Born and raised on the north side of Chicago we are two friends from the same neighborhood who share many childhood memories. After graduation from high school, we were college roommates. Of the many adventures we shared across the decades, college road trips, affectionately referred to as “Born Frees,” were particularly memorable. Attending Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, we would drive to various college campuses on weekends during the school year to find adventure (really looking for girls!). One summer during our college years we traveled round trip by car from Chicago to San Francisco on what we referred to as the “Western Born Free." As older adults (born in 1949 and 1950) we wanted to take another memorable “Born Free” and decided to become “Route 66 Roadies." The “Mother Road” certainly did not disappoint. We wanted to share our adventure with newsletter readers.
It took 13 years to complete our 2500-mile Route 66 adventure. We first set out on our “Mother Road” adventure in the second week of July 2000 when we traveled from Chicago (beginning in front of Lou Mitchell’s restaurant) and ended our first phase of our trip in Joplin Missouri. Two years later we flew into Joplin to begin the second phase which ended in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Due to some health challenges, it would be more than a decade until we were able to complete the final phase of our travels on Route 66. This past June (2013) we booked a flight from Chicago to Albuquerque to begin the final phase of our trip through New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Concluding our adventure at the Santa Monica Pier, we went on to meet up with our wives in the Los Angeles area.
During the three phases, we traversed Interstates and parts of the original road through seven states with the aid of three revisions of Tom Snyder’s Route 66 Traveler’s Guide and Companion.
To record our travels, we made our own documentary video entitled, “The Mother Road: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow." Armed with a video camera and an external microphone for the first two phases of our trip and our iPhones for the final phase, we interviewed many along the “Mother Road." Typical questions for those interviewed included “What is your connection to the Mother Road and how long have you had this connection?” “Do you have any childhood memories of Route 66?” “Can you tell us of any interesting visitors or celebrities that you have seen along Route 66?" “What changes, if any, over the years in have you seen in the Road?” What do you anticipate for the future along the Road?"