The Mother Road, Main Street America, Route 66...call it what you like, it is truly the beaten path of the American Dream!
Magnolia Gas Station, Shamrock, TX [image via wikimedia]
The freedom of the open road, a wide open frontier for the American art of the Road Trip, beckons you to US Highway 66 . This winding route takes you from Chicago to Los Angeles across over half the American continent. You go through St. Louis, Joplin, Missouri, and Oklahoma City (it's mighty pretty!). You see...Amarillo...Gallup, New Mexico...Flagstaff, Arizona, (don't forget Winona!), Kingman, Barstow, San Bernandino...a lot of cities, actually. It's the best way to see America: from behind the wheel of your convertable or astride your motorcycle with the desert winds in your face and the warm sun on your back. Follow in the footsteps of frontiersmen, Okies, vacationers, wartime job-seekers, and modern-day freedom-seekers along this long but far from lonesome stretch of highway.
See the natural beauty, bask in the neon-lit streets of small town America, stop by those crazy roadside attractions and tourist traps! And don't forget to stop in for a warm meal and even a bit of music pretty much anywhere along the way. The folks are friendly, the atmosphere a kitchy blend of Americana...let's face it, folks, some times the journey is the destination!
Is it any wonder that the great popular performer (and social groundbreaker) Nat King Cole made it the subject of a song? Well, if you haven't heard it yet, you're about to right here on the Cabaret, because Mr. Cole, a modern master of melody, has distilled this journey into a free-flowing verse that cruises like a straight-8 down the black tarmac.
They say the upcoming Interstate Highway System will bypass and kill the old Route 66, but seriously, take one afternoon driving along its welcoming curves and tell me you'd really trade that for a boring flat stretch of Interstate inspired by Hitler's Autobahn just to save a little travel time.
But enough jaw-jacking, let's hear Nat King Cole!
Can't you just feel the wind in your hair, folks?
Now, let us stop for the night and have a cocktail in a local desert roadhouse (no driving after drinking, folks!) and then settle in to a kitchy drive-in motel for the night. I like to leave my windows cracked to hear the howling of the coyotes myself (but just a crack so that the rattlers don't slip in!).
Have a nice trip, folks!
Route 66 Cocktail:
[image from qmixalot.com]
Stir all well over ice, strain into a Higball glass. Garnish with orange wedge or wheel and a maraschino cherry.
Remember: don't drink and drive! You'll spill it all over your upholstry!
1 - A short diversion from our exploration of Diesel Music origins and back to the far side of Diesel to commemorate good old Route 66 for our 66th episode...and in honor of my son John, who just loves the route's fictionalized representation in Disney's Cars.