Thursday, October 29, 2009

Get my kicks on Route 66?

Amigo enjoys road trips. He can't see the changing scenery or play the alphabet game on billboards, but he enjoys the travel nevertheless.

We've talked in an abstract way about taking a Route 66 vacation some summer. "Why?" you might ask. "Why Not?" we reply.

The highway itself has been largely replaced by interstates, but some of the blue highways and small towns near the old Mother Road still exist. It's the towns, the scenery, the ambiance, the history that attract us.

Family trips usually revolve around a purpose or an ulterior motive. Our visit to Nova Scotia was aimed at following Chuck's family history, filling in more of his research on the Lockeport branch of his family tree. Getting there by way of the Cat Ferry was a bonus. Amigo and I were along for the ride, taking our bikes around town and walking on the beach while Chuck waded through the archives of the historical societies.

Last July's trip was a celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary. We chose the destination (Seattle) and method of travel (Amtrak Empire Builder) for fun this time, but also to include life interests. Chuck is a train lover; I'm a coffee addict and a green machine. Amtrak to Pike Place Market? The Perfect Couple.

So why Route 66? Americana. History. People.

We met some wonderful and unique people on the Empire Builder.
  • A young woman traveling the U.S. by train, filling her time by singing and playing ukulele in her roomette.
  • A couple from Fargo, one a retired teacher and one a school librarian, who deepened our understanding of the landscape around the tracks while we shared a breakfast table.
  • A family from Norway - mom, dad, and baby - heading to Minneapolis/ St. Paul to catch a flight home to Oslo. He had just finished his schooling in Chicago, and they were enjoying the scenery one last time before taking to the skies. Friendly baby, friendly couple, we had fascinating conversation over our dining car encounter.

Interstate highways are designed to get people where they're going quickly, directly, with as few stops as possible. The stops on a back road would be more like our Funday Friday adventures when Amigo and I choose a local restaurant or diner for lunch. Diners. Local family restaurants. We run into people we know and people we don't, but we always enjoy the encounters - and the foods. On a long trip, we'd rather sample local and regional fare when it's available, rather than the omnipresent McDrive-Thru.

For now, it's not a plan. It's more of a vague "maybe someday" kind of thought. I think we'll get our kicks on Route 66, someday, eventually. Of course, I'll blog the experience if and when it happens.

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Blogger Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

The off-track drives are the best--someday I hope to take the "travels with Charley" trip that John Steinbeck took. When the boys are a little older...

10/29/2009 4:17 PM  
Blogger Club 166 said...

Having grown up within about a mile of Route 66, I've also wanted to do such a trip. I've seen various parts, but never had the time to go the whole way.


10/29/2009 8:47 PM  
Blogger Florinda said...

My husband and I keep talking about a Route 66 trip too, although ours would probably be in the opposite direction from yours, since we live in California. Our reasons are similar to yours; plus, he actually enjoys driving.

I'm not sure when this will happen, but hopefully some time within the next few years. Maybe we'll see you on the road :-)!

10/29/2009 10:46 PM  
Blogger Earth Muffin said...

Route 66 passes through the neck of the woods where I grew up. If this trip becomes reality, let me know and I'll meet you for a cup of coffee!

10/30/2009 11:48 AM  

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