“We don’t really see ourselves as Black and White. We’re just a family on the road.” So says the wife of an African family touring Route 66. Discover their experiences as they travel the famed Mother Road.

Photo Courtesy of University of New Mexico Press

Read what this mixed-race family finds.

Brennan Matthews is Caucasian, while his wife Kate is Black. Their child Thembi is mixed race. Brennan wrote a book, Miles To Go, based on their experience traveling Route 66.

The first thing that might impress you about this book is the spate of celebrity endorsements, including Martin Sheen, Andy Garcia, Jim Belushi, John Oates, and more. The author is the editor of ROUTE Magazine, dedicated to Route 66 and classic Americana; he also helped Missouri Life produce our own Missouri’s Guide to Route 66. He travels Route 66 in its entirety, so through Missouri, several times a year. The book is both a travelogue—meet Rich Henry at Henry’s Ra66it Ranch in Staunton, Illinois—and a personal journal of this mixed-race family’s reception and reactions to encounters along the way on their first trip across our country on Route 66. Brennen and his wife Kate are both from Mombasa, Kenya. Brennen is Caucasian while Kate is Black, and their child Thembi is of course mixed race. This is unique among the plethora of books about Route 66.

An example from the personal journal approach is a conversation at the Wagon Wheel with motorcyclists from Chicago also staying at the famed motel in Cuba, Missouri. As the talk turns to race in America, we learn that in Kenya, a mixed-race child is considered White, whereas, in our country, that same child is considered Black. Kate tells them, “We don’t really see ourselves as Black and White. We’re just a family on the road.” Brennen’s insight as he and his family discover America is both refreshing and encouraging. “We met America in all of its colorful splendor and complexity,” he says.

It’s a great read. You can buy the book here, and additional details about the book follow:

Miles to Go, An African Family in Search of America Along Route 66
By Brennen Matthews,
280 pages, nonfiction, University of New Mexico Press, paperback (5.5 x 8.5 inches), $24.95.