Highway 64: Shipwrecks to Ship Rock

Doors at Chaco ruins

In the ruins of Chaco Canyon (see New Mexico), open doorways link each room to the next. So it is with any of life's journeys, including a trip down U.S. 64.

About the author

My name is Laura Fiorilli, and I am a master’s student in mass communication at the University of Florida. I consider myself a professional reporter and editor, even though I have moved from the newsroom to the classroom in an effort to find out what I do best.

About the site

The material presented on this Web site is intended to serve as the electronic first draft of a book about U.S. Highway 64.

The roots of my 64 project reach back into a lifetime of road trips. By the time I was 17, I had visited all 50 states. The idea of writing about 64 surfaced sometime around 1999, when I was living in Tarboro, N.C., and working as a copy editor at the newspaper in Rocky Mount. Both towns are located along 64, so I commuted on the highway nearly every day. On days when I wasn’t commuting, I’d often drive back to my home base, the Triangle area. Once again, 64 was the road I traveled.

Research

I have driven all of 64 in North Carolina. However, I’ve probably researched it least, because it’s still my home state, and I feel it’s accessible any time I need it.

I did the bulk of the research for this book during May and June of 2003. It was time for me to leave my job as a reporter on an understaffed newspaper and explore new kinds of work. I started the summer heading for New Mexico on 64; I ended it, much to my surprise, starting graduate school at the University of Florida.

As usual, my travel partner was my mom, Jan Fiorilli, National Park fanatic and lifelong master of the road trip. We drove every mile of 64 from the Tennessee border to its end in Tec Nos Pos, Ariz.

My mom and I share credit for the photos and videos. I wrote all the copy for this site based on notes and brochures I collected along the way. I supplemented the project with Internet research and have listed helpful resources on the Links pages for each state.

Every drive I’ve taken on U.S. 64 has brought me a few miles closer to my future, whatever that turns out to be. I am presenting this Web site in the hopes that others will discover what this great American road has to offer.