Country Roads, Take Me Home

This song hits home (for real)! I’m not even an American, but I thoroughly enjoy American country music, and the cheeseburger, and Los Angeles sunsets. With the Coronavirus pandemic, all things have come to a halt, a standstill. I’m from Bombay and one couldn’t have imagined such calm and tranquil. No movement, nobody on the road, dull Saturday nights.

empty road under blue sky

Everyone I know is driving down to Lonavala to get a little break from the city and everything else. The road trip to Lonavala is exquisite. It’s an easy escape. We’re all part of the crisis and we’re all looking for an outlet. Mumbai has Lonavala, Delhi has Neemrana and the Americans have Route 66. 

Route 66 is a stupendously famous highway, and for the right reasons. When you’re on this route, the plan is to not have a plan. The route starts in Chicago, sliding all through the country and ending in Santa Monica. The road was commissioned in 1926. In 1957, the Interstate Highway System was established, and in 1970 the route was bypassed. In 1985, it was fully decommissioned. Its popularity led to its demise. Excessive truck use and traffic during World War II and several other political factors present in the U.S. contributed to its downfall. The official road signs were also taken down. 

motel signage

In the 1990s, National Laws were passed initiating and funding the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. Gone, but clearly not forgotten. 

Road trips make people nostalgic. Route 66 will bring you all that it has and you are bound to strike a trade. It’s the nation’s first all-weather highway linking Chicago to Los Angeles. This highway is also known as the Will roger’s Highway, the Main Street Of America, or the Mother Road. This route covers a total of 2,448 miles, which is close to 4000 km. This highway is filled with eateries and if you’re a steak lover, you ought to visit The Big Texan Steak Ranch. You get your steak for free if you can finish 72 ounces of it in an hour! Good heavens, this sounds delicious. 

The road has many secrets, surprises and sunsets and who doesn’t like surprises! Here’s a list of the top 5 (extra-edgy) stops when you decide to hit the road next – 

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch (Grande, California)

As the name suggests, it’s literally a forest of bottle trees. You’ll find large metal pipes and bottles hanging from them. Once you’re there, you’ll see creativity and uniqueness trickling down from each of these “trees”. Everyone appreciates art and creativity, not just Americans, and this ranch located in the heart of the Californian desert and in between Victorville and Barstow has successfully managed to woo everyone. 

green forest during daytime

Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo, Texas)

Speaking of art, this ranch on Route 66 is located right outside of Amarillo in Texas and is sure to get your attention. Three individuals namely- Doug Michels, Hudson Marques, and Chip Lord, who were all part of the art group Ant Farm, created this ranch in 1974. You thought trees with bottles were distinct? Here you’ll find 10 Cadillacs buried nose-first into the ground. Looks like some real hippies were at work here. This isn’t a very naturally striking thought. You can carry your spray cans and make your own graffiti (isn’t that just brilliant?). Make sure to clean up right after you’re done though. Muchas gracias. 

multicolored wrecked cars under blue sky

Oatman (Arizona, Texas)

Ever seen donkeys walking freely on the streets of your town? You thought Cadillacs buried nose front into the ground was unlike anything you had ever seen? Well, I guarantee this town won’t disappoint. While you’re on the road to the ‘Wild Wild West’, make sure you visit this town. Oatman is a village in the Black Mountains (also a beautiful stretch of mountains called the ‘needles’) of Mohave County in Arizona. Here you can visit the small mine, the jail, and the old hotels and restaurants. Oh, remember to say hi to the donkeys for me!

brown and red house near trees

Meramec Caverns (Stanton, Missouri)

Missouri is very well known for its caves. The Meramec Caves is one of the most famous caves on Route 66 and lives up to the hype. Once a hideout for the Jesse James gang, these caves have underground water and provide a very realistic experience as part of the cave tour. At the end of the cave tour, there is a patriotic show which is displayed on one of the cave walls and it only makes up for a very different experience. There’re road signs 100 miles before you even get to it, so make sure you pay enough attention.

green grass field near body of water during daytime

Standing On The Corner Park (Winslow, Arizona)

Ever heard of a park celebrating a song? This brings back a lot of memories when you grow up listening to old classic rock bands like the Eagles. The song ‘take it easy’ was revised and recorded again by them. It was originally written by Jackson Browne and Glen Frey. Their statues were erected outside this park. This town adopted this land and dedicated it to a park. Visitors click pictures and have a fun time around here.

brown textile on gray rock at daytime

In conclusion, repeat after me, “I’m going to pack my bags and get out!”

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