United States Route 66 or simply Route 66 was one of the first federal highways.
It was opened on November 11th 1926, even if not all the signs were installed until the following year.
It originally connected Chicago to Santa Monica pier across 8 states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
The total distance was 3940 km (2448 miles).
Route 66 was a road used for westward migration, especially during the so called "dust bowl", a series of sandstorms that hit the central United States and Canada between 1931 and 1939, and supported the economy of the communities through which it passed.
US Route 66 was officially removed from the highway system in 1985 when it was replaced by the Interstate Highway System.
The road currently exists under the name "Historic Route 66".
The road has become mythical both for the biblical migrations of millions of desperate people who went west in search of luck both for the tributes that in particular literature and music have paid to Route 66 over the years.
In 1940, the Californian writer John Steinbeck published "Grapes of Wrath" where he narrates the path to the San Joaquin Valley in California of Oklahoma farmers during the dust bowl. Steinbeck devotes a chapter to describing the route west along Route 66.
The writer refers to 66 as the "Mother Road", a nickname still used today. The book won the Pulitzer Prize and made the road even more famous.
In 1946 the jazz composer and pianist Bobby Troup, after walking the highway in person to go to California, wrote the song "Get Your Kicks On Route 66".
He proposed the piece to Nat King Cole who made it one of the most successful singles of his career.
The song later became part of Chuck Berry's repertoire and was recorded by many other artists, including the Rolling Stones and Depeche Mode.
Route 66 is the absolute protagonist, although never explicitly mentioned, of Jack Kerouac's novel "On the road".
Today what remains are decadent motels, abandoned gas stations and pieces of road overgrown with weeds that run alongside the Interstates.
Unfortunately, all of this in recent years has been accompanied by a clumsy attempt to exploit touristically Route 66 with all kinds of junk.
In short, it has gone from "Mother Road" to "Mother Load".
But following Route 66 today also means arriving in places far from the big cities, discovering deeper America, in search of the essence of what is still, despite everything, a Big Country.

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Route 66 - the photobook

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Tags: Paolo Valassi, U.S.A, Route 66, america, travel, mother road, on the road, photo book




      


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