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Get Your Kicks on Route 66

April 2, 2012

Having just returned from a brief vacation, it seemed appropriate to write about one of America’s favorite vacation highways from years gone by – Route 66, which winds from Chicago to Los Angeles by way of St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, Flagstaff and sites in between – and a recently released economic impact study that was sponsored by the World Monuments Fund funded by a grant from the American Express Foundation.

But, Dale Buss from beat me to the punch. So, instead of reading my summary of the report, here’s Dale’s.

Route 66 was placed on the World Monuments Fund Watch List in 2008 “to draw attention to the complex challenge of preserving not only an iconic cultural landscape, but a historic American experience.” We included Route 66 as one of our Sustainable Tourism projects in 2009-10, and the economic impact study that resulted was conducted by Rutgers University and focused on Route 66’s historic preservation, economic landscape and heritage tourism.

Having grown up in the Midwest, I’ve been on Route 66 many times, but I’ve always wanted to take a road trip along its entire 2,400 mile stretch – visiting some of its 450 museums like the Jesse James Museum in Missouri, staying at its neon-lit motels like the Blue Swallow Motel in New Mexico, and eating at its myriad comfort food diners like the Snow Cap Drive-in in Arizona. It’s through efforts of historic preservation organizations like the World Monuments Fund and the National Trust for Historic Preservation that a road trip of this kind is still possible.

Maybe next year (in a ‘57 Chevy of course)…

If you have a story about Route 66, share it with us here.

P.S. Did you know that the average length of a road trip along Route 66 is 11 days?


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