The Route 66 Philosophy
 
Okay, you're probably thinking this sounds really strange,
but stick with me here, I think this is really cool stuff!!


I think we are like most travelers, when we hit the road we want to get to our destination as soon as possible.  Just think about it, no matter what the speed limit is, drivers go just a bit faster, trying to get where they're going just that little bit quicker.  Over the years we have made a number of trips from our home in the Portland, Oregon area to Southern California to visit relatives.  It usually meant jetting down Interstate 5 with minimal stops!  Quick: gas, potty, fast food and back up the on ramp.  Well, our philosophy has changed.
Our first source of inspiration came from a rather unlikely source, an animated movie.  If you haven't seen the movie "CARS" you really need to go out and rent it.  Perhaps you were like us, we shied away from it because it looked like a movie for kids.  Believe me, the message is powerful.   Here is a short synopsis...  the character of "Lightning McQueen" (the red car in the poster) is in a hurry to get to California for a car race, buts gets lost on the way and finds himself in the town of "Radiator Springs" on old Route 66.  While there, he meets the folks and experiences the beauty of this place which got bypassed when the freeway was built.  At one point, two of the characters are looking at the wonderful scenery while seeing cars on the nearby freeway zooming past.  "They're driving right by.  They don't even know what they're missing" one says.  Referring to the old highway, the other character says: "Cars didn't drive on it to make great time, they drove on it to have a great time."  She goes on to say: "The town got bypassed to save 10 minutes of driving."  Lightning replies:  "It's kind of nice to slow down every once in a while."  When finished watching the movie, we did a lot of reflecting on what we had just seen.   Wow, how much of life have we missed while we had it set on "cruise control?"
After you finish watching the movie, you also need to watch one of the "bonus features" on the DVD.  It's a 16 minute piece called "Inspiration for Cars."  The director tells how they took the creative team from the movie, and actually took a trip down old Route 66 with a historian of the highway.  In fact many of the character and places in the movie are based on actual people and places they encountered on that trip!  Be sure and watch the end credits of the movie.  It lists actual people and places from their journey down the real highway.

Our second source of inspiration also came from an unusual source.  Alton Brown has a regular cooking show on the Food Network called "Good Eats."  In addition to that program, one year he did a four episode special called "Feasting on Asphalt."  Alton and his crew mounted motorcycles and headed across the country, Atlantic to Pacific.  They intentionally stayed off the freeways and wound through the small towns on the old highway routes.  Some of that trip was on the old Route 66.  The purpose of the show was to experience the authentic local cuisine along the highways of our country.  The secondary message was the same as "Cars," you miss a lot of amazing things if you stay on the freeway!  The slice of "Americana" was as good as the slices of pie!
In February of 2007 we once again headed to Southern California.  Because of our schedule, on the way down we did our usual "speed run" down I-5.  However on the way home we took our new lessons to heart.  The freeway trip home from Michelle's brother's house to our place takes about 14 hours.  This time we stayed off the freeway system.  Instead, we took three whole days and traveled on Highway 1 and 101 all the way up the California and Oregon Coast.  We weren't in a hurry.  If we saw something that looked interesting, we stopped.  We took tons of beautiful pictures!  The one to the left is on Highway 1 in Northern California (click on it for a larger version).  You don't get this kind of scenery on the freeway!  We had an amazing time!
We know that there are occasions where time is important and you really do need to get to your destination as soon as possible.  We still have to travel that way sometimes.  But there are other times where we are intentional about slowing down and realizing that: "It's not the destination, it's the journey!"

Well, you may be wondering what all this has to do with cycling.  For us, it involves loading up all our gear and taking a trip on our bike!  That's really taking this "Route 66 Philosophy" to a whole different level for sure!!  In the cycling world it's referred to as "touring."  (Check out our pictures, Touring Tips & Equipment pages.)
 

 
 
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