The Mother Road: Route 66

Escaping the Verde Valley heat and smoke  with a drive up Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff. A walk about downtown, a pause  to photograph the train, then delicious lunch at Street Side Saigon,

Setting off back to cross the tracks to downtown in search of pie……..and suddenly the gift of discovering this absolutely stunning mural.

Such a joy to photograph and share with you, and perfect for this weeks WordPress  Photo Theme of “Delta: ”   ‘This week’s photo challenge, share a picture that symbolizes transitions, change, and the passing of time.’

This is what the artists Margaret Dewar and R.E. Wall have to say about their magnificent work Route 66.

The Mother Road lived for about 60 years in its full glory. We were able to put together a chronological storyboard that offers a little piece of the spirit of each of the ages in ten year increments, from 1926 – 1985. Route 66 books and even modern travelers tell us that it was a virtual microcosm of American culture all comprised into one great road stretching from Chicago to L.A.The Phoenix Avenue Route 66 mural is located 1 block from the Route 66 that exists today. The Phoenix Avenue corridor of the mural was the main drag of Route 66 from 1926 to 1934, but was decommissioned and re-routed a block away and north of the tracks. Many of the businesses that started up here, included the Downtowner, Sierra Vista, and the Du Beau Hostel, which was the first motor lodge in the country can still be found along Phoenix Avenue. They were disappointed to have lost the road and thus allowed to erect giant neon sign towers that promoted their businesses and could be seen from the new Route 66. Today, the City of Flagstaff is showing an interest in spotlighting the former role of Phoenix Avenue in Flagstaff history.

I encourage you to visit The Mural Mice at their  their website for a listing of where their other public murals are located, and if opportunity arrives to see one in person, definitely do. The slideshow below contains lots more of the photos I so happily took on an exceptional  summer day in Flagstaff, Arizona. An excellent and safe month of July  to each and every one.

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42 thoughts on “The Mother Road: Route 66

    1. With the arrival of monsoon, everything is washed fresh and clean for your arrival, and a ‘second spring’ of wildflowers should be blooming just in time to welcome you. So glad you stopped by for a visit, always appreciated, and that you enjoyed the beautiful art of the Mural Mice. All my best to you for a safe and most excellent adventure in Arizona.

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      1. I LOVE the red rocks and need to get my fill this trip. My daughter is learning about monsoon season in Arizona and no daylight savings time. We shall have cameras ready and take in sights and sounds. Thanks, JoHanna.

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  1. I grew up watching “Route 66” on television and listening to Nat King Cole sing “Get your kicks on Route 66.” One of my dreams is to get an RV and travel The Road from Chicago to California, taking as many weeks (months? years?) as it takes to savor it. I feel like I’ve already had a taste of it, looking at your mural pictures. Hooray for the Mural Mice!

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    1. Aren’t the Mural Mice just so talented? It’s clear Route 66 continues to capture the imagination and beckon people still. Sounds like it is time for you to make your plan. Being able to take your time will be such a gift. So many nooks and crannies along the way to pause for discovery. Thank you for your kind words. Always appreciated.

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    1. It is indeed impressive. Also inspirational. The minute I saw it I just knew I had to photograph every bit of it and share it. Murals are certainly a worldwide expression and speak clearly of who we are as a diverse and yet the same world community. Thanks for visiting. Always a pleasure to hear from you.

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    1. Thank you. The real praise goes to the artists who created the detailed scenes. I always wonder how artists keep their perspective with such a large ‘canvas’ to work with. One of the interesting aspects to this mural is that it does not lose it’s perspective to any distortion whether you are close up or at a distance. And when you are close up a multitude of detailed stories unfold. Just amazing.

      Always a pleasure to hear from you. Thank you.

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    1. Oh, if you are able a few days in Flagstaff will not disappoint. Lowell Observatory, Museum of Northern Arizona, lots of public art and diverse food, and that college town vibe. Thank you for stopping by Alan and your kind words appreciated.

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    1. Hi Ken. Isn’t it a spectacular mural. Depending on the mood, my favorite sections are the hitchhiking Native American woman, always the Jack A Lope, and the ladies motor touring. Thank you for visiting.

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  2. I’ve driven along Route 66 whenever the opportunity has presented itself (starting in 1968). To me, it is the definition of an earlier era… there are places, near Oatman for example, where I swear it hasn’t changed. And it has inspired numerous murals. Thanks for reminding me, JoHanna. –Curt

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    1. Hello dear Curt. Now there would be a quest. To track down and photograph all the murals associated with Route 66. I just wish I had taken more photos of the sections I have traveled back in the day as the small towns along the way are getting pretty focused on tourism. Course I am wrestling about now with the thousands of photos of thousands of days of this life, plus the deeply rooted daily compulsion to take more photos …No longer tempered by film and developing, indeed the little townhouse is awash with images, surely there are some of Oatmen somewhere. Always a joy to hear from you, appreciate your encouragement and support. Thank you. Adventure on my friend.

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  3. Looked like such a beautiful day along Flagstaff. Such a grand train, and that delicious lunch looked every bit the fresh summer meal. Beautiful murals, absolutely stunning. Those murals must have captured a part of the town as it was so many decades ago…and maybe parts of which still live on today. Interesting bit of history around the town you shared. Sounds like some of those business still have got it in them today, every part of American culture.

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    1. Such lovely words and compliments. Flagstaff is awash daily with the sight and sound of trains, the high energy of being a college town, and a diversity of cultures expressing themselves creatively. Thank you for contributing to this photo essay, your support of my website gratefully appreciated.

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  4. Wow – beautiful. Next time I’m in Flag I’ll need to check it out. We’re spending our summer in Prescott Valley. Not only is it hotter than we anticipated, the hazy, smoke filled skies are unsettling ☹ Hope they continue to get this forest fire under control.

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    1. Was just over the Mingus Mountains to Prescott Valley the other day. It was indeed hot. I’ve pretty much embraced a cycle of getting up with the sun and out the door to take care of anything I desire to enjoy or get done by mid morning. Seeking out higher elevations, and the cooler temperatures, a favorite summer activity. Thank you for your visit to my website, and may monsoon arrive soon and bathe the balance of your summer in coolness and amazing skies.

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      1. I’m enjoying a few clouds in the sky today and looking forward to the monsoon cooling things off soon. BTW – you drove right past me at the RV Fairgrounds. We went the opposite direction the other day to have lunch at the Haunted Hamburger in Jerome.

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  5. I want to traverse Route 66 before I die. Start in Chicago (or Illinois isn’t it?) where it begins and end up in California. Might take me a couple of months (because yes I’ll want to stop and take pictures and see what I’m missing by taking the interstates)…Gotta start saving my pennies so I can afford to hit the road….thanks for this glimpse and a reinforcement that Route 66 is the trip of a lifetime!

    The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in the United States, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending at Santa Monica, California, covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km). (wikipedia)

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    1. Thanks for contributing to the conversation. I did not realize that Route 66 was quite that long. I’ve never traveled the entire length in one journey, but have done several sections of it over the years. One things I have noticed is the increase in promoting it as a tourist draw. Work your plan to make your trip happen, and wouldn’t it be a hoot to drive it in a vintage convertible as shown in the Flagstaff mural?

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    1. I can only take credit for having captured and sharing the beautifully done artwork with a camera. Flagstaff is one of my favorite places to go for the day to escape the heat in summer. Always discover something new and interesting. Thank you for stopping by and your kind words always appreciated.

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    1. The short drive up the Canyon, with a just over 2,500 climb in elevation offers just an entire different and much cooler environment. Lots of good food and street art in Flagstaff. Thank you for stopping by and supporting my website. Happy you enjoyed the photos.

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    1. Hello dear Sue: So good to hear from you. Oh this mural was just such a happy surprise. The amount of detail really is so representative of the Southwest. As soon as I began to photograph them, I knew I wanted to share them on the website. Thank you for stopping by. Your kind words are always appreciated.

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