NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC named U.S.
Route ;; the No. ; Drivers’ Drive in the
world. As founders of the US Route ;;
Appreciation Society (usroute;;.com),
my wife and I have made many road
trips on this route, including the entire
;,;;;-mile length from the Mexican
border to Canada.
The highway passes through or near
national parks, national monuments,
state parks and historic sites.
In Montana, you’ll see sculptures of
Blackfeet Warriors made from scrap
metal at the Canadian border. In southern Utah, the highway is designated as
the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage
Area, celebrating the contribution of the
Mormon church to the settlement of the
West. In Arizona, the culture of prehistoric Native Americans is preserved in
ruins in five national monuments.
U.S. Route ;; also passes through
four major geographic provinces: Great
Plains, Rocky Mountains, Colorado
Plateau, and Basin and Range. Travelers
can experience the mountains and valleys of the Sonoran Desert and the
Grand Staircase of canyons and plateaus
on the Colorado Plateau, visit the lakes
at the base of the towering Grand Tetons
and the steaming geyser basins of
Yellowstone, and follow a trail into the
northern Rockies in Waterton-Glacier
International Peace Park.
James and Barbara Cowlin,
Blackfeet Warriors sculptures
(below left) and geyser basins
in Yellowstone (above right),
both in Montana, and stunning
vistas (below) in Long Valley,
Utah, along U.S. 89.
MY FRIEND Martha Knowlton and I are
driving Route ;;. We have completed
two-thirds of the trip, and
;;;; will find us back
for the last leg. While it
was formally decom-
missioned as a national
highway, much of
Route ;; still exists.
We saw Elmer’s
Bottle Tree Ranch;
amazing murals in Barstow,
We stayed at unique hotels, includ-
ing one of two Wigwam Motels along
the route (yes, every unit is a wigwam),
Motel in Gallup, New Mexico.
Each room bears the name of
an iconic movie star who stayed
there while filming classic
Westerns nearby. (Ours was the John
We ate at diners and original soda fountains when possible, stopped to appreciate
the role that trains have played in building
the West and celebrated when we discovered authentic Burma-Shave signs. We
enjoyed the spontaneity of exploring Main
BEST ROAD TRIPS
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 37
© JAMES CO WLIN
Street USA and mourned that parts were
disappearing even as we traveled.
This is truly a journey rather than a destination. We would encourage everyone to
see it before it is gone.
Salt Lake City, Utah
(left) and Vickie
Venne at the halfway
point on Route 66.
missioned as a national