Historic Route 66. (photo via miroslav_1/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
Google is getting its kicks on Route 66 today.
The search engine’s famous daily GoogleDoodles video was devoted to the famed highway, which author John Steinbeck once dubbed ‘The Mother Road’ in his famous 1939 book “The Grapes of Wrath.”
And, indeed, Route 66 was the Main Street of America, as many others also called it, stretching 2,248 miles from Chicago and ending at the beach in Santa Monica, California. In the early days of automobiles, Route 66 was the main east-west artery for tourists – not to mention being filled with touristy attractions.
The name Route 66 was actually proposed in 1926 and it quickly became the iconic American road trip, so much so there was even a song named after it.
Before the advent of transcontinental, Route 66 was the thing. It not only was the yellow brick road to vacation and the Pacific Ocean, it was a lifeline for many. Steinbeck himself traveled Route 66 as he looked for inspiration for his iconic book, and many displaced Americans took to the road traveling west to escape the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
Alas, as the U.S. became such a reliant automobile-driven country and the interstate highway system was developed, Route 66 was decommissioned in 1985. Much of it was replaced by I-40 but many parts of Route 66 were preserved and still feature iconic landmarks and restaurants that were active 50, 60 even 70 years ago.