You heard of it? Maybe not Williams, but surely you’ve heard of Route 66, one of America’s first interstate highways, built in 1926 and running from Santa Monica, California to Chicago, Illinois. We stumbled across this preserved section of the old highway in Williams, Arizona on our way to the Grand Canyon last fall.
We stopped at the local Visitor Center, where we learned about all things Route 66, especially that part which runs through Arizona. Route 66 was called the ‘Mother Road’ in John Steinbeck’s classic book ‘The Grapes of Wrath.’ During the Dust Bowl thousands of displaced travelers used the highway to find new lives in California. It was further immortalized by the hit song, “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” and even had a television series named after it.
Afterwards we walked the few blocks in town and could have sworn we were back in the fifties. We weren’t looking for a room but if we were you couldn’t beat the rates.
We loved the colorful signs hanging from the old buildings, some reaching high into the sky.
Much of the highway no longer exists, having been replaced by other freeways, and many of the small towns and attractions that were bypassed died a slow death. But Williams survived. And though I wouldn’t have you make a special trip to see it, an hour spent here on your way to the Grand Canyon is entertaining and well worth the detour.
So go ahead. Get your kicks on Route 66.