd edition, and this is up to the 4th (2011).  Lots of good directions, and alternate alignments listed, plus trivia and 'what to see'.

I have some interesting shots of some of the things along the Mother Road that I've seen along my very short travels, and someday I'll post them up here.  There are quite a few routes through St Louis - it can be confusing - but as time goes on, the St Louis County Streets and Highways Department is posting signs along the Alt Routes and the Bi-Ways through and around the city.

I also find it amusing that I moved to north St Louis County, and I'm once again a block and a half away from the old Route - the northern Bi-way around the city that crossed the Mississippi at the old Chain of Rocks bridge is Dunn Road, which is the outer road for I-270 around the city.  I think the Bi-way takes a left at Lindbergh Blvd/US 67 and goes south to either Manchester Road/MO-100 or all the way to Watson/MO-366.

Maybe it's time to take another short cruise on the Mother Road.


No comments: