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Old 08-22-2010, 05:51 AM
 
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Though the entire trip supposedly took 2 weeks (on 1955 highways) it was just 4 episodes of "I Love Lucy" until they got there.

The first day they drove from NYC to somewhere just outside Cincinatti. Is this even possible? Then the second day they got lost and ended up in Bent Fork, TN (which doesn't really exist). By the third episode they'd reached Ethel's hometown -- Albuquerque. I'm guessing they got there via Route 66 which used to run all the way from Illinois to California, but you can't find it on any maps today. And obviously there's no way you could drive from Tennessee to New Mexico in a day in 1955 much less 2010.

SO WHAT ROUTE DID THEY TAKE FROM NYC to LA? I've looked at my atlas to try and guess how they might have gone and how long it would have taken them in 1955. Anybody want to help?


YouTube - I Love Lucy - California Here I Come
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Old 08-22-2010, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Pasadena
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As you point out, it was a TV program so they didn't really drive anywhere outside the studio in Los Angeles. "I Love Lucy" was suppose to take place in New York City but was taped in front of a live audience in Hollywood. The make believe vacation segments are really funny but, as you point out, it probably would have been impossible to travel across the country as quickly as they did in the comedy. I'm sure a person could have driven from NYC to Cincinnati in one day in the 1950's but it would have been a long drive. Going from southern Ohio to Tennessee probably would have been easier but not from Tennessee to New Mexico. A person can drive from Albuquerque to LA in one day but it is a very long drive [probably over 12 hours] today on interstate freeways. I can not imagine how long it would have taken in the 1950's.
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATLnSAV View Post
Though the entire trip supposedly took 2 weeks (on 1955 highways) it was just 4 episodes of "I Love Lucy" until they got there.

The first day they drove from NYC to somewhere just outside Cincinatti. Is this even possible? Then the second day they got lost and ended up in Bent Fork, TN (which doesn't really exist). By the third episode they'd reached Ethel's hometown -- Albuquerque. I'm guessing they got there via Route 66 which used to run all the way from Illinois to California, but you can't find it on any maps today. And obviously there's no way you could drive from Tennessee to New Mexico in a day in 1955 much less 2010.

SO WHAT ROUTE DID THEY TAKE FROM NYC to LA? I've looked at my atlas to try and guess how they might have gone and how long it would have taken them in 1955. Anybody want to help?


YouTube - I Love Lucy - California Here I Come

Sure, it was possible to make it from NYC to Cinci in one day back then. The Pennsylvania Turnpike was open and working.

If they got lost from there, they doubtless ended up on US-31, which would put "Bent Fork" somewhere near Nashville. From Nashville, they could have used US-70 to Little Rock, AR; US-64, 266 and 62 right into Oklahoma City, where they'd join US-66 to Albuquerque. Yeah, it would be a hard days driving to get that far and everything would have to hit just right, but I suppose it was do-able if you stayed at it hard enough. It can certainly be done today as I've done it, and more.

Of course, the hardest part of the trip still lay ahead as US-66 to San Bernardino wasn't a piece of cake back then. It was a very, very lonely road with few services and the God-awful, un-airconditioned expanse of the Mojave Desert to cross. I didn't make that trip in 1955, but I did in 1962 and it was a killer.
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by stillkit View Post
Sure, it was possible to make it from NYC to Cinci in one day back then. The Pennsylvania Turnpike was open and working.

If they got lost from there, they doubtless ended up on US-31, which would put "Bent Fork" somewhere near Nashville. From Nashville, they could have used US-70 to Little Rock, AR; US-64, 266 and 62 right into Oklahoma City, where they'd join US-66 to Albuquerque. Yeah, it would be a hard days driving to get that far and everything would have to hit just right, but I suppose it was do-able if you stayed at it hard enough. It can certainly be done today as I've done it, and more.

Of course, the hardest part of the trip still lay ahead as US-66 to San Bernardino wasn't a piece of cake back then. It was a very, very lonely road with few services and the God-awful, un-airconditioned expanse of the Mojave Desert to cross. I didn't make that trip in 1955, but I did in 1962 and it was a killer.
Thanks for putting so much thought into this; my main curiosity was how they would have gotten from Tennessee to Route 66 which of course is the way EVERYBODY drove to Caliifornia back in the day. The old 66 was replaced by I-40 but I understand some ghost segments of it are still out there and driveable, they just don't connect anymore. I knew it was a long drive but didn't realize how few and far between the amenities were -- I guess due to being in the middle of the desert with no people along the way? Unlike the big east coast north-south US routes like 1, 41, 17 and 80 that are to this day lined with old, shuttered, abandoned motels and gas stations and diners that were bypassed by the interstates. It's a piece of Americana for sure.

In fact my dad grew up in Griffin, GA which was on US 19-41 which was the main route from Chicago to Miami and he told me they actually called it the Chi-Mia Highway or something like that.
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:27 AM
 
Location: New Orleans, United States
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Today you can get from Nashville to Los Angeles in exactly a day if you do the speed limit and traffic is considerate. Maybe they could have taken U.S. 70 from TN to AR and caught U.S. 64 (if they were around in the same form back then) which would have lead them U.S. 66.

Either way it would have been longer than a day back then.

Edit: didn't realize somebody said exactly the same thing above.
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:36 AM
 
Location: Boston
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Just a question, I know the roads weren't as good back then as they are today, but were they also alot emptier? That could mitigate the impact of "bad roads".
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Old 08-23-2010, 06:25 AM
 
Location: Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missRoxyhart View Post
Just a question, I know the roads weren't as good back then as they are today, but were they also alot emptier? That could mitigate the impact of "bad roads".

Yes, there weren't as many vehicles on the roads back then, but the roads were considerably smaller and the trucks were slower, so it pretty much evens out.

The primary factor in making "time" before the interstates was going through all the towns. Even at my young age (61), I can remember a lot of places and roads before the interstates and that's the one thing which slowed you down more than anything. There weren't many bypasses and the main routes typically went right through the heart of every city, large and small.
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Old 08-23-2010, 06:29 AM
 
Location: Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATLnSAV View Post
Thanks for putting so much thought into this; my main curiosity was how they would have gotten from Tennessee to Route 66 which of course is the way EVERYBODY drove to Caliifornia back in the day. The old 66 was replaced by I-40 but I understand some ghost segments of it are still out there and driveable, they just don't connect anymore. I knew it was a long drive but didn't realize how few and far between the amenities were -- I guess due to being in the middle of the desert with no people along the way? Unlike the big east coast north-south US routes like 1, 41, 17 and 80 that are to this day lined with old, shuttered, abandoned motels and gas stations and diners that were bypassed by the interstates. It's a piece of Americana for sure.

In fact my dad grew up in Griffin, GA which was on US 19-41 which was the main route from Chicago to Miami and he told me they actually called it the Chi-Mia Highway or something like that.

A lot of Rt. 66 still exists and is still in use as a local road. It's used as a tourist draw all along its route. The only places where you can't find it any more is where the interstate was literally built right on top of it, rather than beside it. Examples would be in central Missouri and in New Mexico. Even then you can see still see it some places.

The Mother Road: Historic Route 66
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Old 08-23-2010, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Edmond, OK
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Much of Route 66 through Oklahoma still exists. I have read that Oklahoma actually has more of the original route left than any other state. I believe you can still drive pretty much all the way across the state on it, although it isn't always easy to find, especially through Tulsa and OKC. It actually runs very near my house. It is designated with brown and white historic marker signs. There are many landmarks along the route and is a popular tourist attraction. People actually come from all over the world just to drive it. The stretch of road from Tulsa to Oklahoma City is a very popular drive, although I have never done it. When I'm headed toward Tulsa I usually don't have the time to do the leisurely route, but just use I-44 instead.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:20 PM
 
235 posts, read 344,171 times
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Originally Posted by WestbankNOLA View Post
Today you can get from Nashville to Los Angeles in exactly a day if you do the speed limit and traffic is considerate.
i find this very hard to believe especially under the conditions you prescribe. I got a friend who has driven from Atlanta to San Diego in 36 hours several times but 24 hours seems impossible.



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