Joy and Trevor get kicks on Route 66
BOB Dylan sang about getting his kicks on it.
And Ipswich couple Trevor and Joy Evans acquired kicks to last a lifetime after a seven-week trip traveling 'the historic Route 66'.
When we say travelled, we mean every centimetre of the original 3940km road from Chicago to Santa Monica that was established in 1926, before the age of motorways and fast access came into vogue and bypassed many of the small towns that once thrived on the back of their position on Route 66.
Trevor, a retired mechanic, is well known in Ipswich and around the nation for his restorative work on classic cars.
Before we talk about their great experiences on Route 66, it is worth relating just how the couple got to make the trip.
Joy had just bought Trevor a 1970 Camaro RS SS for his birthday from the US - a special model with split bumper bars, 350 horsepower and a lot of tricks.
"So he came into me and said 'how about we go over and get it and drive it down Route 66',” Joy grins.
"I told him he had to be joking, because I was terrified at driving in America in our own car.”
So that put a stop to that...for a short while at least.
The couple went down to a car show at Cooly Rocks on the Gold Coast, and Joy had more than second thoughts.
"We were knocking around with some guys down there and they said 'you've got to be mad. You mean to say your husband wants to take you on Route 66 and you don't want to go',” Joy says.
"I said 'but I'm frightened'.
"They said 'just go'.
"So two days later I had the aeroplane tickets and we were going.
"They convinced me it's a once in a lifetime thing.”
So they flew over to St Louis to pick up the Camaro and do Route 66, but soon realised it was not possible for an Australian citizen to get insurance on it in the US, and that the car was just too good.
So they hired a Chevrolet Malibu instead and set off from Chicago.
Trevor was with his prized 1959 C1 Corvette, purchased from Washington State, at an Ipswich car show when the QT caught up with him and Joy to do this story.
The C1 Corvette is also a symbol of Route 66 and appears on souvenirs right across the nation.
The 'red Corvette' has become a part of popular culture with Prince making it famous in verse.
"I brought this one back here, stripped it down and rebuilt it to make sure everything was right,” Trevor says.
"It has been judged by the National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS) in Australia two times and has reached top flight both times, which is 97.8 per cent out of 100.”
The couple visited the Hackberry General Store and museum in Arizona where the owner has a red C1 Corvette.
Joy bought tapestry there and has since covered chairs in the back shed with it, while Trevor took in the mystique of the C1.
"This would be the most photographed C1 in all of America,” he says.
"He's got this place in the middle of nowhere and the Corvette is always parked in front of his shop.
" I just love the shape. People don't build cars like this anymore. It is just beautiful.
"Every bit of memorabilia you get over there on Route 66 has this model car - the C1 - on it.”
Another highlight was a four-day car show in Williams (AZ), the last community on historic Route 66 that was bypassed on completion of the interstate highway in 1984, where they stayed for four-days and caught up with an Elvis lookalike
"The shops are set up all for Route 66,” Trevor says.
"There's one shop - you know how shops used to have the bay windows coming out and you'd walk up the ramp and the front door was just there - well (the ramp) is all black with white lines in the centre and Route 66. And there's two mudguards of cars...so it looks just like a highway.
"You walk in, and there's Elvis behind the counter.
"It's mind blowing the way they go for it over there.”
"We left from Chicago and went across to Santa Monica beach,” Trevor enthuses.
"We have done every part of (the historic) Route 66.
"Even where a bridge has gone, we've gone back and come back (on the other side) to where the bridge was cut off, and resumed our trip.
"You can do it in seven days, but we did it in seven weeks.”
When the couple went through old service stations, that depend on Route 66 romantics, they were told how much Australians are admired for their passion for the journey.
Anybody who's anybody in motoring considers Route 66 something to behold and do.
"It's on their bucket list to do it,” Joy says
"It was fun. The scenery was lovely and so were the people we met.
"Route 66 once had so many hotels, motels, petrol stations and diners on it because cars didn't go that far when it was built.
"You could only go a certain distance before you need fuel, accommodation and eats.
"Now it has been re-routed because cars needed to get places faster.”
The couple came across towns that may have had 400 people but now have 17. That's progress for you.
The route goes through eight states - Illinois, Missouri, 13 miles of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
Major towns and cities include St Louis, Springfield, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, Kingman and Los Angeles.
Donkeys walk down the main street of the Wild West town of Oatman, and Trevor got up close and personal with one.
"In the main street I wound the window down, got the camera out and this donkey puts its head inside the car,” Trevor grins.
The couple maintained an open mind on their trip. If something took their fancy they'd stop and investigate, as was the case with the gorgeous Coleman Theatre in Miami, Oklahoma.
"We found an old picture theatre where they did live shows,” Trevor beams.
"I saw the outside of it and I went inside. After an hour and a half Joy came looking for me.
"It was mind blowing, so we stayed the night.”
And mind blowing is the best way to describe their trip.
No doubt Joy and Trevor have given inspiration to many more Ipswichians to follow in their wheel tracks down Route 66.