This is your essential guide to “scenic trips and adventures from the Mother Road”. That’s what it says and I believe it. This is a sumptuous, large format, full colour, glossy volume. There are more than 200 pictures to tempt you away from the beaten track, including a wealth of black and white photographs to show you something of the history that unfolded near this most iconic of roads. A road that stretches across the US from the Midwest to California.
Route 66 must surely be one of the most celebrated highways in the world. India has its Grand Trunk Road and evokes pictures of overloaded trucks, roadside stalls selling spicy curry to travellers, and perhaps the occasional elephant. England has the M25, which brings to mind a car park. The USA has Route 66, which is steeped in charm and adventure and the traffic does keep moving.
This most famed of highways starts at Green Park in Chicago. Mark Twain wrote in 1883 “It is hopeless for the occasional visitor to try to keep up with Chicago. She outgrows his prophecies faster than he can make them.” The city still has a buzz of excitement, which is a fitting start to your adventure.
Meatloaf and apple pie
This book is about Backroads and they take you to the heart of real America. Small towns that, although a few miles either side of the old and now almost vanished Route 66, give a feel of days past. You’ll find real diners that all overseas visitors seek and seldom find. Meatloaf and apple pie rather than a golden arch. There are fine dining opportunities in larger towns and cities in every state, but you’ll miss a treat if you don’t try the small-town eateries and bakeries.
Route 66 Backroads offers a wealth of information to encourage you off the beaten track. There are 50 driving tours to choose from, each giving a unique perspective. You can visit birthplaces of the famous, battlegrounds, oil rigs and museums. The landscape changes along with the culture and architecture. Start with skyscrapers but linger to enjoy the adobe of old Santa Fe, one of my favourite spots in the whole world.
I have travelled extensively in the States and I have read many a guidebook. Most will direct you to world-famous sights, celeb restaurants and costly leisure activities and shows. Route 66 Backroads introduces you to a road less travelled but no less fascinating. The trip (or trips) of a lifetime.
Route 66 Backroads
Author: Jim Hinckley
Published by: Voyageur Press
Travel book review by Chrissie Walker © 2018