Chet Nichols
Singer-Songwriter, Novelist & Musician

Chet Nichols Singer-Songwriter, Novelist & Musician

CD cover to Chet's Route 66 Album.

CD cover to Chet's Route 66 Album.

Chet at a Route 66 Road Festival in New Mexico.

Chet at a Route 66 Road Festival in New Mexico.


All of Chet's novels and books are available at Amazon. You can purchase and/or read versions as paperback books or a Kindle-type files.

CLICK on this link to get to Chet's novels and books.

Also, many of Chet's music albums are available at Amazon. You get a nice bonus if you buy a CD at Amazon, as we will also include FREE MP3 files that you can download. CLICK HERE to views Chet's albums at Amazon.


Cover for the novel, "The Children Of Pentecost" by Chet Nichols.
Here is the link to Chet's novels and books.

Cover for the novel, "The Children Of Pentecost" by Chet Nichols. Here is the link to Chet's novels and books.

Here is the link to Chet's novels and books.

The Children of Pentecost
A novel by Chet Nichols
This story starts at the time of Christ and quickly “travels through time” to present day.
The story of Christianity has many great stories that make up it’s tradition, the greatest, of course, is the story of the events that led up to the fulfillment of The Passion of Christ.
Now, during Christ’s ministry on earth, He told His Disciples and Apostles that at some point they would be able to perform the miracles that He performed and that they would inherit these gifts and have the opportunity to use them to help people.
After Christ’s crucifixion and death, His Apostles and Disciples gathered in the upper room where they had shared The Last Supper with Jesus and where they been betrayed by one of Jesus’ favorite and trusted apostles, Judas.
Christ appeared to them in this room and told them that He was leaving and that they should follow Him. He told them that once He was gone, they should return to the upper room and wait for The Advocate, The Holy Spirit, to come. They followed Jesus to a mountaintop and witnessed His Ascension, after which, they returned to the upper room and waited. Ten days later, The Holy Spirit appeared to the Apostles and Disciples on Pentecost and bestowed on them the gifts of tongues, healing, enlightenment and more. The Apostles and Disciples use of these gifts is well documented in The Acts Of The Apostles in The New Testament.
But, what happened to these gifts? Was there the potential for these gifts to be passed on to the descendents of The Apostles and Disciples? And, if so, who would they be, how would the gifts be used and how would the gifts be passed on?
These are some of the themes that weave through The Children of Pentecost.
Clearly, Judas made a mistake, one that he acknowledged and wanted to make right. However, he was clearly tricked by the devil (and, in particular, an ancient demon) and was swept up by the wave of evil that permeated Jerusalem during Christ’s last three days before His death and crucifixion. But, what really happened to Judas and what happened to his descendents? The Children of Pentecost presents a fictional story based on these questions.
The story depicts the saga of the descendents of Judas as they deal with Judas’ betrayal, his cursed legacy and the desire of his descendents to help Judas receive forgiveness and redemption and, in turn, create their own redemption.
The story follows the descendents and the brotherhood of Judas from the time of Christ, through the Middle Ages and into present time where they face the demons that hunt and haunt them, do battle with them and, eventually, fulfill their destiny.
In the present day, the descendents of Judas have been culled down to just a few remaining family members, who the devil and his minions are feverishly hunting down. To hide the remaining family members and especially the hero of the story, the family and their supporters play an interesting game of cat and mouse with the devil. They have learned to play a winning game of deception and deceit with the “master of deception and deceit’ himself. Still, the devil and, in particular, one of the devil’s most powerful demons, are beginning to win the battles. This demon is a powerful and ancient demon who initially “inspired” Judas to betray Jesus in the first place and one who has hunted down the descendents of the apostles since the time of Christ. This demon’s presence has been documented since before the time of Christ in the Middle East.
Because of the stain on their family’s lineage, they are also entrusted with the protection of important Christian relics, relics that the devil desperately wants to control. So, the stage is set for the long awaited battle between the remaining members of House of Judas and the devil. Little does the devil know that the descendents have been planning a trap for hundreds of years so that the soul of Judas can finally be redeemed and re-united with his Master.
This final redemption releases the descendants Judas from their centuries-long wait and effects of the famous betrayal and gives them new life.

"It’s the spring of 1967 and two young men decide to hitch-hike to California. 

They decided they wanted to see Route 66 before The Mother Road was paved-over with a multi-lane “Super Slab” Interstate highway. 

This is their story.  This is our story. The Great American Journey people dream of.

So, don’t pack a bag, just buckle up and get ready to ride.........."

Front cover to the novel, "The Last Riders On Route 66" by Chet Nichols

"It’s the spring of 1967 and two young men decide to hitch-hike to California.

They decided they wanted to see Route 66 before The Mother Road was paved-over with a multi-lane “Super Slab” Interstate highway.

This is their story. This is our story. The Great American Journey people dream of.

So, don’t pack a bag, just buckle up and get ready to ride.........."

Front cover to the novel, "The Last Riders On Route 66" by Chet Nichols

Here is the link to Chet's novels and books. 

“Route 66. A Source of Inspiration”
by Chet Nichols
Inspiration, where does it come from? People can find it everywhere. You see it when the cat is sleeping on its back dreaming it’s a flying squirrel (“Honey, quick where’s the digital camera?”). It is there in the spring flowers, the first snow of the season, the smile of a baby, the rainbows that trail behind a desert storm or a multi-colored sunset reflected upon an armada of billowing clouds over the ocean. There are so many wonders in this world, large and small, that make us grab a camera to take a photo, reach for a pen and paper to jot down a line or idea or make us stop in our tracks and view what is before us with awe.
As a novelist, songwriter, poet, actor, film producer and photographer, I find inspiration everywhere. I had great teachers who taught me to keep the doors open to my muses and to be insatiably curious about the world I live in and the people that I meet. They also taught me to have a camera on-hand and never be caught without a pen and something to writing on. Sometimes it is my hand.

My sources of inspiration vary, but when I review some of my most important creative pieces, the source of inspiration has been Route 66.

It has inspired 3 novels and thousands of songs. I have a large library of Route 66 photos that date back to the 60’s when I was a teenager just beginning to explore The Mother Road.

My last novel, The Last Riders On Route 66, is a story about two college students who decide to take a hitchhiking trip from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles. The story takes place during their two week Spring Break back in late March of 1967. They learned that Route 66 was officially about to begin its breakup up into various segments and subsequent assimilation into the interstate highway system in the fall of that year. So, they decide to see Route 66 before it is covered over by the pending Super Slab. In essence, it is the story of two “Happy Days” era young men colliding with the “Hippie Days”.

This is a story about places, people, and lifestyles that in many cases don't exist any longer. Or do they? Places where I used to stay along the way have been torn down or abandoned over the years. Many have been preserved and restored. Some are in Limbo.

For instance, in the book, the block that housed the book’s hotel and club in California has been recently torn down and a new, multi-use structure now stands over-looking the ocean. In this way, this story is about change and growth, death and re-birth, how things used to be and how experiences stay with us over the years. The book tells a story about how events, ideas and people combine, to change the lives of the people who share this highway.

The storyteller in my novel is a young musician and songwriter who hauls his guitar along with him on the trip and he finds himself being inspired by many people, places and situations that he encounters along Route 66. With the story taking place at the time when America is caught up in the Vietnam War, the rise of the civil rights movement, the explosion of the arts and music, the sexual revolution, the psychedelic era, the burgeoning space program, and the social and spiritual upheaval that personified the 1967, there is a lot for these two travelers to react to and a lot of situations that have a lasting effect on them.

The basic framework of the book was inspired by a similar trip that a friend and I took down Route 66 during our Spring Break in 1967. Our trip is tame compared to the story depicted in this novel. The story allowed me to create a canvas to depict many years of experiences and people I met on Route 66 during my years as a touring singer/songwriter and recording artist. In 2002, I wrote a song that was inspired by my novel, it too was entitled, “The Last Riders On Route 66”. Below I will include the lyrics to this song as a quick snapshot of the book.

Great Route 66 tattoo!

Great Route 66 tattoo!

In writing the story, I found myself combining my personal experiences and the experiences of several of my close friends who used Route 66 to get to California back in the 60’s and 70’s. These are friends who where also struggling young writers, filmmakers, artists, and musicians. To all of us who used the road during those years, our impressions and experiences left an indelible mark on our lives to this day. I think that most people who have driven Route 66 come away with memories that have changed their lives and produce vivid images that have become lasting sources of inspiration.

During those years, I traveled between Illinois and Oklahoma and Kansas to Los Angeles many times. Most of the time, I used Route 66. Sometimes I hitchhiked and sometimes I drove or caught a ride with a friend. Even flying over it made me ponder this gentle trail that had become a beaten path. As I try to depict in this novel, I learned a lot from The Mother Road. It was a classroom that taught my friends and I, the truths of the life. And, as we began to formulate and fulfill our dreams, Route 66 was always quietly waiting to offer us inspiration and a destination.

What really drove me on to write the book was a heartfelt responsibility to finish and “write a universal story” that was “true to the times”.

As I began writing, I told people I was working on a book about a road trip on Route 66 and how it changed the lives of the characters in the story. Every ride they got was like changing a TV channel. Almost everyone I mentioned it to suddenly got "that look" (as I called it) and started to tell me the story of a how their road trips had changed their lives, too. The universal response was, "I want to read it when you are done.” Just the mention of Route 66 brought back memories.

In fact, I had friends invite me out to lunch to talk about their personal wanderlust and their travels. I had friends who came back from Viet Nam telling me tales of wandering aimlessly up and down Route 66, until, like Forest Gump, they said, "I'm tired. I'm going to find a home." As if the roads they traveled held the key to the release of all their personal demons.

I met a lot of interesting people during my wanderings. The characters in The Last Riders On Route 66 are mostly combinations of people I met at one time or another during those years. These are characters who were created as symbols of the times. There are also characters created from the stories of my friends and things they experienced. In this way, this is a story inspired by many people.

I knew I had found a universal chord that chimed in all of us. I knew I had to write the book. I knew I had to finish it for everyone I knew AND for the characters in the story who were quietly taking on a life. I had to let them speak and tell their tales. I was only the typist.

Ask any writer and they will tell you the same thing; writing comes from watching people and reporting what you see, hear, taste, smell, touch and, the ever-elusive, what you “feel”. The key is telling a story that is inspired by what is in your heart. I think this is true of any medium of storytelling.

Now, I am not the only person to be inspired by Route 66. The highway bookshelves are lined with a vast array of articles, newsletters, magazines, newspapers, novels, information books, historical books, photography books, tapes, CDs, DVDs and travel guides. Moreover, there are numerous filmmakers who have been inspired to produce documentaries, TV shows and feature films that are set on The Mother Road. Troubadours fill the clubs along Route 66 and sing songs about her life. They depict the past, present and the future of the people who travel Route 66, as they are wander, hustle to a destination, run from a situation, tour, investigate or just plain enjoy the scenery. I think we will all agree that it is impossible to drive along the path that was defined by Route 66 and not be intrigued by its history.

Since 1998, I have seen incredible growth in the number of people who have been inspired to contribute their talents to tell the stories of Route 66, preserve her history, restore her past and plot her future. What has really made me smile is the unique ways people have found to contribute their unique talents to preserve The Mother Road’s treasures. We live in a physical world, so the projects that these people have undertaken have taken “time”. In some cases, a lot of time. But, with The Road fueling their inspiration to contribute, little by little, wondrous things are happening.

State and national preservation groups have emerged which have been inspired and dedicated to preserving the history of The Old Road. These groups recruit organizers, carpenters, painters, electricians, designers and artists, to save hotels, motels, diners, bridges, gas stations and similar structures for present and future travelers. People roll up their sleeves and do what needs to be done, even if it means making lunch for the workers.

State, national and local events have appeared that have been inspired by and dedicated to the history of Route 66. I’ve had the good fortune to be part of many of these awesome events and I have been truly impressed by the fervor and dedication people have shown in organizing these tributes.

I’ve also been very lucky to befriend and get to know people like Jim Conkle, Michael Taylor, Bob Moore, The Knudsons, Paul and Sandi Taylor, Michael Wallis, Jim Ross, Ken Turmel, Tom Teague, Shelley Graham, Lulu, John & Lenore Weiss, Helen Baker, my friends at the Illinois Route 66 Association and other state associations. And the list goes on and on….you know who you are.

My next novel, The Poet Of The Mother Road, tells a tale of a father and son’s rediscovery of their relationship out in the Great Southwest. The characters are souls who use their bodies and the road to discover who they are and where they may be headed next. It is a story of illusion, wonder, discovery, decision and transformation.
My fellow Route 66 artists, authors and roadies inspired me to write and produce the songs on my CD, “Modern Progress”. This CD is dedicated to Route 66 and the people and experiences I have had out on Will Roger’s Highway.
All of these works have been inspired by the hum of my tires and the wind I have felt on my face while driving The Southern Route.

The great thing is that I am not alone. Many of you have similar tales to tell.
Route 66 mirrors the physical world around us because it changes from moment to moment. The struggles and obstacles that humanity face and endure are mirrored by the struggles lovers of Route 66 endure to try to preserve the past, enjoy the present and ponder the future of The Road. The Mother Road is something to be loved, studied, valued, shared and nurtured. Her history is presented center stage and shows us the history of growth of this great country.

Truly, Route 66 has inspired and will continue to tell people its story for years to come. I am very blessed that, in my own way, I can contribute to her story. Long after I am gone, The Mother Road will still live on.
Now, we have a new entity that is joining The Route 66 Family. It’s The Route 66 Pulse newspaper. A new voice inspired by and dedicated to the past, present and future of our Dear Highway. I want to welcome The Route 66 Pulse into the family of other voices that are singing the tales of The Mother Road. The choir just got bigger folks and that is a good thing. Best of luck!

Finally, I want to leave you all with the lyrics to one of the songs from my CD, “Modern Progress”.   The song is entitled, “The Mother Road”. The pictures and story told in these lyrics will take you out to the quiet, wind-swept stretches of Route 66 that patiently await your presence. Take a minute and read them.

Here is the link to Chet's novels and books.

To contact us, please email

The Song - "The Last Riders On Route 66"

“The Last Riders On Route 66”

Words & Music by Chet Nichols
Copyright by Chet Nichols (ASCAP) & Magic Garage Music (ASCAP)
All Rights Reserved
Contact us at:
WINNER: Best Song - The International Route 66 Theme Song Contest

Verse 1
It was the Spring of ’67
When this story starts
It’s about two boys who hit the road
With their thumbs and their hearts
California was calling them
The blue skies and the beach
Were waiting down America’s Main Street
They were right there in their reach
Because they heard Will Roger’s highway
Was about to change its name
To another nameless freeway
They knew they’d never get the chance again
They were the last riders on route 66
Hitchin’ and crusin’ and grooving ’ on the Mother Road
They were the last riders on route 66
They were livin’ and laughin’ and lovin’ on the Mother Road

Verse 2
They saw lots of paintings of Elvis
Using neon paint against black velvet
Blacktop ham and eggs and red corvettes
Along that 4-lane amusement park
The road was lined with strange landmarks
And desert Deco towns shining thru the dark
They learned about love on the highway   
And in a rockin’ little beach hotel
By the time they got back to Oklahoma   
Lord, they had some stories to tell

Every ride that picked them up
Was like changing a TV channel
They met hippies and hustlers and soldiers and truckers
And quite a few dangerous damsels
And the jackalopes in Arizona
Where just the right size to ride
Out where the tee-pee motels 
Meet the desert sky

Copyright 2002 by Chet Nichols/Magic Garage Music (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved.
Printed by permission.

Here is the link to Chet's novels and books.



The Song - "The Mother Road"

“The Mother Road”
Words & Music by Chet Nichols
Copyright by Chet Nichols (ASCAP) & Magic Garage Music (ASCAP)
All Rights Reserved
Contact us at:
WINNER: Best Song - The International Route 66 Theme Song Contest
Verse 1
Stranded lives
Drift along the roadside
The skin of souls
Still praying for a ride
Distant lights
Beacons in the twilight
Draw the weary travelers
Seeking shelter from the night
The Mother Road has a rhythm
The Mother Road has a feel
The Mother Road will guide you
When you slide behind the wheel
And if you close your eyes and listen
You will hear the desert sing
Of the Mother Road, of the Mother Road
Verse 2
Billboard signs
Weathered and abandon
Messages from yesteryears
Lay splintered and forgotten
But, if you peer beyond the peeling paint
And the faded “For Sale” signs
And you’ll see a breathing highway
Spinning dreams between the lines
The Mother Road has a vision
The Mother Road has a feel
The Mother Road will guide you
When you slide behind the wheel
And if you close your eyes and listen
You will hear the mountains sing
Of the Mother Road, of the Mother Road
Yeah, if you look real hard you’ll see the scars carved along her back
Etchings from the harvest plows that have churned across the cracks
Touch the beating asphalt that is worn and overgrown
And tell me where you’d be right now …… if she had never led you home
The Mother Road has a rhythm
The Mother Road has a feel
The Mother Road will welcome you
If you slide behind the wheel
And if you close your eyes and listen
You will hear the heartland sing
Of the Mother Road, of the Mother Road, of the Mother Road
Copyright 2003 by Chet Nichols/Magic Garage Music (ASCAP).
All rights reserved. Printed by permission.

I think these lyrics say it all.
God bless The Mother Road and all the people who have been inspired by her to contribute their time and talents to preserving, restoring and telling her story. Hope to see you all somewhere along The Mother Road in the near future.
Contact us:       Here is the link to Chet's novels and books.

Book Reviews - "The Last Riders On Route 66"

Here is the link to Chet's novels and books.

Book Reviews For "The Last Riders On Route 66"

5-stars - 5.0 out of 5 starsThe Road Novel We've Waited For

By A Customer on February 25, 2000

Format: Paperback
Spring Break, 1966. Florida - been there, done that. Road Trip - where? Route 66. Let's go. Buck and Pete step onto 66 in Oklahoma, and step off in a California many of us remember and long for. Music, women and a culture unsure of where the Viet Nam War would lead us, provide the guys with a Spring Break unlike anything they had previously experienced. Chet Nichols brings to life a story dedicated to leaving the path our parents would have wished on us, to explore a world the majority only dreamed of. The discovery of an idyllic life in Flagstaff, Arizona (punctuated by a redneck run-in) leads the guys to understand there is something beyond the confines of Oklahoma. (A side note - although a novel, I can assure you Josh and Maggie are alive and well, and their Granddaughters are every bit as wild as their mothers - Flagstaff lives on!). The beach, and the grandeur of the Pacific, leads to the world of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll - a time many of us remember with fondness, and Chet brings it all back in vividly written scenes that make an "old guy" long for a return to those times. The Last Riders on Route 66 is the Route 66 novel we've waited for. Guidebooks, histories, maps and, even a murder mystery have explored the Mother Road, but Chet Nichols takes us on a Road Trip that will stir the emotions of those who lived through the excitement of the 60's only to land in the boredom of the 90's and the new millineum. Well, researched (with only a couple of minor errors about the road), and written in a style that virtually demands you keep reading, The Last Riders of Route 66 is a book for every Roadie who lived through the sixties. Were Buck and Pete truly the last riders of Route 66? The answer is, sadly, yes, they may have been. The rest of us can only search the road and bring with us our memories of those Road Trips from years gone by - but through the pages of Chet Nichols novel we are allowed to share in one of the great Road Trips of all time.

5-stars - 5.0 out of 5 stars
Move over Danielle Steele!

By Heidi Love on April 7, 2000

Format: Paperback
This is the ultimate American Spring Break story. Buck and Pete, a couple of innocent boys, get educated about life while on a hitch hiking trip down old Route 66 in 1967. What a great idea and story. I love Rt 66 and anything about it. I get all romantic when I think about it. And romance? Well, the author delivers that! This is one of the sexiest books I've ever read. Chet Nichols definetely is the best writer of sensual scenes I've read lately (can you print that?). Very steamy. I like that. Plus, the story really takes you back to the 60's and gives you a taste of what that time was all about. I was a baby in Switzerland when all the events were happening in this book, but the book made me wish I was there.It made me miss America. I really enjoyed all the characters.....Eddie Lee, Avery, Mary Jane, Amy (reminds me of myself), Father O' there were alot of great female characters in the story. The author knows how to write about women. I like that.Besides being real sexy, this book is also very funny and it's a fast read. I was on vacation in Southern France and I read it in two days on the beach. My boy friend also read it and really enjoyed it. It turned both of us on! I think it's the best novel written about Route 66...and one of the other reviews said someting about this book being made into a movie. That is a great idea. Tell the author, Chet Nichols, that I am going to share this book with all my friends in Paris and Rome.Love to all!

5-stars - Gotta Read It!

By Art Fasbender on May 2, 2001

Format: Paperback
I've known Chet Nichols for 30 years, and I still loved this book.
Anyone who lived through and loved the 60's and early 70's, had hair below their collars, ever inhaled, or who's astrology centered on being a triple texaco with hormones rising, will see themselves between these pages.
Chet has done a wonderful job of painting word pictures,that summon up those early years of social revolution, learning to let go of archaic values and replace them with new and fresh ideas and finding out, that you actually have choices. The texture of the music and sensuality of the players, are palpable,real and very engaging.
Try it, you'll like it!

5-Stars The Last Riders On Route 66

By Emily Young on January 12, 2000

Format: Paperback
In high school, I hated writing book reviews, but I want to review this book. I think it is fabulous. I could not put it down. I read scripts for a living for a well known film director and I had several waiting for my undivided attention, but I hate to read them on the beach. A friend knew about this book and recommended it to me, so I took it down to Venice beach with me and very soon after that I could not put it down. I have always been a sucker for Route 66 stories. I used Route 66 to get to Los Angeles when I moved here from Maine. I've read alot of stories about road trips. This book brought back many memories. These kinds of stories are hard to write, I mean, how do you come up with an idea that makes riding in a car interesting? Most of the time, it's the old cliche.....Are we there, yet? Especially, across the Southwest. Well, I think the author did it exceptionally well. He spins a tale that makes this a great adventure. The story kept growing on me to the point where I finished it in 3 days (It made me late for work on Monday). This book stays with me. I find myself flashing back to it. Funny thing, I was at looking for another book and saw that I could review books and decided to find this one and review it. Let the author know I highly recommend it and I bought a copy for the director I work with for him to read on the plane when he goes over to Asia. You know, that's it. There has always been something that haunted me about this story. It's about American culture. Asian and Europeans will love this book because it gives insight into a facinating time in American history. The author is, if anything, maybe overly honest about what happened during days just prior to ...The Summer Of Love. How the Viet Nam war, the civil rights movement, the music, and the sexual revolution swept over this country during the period discribed in this novel, still shapes our society today. I was pretty wild during those times. In fact, one of the female characters descibes me and my friends to a ..t... during the 60's. I have long since move on from those attitudes, but I have found myself digging back through this book to read passages to my friends. That is very rare because I'm very jaded when it comes to...literature. Now I could put on my high hat and get all prissy about some things .... but I won't because this book struck a nerve with me that goes beyond any negative comments I may have. So, I won't say them because I feel this book is suppose to be raw and honest. That is where it's magic lays waiting. Check this book out. I think it's gonna be the kind of novel that will develop a strong following. I'm curious what the author has in store for me in his next book. I'm a fan. If you happen to be from Huntington Beach, California you are going to want to read this book. Oh, and thanks Chet Nichols for a enjoyable ride.

5.0 out of 5 stars THE LAST RIDERS ON ROUTE 66
By A customer on May 10, 2001

Format: Paperback
This book would be un unreal screenplay! Action, Drama, Humor...with a truly unique & original voice. Bravo!

4.0 out of 5 stars From among the Tribe-of-Thumbs, an Odyssey ...
By BOB VANARSDALE on April 27, 2001

Format: Paperback
... I picked up a copy of Chet Nichols' "Last Riders on Route 66" and laughed myself silly reliving my fortunately-misspent youth through the agency of Buck'n'Pete, Chicago-Oklahoman brothers in the Tribe-of-Thumbs, as they wend their spring-break way to California and back on America's Highway under the gathering stormclouds that only later would be understood simply as "the sixties". Charged by lightning bolts of sexual awakening and Huxleian self-discovery under the pall of an ever-increasing Vietnam involvement and the gloaming of the non-elective "selective service", this book honestly and effectively showcases the emotional conundrae of the Road-and-Thumb clan as they ritually seek to witch the brewing storm down upon themselves. Each chapter is a group wine-and-spaghetti event, to be shared and enjoyed with others and savored for its now-exotic smells, flavors, textures, and braided conversations. For my part, I wolfed those chapters down, only stopping for breath when the next page was to be the book's back cover. Rest assured, I'll be back for seconds.
A wonderful, wonderful job, Chet -- congratulations... And thanx...

4.0 out of 5 stars Riding High With The Last Riders
By Estrella Berosini on June 14, 2000

Format: Paperback
The Last Riders On Route 66, by Chet Nichols, is one of the very few books which accurately lives the many states of mind of the 1960s. His writing depicts those times unselfconsciously; allowing the characters to tell their quietly exciting tales with transparent innocence. It it appropriately sexy, realistically spiritual, reflective, spontaneously violent, and effortlessly comedic. Long after reading it, one can continue to swill this story. It has a good after taste. Last Riders has many dimensions, accessible to most age groups and walks of life. This may be an important book for young men to read. It's delightful for us females to get all stirred up into. We'll give it to our lovers as a hint, hint, hint. The Last Riders On Route 66 makes you miss places you've never been to. It's the long version of a well written song. Review by: Estrella Berosini: writer, composer, inventor, and subject of songs including Joni Mitchell's "Estrella, circus girl" in Ladies Of The Canyon, Warner Bros.

A welcome journey
By Carey Goldenberg on April 10, 2000

Format: Paperback
I liked to read this book, I really did. When I put it down I often thought about his experiences. When I picked it up I couldn't wait to see what happened next. I've been to most of these towns, either as a youth in the sixties, or later as a performer and the sense of these places came alive in the book. It is not an revolutionary, earth shattering novel, yet it was compelling and fun. I do recommend it.

Here is the link to Chet's novels and books.


 Feb. 25, 2000
Road trip inspires novel by former student
By BriAnne Hess
Kansan staff writer
Chet Nichols, who attended the University of Kansas from 1967 to 1970, revisited life on the road in his latest novel, The Last Riders of Route 66.
Nichols said the novel was based on a trip that he and a friend took in spring of 1967 because they were not getting along with their parents. When they heard Route 66 — a highway from Chicago to Los Angeles — was being turned into an interstate, they decided to hitchhike the route to California.
“The story had been percolating in my brain for awhile, but I wrote the book in three months with probably 30 rewrites,” Nichols said.
He said the story was about the coming of age of two men who had an epiphany on the trip and returned home with direction in their lives.
“They have to address a lot of their own attitudes and how they mesh in the real world as opposed to in their heads,” Nichols said.
Nichols said some of the characters in the novel were fairly true to form with people he met during his trip. He said he used creative license to produce other characters who epitomized the attitudes and conflicts of the times. Nichols described the tumult in the late-60s as a mental civil war.

“Our trip was somewhat more subdued than the novel, but I had to be true to the times because there was a revolution going on,” Nichols said.
Nichols said that the thrill of hitchhiking was not something he would recommend in today´s society.
“I couldn´t do it now,” he said. “You´d have to be cautious and take precautions. Back then it was OK.”
Wayne Propst, 1971 graduate, said he took a lot of road trips in the ´60s, but most of them were in someone´s car, not hitchhiking. He said Route 66 wasn´t really famous until it was closed.

Propst said that even though hitching wasn´t really an option anymore, most young people wouldn´t take road trips because it took too much knowledge and imagination.

“There´s not the same desire to get out and see the road,” Propst said. “They don´t have any imagination. They all fly to Cancun. Why put up a tent when you can call room service?”

He recalled a time on the road when the water pump burst in his car. He said he and his road companion walked into town, bought a water pump and installed it themselves. Barry Shank, associate professor of American studies, said the pull of the road was still a powerful one for college students because they still were surrounded by others´ expectations and stereotypes. He said that being on the road let students abandon their jobs, classes and other responsibilities.
“It does require risk, but the idea of being on the road is throwing all of that aside,” Shank said. “As a society, we´d be better off if more people did it.”
Nichols´ novel was released on Christmas Eve. The bookstores in town do not have the novel in stock, but Nichols said it was for sale online.
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