route 66 is the mother road. it's 2448 miles long, runs through 8 states and 3 time zones, and goes from chicago, illinois to santa monica, california. and it was our goal to drive on route 66 for at least part of our trip. it turns out this is quite a difficult goal because so much of route 66 has been replaced by interstates. but we did it; we drove on at least little bits and pieces of it in six of the eight states it passes through (we missed illinois and california).
since route 66 was such an integral part of our trip, we decided to stop in to see the national route 66 museum in elk city oklahoma. they have an amazing set up; there are four official buildings that document the people who lived, worked, and travelled along route 66, as well as many other store fronts and buildings that have exhibits as well. the museums had everything from vintage cars and route 66 memorabilia to old rodeo gear to exhibits on old farm equipment. it was a fairly comprehensive look at the glory of route 66 in its heyday, as well as it's decline with the construction of newer, larger highways.
i especially enjoyed this old school house; it was set up just like the kids were out to recess. unfortunately, you couldn't go inside -- i would have loved to see what books were on the shelves, to sit in those old desks, and remember a time that was both easier and harder, and imagine what life might have been like, for the kids and the teachers.
i love love love these types of windmills; they're what i think of when i think about farming. this one was one of many that the museum had displayed, but they're still all over the country. for me, these windmills are so stoic and regal -- they preside over the crops, help to water them, and tell the farmer where the wind is coming from; they're invaluable and beautiful.
in the last building, a huge barn dedicated to farm equipment and the agriculture of route 66, an older gentleman was manning the front desk, and he asked all of his visitors to put a pin in his map -- the yellow one on the T in washington is mine. it was awesome to see that people from all over the world have come to elk city, oklahoma to learn more about the abandoned, but not forgotten, mother road, route 66.