Updated: Oct 11, 2019
Road 66… a very old dream, from a not-so-distant past when traveling was expensive, when my young age and the lack of money turned possible journeys into an unattainable dream.
“I first discovered that side of America through reading Kerouac, Steinbeck… authors that ignited a fascination toward a certain history of the continent, epic journey indeed associated with the road, a theme to which I am vividly attracted.”
In 2009, and later in 2013, my dream finally comes true: leaving, traveling through that American culture that permeates us all, driving for the sake of the road more than the destination, reveling in wide open spaces bordered by forbearing, infinite straight lines. Finding, finally, that only a few fragments survive of the mythic ribbon, long replaced by interstates - fragments that nevertheless allow us to revisit the “Okies’” journey, who left their devastated Oklahoma for dreams of a better life in California. Of course, it is today’s America that the photographer captures, striving, almost pointlessly, not to deviate from the historical route, in search of today’s heroes, moved by remnants of a long-gone past cleverly kept untouched, adorning an otherwise timeless landscape
U.S. Route 66, was one of the original highways within the U.S. Highway System. US 66 was established on November 11, 1926, but the road signs were erected the following year. The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in the United States, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending at Santa Monica, California, covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km). US 66 served as a major path for those who migrated west, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and the road supported the economies of the communities through which it passed.
People doing business along the route became prosperous due to the growing popularity of the highway, and those same people later fought to keep the highway alive in the face of the growing threat of being bypassed by the new Interstate Highway System.
Story shot in USA
Pictures and Text © Jean Philippe Poli / France