John Steinbeck called Route 66 “The Mother Road” in his book The Grapes of Wrath. The highway has come to symbolize the movement west by people looking for new beginnings. Bobby Troup composed his classic “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66” while driving to Los Angeles in search of fame and fortune. A few years ago, I made the pilgrimage.
Something you may not have noticed in your travels: the disappearance of “Vacancy” signs. Fewer and fewer motels and hotels display them. Travelers these days can use a smartphone app to see what lodging is at the expected destination and can call ahead to check on availability.
Fewer mom-and-pop motels exist; chain hotels, as in other industries, are more prevalent. The chains don’t want to advertise that they are full. They want the traveler to come inside, so if there is no room at the inn, they can be directed to a nearby property operated by the same chain.