Fifteen years

A screenshot of Route 66 News in 2007.

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the launch of Route 66 News.

It doesn’t appear to be much of a milestone when dozens of other businesses on Route 66 have been operating for a half-century or more. Route 66 News isn’t even the oldest website devoted to the Mother Road. Historic66.com has been slinging pixels since 1994.

But 15 years is a long time on the internet. And, from regular posting of stories, Route 66 News has amassed a lot of data during that time:

  • In a few weeks, Route 66 News will have published its 10,000th story.
  • More than 15,000 comments on various stories have been posted.
  • At last count, Route 66 News had been read in at least 220 countries.
  • The most popular post by far is the “A Route 66 Guide to the Cars movie,” which has seen more than 500,000 page views since it first was published in June 2006.

I started the website because Route 66 lacked a timely source of information at that time. All other Route 66-related publications were quarterly, which meant a big story might not be reported until three months later.

The once-vibrant but now virtually defunct Route 66 e-group passed along news, but it was a private site few people but roadies knew about.

I wanted something that was accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Between that and my journalism background, I figured I could make a contribution.

A WordPress.com blog hadn’t been planned. But the more I investigated its features (easy setup, easy updates, the potential for multimedia, etc.), the more it seemed like an ideal medium. And I haven’t even discussed its archiving system, which turned out to be a secret weapon in attracting new readers.

The initial goal was to average one story per day. It was sort of a self-discipline setup after seeing too many other promising websites ebb to nothing after only a few months. I wasn’t sure I could do a story a day. But it turned out I had underestimated Route 66’s ability to produce newsworthy stories; the number of stories averaged well past that goal.

The website earned its keep less than a month after launch when a developer purchased El Vado Motel and announced plans to tear it down for luxury condos. That news mobilized the Route 66 community and led to the property being saved years later.

Times change, and Route 66 News changed with it. It went from a free platform to paid hosting. It went from bare-bones text to including images, video and audio. It went through several face-lifts, began accepting advertising and tightened its news criteria. Social media emerged as an avenue for news stories, in addition to newspapers.

Thank you to all the readers who’ve helped support this site, including a few who’ve been here since Day One.

As for the future, no changes are planned. Route 66 News still holds to its original mission — “a clearinghouse of news and events along historic Route 66, the Mother Road.” As long as people still are fascinated with that historic highway, I don’t see changing.

(Screen-capture image of the front page of Route 66 News in 2007)

28 thoughts on “Fifteen years

  1. Superb FIVE STAR job, sir. Thank You, Ron, for your dedication to the Mother Road and her News! Viva Route 66.

  2. Congratulations to Mother Road , ¨Route 66 ¨. Has been one of the most beautiful experience in my life.
    I did twice, still I remember so many friends and places, they are always in my mind.
    I´ll come back soon !
    Thanks very much to all of you.

  3. Congratulations on this milestone Ron. And thank you for your efforts to keep it going. I don’t know what year I started following, but it has to have been 10 or so anyhow. And I start every day here. It’s like my morning paper.

  4. Ron, Thanks so much for your efforts to bring us current happenings as well as stories from the past… You enlighten us daily and I know you have a lot of appreciative fans out there.. Kudos to you ! 🙂

  5. Congratulations on this milestone Ron!! I can’t thank you enough for doing this and keeping us informed on the happenings on the Mother road. Since some of us are not on FB, this is the best place for news that I could find. I look forward to that email everyday to see what’s going on. Keep up the great work!

  6. Congrats on your milestone. I know this site is a part of my daily routine each morning, as I take attendance here at school I can almost bet that the news will be here by 8:15 in the morning. I interviewed Ron on Episode 9 of The Route 66 Podcast.

    Anthony Arno
    Route 66 Podcast

  7. Congrats Ron on this fantastic milestone.
    Thank you for all the effort you have put into this.
    Keep going, Covid-19 will not be around forever and we all will be back on the Mother road!

    Fred from The Netherlands

  8. Nice man didn’t this has been going for 15 years congrats it’s always cool to see what’s new on the mother road.

  9. HAPPY 15th ANNIVERSARY RON!

    This is my favorite of the very few newsletters I still take faithfully. I’m not sure if I’ve been here since day one, but I’ve been here a looong time and I’ll continue to be here as long as you are.

    Thank you!!

  10. Yaye! Let’s hear it for fifteen more! This is the one Route 66 that I check faithfully, at least twice a week.

  11. You provide an amazing service – I love reading the daily email I receive. Congratulations and thank you very much.

  12. Always the place to go to find out what is happening on our favorite road. The amount of work you put in for this blog has got to be amazing.

    Keep up the good work.

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