Not only does US Route 89 move from one scenic wonder to the next, it gives travelers a taste of the history and diverse cultures of the West
Oracle, AZ (Vocus) April 28, 2009
James and Barbara Cowlin, a photographer and artist team with a passion for traveling on America's slow roads, founded the US Route 89 Appreciation Society to encourage tourist to try a different way of travel. According to Ms. Cowlin, "We wanted travelers to have a more authentic vacation experience, to slow down and enjoy the journey instead of speeding from destination to destination."
US Route 89 is the perfect road for family driving vacations. Along its nearly 1800 mile length between Mexico and Canada it passes through or near the seven premier western national parks--Saguaro, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier. Travelers on highway 89 also experience the full variety of the western landscape: desert mountains and valleys in southern Arizona, canyons and rocky plateaus in northern Arizona and Utah and majestic mountains in Wyoming and Montana.
"Not only does US Route 89 move from one scenic wonder to the next, it gives travelers a taste of the history and diverse cultures of the West," notes Mr. Cowlin. "There are American Indian ruins, Spanish missions, Mormon pioneer settlements and mining ghost towns to explore."
Traversing the heart of the West, US Route 89 bred numerous unique and hopeful towns. Many thrived and bustled in their day, only to be bypassed by the Interstate highways. Giving way to a faster, more streamlined lifestyle of chain restaurants and big box stores, these places with authenticity, deep history and much physical beauty are often neglected.
While the large cities and national parks along US Route 89 continue to attract tourists, the US Route 89 Appreciation Society website encourages travelers to visit the places in between. The Road Trip Guides on the website detail all of the towns and cities, public lands and historic sites with maps, driving directions and photographs.
When the trip is over, travelers can contribute to the richness of the website by adding their own stories and pictures. Share Your 89 Stories allows registered users to upload photographs and a description of their favorite places or unique experiences to the appropriate road trip guide.
In the virtual world of the website, the Cowlins seek to establish a community bound together by US Route 89. They hope to enhance the appreciation of the unique character of the "places in between." The goal is to help those residents striving to revitalize the small towns and lovely stretches of the two-lane road that connects them.
The US Route 89 Appreciation Society is part of a project by James and Barbara Cowlin to document the people and places along this uniquely western highway. The law firm of Snell & Wilmer, with offices in Tucson, Phoenix and Salt Lake City, is helping to support the project as a Corporate Sponsor. Additionally cultural organizations along 89, such as the Grand Canyon Association and the Desert Caballeros Western Museum, have joined the Appreciation Society to encourage travelers to explore this alternative to high-speed Interstate highways.
The US Route 89 Appreciation Society is a resource for planning a western road trip vacation and a place for sharing stories and photographs of this unique highway. It is part of the "slow road" movement that encourages travel on the two-lane roads that lead to the heart and soul of America.