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In 1926, highway planners laid out a ribbon of roadways connecting the nation. One of the most important wove its way across eight states, from the cities of the heartland to golden California. In The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck calls it "the Mother Road." Route 66 has become a legend, celebrated in books, movies, works of art, and popular music. The interstates could not kill it. As "the Main Street of America," Route 66 had to pass through "the Gateway to the West," St. Louis. Crossing the Mississippi River, the road took many different paths through the busy city and then united to travel into the rolling hills of the Ozarks. Along the way there were mom-and-pop motels, tourist traps, roadside restaurants, a man selling frozen custard, one living with snakes, and another who claimed to be Jesse James. Their stories are here.