Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Driveway was US 99

As part of the Smithsonian’s America on the Move exhibition, they brought an original 1932 piece of Route 66 from Oklahoma to the Smithsonian in Washington DC. I was able to enjoy several hours of the wandering around the history. Among all the people rushing through, I stood there for a moment and thought of the people that traveled this road. What kind of car were they in? Were they a family enjoying a trip, or maybe looking for a new life out west? How many times had the kids impatiently asked, “Are we there yet?” Was Dad trying to put just a few more miles behind him tonight? Was the tired driver worried about that funny sound or whether that temperature gauge will ever go down?
You can get a virtual tour of the museum here and buy the official book here. The Museum has been closed for major architectural renovations. It’s scheduled to reopen November 21, 2008.

While old US 99 doesn’t have the “curb appeal” of Route 66, some folks in Kelso Washington have a leftover stub of old US 99 or Old Pacific Highway as part of their driveway.
I suppose they aren’t a road geek and just think it’s a big old piece of concrete, but there could be some interesting decorating. Some Burma Shave Signs… a nice 99 shield on the mailbox… a sign proclaiming the end of 99 ahead… No Passing?

There are many unimproved miles of the original 99 in Southwest Washington. Some even have the original killer concrete posts. If you would like to drive it, check out this article from the Columbia River Reader newspaper, but be careful out there.

Have you found any interesting pieces of old routes around? Let me know at