There are parts of Route 66 where the road is straight as an arrow. Conversely, there are parts of Route 66 that wind and twist. You’ll see both on Route 66.
Oatman, Arizona is an example of one twisty, dangerous, stretch of road. Several locations along Route 66 leading up to Oatman have cars that have gone over the side. It’s part of the attraction of Route 66.
Route 66 Leading Up to Oatman
Yet, the road leading up to Oatman from the west side is long and straight until you hit the base of the mountain. (By the way, note in the above photo the condition of the road. Let me remind you, much of Route 66 is maintained by local businesses and people.)
A Straight Section of Route 66
Speaking of winding roads, here’s Sheryl Crow singing Every day is a Winding Road.
Whenever I think of Route 66 I will remember dancing with my daughter, Natalie, in the middle of Route 66 just outside Cool Springs, Arizona, on the way to Oatman. Nobody was on the road. It was off season, and we had people keeping their eyes out for cars coming.
Natalie and Me Dancing (John Kidd in the background)
I wouldn’t advise dancing in the middle of the street unless you take safety precautions. (Which we did.) The nice thing about Route 66 in off seasons is it is empty!
For safety reasons, whenever someone steps in to the street, make sure someone else is spotting. Consequently, the spotter should give clear instructions to get off the road well in advance. (And, I would NEVER do it on a multi-lane highway or boulevard. )
Another thing to do is put your flashers on. You might have people stop and ask, “Do you need help”, to which you simply smile and say, “Just taking a few pictures.”
The section where we stopped was in the Arizona desert just east of Pahrump, Nevada. This is a beautiful section. A winding road takes you to the top of a mountain where Oatman, Arizona, is situated. This little mining town is a delightful place to visit, but most of all, it is a blast to the past.
Outside Oatman, Arizona
Oatman, Arizona, Main Street
For Your Entertainment
Who doesn’t like George Benson? Here’s his rendition… time to get mellow…
When someone mentions Route 66, do you immediately think, “Get your kicks on Route 66”?
If you do, you’re not alone. A lot of people think that.
What’s on Route 66 that justifies the lyrics, “Get your kicks on Route 66”?
Today it is mostly iconic diners and businesses, many of which have been restored. Then, in big cities, like Pasadena, California, there are modern businesses that didn’t exist when Route 66 was in its prime.
Back in the pre-Interstate highway days, Route 66 hosted many gas stations, motels and restaurants. It wasn’t unusual for your car to overheat on Route 66 in California, Arizona or other southwestern states. For that reason, there were service stations and garages along the way.
Abandoned Gas Station
More Than Just Ghost Towns
Route 66 is more than just ghost towns. There are small communities that have survived the I-40 devastation. (When Interstate 40 was opened, many businesses and communities died.) These communities benefit from the tourist traffic. They host gift shops, restaurants, and other delights for the Route 66 travelers today.
Diner in San Bernadino
Once you hit the L.A. basin, those portions of Route 66 are thriving as they are surface streets in cities like Pasadena and Santa Monica, for example. It is when you get out of town that Route 66 becomes a piece of Americana from the past.
Here’s Bobby Troup…
For your entertainment, here’s Bobby Troup’s version of the Route 66 theme song. Bobby Troup WROTE the song, and then Nat King Cole brought it to the top of the Billboard hits that same year. (click here for the Wikipedia story) Since then at least 50 artists have covered the Route 66 Song.