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6 Back-to-Back Centuries on Route 66

6 Back-to-Back Centuries on Route 66

Cover Design by Adam Wagler

A 2,200-mile bicycle ride along Historic Route 66 and a love of car culture inspired this collection. Route 66, also called the Mother Road and America’s Main Street, first linked Chicago to Los Angeles with a paved highway. Businesses, services, and attractions met the needs of Americans who popularized it while embracing driving as a pastime. Some toured the route. Others found opportunities there. Many drove it as their main thoroughfare. If infrastructure changed, Route 66 remains, explored now by nostalgia seekers, tourists, and bicycles.

This sequence of poems documents an ultra-endurance, full gas, bike ride on the classic path seeing the iconic sights—Americana, curios, diners, original tarmac, markers that price gas at 15 cents. It explores the challenges of the pandemic, weather, road conditions, and personal records. It connects the history of Route 66 to a personal one, and a grandpa’s love of car culture who said, “I’ve always wanted to drive the whole thing.”

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