This website is loosely related to the San Bernardino Convention & Visitors Bureau. Mostly, it is a totally private effort in recapturing a lot of the essence of Route 66.
What made it so special in the first place?
What is it about this particular stretch of highway that separates it from the countless other highways the federal and state governments created, built, designed, constructed, and maintained starting in the 50s?
Well, a lot of this is really kind of a happy accident. A good argument could be made that California is quite wealthy when it comes to scenic routes. You only need to look at Pacific Coast Highway 1 or PCH1 to get a good idea of what I’m talking about.
PCH1 actually goes through some of the most scenic parts of California. If you’re looking to enjoy California in all its raw, untamed, and natural splendor, just go on Pacific Coast Highway.
Believe me it’s both sublime, beautiful, and scary at the same time. After all, PCH1 takes you through Big Sur. This part of the highway system requires some good driving skills.
If you’re not very mindful of your driving, you can easily find yourself going off the cliff. That’s how awesome the views are. That’s also how potentially dangerous that route is.
It’s not unusual during heavy downpours for people to meet with some sort of accident on PCH1. It also suffers more than its fair share of landslides.
Still, I bring out PCH1 as an example because over time, due to the specific route a highway goes through, people get attached. PCH1 occupies a specific part of the cultural imagination of California and elsewhere.
The same applies to Route 66.
What’s so awesome about Route 66 is the fact that it really highlights the car culture of Southern California. Unlike Northern California, where you can basically get around using the Bay Area Rapid Transit train system or subway, the same cannot be said of Southern California.
You basically have to have a car because of the highways, the huge space, and the way the cities are laid out in this part of the United States. As a result, a car culture bloomed in the 1950s.
It’s as if every high school kid had to go through some sort of rite of passage where they get handed car keys. It is precisely within this cultural environment that Route 66 pretty much took a life of its own.
People were driving down Route 66. Lots of songs were being created for it. People were enjoying the different cities and towns lining Route 66. All sorts of mythology grew up around this highway.
A lot of this really has to do with the 1950s and the 1960s and has less to do with the actual highway itself. It has more to do with the people, the environment, and the specific culture of that time.
This website celebrates everything and anything related to this highway. It’s all about exploring issues about involving historic routes and what the great American open road means, as far as culture, history, and even politics are concerned.