Route 66 News

Driving the Mother Road the hard way

In 2004, Brian McKay decided to re-create the Okies’ exodus from the Dust Bowl by driving his 1930 Nash automobile on Route 66.

The key difference was that McKay didn’t start in Oklahoma — he started at Route 66’s eastern starting point in Chicago. He was determined to accomplish the 2,400-mile journey without any modern conveniences. And he planned to drive 35 mph, a typical speed during that era.

Here’s a video from that time that recently surfaced about McKay and his Nash:

It took 50 days, but McKay made it to the end of Route 66 in Santa Monica. Probably the most trying time of the journey was in the California and Arizona deserts. The dry air made the Nash’s wooden spokes shrink, and the tires wobbled dangerously. At one point, McKay soaked the wheels overnight in the Colorado River before departing for the Mojave Desert.

A day-by-day accounting of McKay’s trip can be found here and here.

I was saddened to learn from the video that McKay died of cancer in 2010. He was a true road warrior — one who tried (and succeeded) in something that few of us would even attempt.

His 1930 Nash is on display at the Heritage Park Historical Village in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


2 thoughts on “Driving the Mother Road the hard way

  1. Bill McKibbon

    We will be in Calgary this summer for the 100th Anniversary of the Calgary Stampede. We will be sure to stop by the Heritage Park Historical Village and see Brian McKay’s Nash Automobile.

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