|Martin's Route 66 Gallery & Essay|
|Welcome to my Route 66 Page with photos, essays, links and more! While you wait for the Photo Gallery to download you may want to pass the time with a Route 66 Essay I wrote and that was printed in the Route 66 News, the newsletter of the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona. Or maybe you want to brush up the lyrics to Get Your Kicks On Route 66. Links to other Route 66 sites can be found at the bottom of this page.|
(Click on the photos to see an enlargement and enter the gallery tour)
|Delgadillo's Snow Cap, Seligman, AZ||Joe & Aggie's Cafe, Holbrook, AZ|
|Navajo Motel sign, Holbrook, AZ||On Main Street, Oatman, AZ|
|Cruise night during the 1995 Route 66 Fun Run, Sonic Drive-In, Kingman, AZ|
|Abandoned truck on old Route 66, AZ||Mountain Lions ruins, Two Guns, AZ|
|Snow Cap, Seligman, AZ||Two Guns, AZ||Geronimo Trading
|Twin Arrows, AZ|
|The Museum Club, Flagstaff, AZ||El Rancho Motel, Barstow, CA|
|Arizona state line/tourist billboard, NM||Old Pavement near Seligman, AZ|
|Cadillac Ranch 1990||Billboard for The Big Texan, Amarillo, TX||Cadillac Ranch 1994|
|Blue Swallow Motel, Tucumcari, NM||Cadillac Ranch 1990, Amarillo, TX|
All pictures are copyright © 1990-2000 by Martin Mathis, e-mail lastbandit.com.
(Images rescanned, refreshed, retouched and layout updated in Oct 2000, enlargements added May 2001)
Don't miss the Route 66 Photo Gallery 2!
Road Trips Revisited - A Route 66 Essay
I love road trips!
Prior to moving to Arizona from Switzerland two years ago, I have spent almost all of my vacation time from 1987-1992 (thanks to 6 weeks vacation time per year and airline benefits) visiting the U.S.A. and taking extensive road trips across the country. I followed the same pattern each time, choosing a bunch of cities from a Rand McNally atlas that are less than a day's drive apart, arranging for a rental car and finding the motels and attractions as I went along. Many great memories, impressions, experiences and photos remain from those days.
Though traveling off the tourist path I often stayed on the interstates between medium-sized cities. I have been on I-40 between Oklahoma and California several times and I have seen the occasional "Historic Route 66" sign along the way when stopping for the night or at a gas station. I had heard of Route 66 before, but at the time just did not know exactly what it was. The signs were there but where was the road? I never quite figured that out at the time and the exact meaning of "Get your kicks on Route 66" eluded me too. I remember browsing through a book in a bookstore, Route 66 - The Mother Road by Michael Wallis, and being fascinated by the pictures, the small towns, the old gas stations, the hamburger joints and the old signs. This was what had always fascinated me on the road too, more than the National Parks, Disneyland and the skyscrapers together!
I finally bought the book last year and the Route 66 mystery started to unfold. My wife and I took a road trip from Phoenix to Detroit last June but due to time concerns had to pass up on most of the "kicks". Now I really wanted to do a Route 66 trip! We set aside the time to make up for it last November and decided to go West on 66 from Flagstaff. We labeled I-40 "the evil road" and corporate fast food and motel chains would be off limits. Regardless of schedule, we would also take the time to stop wherever there was something Route 66 related to see. After all, I had bought my first SLR camera a few months prior and was ready to try it on the road.
So off we went in November 1994. Our first 66 stop was right after I-40 exit 139 where we admired the original Route 66 pavement and bridge paralleling the new road. The road took us into Seligman. There I recognized the Delgadillo Snowcap building right away and could hardly conceal my excitement. We looked around and headed for the visitor's center first where we met a friendly, older gentleman surrounded by the greatest of international Route 66 memorabilia, some even from fellow compatriots. He looked familiar. As he introduced himself as Angel Delgadillo I almost did not believe it. Here I stood in front of the person who is profiled in my book and who is living history! We had a very nice chat and visit. I realized then how alive and accessible Route 66 is. We had lunch at the Snowcap, a definite experience too, and continued our journey always on the lookout for an old sign, gas station, car wreck or building as well as just enjoying the open road and scenery (I always get a kick out of trains across these wide and endless plains). It was sunny and warm with little traffic on the road. It was great to imagine how further south the main stream rushed by on I-40 while we followed this "secret, secluded track where no one could find us" (a childhood fantasy I can't really put in words, for those who can't make any sense out of this). We stopped at Peach Springs, Truxton, and Hackberry and got to Kingman where we would spend the night. We had come through Kingman before on the way to Vegas sometime but with our "Route 66 state-of-mind" it looked really unique. The town had actual meaning and there was plenty to explore. We drove up and down Andy Devine Blvd. many times that evening.
The next day we drove off towards Oatman, a stretch I was especially curious about. We were unable to find out what the ruins just before the climb up the hill used to be. We assume it is the remains of a gas station but how much of Route 66 history has it seen? In a way that was nice though, no tourist "pull off here" signs and a souvenir shop next to it. I loved the drive over the mountain pass! Actually I expected it to be much higher and steeper but I can see how it must have been a big deal for the automobiles of the 30's and even 50's. Oatman, I must admit, didn't do much for me though it was interesting to learn about its past. We continued on soon and got to the end of the Arizona stretch of the highway, much sooner than I had hoped as we were forced to merge into the busy I-40 traffic - not a very nice "gesture" of the Highway Department to have us do that. The next exit wasn't far, it even had a brown "Historic Route 66" sign. However we wound up at a private property, turned around and followed what looked like the frontage road (old 66!?). Thinking the sign "Not a Through Street" was another "I-40 promotion", we followed the road but soon encountered a wide gap where a wash had taken out the pavement and 5 feet of dirt underneath. Back on I-40 the next exit wasn't far although this piece going into Needles, CA didn't look very authentic anymore. We parked by the Old Trails Inn and went inside where we met the proprietor who provided us with a lot of information about local Route 66 sights that we went to check out after the purchase of another Route 66 book. We left Needles behind in favor of Goffs and Essex where "Road Closed - Detour" signs forced us to back on I-40 in order to proceed west to Amboy. Amboy (Pop. 20) looked much different from the mental picture I had made after seeing Roy's Motel in Michael Wallis' book. Yet, what was supposed to be there was there and I took the pictures I wanted to take.
This marks the end of the Route 66 part of our road trip. We continued on to Baker to spend the night (the road north through Kelso, CA is great!). Death Valley was planned for the next day and from there we were Pacific-bound to experience Highway 1 from San Francisco to Fort Bragg and 101 to Redwood National Park. Snow kept us from going all the way over to Reno, NV and we wound up backtracking through half of the state of California. The positive thing was that we got to spend a night in Barstow, CA, a city with still a lot of "Route 66 flavor" to it. Las Vegas then back to Phoenix completed an 8-day, 3135-mile tour de force we will never forget. It was an adventure (hey, we nearly ran out of gas twice and managed in time to find a replacement tire for one that was about to blow up...)! It seems that there is a bit of Route 66 wherever the road traveler wants it to be. To me, Route 66 summarizes and symbolizes "The American Road Trip" and I think that's where a lot of the Route 66 fascination comes from (particularly for people from other continents). Everything from hamburgers, motels, Coca-Cola ads, Elvis and James Dean to the wide open land and the straight highways that disappear on the horizon, is in it. Route 66 is like Americana in a nutshell.
Route 66 is the Mother Road and the Father of All Road Trips.
Martin Mathis, January 1995
Route 66 Assorted Info
Yes, that was me, my wife and my parents on PBS and TLC...
We were interviewed by The Learning Channel during the 1995 Route 66 Fun Run
"Get Your Kicks On Route 66" by Bobby Troupe
If you ever plan to motor west Travel my way, take the highway that's the best Get your kicks on Route 66. It winds from Chicago to L.A. More than 2,000 miles all the way Get your kicks on Route 66. You go through St. Louie, Joplin, Missouri And Oklahoma City looks mighty pretty. You'll see Amarillo, Gallup, New Mexico Flagstaff, Arizona, don't forget Winona Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino. Won't you get hip to this timely tip When you make that California trip Get your kicks on Route 66.
Historic Route 66 Association Of Arizona