I have come here in search of the Jester of Route 66, a man who lives in what he describes as his Redneck Castle. I find him in an ancient butcher shop encrusted with an exoskeleton of vintage signs, in the middle of the sun-baked Oklahoma village of Erick.Continue reading Route 66 Erick: The highway’s Jester and his Redneck Castle
I arrive at the crossroads of Route 83 and what was once Route 66 to a bizarre view. In front of me, on the desolate streets of the tiny town of Shamrock, Texas, is the baffling existence of a 1930s-era Art Deco jewel disguised as a gas station.Continue reading Route 66 Shamrock: Guardian of the highway’s hidden gem
Just outside the outskirts of Amarillo lies a dusty patch of dirt, not too unlike countless other patches of dirt on the unending plain of the Llano Estacado escarpment. To the north of this dirt is the highway. To the south, the pancake-flat horizon stretches for miles, undisturbed—save for the abrupt appearance of 10 psychedelic monoliths, stabbed like daggers into the earth.Continue reading Route 66 Cadillac Ranch: Texas’ answer to Stonehenge
Adrian is the midpoint. Not the midpoint of my journey, but the midpoint of Route 66’s entire length. From Chicago, Adrian is 1139 miles to the southwest. From Los Angeles, it is 1139 miles due west.Continue reading Route 66 Adrian: Mother Road’s halfway point
Tucumcari dances on a knife’s edge. For every magical, neon-lit roadside attraction along the highway through the town, there seems to be a mirror-universe derelict cloaked in shadow beside it. For now, the inhabited buildings here outnumber the abandoned. Though, it seems, barely.Continue reading Route 66 Tucumcari: The neon ghost
Just as in the other large cities along Route 66, I expect the size of the city to thoroughly subsume the highway. For it to fade quietly into the background, overwhelmed by the blitz and noise of concrete jungle. Instead, I am surprised to find a metropolis that remembered its history as a bright light along the Mother Road, and made it a star attraction.Continue reading Route 66 Albuquerque: The largest city with Route 66 charm
Dinosaurs have sprung an ambush as I turn onto the streets of downtown Holbrook. The block is overrun with these giant thunder lizards, their mouths agape, dripping saliva. I may be imagining the saliva.
I have come to Winslow, Arizona seeking the most famous corner of the most legendary road in the world. A corner immortalized in the Eagles’s first single from their eponymous debut album. A corner emblazoned with a Route 66 shield so enormous it can be spotted easily by travelers running down the road, eagles soaring overhead and, I am certain, astronauts in orbit.
I arrive to such a fine sight: a classic American rock song brought to life.
The high desert village of Seligman, Arizona, A seemingly endless collection of classic cars and Route 66 symbolism scrolls past both sides as I roll down the main drag; this must be the legendary highway’s spiritual heart. But why this place? The answer lies with the story of the Angel who resurrected Route 66 from the dead. This is his home.
Suddenly, the road has narrowed and taken the form of an angry, writhing serpent. This stretch of Route 66 winds through the Sitgreaves Pass, at 3,500 feet the highest point along the Mother Road. With its tightly coiled switchbacks, narrow track and modest, but sudden drops off the edge, it is also the most venomous.