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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Arkansas Is Just Like Heaven, When You Drive Route 67

Almost everyone is familiar with U.S. Route 66. I even blogged about it last year.

But what do you know about Route 67?

Otherwise known as the Rock and Roll Highway.

We left Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Gateway to the Ozarks and headed southwest into Arkansas on Route 67. Stopping at the Arkansas Welcome Center, we met a lady who explained to us why Route 67 is the rock and roll highway. It seems that many of the early big names in Rock and Roll (or perhaps more accurately, the pioneers of the rock-a-billy sound) such as Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Elvis performed regularly at a number of towns along the highway in Northeast Arkansas.

The area is one that might be described as "dirt poor." If you have a stereotype of Arkansas it will probably come to life right before your eyes as you drive this stretch of road. The fact that we drove it right after four to six inches of rain had fallen just made it worse.

The movement to make Route 67 a Tourism center appears to be on a slow path right now. We stopped in Newport, once the site of several clubs that hosted those early rock-a-billy performers but didn't find any trace of memorials. A good local museum would help but we didn't find one.

The town of Datto has made an effort to get on board with this sign and commemoration of Bill Rice.
Highway67-2 Highway67-4 Highway67-3

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