Route 66, the mother road, runs alongside Highway 40 as it crosses the country from east to west. In my teens and early twenties, I came to know 66 while going back and forth between Chicago and LA, traveling by car, bus, and thumb. It was two lanes of asphalt, carrying us through never-ending farmland, then slowly giving way to the desert and old west culture and finally crossing the Colorado River into the palm tree'd wonders of California. It was thousands of miles filled with adventure and discovery for a young Chicago kid.
Traveling the road now, I glimpse the things I once saw fresh. Aged by time and removed from the present they take me back, open the storerooms of my memory. Here are pictures from the road, scenes from my beloved highway; The Wigwams of Fontana, The streets and stores of Barstow and Needles, vistas of Williams and Holbrook, the unearthly Petrified Forest and the road that connects them all.
After a while, Route 66 was not enough. I wanted to see more of the roads and towns that crisscross America, so I expanded this gallery to include other roads that connect the fabric of America. Smaller and less traveled they arrow through the land for miles, often with no fences to keep you from the direct experience of earth and sky and the small places that wait alongside the road.
Here are the highways that offer connection for the people who live in the vast unfilled spaces. Every gas station and convenience store is another chance for a meeting with a unique spirit, someone who chooses to live far from the big cities.
All images and text copyright Andy Romanoff© - all rights reserved