My Walking Trip on Route 66

I walked from Chicago to Santa Monica at age 62.

Rasheed Hooda


Preparing to leave Chicago. Photo by David Freeze

I am a die-hard hippie and a vagabond. I love to travel. I partake in activities that most people think is not practical or possible for someone my age. I am a Seasoned Citizens. I was 62 years old when I undertook a walking trip on Route 66.

Why Route 66?

I have been connected with Route 66 ever since I came to the United States. My brothers lived in Chicago at the time, while I attended College in Alva, Oklahoma.

Every spring, summer, fall, and winter, during the college break, I traveled between Oklahoma and Chicago. In those days, flying was for the most part, prohibitive, especially for a college student. Therefore, all travel took place at the see level, where you could see things. And Route 66 was the main thoroughfare in those days along the way. It was known as Main Street USA.

I wanted to take a trip on Route 66 forever and a day. My original thought was to take pictures. But there was already so much done about from a photographic point of view. I realize that every photographer has a different perspective, but competing in such a crowded space was not very appealing.

I was looking for an unusual angle, something different than what was already out there. One idea that I was contemplating was to travel up and down Route 66 during four separate seasons and photograph the people and the towns of Route 66 in different seasons.

As I was doing my research, I accidentally came across a picture of the Wall of China, depicting a man walking on the wall. That intrigued me. As I did some research, I found out that the Wall of China is 5,503 miles long, and there was someone who traversed on foot, the entire length of the Wall of China in 15 months.

That is only 12 miles per day on the average, and I thought to myself, “Shoot, I can do that.”

A new vision was born

Twelve miles per day was akin to walking in the park for six hours. Nothing said that I had to walk continuously for six hours. I had walked long distances and for a more extended period in the past. So, I knew it to be doable. The challenge would be to sustain it over a six to…



Rasheed Hooda

Self-proclaimed weirdo. Jack of Many Trades, Master of Some. Author, Speaker, Photographer. He walked on Route 66 Chicago to L.A.