Fred Henstridge Photography

U.S Route 66 shield in Arizona

Vol.2, No. 1, Dec. 26, 2008

Get Your Kicks on Route 66

In May of 1960 my new bride, Kathy, and I embarked on our honeymoon by driving West from Cleveland, Ohio. We both had dreamed of seeing the Western regions of the United States, especially some of the national parks. We had a 1957 Dodge Royal that was tri-toned black, white and yellow. This was one of those 3,500 pounds of steel with fins and big V-8 engine. It even had push button selector for the automatic transmission. After several days and stops in Colorado Springs and Salt Lake City we reached Las Vegas. Penny slots were the vogue then and you only had to play one penny at a time. I didn’t win any money and have not won any since, but Las Vegas gave us the urge to return to West next year and venture all the way to California, which we did.

 

Upon leaving Las Vegas we drove down to Boulder City to see the great Hoover Dam and then to Kingman, Arizona where we joined the Mother Road – U.S. Highway 66. For the next few days we drove eastward on the Mother Road passing through Flagstaff, Gallup, Albuquerque, Tucumcari, Amarillo, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Joplin, St Louis, Springfield and finally ending the route in Chicago where we picked up the newly completed Indiana Turnpike.  It was like playing the Bobby Troup song backwards. This something you cannot do today as many sections of Route 66 have been vacated or relocated to accommodate Interstates 15 and 40.

 

Route 66 runs from the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago to the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica. It was built under several Federal Aid Highway Acts and was one of the largest public works projects to take place in the U.S. When Route 66 was first christened in 1926 it was a much needed connection between the East and the West. Stretching nearly 2,400 unbroken miles it literarily tied the country together, in good times and bad. Steinbeck wrote of this road in the Grapes of Wrath. T.V Shows were scripted and centered on the Mother Road. An oil company named its product after it (Phillips 66) and in 1946 a former Marine made his trek to California to seek stardom and wrote his most notable and played song dedicated to this great road. His name was Bobby Troup and the song is “Get Your Kicks on Route 66”

 

With the passage of time and as more sophisticated superhighways began to appear Route 66 was pushed more and more into the background. For a time it looked like Old Route 66 would be forgotten. Original down Route 66 shields started coming down. But the old road refused to die. Massive efforts by supporters of the Historic Mother Road to protect and promote what was left of Route 66 proved successful. Today each of the eight states as well as some foreign countries has active Route 66 Associations.

 

Located in Victorville just off Interstate 15, at the north end of town in Old Victorville, lies the California Route 66 Museum.  The museum is situated on the South side of “D” Street, which is in fact the track of Route 66. A visit to this lithe gem of a museum will transport you back to those days of V-8 engines, roadside motels and cabins, drive-in restaurants and a time when we were optimistic and looking forward to a brighter future. The museum may be small, but it is packed with memorabilia from days gone by. There is an amply stocked gift shop, old gas pumps, numerous roadside signs, plenty of photographs and even a booth from a drive-in restaurant, The booth is complete with red leather upholstery, chrome trimming and a strawberry milk shake sitting ready for you to drink The staff is knowledgeable, friendly and very helpful. The next time you take that Las Vegas trip and are heading north along Interstate 15 take time to visit the California Route 66 Museum. Pick up a few souvenirs and a map of old Route 66. Someday, when you have time, take a drive along California Historic Route 66 and think of those travelers who used this Mother Road to make their journey to the Golden State.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pet Photography

Do you have a pet?  A dog, some cats, a parrot or rabbit? If you do and are considering getting a quality, keepsake portrait of you should consider contacting Fred Henstridge Photography  for a high quality portrait of your beloved pet. We have been working with Assertive K-9 Training Kennels, the home of Thinschmidt German Shepherds, to develop their gallery of dames and sires. Assertive K-9 Training Kennels is one of the finest breeders of German shepherds in the United States so I have had the opportunity to work with some really fabulous dogs. You have a few minutes you might visit my Pet Gallery to see some of these beautiful animals.

 

Looking West along “D” Street, in Victorville, towards I-15. “D” Street is built on the original course of Route 66.

The California Route 66 Museum on “D” Street, Victorville.

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