Route 66 Map

Route 66 Map
Getting Our Kicks

Saturday, June 27, 2015

End of the Mother Road

It was on this date in 1985 that the Mother Road was decertified. Many miles of the original Route 66 had been bypassed by or upgraded to interstate highways that are numbered according to their own distinct system. This was causing sufficient confusion that a majority of the states  along the route asked for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials -- which apparently decides these things -- to decertify the route. Meeting on June 27, 1985, these representatives of highway authorities from throughout the United States voted to end the Route 66 designation.

Memorials were built, of course, and even some of the petitioning states honored the historic route by designating some sections "Old U.S. 66." The New York Times told the entire story the day after the decision in the article "Final Chapter is Written for Route 66."  The article has a dateline of Duluth, Minnesota, which of course is not on the route; it was just the location of the annual highway meeting that year.

The most fascinating thing I learned from the article is that the origins of the route can be traced to a camel caravan led by Navy Lt. Edward Beale in 1857. Which is more surprising -- the involvement of camels or the involvement of the navy?
Camels are a far cry from the Chevy's and other classic cars that would eventually be associated with this route.
Lt. Beale and his camels are commemorated by the Beale Wagon Road Historic Trail, one of the features we have missed in prior visits to Kaibab National Forest in Arizona.

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