Washington, DC – Winding from Chicago to LA, more than two thousand miles all the way, Route 66 is still the place to get your kicks. If you’d like a break from cookie-cutter restaurants and lodging options, this fabled road remains lined with homespun businesses and attractions that can only be missed if your eyes are closed. The National Park Service just launched an online Discover Our Shared Heritage travel itinerary, available at http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/route66, that makes it easy to trek back in time on the “Mother Road.”
“Route 66 crosses two-thirds of the country, connecting not just east and west but the past to the present,” said acting National Park Service Director Dan Wenk. “This new travel itinerary is designed to help people experience the spirit of Route 66 and discover the dozens of unique places, now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, that are iconic reminders of the early days of automobile travel.”
Route 66 harkens back to a time when 98 percent of lodging was privately owned and small businesses used slogans, signs, folk art, neon lights, and gimmicks to stand out. Sections of the road appear to be frozen in time; travelers can still sleep in a wigwam, eat under a supersized milk bottle, swim in a spring-fed lake, catch a movie at a drive-in theatre, shop in a general store, pump gas at an old-fashioned filling station, and take in many other sights that have been enjoyed by generations. Etched in the American consciousness and immortalized in Bobby Troup’s famous song, Route 66 is a reminder that “you may have travelled near or far, but you haven’t seen the country, ‘till you’ve seen the country by car.”
The National Park Service’s Heritage Education Services and the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program produced the itinerary in partnership with the American Express and World Monuments Fund Sustainable Tourism Initiative and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers. The itinerary was funded in part through a generous contribution from the American Express and World Monuments Fund Sustainable Tourism Initiative, which rewards and encourages responsible stewardship of historic sites.
The Route 66 itinerary is the 49th in the National Park Service’s ongoing Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary Series. The series promotes public awareness of history and encourages visits to historic places throughout the country. All of the itineraries in the series can be found at http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel.