This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

On Route 66 with my grandma

I have to admit that my interest in grandma's "Epic Journeys" started with my fascination with her car, a 1958 Oldsmobile. She owned it when I was a little kid, and it was just amazing. She sold it in the late 1970s, and it was the classic "owned by the little old lady" fire-breathing V-8 monster. But she didn't just drive it to church on Sundays, although she did a lot of that. She drove it to California, on Route 66.

Grandma was widowed in 1959, living in a small town in northern Minnesota. Her mother and step-father were living in Los Angeles, so she just turned that big car west and drove out there until 1964, when they died. And I like to time-travel and imagine her journey.

The car was the new, the road was old. 1950s and early 1960s America was a safer place, and she had no concerns traveling as a single woman in her fifties. The interstate freeway construction would start soon after she had stopped making these trips.

It's hard for me to imagine no multiple-lane, divided freeways. Route 66 was just a two-lane highway. Compared to modern, safe, freeways of today, it must have been deadly. Cars passing had to go into the opposing lane, and often into opposing traffic. These were some wide-open, lonely places, so it would have been good to have a nice, new, reliable car, which is what grandma had.

You can still, pretty much, trace the route that grandma rook. Here in Arizona, it's Interstate 40. But there's isn't much to see on the Interstate. So I just visit Route 66 in cyberspace, and in my imagination.

Oh yeah, and I always look for grandma's car at the Barrett-Jackson!
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