Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Following the Joads

A large portion of our upcoming cross-country road trip will correspond with the journey of the Joad family, as chronicled in John Steinbeck's classic American novel The Grapes of Wrath and, its equally acclaimed 1940 film adaptation starring Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell.  Poor Depression-era Oklahoma tenant farmers forced off their land, the Joads strike out for California in hopes of finding work and greener pastures.  

The bulk of these travels, both literary and cinematic, takes place along old Route 66. In his narration, Steinbeck provided a very detailed account of the family's trek, citing specific cities, small towns and landmarks throughout the southwest.  It was Steinbeck that also provided the highway with its now-famous moniker:
"From all of these the people are in flight, and they come into 66 from the tributary side roads, from the wagon tracks and the rutted country roads. 66 is the mother road, the road of flight."
When making the 1940 movie version of The Grapes of Wrath, director John Ford dispatched a second unit to film locations along the now-famous Mother Road, from Oklahoma through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

Our own travels will take us to many of these novel and film locations and we will be documenting those visits here as part of our cross-country blogging efforts. Stay tuned.