A GoNOMAD Gallery of Photographs from an extraordinary book: Route 66 Adventure Handbook, 4th edition
By Drew Knowles
Traveling old U.S. 66 is the experience of a lifetime. Along the way, you’ll encounter sad, dilapidated ruins, but you’ll also see the results of concerted efforts to make the old highway a tourist attraction again. And of course, there’s a broad spectrum in between. Below is just a tiny sample of the great photos in this book.
“World’s Largest” is a category of roadside attraction with a long and storied history in America. The World’s Largest Rocking Chair, though a recent addition to the landscape west of Cuba, Missouri, compels almost any traveler to stop and take notice. The continuing interest in Route 66 paved the way for the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City, Oklahoma, the entrance of which includes one of the largest highway shields ever. Route 66 today passes through many communities that might appropriately be called ghost towns, but that’s not the case with Flagstaff, Arizona, a buzzing college town. Popularized in the early 1960s and commonly called “muffler men” for their having been used extensively in promotion by automotive businesses, this giant has been updated with a space helmet and model rocket. Wilmington, Illinois. The Blue Swallow Motel is one of Route 66’s most beloved landmarks, due in no small part to its spectacular neon sign. Tucumcari, New Mexico. In Tulsa, Oklahoma stands a fine, well-kept example of the unique sign art that used to dominate America’s roadsides in the mid-twentieth century. The small village of Endee, New Mexico, was bypassed early in Mother Road history in favor of a more direct routing of the highway.
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Buy this book: Route 66 Adventure Handbook: Turbocharged Fourth Edition This small arch-shaped bridge crosses a creek west of Riverton, Kansas. In the 1940s, artist Ed Galloway began creating several Native-American-inspired structures on his property near Foyil, Oklahoma. Totem Pole Park, now operated by the Rogers County Historical Society, attracts Route 66 enthusiasts looking for a type of attraction that’s becoming more and more rare. Once located on Route 66, the Big Texan Steak Ranch made a sound business decision when it relocated to Interstate 40 in the 1960s. Nowadays the Amarillo eatery is world-famous for its food challenge—eat a 72-oz. steak plus accoutrements in less than an hour, and it’s free. The Rest Haven Court in Springfield, Missouri, boasts an enormous neon sign in excellent condition. Land values being what they are in Southern California, it’s not so easy to find motels such as this that have remained virtually unchanged over the years. Wigwam Villages once comprised a small chain of motels originating near Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. Today, two of the three remaining examples are on Route 66: one on the outskirts of San Bernardino, California, and this one in Holbrook, Arizona. Not many years ago, this old filling station was a decaying wreck. Like several other Route 66 structures, however, it has been rescued and restored by caring citizens. Odell, Illinois.
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Route 66 Adventure Handbook: Turbocharged Fourth Edition