Sunday, November 11, 2007

Get your kicks on Route 66!

In the small town of Ash Fork, Arizona, a portion of historic US Route 66 still exits. Last spring during our trip through the southwestern US, my wife and I were traveling west on I-40, exited at milepost 146, and entered the old route that looped through the town. We immediately spotted these two old cars at a gas station. The one on the left is a 1957 Oldsmobile 4-door sedan and the other is a 1962 Buick Special 2-door sedan. Both are beyond redemption in terms of restoration, but they were still fascinating to behold. As is readily visible, cars rust differently in the arid Southwest, from the top down as the intense sun takes it toll on the paint. The sun also ravages the cars' interiors.

A little farther up the road, we came to DeSoto's Beauty and Barber Shop, complete with a 1960 DeSoto 2-door hardtop perched on the roof of what clearly had once been a service station (top photo). The last full model year for the DeSoto happened to be 1960; after a short production run of 1961 models, this storied nameplate passed into history.

We were about to re-enter the interstate at milepost 144 when we saw a sign directing us to an apparent continuation of historic Route 66 leading west out of town. Alas, after we traveled just a few hundred feet and rounded a curve, the crumbling remains of the road became visible, with a broken white line down the middle. (The US switched to broken yellow lines in passing zones of 2-lane highways starting in 1972.) Needless to say, we had to turn around and get back on the interstate.

This minor diversion of maybe 20 minutes or so provided a wealth of memories (see post below for more about supposedly "wasted" time). Get your kicks indeed!

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