RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip

Hogs on 66: Best Feed and Hangouts for Road Trips on Route 66, by Michael Wallis & Marian Clark

Hogs on 66
I have never owned a motorcycle, and although I hate to admit it, I've never even driven one. In fact, I doubt that I could tell a Fat Boy Softail Classic from a VRSCR Street Rod, although I would probably recognize that each is a powerful Harley Davidson motorcycle if I saw them go by me on the highway. There is something about the gravelly roar of a Hog that is unmistakable. All of which I mention as a preamble to why Hogs on 66: Best Feed and Hangouts for Road Trips on Route 66 by Michael Wallis and Marian Clark is a great resource and enjoyable read, even for those uninitiated into Harley culture. In addition to some darn good tales and loads of tips about places to eat, there are dozens of excellent recipes in this book, each one with a Route 66 connection.

Wallis and Clark do an admirable job of presenting Hog mystique to the rest of us by sharing plenty of anecdotes from their journeys along the "Mother Road." One story that stands out is the time Wallis and some French riders delighted a couple of young boys by asking for their autographs because they lived in Odell, a town made famous by having Route 66 pass through it. I won't soon forget how to play the enchanting game of "butt darts," and the story about how a town mobilized to search for a set of false teeth will definitely linger in memory.

While the stories are vivid, the real meat of the book is the information about road services and diners along the entire Route 66 highway. Thanks to the authors' amazing attention to detail, travelers could easily navigate the route with just this guide alone and never run out of interesting places to check out. Especially helpful are descriptions of eating establishments that might seem decidedly unappealing at first glance but which serve some of the most remarkable road grub in the country. I have always liked to judge restaurants on the basis of their pork spareribs, and this book has given me a tantalizing new destination for barbecue: the Café on the Route in Baxter Springs, Kansas. The recipes, which are all inspired by people and places along Route 66, are seductive, too. Roabie Johnson's Wild and Scenic Dutch Oven Cowboy Spuds and City Slicker Chicken sound like winners, and what could be more all-American than making apple pie and hard sauce using the same recipe as infamous outlaw Pretty Boy Floyd?

"I have always thought it was good to get lost when traveling the old road," writes author Michael Wallis. "It can be worrisome, but it can also lead to unexpected pleasures. Cruising Route 66 should be a scavenger hunt. Just remember that the treasure the road has to offer is not always gold or silver. Sometimes it is better." His words sum up my own philosophy of road tripping perfectly, and the whole book reads like just the kind of moseying journey of discovery the authors endorse. It's a winner.


Mark Sedenquist

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