One word. Plastics! Route 66 is reborn in plastics. Cutting ribbons during official reopening ceremonies, mayors in cities all along Route 66 celebrated the classic American roadway’s revival.
Jubilant crowds gathered from Chicago to Los Angeles, and roadtrippers have embarked enmasse to travel the renovated 2,448 mile highway. Reopened to only non-automated traffic, US-66 has become the last bastion of human controlled driving.
Constructed at incredible speed, the entire highway took only 7 and a half months to complete. Built in the style of the great transcontinental railways, two teams started from opposite ends working toward the middle. A hefty prize was even offered to the roadwork crew who laid down the most plastic track. And a raucous party was held by team Chicago and team LA when they meet in Adrian, Texas this June.
Not only did the project finish ahead of schedule, the new Route 66 came in well under budget. Recycled plastics dredged from oceans, and landscapes across the country cut down greatly on material costs.
When asked about driving quality, Chicago mayor William Waxman stated, “Man, it’s sweet. Like driving on sandpaper. I had the honor of going on a special maiden voyage yesterday with a few others, and I rounded some corners so tight, I think I might try out for NASCAR if I lose the next election.”
The mayor concluded his ceremony by waving to the crowd around East Adams Street, just west of its intersection with South Michigan Avenue, Route 66’s starting point. Peeling off in a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California, mayor Waxman joined the stream of people already cruising along.
This week marks the 8th year since all vehicular traffic in the United States of North America became fully automated. Managed by the Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the big 5 automakers, and a handful of tech giants, automated vehicles have dramatically reduced accidents, injury, and deaths on the road.
In addition, the reduction of commute times and overall increase in traffic efficiency has yielded billions, perhaps trillions of dollars worth of productivity back into the economy at large.
But, the public outcry was overwhelming. People still like to get behind the wheel every once and while, and drive. And for the more adventurous, drive a stick shift, a sports car, maybe even a convertible. Humanist rights advocates, and protesters from car clubs across America came together in a unexpected symbiosis.
Piloting a car with one’s own hand’s still has place in the world, perhaps an important place. As a recreation. As a personal freedom.
So, leaders from the Human Driving Movement penned an online petition to reinvigorate America’s favorite highway. Garnering over 192 million mental signatures, the call to action delivered directly to the Presidentor’s oval office interaction feed couldn’t be ignored. Public pressure was also applied to members of Congress up for re-election, letting them know if they didn’t vote to pass a new public works program, they may face defeat at the polls.
With bi-partisan support, a new program in the vein of Eisenhower’s Highway Act, and specifically tailored to recreate Route 66 was initiated. Ironically, many of those who lost their jobs to automated transportation, since retrained, were hired as human supervisors overseeing the robotic construction of the great plastic highway.
Senator from Arizona, Jesse Prairiefeather, released a telepathic message to commemorate the day, “Once again we see what’s possible on this grand continent. Americans set their minds to something, and when we politicians can just get out of the way, and just even for a moment come together, amazing things happen. I’d like to honor all those people in history who built the first links across country, and today to honor this new generation of pioneers and community builders. Route 66 has a bright, shiny, plastic future ahead of itself. Americans for centuries to come will enjoy this road, and be able to reconnect with a nation and people living within they don’t always get to see. So, let us rejoice, let us drive fast again, and let’s all be happy for this renewed national treasure.”
Reinvigorating Americas sense of adventure, and its taste for the open road, Route 66 will also revitalize the millions of people who call it home. Those who live within miles on either side, in rural communities, or those millions of people in cities coalescing along the route can all call themselves Route 66ers.
More money has already started to flow in from tourists then many have seen in decades. Oklahoma City, Flagstaff, Barstow, and so many more areas are witnessing an urban renewal.
And of course the hottest attraction going, is the manual driving on the high quality roadways. Super gradients, temperature control, and rain wicking technology all come together to create the greatest driving experience in the Western Hemisphere, rivaling the Auto-Bahn of Germany, and the Chinese Union Super-Super highways.
The highlight of highlights is a specialty only found in one raceway rental showroom, luckily right here in Flagstaff, inside Bob’s Gasoline Alley.
So, to truly get your kicks on plastic Route 66, Bob’s will rent you a manual transmission, wooden stick shift, Tesla Red Robin Roadster. Mach speed in the palm of your hand. A red blur on the plastic highway. With Kevlar tires, a top speed of 330 m.p.h, and a heavy foot, you can achieve ludicrous speed in no time flat.
Driving schools and car rental companies are flourishing. People are lining up to ride off into the sunset.
Route 66 has become important again, a true national landmark. Americans have flocked to the roadway, ready to wind through the deserts, cities, and all the stops along the way looking to regain their sense of self determination.
So far very few traffic jams have emerged, no accidents have been reported, and people have been spotted happily singing along to their car radios, with one hand on the wheel and another hung out the window enjoying the turbulent air. Enjoying America.
By Marice Darkling
Route 66 Revisited