Heavens to Hamburgers

Heavens to Hamburgers

In the good old days—before the fears of e-coli and mad cow disease cast doubt on meals made of ground beef—our nation’s hamburgers were mouth-watering works of art! When America’s burgermeisters first slapped the hamburger sandwich onto the public griddle of the drive-in diner, motorists lauded it as the perfect portable snack. Along the roadsides, restaurateurs cooked and served them up with unabashed style. Unfortunately, the heyday of the simple, great-tasting hamburger didn’t last long. The impersonal age of fast food franchising saw to its quick demise. After the McDonald brothers perfected their…continue reading →
The Bomber Gas Station

The Bomber Gas Station

In 1947, Art Lacey opened a small, five pump filling station along Highway 99E in Milwaukie, Oregon. It was the same year he had his biggest—and his best—idea: Why not mount a full-sized, four-engined airplane on top of a roadside gas station business? When he heard that the military was scrapping a few WWII leftovers that never saw any active duty, he hightailed it to Oklahoma's Altus Air Force Base to check out the grounded surplus. There, he laid eyes on the three-dimensional billboard he was dreaming of: a Lockheed B-29 Superfortress! When…continue reading →
The World’s Fair Cornucopia

The World’s Fair Cornucopia

Who serves the best ice cream on Route 66? Is it Foster's Freeze in Barstow? Perhaps Delgadillo's Snow Cap in Seligman? Or maybe, the Dairy Queen in Ludlow? The answer is highly subjective, if not completely elusive ... The only point that ice cream historians agree upon is where the portable, edible container known as the "ice cream cone" originated: the future Route 66 town of St. Louis, Missouri. The place was the 1904 World's Fair, and although Italo Marchiony applied for a patent on a split-cone mold prior to this event, he…continue reading →
The Definition of Good Barbecue

The Definition of Good Barbecue

With the advent of television networks devoted to foods and programs geared toward “cooking it yourself,” today’s backyard chefs consider themselves masters of the so-called “barbecue arts.” Unfortunately, clothed in their “Kiss the Cook” aprons—with tongs in hand and battery-powered temperature probe at the ready—they are ill-prepared when it comes to duplicating real barbecue cooking. You see, contrary to popular belief, barbecue isn’t simply a matter of dousing a bag full of charcoal briquettes with lighter fluid, lighting a match, and then searing a slab of meat on a metal grill suspended above…continue reading →
Ghost of the Vanishing Hitchhiker

Ghost of the Vanishing Hitchhiker

Route 66 is no stranger to roadside apparitions. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, the spirit of La Llorona, the weeping woman, is said to wander along a draining ditch called the Arroyo, searching for her lost children (who she murdered). At the end of Menual Boulevard in the foothills, visitors often hear sounds of screaming and dragged bodies. Legend has it that an old man once lived in the caves at the top of the hill who had a penchant for prostitutes and murder. He haunts the roadside, walking and swinging a lantern with…continue reading →
Highway 66 Gasoline Revisited

Highway 66 Gasoline Revisited

Combine the mileage driven on routes like Highway 66 to those traveled on the major interstates and you'll discover that road-trippers rack up over 2.5 trillion per annum! To maintain this statistic, the U.S. motoring market consumes 146 billion gallons of gas every year. With so much refined petroleum being bought and then pumped into the tanks of cars, one might conclude that the Highway 66 motorist is entitled to a quantity discount. Unfortunately, today’s road trip enthusiast has no such influence. The prices at the pumps are outrageous and continue to climb.…continue reading →