Route 66: Quick Reference Encyclopedia, by Drew Knowles
Route 66: Quick Reference Encyclopedia by Drew Knowles is many ways a distillation of what he has learned about "The Mother Road" over the last fifteen years. In large measure, the information is similar to that contained in the third edition of his Route 66 Adventure Handbook which I reviewed in July, 2006.
This new encyclopedia-style guide is a handy reference if you find yourself traveling even just a portion of historic Route 66. The book contains background information and definitions of terms related to places and icons of the highway listed in alphabetical order. While a driver would still need maps and other guidebooks to drive the highway as it exists today, the book does include drawings that provide a general overview of the route. Also included are at least two hundred black-and-white photographs of attractions found along the highway, and there's a wealth of historical information that's amusing to read and ponder.
Among the many trivia tidbits I found entertaining was the slogan for Campbell's 66 Express Trucking Company: "Humpin' to Please." The firm's mascot was a camel known as "Snortin' Norton." I also gained an expanded definition of the word "shunpiker," which, according to the author means "one who deliberately shuns the larger highways and turnpikes and enjoys using the smaller, more intimate roads." I always thought the word referred to people who take side roads merely to avoid paying tolls. "Ugly Crust Pies" was another memorable term shared by the author. It refers to the specialty of the house at the Midpoint Café in Adrian, Texas.
For those who love the "Mother Road" this new book is a great addition to the existing literature. It fits easily in center console of a car and is a sure-fire way to get more kicks on Route 66.