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A Guide Book to Highway 66 Paperback – April 1, 1989
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An exact facsimile of the first guidebook of its kind to the full length of the famous Route 66.
Top customer reviews
This is written in plain English, with not a single profanity or discouraging comment. This is one of my favorite Kindle books. I am going to travel much of the stretch cited this summer, from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles, in lieu of the modern freeways which I traveled just a few years ago.
Of course, one reason I am so high on this is that my first trip out of state, was as a teenager when my family drove from Southeast LA County to Okeene, Oklahoma and beyond, in 1966. In those days, the olden days, we had to put a bag of water in front of the radiator when driving up steep grades in the desert country of the Southwest. This brochure must have been a vital guide to Dad back then.
Some time ago, I saw this offered on Amazon and passed it up, due to the price, and because it was not clear as to its quality. Finally, I plunked down my money very recently and opened it. To my surprise, I got something worth far more to me than the asking price. Read on to learn a bit more…
Length: Print, 137 pages.
Q - Target Audience/Genre and is it marketed as Nonfiction or Fiction:
A – Historians, writers, nostalgia buffs.
Q - How was this book obtained?
A – Bought on Amazon.
Q - Are there a lot of typos/misspellings, grammatical errors or other editing failures?
A – A few, but the author has an interesting story about that.
Q - Is this a fast, easy read or is it more of a leisure read?
A – A fast read.
Q - My biggest pleasure or disappointment?
A – I can only heap praise on this. I am grateful the original author included some notes up front as to his history as a self-publisher during the forties and fifties.
To give a feel for the editing, and the style and flow of this work, I am posting a brief excerpt below.
You won’t find any desert stretches which are blistered with unendurable heat. Worst stretch is the Mojave Desert, 200 miles of territory running west from the California-Arizona line. In summer months, it is advisable to drive this stretch in the early morning hours or after sundown. Check your oil and water frequently in desert stretches.
When your motor acts oddly at altitudes above 5,000 feet, it may be due to carburetion. In high altitudes, not as much oxygen is contained in the air drawn in, hence the combustion mixture is affected. Cars in high altitude regions usually have special “jets,” it is stated. You will find that your car will still operate, however, and the trouble will soon pass as you descend.
DINING EN ROUTE. East of the Mississippi there are many excellent cafes, even in the small towns. This is not the general rule along western cross-country highways, although occasionally very excellent food is obtainable. Many roadside “cafes” serve only chili, sandwiches, pie, coffee, etc. Other establishments bearing a “cafe” sign may be chiefly devoted to the sale of beer or liquor.
Rittenhouse, Jack D.. A Guide Book to Highway 66 (p. 8). University of New Mexico Press. Kindle Edition.
SOME FACTS ABOUT NAVAJO RUGS Many tourists buy Navajo rugs as souvenirs. There are no “imitation” Navajo rugs—all are genuine, but some are made with cotton warps and are not 100% wool. The Indian weaver receives less than 10c an hour for her work, and it takes about 8 hours to weave a square foot of rug, when you include preparation of the wool. For this reason, rugs are scarce and may be more so.
Navajo rugs wear indefinitely. They may be vacuumed or dry cleaned, but should not be laundered, although small ones may be washed with lukewarm water and Lux.
Rittenhouse, Jack D.. A Guide Book to Highway 66 (p. 95). University of New Mexico Press. Kindle Edition.
Historians and writers interested in the region along Route 66 during the mid-40s, 50s and 60s will find this indispensable. Other nostalgia buffs such as me will wax sentimental as they pore over the pages of this classic. This is more than a facsimile reproduction, since it is searchable.
As I stated up front in this review, I hesitated due to the price. I let curiosity override frugality and I am delighted.
Five stars out of five.
Comments regarding your opinion of this book or of my review, whether favorable or unfavorable, are always welcome. If you buy the book based on my review and become disappointed, especially, I do want to know that and I want to understand how I can improve as a book reviewer. Just please be polite.
So why get this little book? Because it is a town-by-town description of the Mother Road as it was. It's a voice from the past. As you travel in your air-conditioned bubble, following GPS and listening to your multi-speaker sound system, you also travel with Jack Rittenhouse in 1946, rolling down his window on hot days, checking his road atlas, and listening to the tinny sounds of the AM radio on his chrome-covered dashboard. As you travel deserted, by-passed sections of 66, Jack travels the busy Main Street of America in its heyday, pointing out landmarks you cannot see, but only imagine. Maybe you will see overgrown foundations of demolished buildings, on sections of long-deserted pavement. That's 66.
Of course it would be impossible to retrace Rittenhouse's exact route, but if you want your trip to match his as closely as possible, you would not begin your trip from Chicago itself, but from Plainfield, Illinois. He crossed the Mississippi on the Chain-of-Rocks bridge (now closed) and took the north loop around St. Louis. In New Mexico, he followed the direct route into Albuquerque rather than the Santa Fe loop.
Regardless of the alignment of 66 you choose, your experience will be enriched by having Jack Rittenhouse as your traveling companion.
Team this book up with the "Route 66 Adventure Handbook (3rd Ed) by Drew Knowles, and you'll really add something to your trip.
We used the "Adventure Handbook" to tell us what's in each town now, then referred to the Rittenhouse to see what each town used to offer many years ago. It was facinating! Some towns offered so much back in '46, and today there's nothing there, or very little. Other towns seem to not have changed much in 60 years. I give it 5 stars for the history it will impart to you along the way.
It's a cheap addition to anyone's arsenal for travelling Route 66, and one you really will be glad you had when you're done.