Slowing Down and Taking The Old Roads

I was flipping through the channels today and started watching the movie Cars was on. If you haven’t seen it you should. It is an animated movie all about racing and the old Route 66. As I was watching it I started thinking about how cool it would be to take a good old fashioned road trip. There have been many books, movies, songs and the like to depict the great road namely the most famous “Route 66” song performed by many but most notable by Chuck Berry and referred to as “the mother road” by famous author John Steinbeck. The road originally traveled all the way from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California, now it actually ends in Santa Monica, CA. I was thinking about driving up to Chicago, which just so happens to be my favorite place in the world, and from there drive all on Route 66 to California.

I did some research and found out that US 66 (its official US highway title) ran through over 10 major cities in 8 different states. Also I found that roughly only 80% of the original highway has survived and able to take you around the old way. There have been numerous efforts to help preserve the highway and they have for the most part worked from what I was able to uncover. The biggest let down is that you can’t just simply get a map and drive Route 66; you have to do a ton of investigation and find out where to get on the roads and when and where to get off because part of the highway in the middle is no more so you have to go around your elbow to get to your ass in a sense.

After I did the investigation and really thought about it, I thought that it would be a ton of fun. I started talking to a friend of mine who, is really into cars as well and whose dream is the same as mine, to rebuild an older sports car. We were just talking randomly about stuff and I mentioned the trip and she thought it was a really cool idea. After talking a bit more about it we talked about possibly actually doing it together. How awesome would it be to drive cross country starting from Chicago (the greatest city, and the home of electric blues) and winding up where ever? Even more so to make the trip with someone who is just as interested in the activity as you are?

I have always been a big musical person and I have been a blues guitar player for as long as I’ve been playing guitar which is about 8 years now. So every time that I hear Route 66 done by Chuck Berry, the best version, it makes me want to just get in the car and keep driving. Pack the car full of good cd’s, clothes for the trip and don’t stop for anything else but gas, food and sleep. The good thing about having a passenger would be to have them drive a little as well.

The only thing left to think about now is what kind of car? What kind of car would be perfect for an old Route 66 trip? I personally as a big BMW fan think that a good M3 would be the perfect car or maybe even the new 135i when it comes out in the spring. I would think BMW first because you can first off get them in a classic manual tranny, they offer good space for your luggage, a good bit of comfort for long trips and very importantly give the great gift of good gas mileage on a steady trip. In my 2005 330i Sport I used to get on average between 460-480 miles to a tank of gas and got a little over 500 miles twice in that good ole’ sedan. Or maybe should I take something classic? A classic American car like a Corvette or classic 1969 Camaro SS?

What would you think of that kind of trip? As the song says, “get your kicks on Route 66”. The only choice you have to make is the car and the companion. One drawback as I mentioned before is that you may have to do some lengthy pre-travel research to get a map or make a map that would have all of the correct directions from the start of Route 66 to the end of it in Santa Monica. Pack the car and set off on the almost 2,500 mile long trip. What else is stopping you?