Post # 51 Get Your Kicks on Route 66!

September 26, 2012 at 10:32 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 51 Get Your Kicks on Route 66!

Yesterday, House Guest, Father-In-Law, and I took a drive to ride on historic Rt 66.  For any who are not familiar with it, Rt 66 is a historic roadway in the U.S. that was originally built in 1926.  It ran from Chicago to Los Angeles for a total of 2451 miles.

It was known as the Great American Highway, and also as The Mother Road.  It was the pathway to the west, particularly during the depression and the Dust Bowl years.  It led people out of despair.  Many businesses grew up along the roadway and became hugely successful.  As the modern system of interstate freeways was developed, Rt 66 was less traveled.

Many of the businesses that sprang up along the way were restaurants and diners.  People were usually in a hurry to reach their destination so a diner that could provide a good meal for a fair price and quickly was in high demand.  There was a lot of competition so diners and restaurants had to stand out to make people want to stop.  Some used food as their gimmick, offering something unusual, or offering a lot of food for next to nothing.  Some used their building as the gimmick and people would find themselves eating in a shoe, or an airplane, or a hat.  The only that limited the owners was their own imagination.

As quickly as those businesses grew, so did they fall.  When Rt 66 was bypassed by the interstate road system, people didn’t travel it so much and the owners either moved their business or went out of business.  Then late in the last century, a nostalgia kick swept through the country, and many people wanted to travel the old road again.  Business grew up again, but this time with modern sensibilities.  Some people created new businesses, while others restored old businesses.  Some people repurposed old buildings, capitalizing on the nostalgia people were feeling, and selling old junk as antiques, and old candy that people remembered from their youth.

We stopped at a place called Pops.  It’s a diner and gas station that specializes in soda pop.  It’s a modern business, not having been around in the original heydays of Rt 66.  It’s a specialty place.  It specializes in soda pop.  So much so that they created an art piece that stands out for a couple of miles alerting people to something special and fun up ahead.

It’s a bottle of soda pop with a straw sticking out of it.  They feature over 600 different flavors of soda.  They have all the standards, plus creations of their own.  The building is glass sided with glass shelves holding all their sodas.  It’s a huge multicolored sight you won’t forget soon.  The sculpture is lit at night with various colors depicting the flavors they have.

The diner is okay.  I got a burger and fries and it was good, but not spectacular.  The fries were of the commercial frozen variety, but they gave me a ton of them.  Way more than I could eat.  Father-in-law ordered a basket of fried okra and they fried the entire okra pod.  I’ve only ever seen cut into slices or small chunks then fried.  Everything was good, but as I saw, not spectacular.  It was typical diner fare.  There was one standout, the grilled cheese sandwich.  I almost ordered it.  It used five different cheeses on thick sliced bread.  I looked like more of a challenge than I was up to at the moment.

Since we are so near to the Great American Highway, we’ll likely start exploring and hopefully finding the fun and out-of-the-way diners.  I’ll keep you all posted!

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