Route 66, immortalized as the “Mother Road” in John Steinbeck’s Depression-era novel, “The Grapes of Wrath” and touchstone for hundreds of thousands of people who traveled it on family vacations, is the focus of an Automobile Club of Southern California map to celebrate the famed route’s 90th anniversary. The Guide Series map, “Route 66: America’s Highway,” is available at Auto Club branches. It’s free to AAA members.
The unique roadside eateries, ghost towns, motels, museums, scenic natural wonders, trading posts, and offbeat attractions served up on the Auto Club map pay tribute to the road’s popular points of interest in all eight states along the meandering 2,448-mile route. The map also describes Route 66’s fabled origins when it was part of the U.S. Highway System.
“The map celebrates the colorful Route 66 history that’s endured over the decades,” said Auto Club Westways Features Editor Carolyn Graham. “Map users will enjoy reading about state-by-state recommended landmarks to visit, in addition to using the Auto Club cartography team’s helpful maps to drive to the locations.”
For example, the map’s California highlights include the Santa Monica Pier, the Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain in Pasadena, the Wigwam Village Motel in San Bernardino, the Route 66 Mother Road Museum in Barstow and Bagdad Café in Newberry Springs. Underneath the California highlights are smaller highly detailed Los Angeles, Pasadena and Santa Monica thumbnail maps where Route 66 winds to its end, according to Graham.
Why has the road that spans three time zones endured almost 90 years even though it was decommissioned in 1985? “A journey along Route 66 offers a progressive museum that reveals glimpses into our nation’s history. The views depict mining, farming, railroad and hospitality that shaped Route 66’s communities and character,” said Graham.
Before the federal government took it over in 1927 and renamed it U.S. Route 66, the original transcontinental byway was called the National Old Trails Road. In the early 1900s, the Auto Club’s signposting crew installed 4,000 directional signs between Los Angeles and Kansas City, Mo. to help motorists find their way on the road. The Auto Club’s contributions to the route’s creation and vintage images from the era also appear on the map.
Auto Club Guide Series maps include Death Valley National Park, Downtown Los Angeles, Eastern Sierra, Indian Country, Metropolitan Los Angeles, Orange County, Coastal San Diego, Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks, Wineries – Central & Southern California and Yosemite National Park. To locate a branch to pick up a new Route 66 map, go to the AAA office locator at http://ww2.aaa.com/services/tourbook/poi/branchOfficeLocator.html Not a AAA member? The Route 66 map price is $4.95.