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On June 27, 1985:
Route 66 was officially removed from the U.S. Highway System
I was 36 years old that year, and had been living here in California for 15 years — my, how time flies!
But between 1960 and 1964, I watched the TV series Route 66, with the cool theme song by Nelson Riddle, and two guys named Tod and Buz (until Buz was replaced by Linc in ‘63) on a perpetual road trip, in a new ‘vette every fall (those odd jobs must have paid really well!)
Route 66 the highway meandered all the way across the northern part of Arizona, so I spent a lot of time in the back seat of a series of Ramblers (they stopped making those in 1969!) driven by my parents on summer vacation trips — which were “how-many-miles-can-we-cover-in-a-day” marathons. To this day, I hate riding in the back seat.
Though when we did get out of the car, I got to see the Petrified Forest and the Grand Canyon, which still awes me no matter how many times I’ve seen it, and the sign by the bridge over the almost-always dry bed of the Hassayampa River
which describes the legend that drinking the waters of the Hassayampa will make you always or never tell the truth, depending on where you take a drink. Of course, since most of the year you would have to dig down deep to get to the water, you’d probably never tell the truth again if you managed to get a drink.
The modern nearly ruler-straight super-highways get you there faster, but you sure miss a lot along the way.
The Grand Canyon at sunset
Note: Route 66 did not suddenly vanish — it just stopped being a part of the Federal Highway System. Much of the road is still out there, but in many areas, there are much newer highways, while Route 66 falls further and further into disrepair.