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Getting My Kicks On Route 66


Jim Oaks

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Route 66 - Heading To Overland Expo 2019:

In May of 2019 I headed to Flagstraff, Arizona for Overland Expo. Route 40 in Texas follows old Route 66.

Wednesday May 15th, 2019:

On Wednesday 05/15/2019 I set out for the Overland Expo west in Flagstaff, Arizona. This trip would give me a chance to test out the Rangers abilities, and look for anything I need to add or change before a larger trip in June.

Overland Expo is a long drive for most people. Not only do people come to this event from all over the country, but people even come from other countries. It's like the Superbowl of adventure travel.

The trip to Overland Expo should be as much of an adventure, as the Expo itself. Don't get in a hurry, and enjoy the trip.

I left DFW and headed north on US 287 to Amarillo. I didn't want to travel on the interstate any more than necessary. The only good thing about IS 40 is that it follows along historic Route 66. When you get to the Texas / New Mexico border on IS 40, there is an old section of Route 66 in Glenrio where you can still find some old structures.



Route 66 - Heading Back To Texas After Completing The Trans America Trail:

After completing the Trans America Trail in 2019 I decided to follow Route 66 back to Texas.

Saturday June 18th, 2019 (Continued) - Route 66:


Not really sure which way to go next, I decided that I would follow the old Route 66 back to Texas. I had plans to visit other places on my way back, but I had become concerned about how much money I had spent on gas, as well as a few nights I ended up spending in a hotel.

I headed from Mojave to Barstow, and picked up the 'National Trails Highway' which is the old Route 66. Today, Route 66 has been replaces from here to Texas by Interstate 40.

Route 66 actually dates back to 1926. The beginning of the decline came in 1956 with the signing of the Interstate Highway Act by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. As years followed, sections of Route 66 found themselves decommissioned as they were replaced by sections of interstate. In 1984, Arizona saw its final stretch of highway decommissioned with the completion of Interstate 40 just north of Williams, Arizona. Finally, with decertification of the highway by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials the following year, US 66 (Route 66) officially ceased to exist after 1985.

Today, so sections of the road are completely gone. Buried under dirt and brush in remote areas. Other sections have become state or county roads.

It would not be possible for me to drive the entire length of Route 66 back to Texas, but there's a lot of it there if you know where to look.

The good thing is that some areas and businesses have really embraced the history of Route 66, and are trying to preserve it's history.






Leaving Bartow, Route 66 runs right through Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow. This base rebuilds and repairs ground-combat and combat-support equipment. Oddly enough, the base was built over Route 66 in the 40's. Needless to say, I had to bypass around it.

From California to Tucumcari New Mexico, Route 66 follows closely to the Sante Fe Railroad (Now BNSF) (BNSF was created Sept. 22, 1995, from the merger of Burlington Northern, Inc. (parent company of Burlington Northern Railroad) and Santa Fe Pacific Corporation).


The train was hauling military vehicles, and I wondered if they were on their way to the Marine Corp base in Barstow.


A lot of areas embrace the historical significance of Route 66, and you can find the roads marked with these historical signs. Some even have the Route 66 sign painted right on the road, like shown in the first photo above.



The day ended with me getting a burger from Denny's, and sleeping in the parking lot of the Loves Travel Stop in Kingman, Arizona.

Sunday June 19th, 2019 - Route 66:

When I woke up this morning, I took a drive through Kingman Arizona looking for some photo opportunities. This city is very passionate about it's Route 66 history. I saw several murals, as well a lot of vintage signs. Lot's of neon as well. The Trovatore Motel has the entire front of the building painted as a map of Route 66, and claims to be the largest Route 66 map in the world. I didn't get a photo. :confused:




I enjoy finding the original alignments of Route 66. In the photo below, you can see that I'm on the 'original' section of Route 66. It was later realigned just to the right. Likely widened when it was cut though the hill. The BNSF (Sante Fe) railroad is to the left.





Here's another visible section of the original alignment of Route 66 next to it's last alignment.



This area was interesting. The bridge was replaced with a wider bridge right next to it (left). The bridge crosses the BNSF (Sante Fe) railroad tracks.





Standing several yards before the old bridge, and looking at the landscape, you can see the various alignments Route 66 had here.

The 1st alignment crossed the tracks. The later alignment was graded up to cross the tracks on the narrow bridge. The last alignment is actually the second to last. The road was moved, but crossed the original bridge. The original bridge was replaced by the wider bridge next to it. Which means Route 66 was aligned (4) different times in this spot!



Williams Arizona was the last section of Route 66 to get decommissioned back in 1984. Someone took this old gas station, and turned it in to a really nice gift shop.







Williams Arizona calls itself the gateway to the Grand Canyon, which may seem weird considering they're an hour from the Grand Canyon, and it's a 4-hour drive from here to the north rim. But this is where the Grand Canyon Railroad is, so I see their logic.


Sunday June 19th, 2019 - Route 66 (Continued):

I could see this fire a long way before I ever got to Williams Arizona. It's a huge forest fire in the Coconino National Forest.


I continued east and made a stop in Two Gun's Arizona. This area is also known for an Indian death cave that the town was later built around.




This town once had a gas station, motel, camp ground, and even a zoo. It was apparently a hot spot for people to stop when they were traveling Route 66 many years ago.




Winslow was just another town along the route, until I passed this building. I'm an Eagles fan, but the lyrics "Standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona, such a fine sight to see.." never even entered my mind until I saw this building. I didn't see any girls in a flatbed Ford slowing down to take a look at me.


Just another old abandoned gas station.


I've always wanted one of these 1970's style gas pumps. I guess because that's what I grew up with when I was younger. Someday. :unsure:


I checked out the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook Arizona. This was actually a chain of seven motels from the 1930's & 40's. Only three still exist, this one, and two in California. All three are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.





There wasn't much to see in New Mexico.I did end up crossing the Continental Divide for the 4th time this spring. :oops:


My day would end sleeping in another Loves Travel Stop in Santa Rosa, NM. I had already explored the Route 66 spots between here and Amarillo TX, So I decided to follow US 84 from here back to Texas in the morning.
 

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Jim Oaks

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Route 66 - Heading Back To Texas Through Missouri 2023:

Friday September 15, 2023


After our Fall Adventure in Kentucky I headed north to Ohio to visit family, and then headed back to Texas. The route I took back took me through Missouri. Realizing that the old Route 66 followed IS 44, I decided to find it.

I started checking out sections of it starting with this old bridge in Richland, Missouri.

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I followed Route 66 and came across this old motel. I really dig these old neon motel signs.

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I found this old section of Route 66 just north of Marshfield, Missouri. They relocated an intersection here but kept a section of the old road. There's actually a parking area here that has a walkway that goes under the road and takes to the old section of highway. It's strange that they put so much effort into preserving it and building a walkway to it but didn't erect a sign letting people know it's here. You could easily drive by and not even know it was there.

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Spotted this old gas station in Strafford, Missouri and stopped to take a pic.

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There is a place near Ash Grove, Missouri called Gary's Gay Parita. This place is an old Sinclair gas station and someone's personal Route 66 museum with a cafe and souvenirs. They only take cash though. It's definitely worth stopping to look at.

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Jim Oaks

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September 15, 2023 - Continued:

After leaving the roadside museum I went a short distance to Spenser Station in Spenser, Missouri.

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The sign says:

"In 1925, Sidney Casey walked 55 miles to purchase the 'town' of Spencer for $500. From 1925 until 1928, he constructed the general store, service station. cafe. and barber shop. Spencer was bypassed in 1961, saved in 2007, and a full restoration began in 2022."

Red Oak II - Carthage, Missouri:

Back in Ash Grove it was suggested that I checked out Oak Grove II in Carthage, Missouri. Red Oak isn't on Route 66, but it's only 1-mile north of it.

What is Red Oak II:

"The 1930's seemed to be a much simpler time. Neighbors helping neighbors, everyone had a garden and canned their own food. They had a milk cow and they even made their own clothes. By today's standards, they were poor ... they just didn't know it!"

These words from Lowell Davis recall a vanishing way of life for the people of thousands of little towns across America --- and it was just this sort of life that Lowell experienced during his early years in the town of Red Oak, Missouri.

But all this began to change shortly after World War II when folks began moving to the cities in search of the good life. Now some sixty years later, most of these rural communities are ghost towns. When Lowell returned to his boyhood home from one of those "good life" careers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area - that's just what he found.

It was then that he began buying the homes and businesses his beloved Red Oak - moving them twenty-three miles to his Fox Fire Farm near Carthage, Missouri and restoring them to their original grandeur - a place now known as Red Oak II.

Back in 1987, Red Oak II was just a cornfield, but to Lowell, it was a blank canvas.

"I don't believe that an artist should be restricted to use only paint or clay. It can be anything including junk, wood, even an old building. To me, Red Oak II is a combination of a painting and a sculpture, and it is just made from things that someone else threw away."

A visit to Red Oak II is a visit to the past. You'll see Grandpa Weber's Blacksmith Shop, where Lowell's great-grandfather practiced his trade, the Feed and Seed Store, the Old Phillip's 66 Station which was originally located on old Route 66 near Red Oak and the General Store which was originally located in Red Oak, was run by Lowell's father and was where Lowell learned to sculpt and paint.

Today, most of Red Oak II is owned by others but the public is still welcome to visit."

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Driving through Carthage, Missouri I came across the Boots Court Motel. I like the unique look of the building.

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At this point it was getting late in the day and I still had a 6-hour drive home to Texas.

I'm looking forward to eventually checking out Route 66 through Oklahoma, and the section from St. Louis to Chicago, Illinois.
 
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Blueox

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These pics made my day. One of my weird interests is old rights-of-way and associated relics. Thanks for the overhead screenshot of the intersection that had the short bit of old route 66 remaining.
 

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It's amazing what you have documented there. I took Rt. 66 on my way to California from Detroit 1970. I love the the early history of mobile America.
 

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