Connecting the Dots Along US Route 89
US Route 89 is a long road, nearly 1800 miles between Canada and Mexico. This highway through the heart of the West bred many unique and hopeful towns. Many thrived and bustled in their day, only to be bypassed by the Interstates. Giving way to a faster, more streamlined lifestyle of chain restaurants and big box stores, the Interstates left behind the places with authenticity, deep history and much physical beauty.
The national parks along highway 89 continue to flourish and attract visitors. So do the large cities. But what of the places in between?
The US Route 89 project will help you connect the dots, the little white circles on your road map with names like Wickenburg, Mt. Pleasant, Afton and Choteau. You will find many people of accomplishment and places of historic significance along this beautiful, yet often bypassed, road.
In the virtual world of this website, we seek to establish a community bound together by US Route 89. We hope to bring an appreciation of the unique character of the “places in between.” Our goal is to help those residents striving to revitalize the small towns and lovely stretches of two-lane road that connect them.
With your help we can knit together the people along US 89 and the places they inhabit into a larger community. Together we can infuse new life into this long-lived border to border ribbon of road.
Who We Are
James Cowlin is a landscape and nature photographer. Barbara Kemp Cowlin is a painter. They are partners in this project and in life.
Jim owned a commercial photography business in Phoenix for 35 years creating photographs for corporate clients and helping businesses develop marketing materials. He also spent as much time as possible traveling the back roads of the Southwest capturing the beauty of the natural world. Gradually his passion for landscape photography eclipsed the commercial work and in 2007 he closed the studio in favor of pursuing travel and nature photography and the US Route 89 project full-time.
Barbara has made her life in the arts. She has been an arts administrator, graphic designer, and an art teacher, in addition to holding countless unrelated jobs to support her art habit. Her goal has always been to be able to create art full-time as a painter and printmaker. Currently she is living her dream, working in her studio and traveling with her husband, Jim, on US Route 89.
The US Route 89 project was initially conceived as a way to showcase Jim’s photographs of the great western national parks. Barbara was inspired to paint the diverse tourists she encountered as well as the beautiful scenery. When they traveled between the parks they discovered that there were many other beautiful places along the road that deserved to be photographed and shown to the world. They also discovered the many communities along 89 where they found the roots of the culture that characterizes the western United States.
How to Be Part of the Adventure
Subscribe to our email newsletter for articles about interesting places to visit on US Route 89 and news about Jim and Barbara’s road trips. Enter your email address in the form at the top on this page in the right column.
Join the US Route 89 Appreciation Society to declare your love of traveling on the West’s Most Western Highway.
Become a Corporate Sponsor to help us support the towns, cities and business along US Route 89 by promoting the growth of tourism.
Visit the US Route 89 Appreciation Society page on Facebook and become a fan.
Follow our blog, US Route 89, for the latest news and information about happenings on the road.
Visit Jim's photography website to purchase prints or license his photographs
Visit Barbara's website and blog to see her paintings and read her thoughts on making art
Follow Jim on Twitter @jimcowlin
Follow Barbara on Twitter @barbaracowlin