MotorwayAmerica editors to 'get their kicks on Route 66'

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(June 23, 2016) It's 1955 and John Smith, his wife, and three children are anticipating and planning for the most monumental vacation they've ever taken. Come July, the family of five will pack up their 1954 Ford station wagon and embark on a grand adventure leaving their Chicago home and heading to Route 66 — the Mother Road — eventually ending their journey 2,448 miles later in Santa Monica, Calif.

They will drive through eight states, see such sites as President Lincoln's home in Springfield, Ill., spend a day at the Grand Canyon in Arizona and eventually get their first-ever look at the Pacific Ocean.

This trip is made possible for the Smith family and hundreds of thousands of others before and after by a highway system that will take them from downtown Chicago to the Pacific Ocean. The family has done some extensive planning, securing overnight reservations at such places as the Blue Swallow Motel, Wagon Wheel Motel and the Boots Motel. They even plan on spending a night in a "wigwam."

The editors of MotorwayAmerica and their wives — Jim and Luci Meachen and Ted and Trudye Biederman — are going to undertake the Route 66 trek traveling as many miles as possible on the original road. Over 16 days the foursome will check off one giant Bucket List item — especially for car guys — in a 2016 Dodge Durango supplied by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

US 66 was established on Nov. 11, 1926, with road signs erected the following year. The highway, which became one of the most famous road systems in America, originally ran from Chicago, and through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California before ending in Santa Monica, Calif.

People doing business along the route became prosperous due to the growing popularity of the highway, and those same people later fought to keep the highway alive in the face of the growing threat of being bypassed by the new Interstate Highway System.

Songs were composed about Route 66, and there was a popular television show "Route 66" that ran from October 1960 to March 1964 following two men traversing the U.S. in a Chevrolet Corvette convertible. The show starred Martin Milner, George Maharis and — in the last season — Glenn Corbett. The most famous song, "Get Your Kicks on Route 66," was composed in 1946 by Bobby Troup and was first recorded by Nat King Cole, and subsequently by many artists including Bing Crosby, Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones.

Route 66 served as a major path for those who migrated west, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and the road supported the economies of the communities through which it passed.

Route 66 underwent many improvements and realignments over its lifetime, and it was officially removed from the United States Highway System on June 27, 1985, after it had been replaced in its entirety by segments of the Interstate Highway System. Portions of the road that passed through Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, and Arizona have been designated a National Scenic Byway of the name "Historic Route 66," which is returning to some maps. Several states have adopted sections of the former Route 66 into their state road network as State Route 66.

Thanks to our in-house tour guide, Trudye Biederman, we hope to visit many of the Route 66 museums that have sprouted up along the route, old gas stations and diners, scenic attractions such as the Grand Canyon — and spend several nights in vintage motels, some restored from their glory days when the highway was buzzing with traffic.

We will attempt to give you a glimpse — a tourist's viewpoint — each day of our journey at, complete with pictures and maps depicting our progress. Perhaps our road trip — our adventures and mis-adventures — will spur you to spend a couple of summer weeks "getting your kicks on Route 66."

Sources include Wikipedia