Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I'm Afraid We Forgot Winona

Route 66 commemorative sign in Albuquerque
You may have noticed I started a new category called Road Trip in honor of this current trip from Minnesota to Los Angeles, via the Southwest and primarily along Route 66. Actually, most of the trip was on I-40, but that road generally follows the path of Route 66, and if you get off the interstate at the larger towns and cities, you'll find yourself on the real "mother road."

Route 66 was, and still is, home to many businesses that cater to people who are just passing through, and because the road reached its heyday in the years after World War II, the style of their signs is distinctive to that age.

It's a dangerous road for me to drive because the town names often are used in song lyrics, so I spent much of the trip whistling songs like "Route 66" and "Willin' " under my breath. Speaking of "Willin'," we first got on Route 66 in Tucumcari, New Mexico.

Not from the classic era, but a nice piece of somewhat naive commercial art.

Tucumcari is a bit like the town in the movie Cars, however. For every business that's actually open, there's another like this one:

Albuquerque was a big contrast to Tucumcari, both in terms of scale and vibrancy.

Not old, but fun -- this painted facade was on a store named Masks y Mas, which specializes in Day of the Dead art and crafts. In the Nob Hill neighborhood, near the University of New Mexico.

Nob Hill, near the University of New Mexico.

Nob Hill, near the University of New Mexico.

Downtown Albuquerque. I believe the Peoples facade would date to the '40s. The Library Bar & Grill is much more recent. Check out the book titles!

Downtown Albuquerque.

The Kimo Building in Downtown Albuquerque.

Closeup of the Kimo windows.

A ghost sign in Downtown Albuquerque.

Downtown Flagstaff, Arizona.

Downtown Flagstaff, Arizona.

Kingman, Arizona.

Barstow... the name Cactus Motel is appropriate, since Barstow gets under 5" of rain each year, on average.

Downtown Barstow.

Barstow west of downtown.

Barstow on the edge of downtown.

This is the train station in Barstow, shown because it houses the Mother Road Museum. Unfortunately, it was closed when we were there.

We continued along the route until we were lost in the maze of L.A. freeways. But I realized later that Santa Monica Boulevard is actually the end of Route 66, so we did get to the end of it after all.

(By the way, we didn't actually forget Winona, but we didn't get off of I-40 to look at it, either. It's just east of Flagstaff, and so occurs out of order in the lyrics of the famous song.)


66 Productions said...

The actual original western terminus was at 7th and Broadway in the heart of Los Angeles' Theater District. In 1936, the highway was extended west to Santa Monica, where its new terminus was at the intersection of Lincoln and Olympic, the present-day location of Lincoln and I-10.

David Steinlicht said...

Great pictures! I really like those signs -- old and not so old.

I always thought Minnesota's Winona was the one referenced in the song. Hey, it's west of Chicago. Sorta.

Never thought it could be a different Winona. And it never occurred to me to look up where Route 66 actually runs.

Minnesota can still claim Winona Rider, though. So . . . yay!

Daughter Number Three said...

Thanks for the additional details, 66 Productions.

David, I have some idea that Winona, Arizona, is named after Winona, Minnesota, but no facts to back it up. But along the way during this trip I saw a town named Minneapolis, Kansas, so it's quite possible I'm right.