A civil engineering student at Antioch College in Ohio, Pete Koltnow spent several weeks hitchhiking and riding buses on Route 66 for pleasure in the summer of 1948. The main hazards of hitchhiking in those days, he remembered later, were sleeplessness and sunburn. Hitching was an acceptable activity, an effective way for someone without money to get around the country. Two years later he repeated the trip before starting a summer job in Arizona. During the second trip, he wrote postcards to Dot Witter, his classmate and future wife.
Postcard from Villa Ridge, Missouri
Thursday, June 29 - 4:30 p.m. Villa Ridge, Missouri "Dear Dot - Back to bumpy seats and the open road. Rides are fair-but the weather is fairer. Trucks are kindest to me. Would like to get through Missouri by early A.M. about 300 miles to go. I miss you already-I'll say hello again in some few hours. love, Pete"
Postcard from Tulsa, Oklahoma
Friday, June 30 - 2 a.m. Tulsa, Oklahoma. "Dottie - Got a ride of about . mi. to Tulsa. 80 mph thru the Ozarks, and I'm bushed. Am taking a bus from here @ 4.00 A.M to El Reno-about 150 mi I'll get some sleep enroute. This fast driving scares me, but 900 miles in 21 hours is good. Hi to the folks. Petey"
Postcard from Tucumcari, N.M.
Friday, June 30 - 6:45 p.m. Tucumcari, New Mexico. "Dear - Across another state line and a time zone, too. This is the start of the desert country, and when I wasn't dozing I was enjoying the view. I start hitching now. Wish me luck. I'm still wearing my lucky green shirt. Don't smile. Pete"
Postcard from Flagstaff, Arizona
Saturday, July 1 - 6:30 a.m. Flagstaff, Arizona. "Dear Dot - Pulled in here 15 min. ago and will pull out as soon as breakfast is done. This is one of the most beautiful parts of Arizona. The view on the other side (Oak Creek Canyon) is what I hope to see within the half hour. Hope luck holds out-the shirt is-and the socks-etc. My love, Pete"