The Road Home Part 4: How to Get Lost on Route 66

When we left North Carolina to head back to Utah, we never set out to end up on Route 66 specifically.  In fact, we weren't exactly sure which way we were taking back to Utah, only that it had to be somewhat direct based on our budget situation.  Once we arrived in Oklahoma City, we realized that hopping on the Route was an option and decided it would be a welcome change from the straight-shot freeway route we'd taken up to that point.  

We navigated our way to the northwest corner of Oklahoma City in search of Route 66 and found ourselves quite satisfied to be making our trek on a bumpy two lane backroad with the thrill of what we may find lingering in our imaginations.  We didn't bother looking at a map and didn't have GPS to guide our way but figured how hard can it be to follow one of the most famous historic roads in America?  In short, it's harder than it sounds.  We were following the signs for Route 66 and next thing we knew, we came to a T in the road with no clear directions as to which way Route 66 went.  We chose left and found ourselves rumbling along a smaller back road as the freeway drifted farther and farther away from our driver's side.  

Eventually we found our way back onto I-40, thinking we may have lost Route 66 for good when ah hah! ...another sign telling us to take the next exit for Route 66.  Upon taking the exit, we found ourselves driving through yet another (mildly) interesting small town with bits and pieces reminiscent of a time-gone-by.  In short order, we ended up back on I-40 and wondering what the hell just happened.  We happened to notice signage for Route 66 on a frontage road to the right, but also noticed additional signage stating the road was for "Local Traffic Only".  Seriously?  Yup.  

Ok, so that's how NOT to follow Route 66.  How do you actually follow it?

After much confusion, we determined this:  If you want to truly follow Route 66, the best way to do it is to follow 1-40 and take the exits marked "I-40 Business Loop".  We learned that "I-40 Business Loop" is secret codename for Route 66.  

So is it worth it?

In our opinion, that all depends on you.  If you have the time and find yourself interested in nostalgia, quirky museums, run down and deserted towns, and exploring pieces of American history - Yes.  If you're looking for high adventure or city nightlife - Probably not.  Had we had the time and the gas budget to explore the Route more thoroughly, we probably would have.  One can certainly feel the ghosted imagery of what this historic road must have been like in its heyday.  For us, this painted a new perspective on the changes our current world brings with fast food, chain stores, and big-box retailers creating the new paradigm.  It stirred within us a feeling of lament for a simpler time which we were never fortunate enough to experience and a desire to explore more of the small towns and back roads across America.

Check out the pics below of the (mildly) interesting things we happened to find while on our journey down ol' Route 66.

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