Change is in the air – we have a new President, a new Governor and the Route 66 Preservation Corridor Act has been renewed. We have much to be grateful for.
The reality is we all are facing tough economic times. Job layoffs, staff reductions, plant closings – all our towns, cities and villages along Route 66 are being affected every day by our current economic challenges. Every member of this Association is “feeling the pinch” and then some.
Route 66 was built during tough times like these. People looked to this “new” highway connecting Illinois to California much like the original settlers in the wagon train days looked forward to new opportunities and a better life. As members of the Route 66 Association of Illinois, we need to be aware that the communities and people along Route 66 need our help to stay viable, to at least maintain, if not prosper. The upcoming Red Carpet Corridor weekend, May 2nd and 3rd, is the perfect time to gather your friends and family and get out on the Mother Road for the weekend – and to enjoy what the communities from Joliet to Towanda are planning for their 2nd annual 90 miles of fun on Route 66. We pride ourselves on the fact that Illinois has so much to see and almost all of it is free…and on this special weekend each community shows off its best!
The 20th Annual Motor Tour will be going from North to South this year. After 20 years the road has become familiar and it is harder and harder to add exciting elements to our annual cruise down the Mother Road. However, our able Board of Directors has come up with several new surprises for this year’s tour! Our theme this year is “Cruising the Land of Lincoln.”
Let’s go back this year and revisit those values and traditions that made families strong and the 67 communities on Route 66 work together so well. Look how far we’ve come together! “Born” in the 1920’s, Route 66 expanded through the depression in the 1930’s and continued through the war years in the 1940’s. Route 66 saw growth and prosperity in the 1950’s, handled change and upheaval in the 1960’s and even survived the groovy 1970’s. She even made it through the disco 1980’s with big hair (or any hair!). The Mother Road stands testament to the fact that even in changing times when no one thought it was worth keeping, Route 66 remained, providing people and places a connection no matter what name it was given.
Like comfort food, Route 66 is there for us. So “come home and visit often.” See you on the road –