on May 9, 2002
If you ever wanted to make a real journey to a place that's both real and imagined, a place in your heart as much as in your geography, and if that place happens to be Route 66, take this book.
Michael Wallis is the unofficial poet laureate of 66 and this book reflects exactly what the Mother Road meant to America and can mean to you. He's covered every inch of it, and he knows where it leads.
on March 3, 2002
MIchael and Suzanne have done the best job of capturing why so many people are still fascinated by a ribbon of concrete that didn't even cross the entire continent. As he so eloquently states, it's not the road, its the people along the road. This is a must read, not just for all Mother Road fans, but for anyone who is interested in a genuine slice of Americana.
on December 3, 2001
I read Wallis' original book some years ago and now he has offered us an update. It is now 75 years since the highway numbering system went into effect, and more than ten years since the original book came out. What we get is an extra chapter in the back outlining some of the many changes that have occured in the past decade. Some old friends of the road have passed away; and a whole lot of new ones added. One gripe. We don't hear how Angel and Juan in Seligman are doing these days. Experienced 66 hands will know who I mean--the rest of you, make sure you find out about those two fine gentlemen. This, new, book will help you on your way. Highly recommended.
on January 17, 2001
Between about 1958 and 1963, I was lucky enough to drive the western portion of Route 66 twice in each direction. (From about Tulsa, Oklahoma to its terminus at Santa Monica, California) Today's Interstate Highways have cut the driving time down considerably, but, as this book shows so well, that which has been sacrificed for speed is an experience of place and people that is irreplaceable.
Even today, when I think of Arizona, I can't picture it without the series of Jack Rabbit signs along westbound Route 66. As I remember them, the first inkling of things to come was a small sign along the roadside with a small, black, long-eared jack rabbit on it. No information, just a lonely little jack rabbit. After another 10 miles or so, there was another one, only a little bigger, then another and another, each a little bigger than the previous one. Eventually, you came upon the sign shown on page 186; still just a jack rabbit only much larger, and now with the words, "Next Exit." No other words, just "Next Exit." Finally, one last sign as shown on page 187, this one billboard size, a huge black jack rabbit and the words "HERE IT IS." Then "IT" came into sight: The Jack Rabbit Trading Post in Joseph City, AZ, as shown on pages 186-187. A huge Jack Rabbit stood on the roof. After having your curiosity piqued for a hundred miles or so, how could you not stop? This is the kind of memory that is brought back by the illustrations on almost every page of the book.
With a State by State rundown, and with multiple pictures, reproductions of old postcards, photographs of both ruins of and still standing motels, gas stations, and cafes, and interviews with some of the "characters" who populated and had businesses on the Mother Road, this book would seem to have something for anyone who ever drove along old Route 66, or who would like to know what traveling was like in the days when there really was something new and different around every curve in the road.