Monday, January 3, 2011

Open Road

Open Road, originally uploaded by William 74.

Not really, though. This is an abandoned section of Route 66 in central Illinois, somewhere around the town of Dwight. There are quite a few places where these unused stretches of pavement parallel the active roads now signposted as Route 66 (or more often "Old Route 66"). During the road's lifespan, sections of Route 66 were incorporated into new freeways, usually by adding a second set of lanes parallel to the existing pavement, separated by a median, with one direction of traffic on each set. Eventually, as Route 66 was decommissioned, the older lanes were usually turned into frontage roads or blocked to traffic altogether. Of course, this doesn't mean that you can't park your car there and take a photo of it.

I have to admit I was a little bit moved as I wandered around these old stretches of road. I'm a veteran of many family road trips when I was a kid-I think it's very much a shared American experience-and I could, just a bit, imagine driving along Route 66, through small towns and large cities, on my way wherever.

In the end, though, this photo could have been taken anywhere. I mean, it's just a car, parked on a road, on a sunny afternoon.

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