By Joe Sonderman
The California Dream made Route 66 the most famous road in the world. Flappers dreamed of stardom under the bright lights of Hollywood. A wave of families fleeing the Dust Bowl transformed the state during the Great Depression. During World War II, another wave followed Route 66 seeking opportunity in the massive wartime industrial plants. Thousands of soldiers trained in the Mojave Desert and then returned amid the postwar prosperity to blossoming housing developments that replaced the vast orange groves. While Nat King Cole sang "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66," the newly prosperous middle class hit the road headed for the dream land constructed by Walt Disney. Inspired by the Beat poets, the hippies, and the adventures of Buz and Tod on the CBS television show Route 66, a new generation took to the open road. Those who savor the journey as much as the destination still seek it out on Route 66 today.