W00t! Thanks to the magic of the Internet, I’ve updated seven states’ worth of entries in Route 66 for Kids since Wednesday, and I fully expect to get through the California entries tomorrow. So far, I’ve only found five places I’ll have to call to confirm hours. That’s a huge change since I wrote the first edition in 2003, when very few businesses were online, and I found myself sitting on the floor of our office in Belleville, making more than 100 phone calls to places all the way from Wilmington, Illinois, to Pasadena, California.
Over the years, I’ve noticed an enormous uptick in not only the number of websites, but also the quality. A few still lack critical information such as hours or admission prices, and a handful are too clever and cumbersome for their own good (Grand Canyon Railway, I’m lookin’ at you), but I’ve gone through 146 entries, and so far, only seven have lacked functional websites with all the information I needed. Of those, two had websites that were just missing information but included valid email addresses I was able to use to secure information quickly; one was a drive-in movie theater and amusement park that had replaced its usual website with a single page announcing it was closed for the season and would reopen in April; one had lost its domain name; one had everything except its hours posted online; and only two lacked an online presence altogether.
It really amazes me to see how far we’ve come in 11 years.