I sat on the shoulder of the old road, comfortable in the bucket seat of my Mustang. I’d just driven a couple of thousand miles and wasn’t even a third of the way through my journey.
I looked at the road and thought about it… it was just an old dead-end road, somewhere in Oklahoma. The pavement was cracked and worn, with a liberal scattering of potholes and broken pavement. The trees were still bare, the air was chilly with a leaden sky.
The scene was somewhat depressing, almost apocalyptic and the road was nothing special… except it was.
The road was part of old Route 66, US Highway 66. The “Main Street of America”, the road John Steinbeck’s Joad family drove to what they hoped was the promised land, the road Steinbeck called “The Mother Road”.
Down this road drove Model Ts and As, Packards, Studebakers, Dodge Brothers cars, Ramblers Nashs, and Hudsons, and even a few Duesenbergs Auburns and Cords.
So many dreams went down this road, so much fear and desperation.
This was a main highway, an Interstate of its day, through the dark days of the Depression and World War Two.
But it was bypassed many years ago by a more modern, wider road.
And the new road was bypassed by Interstate 44.
Then the bridge over Sand Creek was closed.
None of those cars of old could begin to do the journey I was making… almost 10,000 miles and the only thing I had to do is put gas in it.
This road, those cars, and even more importantly the people, were of a different world, a world that is long past. It’s a world we try to get a glimpse of by driving Route 66.
It was just a narrow, broken road in the middle of Oklahoma, but if that road could talk oh what stories it could tell.