Thursday, August 30, 2018

My Journey On The "Mother Road," Route 66

A few months ago I had the drive of a lifetime!  I was able to travel old Route 66, the "Mother Road."  The journey I took was from Oklahoma City, through Kansas and into central Missouri.

In years past I've been able to travel old Route 66 through California, Illinois and New Mexico.  Someday I hope to travel the entire route from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California.

There were many amazing sites to see along the route including adorable main streets with an abundance of antique and specialty shops, beautiful theaters and restored landmarks.  It was also fun eating at those old diners from the 50s and getting some great flavored food too (think it's the old seasoned griddle that makes the difference).

Here's a look at one of the unique structures along US-66, the "Round Barn" just outside of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma:

But one portion of the trip was much more magical than the others; the "Ribbon Road."

Now before I really started to dig deep in research on the internet I wasn't aware of the "Ribbon Road" in Oklahoma.  But it didn't take long to discover what it was/is and the historic value of it.

The "Ribbon Road" is a narrow nine feet wide pavement, one lane, with a distinct lip on each side.  This is the original 1922 road, and the original pavement is still there and it's 96 year's old, or almost a century old.

Here are some photos from my journey along the route of the original 1922 one lane US-66:

Here I am standing on the original 1922 pavement in Oklahoma.

Much of the "Ribbon Road" is now a series of county roads maintained with gravel to widen the original pavement.  But as I drove the road it was easy to see the original nine foot wide path.  Take a look below:

One of the really neat aspects of taking this trip, as I researched the original old route I read conflicting information; but there was a good reason why.

The original pavement and road was constructed in 1922 and the only remaining segment of this pavement/road is the "Ribbon Highway" in northeast Oklahoma.  As the marker states below, this segment was decommissioned in 1937.  That is the time the route changed slightly and the original 9' wide road was upgraded.  This happened again in 1957.

I must say that it was a very moving experience to see the 'original' nine foot wide path and to think of the millions of Americans that traveled this route with the dreams and hopes of a better life somewhere down the road.

When I was standing on the pavement and looking around in the eerie silence of a hot and stagnant afternoon it was like I could see the cars full of families, with no air conditioning travelling this route or even old jalopies that barely made it down the road; all with hopes and plans for a better life.

It was emotional.  As I stood on that narrow nine foot wide segment I knew that almost every vehicle that went down the road passed right over the pavement I was standing on.  All those souls and dreams for a better life.

Some found a better life in California, others couldn't make it that far and ended up in the Panhandle of Texas and western portions of Oklahoma.  Little did they know their luck would get worse as the Great Depression and Dust Bowl were on the horizon.

I hope you enjoyed this blog today.  I really enjoyed writing it.  It was an amazing experience and I recommend it to anyone interested in our nations history because it had a large influence on the push west.

If you would like to learn more about old Route 66 check out these links:

Route 66: Wikipedia
Route 66 Maps
More 66 Info.

Bryan W. Rupp