In his classic novel The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck called Route 66 the “Mother Road” because itbeckoned to desperate migrants fleeing west in search of jobs in the 1930s. But in the years after the Depression, the highway took on a mythical status as America’s main street for adventure. Route 66 earned its place in the fabric of Americana because it evoked a sense of journey - a life journey that we all share.
My sense is that the saloons bordering the iconic road played host to an itinerant clientele as opposed to a loyal one, as visitors were all united by the fact that they were on the move. Every night was different and every conceivable adventure was possible. This was the broad narrative for Easy Rider - in which Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper encountered just about everything on their road trip. The 1969 movie marked the beginning of a cinematic revolution as it addressed sexuality and drugs with unprecedented candour. The film was largely shot on Route 66. It made 60 times its cost of production and is now considered part of American film history. This photograph was shot in The Empty Pockets Saloon sitting on the side of Route 66 in the town of Holbrook, Arizona. We would like to thank the owner, Bob Smith and the Manager, Donna for allowing a horse into the bar. They did say they’d welcomed more unusual visitors over the years and I am sure they are telling the truth.