No Longer Getting Kicks, on Route 66
by sandra snider
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It’s called “The Mother Road” of America. Historic Route 66 – the highway that spawned a TV show and a hit song.
If you ever plan to motor west,
Travel my way, take the highway that is best.
Get your kicks on route sixty-six.
The infamous highway was designated in 1926 as the main artery between Chicago and Los Angeles. In its infancy, Route 66 symbolized the road to opportunity for Americans escaping the clutches of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Later, the 2,488-mile route promised pleasure seekers great scenery, quaint diners, trading posts, historic hotels and motels, and tons of bizarre roadside attractions. Countless souls have traveled (and continue to travel) its backbone for fun, carefree living and adventure. They’re all lured by the promise of freedom and the good life in a far-away state.
When you make that California trip!
If any Joe . . . tells you to go . . . some other way,
Get your kicks . . . on Route 66!
I, too, once cruised this Main Street of America and just like the song says, I got my kicks on Route 66. I was escaping my own poverty, dust bowl and Great Depression. I was motoring toward the land of milk and honey, the Golden State, the Sunshine State. Or so I thought.
For years I avoided the Highway of Holiness, which ran parallel to all the alluring neon lights and exciting attractions. I was aware of this other very different highway because I sometimes caught snippets of conversation among other tourists. Some motorists mentioned making straight in the desert a highway for our God. Sometimes I heard of motorists getting off Route 66 to embark on this other ancient and narrow roadway. I heard free lodging was offered at both the Repentance Motor Lodge and the Bethlehem Inn Hotel. I had even seen a few old wooden Isaiah 35:8-9 road signs. “A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness, where the redeemed shall walk.” But why would I want to walk? I was cruising and getting my kicks on wide-open Route 66!
So what if there were a few ravenous beasts and foxes along the way? There were plenty of familiar hotels, cabins and motels for me to stay at, and I booked rooms at all of them, at one time or another. My eyes were always searching for Route 66’s biggest and flashiest billboards:
LUST OF THE EYES MOTEL. TURN RIGHT HERE.
LUST OF THE FLESH MOTOR INN. BRAKE HERE.
PRIDE OF LIFE CABINS AND COTTAGES. NEXT EXIT.
But as the years passed and the miles climbed on my spiritual odometer, I realized I wanted and needed a highway that offered safe travel. I became weary of the zigzag of Route 66 and yearned for something more linear, more straight. Route 66 began to show its treacherous self riddled with ugly potholes and gaping fissures. The deteriorating hotels and motels began to seem more like seedy shanties of enslavement to me. The Enemy neglected to mention to me the true cost of traveling on Route 66. He simply exaggerated the passing enticements and pleasures of this fabled roadway and covered up the consequences of ruts, broken axles, and tire flats that can never be made round again.
I eventually made the decision to travel on the eternally established King's Highway. In June of 1980 Route 66 was formally decommissioned in my life. The crumbling roadway was paved over by godly sorrow and repentance. The straight and narrow way is now taking me safely to the Promised Land, the Sonshine State.
I now walk on this highway, holding the hand of my Savior.
I no longer get my kicks on Route 66.
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I like how you made use of this alluring bit of Americana to relate your spiritual journey. Thank you for the history of Route 66 as well. Good writing!