On our drive back to Branson we noticed a lot of Route 66 signs, museums etc. Known by several names throughout the years including the "Mother Road," "Main Street of America," and the "Will Rogers Highway," Route 66 served travelers for some 50 years, before totally succumbing to the "new and improved" interstate system.
Running through the states of Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, the highway became one of the most famous roads in America. For decades, this historic path served thousands who were migrating west, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930's.
Though all of the eight states along historic Route 66 display pride in ownership of their piece of the pavement, Oklahoma seems to do it the best. Perhaps that is as it should be, given that the Mother Road was born in Oklahoma when Cyrus Avery of Tulsa conceived the idea to link Chicago all the way to Los Angeles. Oklahoma has more miles of the original highway than any other state, they were the first to install historic markers along the old route, the first to have a state-sponsored Route 66 museum, and ironically, the first to lose part of the original road when I-44 barreled through, dealing a deathblow to many service businesses between Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
We are planning a second trip to this unique area for more Route 66 explorations. Check back later for more.