I have a certain amount of knowledge and information about Route 66 and Burma Shave because of our background in cars and motorsports. Heck, some years back we were able to acquire special permission from the owner of the trademark to use the legendary Burma Shave jingles – which in fact we still possess.
I’ve lived in wine country for several years now – however, to tell you the God’s honest truth, I did not know there was any connection between the famous highway called Route 66, Burma Shave and wine. Still, indirectly or otherwise there are links between the renowned road, shaving products company and the always delectable nectar-of-the-gods called wine.
The highway – often called ‘The Mother Road’ – runs from Chicago down through and across Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma before traversing up the Texas Panhandle, New Mexico and then Arizona before coming down into the desert and ending up on the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, California. See related article below for more info on Route 66 and Burma Shave.
Route 66 wine
Admittedly, it’s hard to contrive the idea that the lonesome, dusty and sometimes desolate Route 66 Highway would ever have wine associated with it. The fact that there are some from the Midwest that left places like Oklahoma for better farming in California, makes the idea of vintners working the land in the Southern and Central Plains to create wine seems unusual.
When I did little extra snooping around to see if in fact there was a connection, not only did I find a blend of interest between the road and wine but also a winery trail guide. Yes, you heard that right – if you want to travel the Mother Road and you’re a lover of wine, or maybe just need an excuse to travel Route 66 while imbibing along the way, here’s a Route 66 Directory of wineries along the famed highway. I don’t know how up to date it is but you should be able to get your kicks on Route 66.
Keep an eye out for an event called Stroud’s Historic Route 66 Wine & Food Festival held in June every year. Stroud likes to call themselves Oklahoma’s winery and grape capital. Also, in September, Kingman, Arizona, has a Route 66 Cocktail and Corks Spirit Tour.
Here’s your sign
Burma Shave was famous from the Depression until the mid-60s for hundreds and hundreds of slogans with a marketing program that used them along highways all across the country including Route 66. Each red sign was a few hundred feet apart – note that cars weren’t whizzing by at 75 mph back then – and would say for instance: ‘It’s best for’, then a few hundred feet later ‘One who hits’, then ‘The bottle’, followed by ‘To let another’ and finally ‘Use the throttle’. Each set of signs would end with ‘Burma Shave’. There’s even a Route 66 wine and glass rack that looks like an old-fashioned gas station pump (click here).
Burma Shave was a long ago tradition that faded but never disappeared in the American fabric and lexicon. Every once in awhile, a company will use small billboards or signs to effectively do the same and if you look around the countryside in wine regions, some wineries are trying the same gimmickry.
Nostalgia is fun and there’s certain good-feeling that Route 66 and Burma Shave bring to the Americana culture. In that vein, we’ve decided to offer a select amount of shirts and caps with our store in the coming days and weeks. It will be for a limited time and we’ll have some giveaways you can be involved with. Be on the lookout very soon for a Burma Shave sticker giveaway.
“If our road signs – Catch your eye – Smile – But don’t forget – To buy – Burma Shave.”
Daryle W. Hier