As Route 66 approaches its 100th anniversary in 2026, several states are investing in much-needed upgrades for the historic highway. Illinois and Oklahoma are kicking down millions of dollars to preserve and promote the beloved "Main Street of America." These upgrades include adding electric vehicle charging stations, creating cyclist-friendly roads, and improving signage. The goal is to make Route 66 safer and more enjoyable for future generations. (Neatorama)
Some Route 66 history from Smithsonian Magazine:
Approved in November 1926 and fully paved by 1938, Route 66 linked a variety of small- and mid-sized towns from the Midwest to the West Coast. During the Dust Bowl period of the 1930s, it served as the main path west toward California and Arizona for hundreds of thousands of out-of-work farmers and down-on-their-luck families living in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
To that end, it also played a starring role in John Steinbeck's 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath,which followed a fictional family as they ventured west. A film adaption of the book, which came out in 1940, further memorialized Route 66's role in American history. Then, in 1946, Nat King Cole recorded Bobby Troup's song "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66," which featured lyrics that described various towns along the route. A "Route 66" TV series also ran in the early 1960s.
Over time, however, as more and more Americans took to the road, the federal government began building larger, more robust interstates that eventually rendered the old Route 66 largely obsolete. It was officially decertified in 1985. Still, many people held on to nostalgic affection for the historic route and tried to preserve it.
This appears to be my opportunity to share that I have, in fact, slept in a "wigwam":