Now comes a book that shows you where to find interesting drives by branching off from Route 66 as you travel from Illinois to California. Some of the drives are well known, such as the trip the authors suggest you take from Santa Monica to Monterey on Highway 1. Others are more obscure, such as a jaunt from Shamrock in the Texas panhandle up through Oklahoma to Liberal, Kansas. Along the way you will find rolling hills, the Black Kettle National Grasslands, the Museum of the Plains and Beaver Dunes State Park.
This 208-page book is lavishly illustrated by the work of photographers Kerrick James, Rick Bowers and Nora May Bowers. The text is by Jim Hinckley, who has written extensively about automotive history and Route 66.
Helpful maps are included to pinpoint locations. Much of what made Route 66 special was lost when it was superseded by the interstate highway system, but the essence can still be found, though not always on the original route. As this book states, “In many places, a short detour north or south from the historic highway will take you to spots where the neon still glows and the diners still serve apple pies made with fruit picked from the orchard across the road. Explore the land beyond the stretches of the old road, and you will encounter some of the best historic, natural and commercial attractions between the mighty Mississippi River and the great Pacific Ocean.”
If you intend to explore Route 66, this book will serve as a helpful guide. And even if you are not planning such a trip, the book’s photographs provide a remarkable catalog of natural and manmade wonders that will hold your interest.
Route 66 Backroads is published at $24.99 by Voyaguer Press of Minneapolis, Minnesota.