For you Route 66 enthusiasts, and those of you thinking of hitting the road on a Route 66 “Road Trip”, we have compiled a list of books for you to study up on in order to make sure you don’t miss one thing along your travels. These books and guides are a great way to plan your summer trip West or East along Route 66. Not planning a trip, but would like to bone up on your Mother Road facts and information, well then here you go; and yes, yes there will be a test later, so get your highlighter ready.
Greetings from Route 66: The Ultimate Road Trip Back Through Time Along America’s Main Street by: Andreas Feininger, Jim Hinckley, Kathy Weiser and Kerrick James
A wonderful collection of Route 66 memorabilia. Including pop culture, history, attractions along the route, recipes and spooky ghost stories! It is all illustrated with a wide variety of collectables, post cards, vintage art and much more.
“American Route 66: Home on the Road”, by Jane Bernard and Polly Brown includes life changing portraits and images along Route 66. The images are accompanied by the history, and how it has affected the current conditions of the Mother Road!
“Route 66: America’s first main street” by Spencer Crump is a dedication to how Route 66 has captivated a cult like following, due to the beautiful scenery and interesting people one would meet along the way. Crump does this by explaining old and new postcards, maps, and photographs to show why this road is still traveled and loved.
“Route 66 (Purple Book)” by Nick Freeth is unique in that the reader can experience Route 66 from Illinois to California just by reading it. This is done by an interactive odometer-map timeline at the top of the page which changes as you travel (read) and see sites. Through images with text of people, places, and landmarks, the experience is also increased. Not only could you travel the mother road virtually with this book, you could use it as a guide while physically traveling the road.
“Traveling Route 66”, by Nick Freeth is a visually stimulating experience, being that it holds over 240 colorful illustrations of landmarks, cars, recipes and neon signs! Experience the very road that offered a better life for families trapped in rural poverty, and played the role of industrial and commerce development in the U.S.
“Ghost towns of Route 66” written by Jim Hinckley is a showcase of how the once booming towns along Route 66 now remain as ghost towns, built around railroad stops, cattle ranches, oil wells, gold mines, resorts, and stagecoach stops. This guide shows over 25 ghost towns, including history and sepia tone photographs by Kerrick James.
“Route 66” by Gerd Kittel, Alexander Bloom and Freddy Langer:
Photography is a superb way to tell a story, and this book does just this. Accompanying the photography, Freddy Langer’s text helps the story of American hopes and pleasures come to life. It also shows the downfall of a dream built to fall, showcasing deserted businesses, farms and homes, cars, and whole towns. Enjoy the story from beginning to end of the Mother Road.
“Route 66 Quick Reference Encyclopedia” by Drew Knowels, is an A-Z guide of all things Route 66 including a History guide, articles, illustrations, festivals, useful highway terms, quirky attractions, and even a set of maps that point out significant attractions. Tour the Route from wherever you are, or bring this guide with you on your road trip.
“Roadside America: 365 days” by Lucinda Lewis is for the vintage automobile enthusiasts! The reader can expect Cadillacs, woodies and pickups, Edsels and Bel-Airs, Packards and Thunderbirds. The reader can also expect images of neon lit signs, various Mom and Pop roadside businesses, and even quotes from travelers who got their kicks on Route 66. Experience the American car and culture that followed.
“American Signs: Form and Meaning on Rte. 66” by Lisa Mahar-Keplinger os for the lovers of our sign images, this book is a great source of the history and background of sign design. Covering signs from the 1930’s-1970, this book uses images, graphics, and text to illustrate the differences in design style and technology throughout time.
“Route 66 Across Arizona: A Comprehensive Two-Way Guide for Touring Route 66 (Arizona and the Southwest)” is written by husband and wife, this guide is shown in 13 different tours, made enjoyable with photos, road logs, site seeing trips, hikes, and maps! Richard and Sherry Mangum also kept in mind the many foreign fans, and included metric measurements.
“Route 66: The Romance of the West” written by Thomas Arthur Repp has history and stories of genuine people who experienced the early years of Route 66. “Mr. Repp has spent years working with the families who bravely settled the early western roadside, ferreting out their forgotten histories, compiling hundreds of their interviews, homesteading papers, newspaper articles and photographs, and making their words gallup over every page.”
“Route 66: Lives on the Road” by Jon Robinson is not about the much loved travlers of the road, but of the business owners along Route 66. Through photographs and explanations, this eye opening book includes those who own the following types of businesses along the Mother Road: “gas, food, and lodging; museums; souvenir shops; law enforcement; wrecker operators; and more”. Put yourself directly in the shoes of the Lives on the Road.
“Along Route 66” by Quinta Scott is a look at the Architectural elements along Route 66, from Chicago to Santa Monica. The Architecture is showcased with beautiful black and white images and “stories of the buildings and of the people who built them, lived in them, and made a living from them.” This book will let out the Architect nerd in anyone!
“Route 66 in Arizona” by Joe Sonderman proves that not only were there quirky roadside businesses all along Route 66, but there were also natural attractions such as the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, and the Meteor Crater. This book shows the connection between the natural, and man-made Native American and Western imagery treasures found along the main street.
“Route 66 (Enthusiast Color)” by Tim Steil is not about the past, but of the present day businesses and friendly faces along Route 66. This book goes into the world of those who have still survived along the route after its demise from the freeway system. Read of the impact restaurants, truck stops, motels, museums and service stations along the road have faced, in a biopic format!
“New Mexico Route 66 on Tour: Legendary Architecture from Glenrio to Gallup” by Don J. Usner Is an interesting cultural and historical view on the Roadside Architecture of Route 66 that goes beyond the beauty of neon signs in New Mexico.
“Hogs on 66: Best Feed and Hangouts for Roadtrips on Route 66” by Michael Wallis is dear to us at Roadside, because we love our Hogs and Hog hangouts; If you feel the same then this book is a must read. Plan your Route 66 trip with your Hog crew using this guide that “mixes food, fun, and the freedom of the road in colorful photographs, stories, and information about Hog-friendly Hangouts, where to buy your Harley stuff, road tips, profiles from the road, biker wedding spots, and several hundred favorite recipes from towns along the Route.”
“Legendary Route 66: A Journey through Time along America’s Mother Road “ views Route 66 as it was in its heyday and as it is now, the neon glamour of yesterday versus the ghost towns of today. Witzel and his wife, Gyvel Young-Witzel, recount the highways history, its role in popular culture, and its demise, as well as the individual stories of famous sights. Several profiles of those with close ties to the Mother Road, including the actress who played Ruthie Joad in the Grapes of Wrath film!
So there you go! These guides are all useful not only as traveling companions, but as a good read sitting at home on a rainy Sunday, or Tuesday. And in our in-depth research and efforts, and we’re exhausted by the way, to bring you these Route 66 resources, we found all of them for sale on Amazon. So enjoy, and happy motoring.
A life behind the lens.
Martin Garfinkel is truly one of the most admired photographers today and is long time owner of a fine art photography gallery in Carbondale, Colorado; he is a 40 year resident of the Roaring Fork Valley, which shelters adjacent communities Aspen and Glenwood Springs and is watched over by the iconic Mount Sopris. For most of this time, Garfinkel’s trek has been on his Harley Davidson Motorcycle looking for iconic images of roadside America.