“I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Route 66 was always a part of my life. But it wasn’t until I became an adult that I started to appreciate its history. When I moved to Los Angeles as a young actor, I used to drive back to Oklahoma on I-40 because I felt like I had to get there fast. In the last ten years or so, though, I’ve found myself wanting to slow down and enjoy the experience. I had never driven the entire length (it’s around 2,400 miles), but since I’m a spokesperson for the World Monuments Fund, and Route 66 is one of the sites the WMF wants to protect and repair, I flew to Chicago with my son and we took the trip of a lifetime together.
“On a two-week drive, you really begin to understand America’s vastness: from the lushness of Illinois to the plains of Texas, the mesas of New Mexico to the cacti of California. The most beautiful driving is around Sitgreaves Pass, in Arizona. It’s like going back in time, through winding roads and rock formations. My son just kept looking out the window. Whenever we stopped, people wanted to talk. ‘Where are you going? Where are you coming from?’ The journey doesn’t end.”
Jeanne Tripplehorn stars in the HBO series Big Love, as well as in Morning (in theaters spring 2010). The World Monuments Fund has partnered with American Express (T+L’s parent company) to provide funding for Route 66 projects.