On November 11, 1926, a classic was created. It is a classic that endured and has transcended it’s official end in 1985. In many ways it is still with us today.
So, what prompted Route 66 to be a classic? Was it the well-regarded John Steinbeck book “The Grapes of Wrath”? Perhaps it was the song by Bobby Troupe or the Martin Milner television show from the 1960’s. Maybe it was the movie with the simple name of “Cars”. Whatever the source of its popularity in American pop culture, US 66 is a highway traveled by many Curbside Classics.
The original US 66 ran from Chicago to Los Angeles. It was sometimes referred to as the “Diagonal Highway” due to its southwesterly direction from Chicago to Oklahoma City. For the most part, only isolated segments of the old highway remain. In my home state of Missouri, the old road generally runs quite close to I-44.
I am quite fortunate my occupation carries me to many locations throughout the central portion of the state. In this area, many disjointed segments of what had been US 66, from Philipsburg to Bourbon, are still intact. Some are still state highways, albeit with different route names.
So when at the western end of this segment recently, I had an idea: What can one find along this small sample of the Mother Road? After driving a few sections of it, here is some of what I found.
Outside of Lebanon, there is a gentleman who is offering up some wagons one could cruise down the old highway in. If you were industrious enough. He had many more machines of similar condition for sale.
Closing in on Ft. Leonard Wood, this old Studebaker was lurking out beside someone’s house.
This residence has a couple of future classics parked out front. For some reason, I just couldn’t resist.
Cuba has taken the Route 66 popularity in full stride, even having murals all over town with a Route 66 theme. WikiTravel stated there is an ever increasing car show there every September. This hotel is still in business and appears to have been refreshed in the recent past. While the old Chevrolet is looking pretty sad, it does have a certain rustic charisma.
The motel rooms share the stone construction. Built for the long haul.
The Dodge was found less than a block off the road. In our current world of endless crew cab pickups, seeing one of this age reminds you that crew cabs used to be quite the rarity.
Having seen it parked in this area several times, it appears to still be in daily use.
At this time I have only driven portions of the area from Philipsburg to Bourbon. There is still much more to go both between these two towns and outside of these two towns. New discoveries and adventures await.