from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An order of march in which soldiers are not required to keep step or remain silent, and may carry their arms at will, provided the muzzles are elevated.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Technically it's "route-step", but your version is MUCH more apropos in this context.
Two turkey, ham, lobster!!!, and all the trimmings dinners followed by an 'easy' 3 mile route-step.
Military working parties go at route-step bitching in and out, carrying crates.
The country is like a vast disorganised undisciplined army, leaderless, uninspired, going in route-step along the road to they know not what end.
It may be said, before quitting the subject, that as an order of sailing, corresponding to the route-step of an army in march, a loose group formation has some advantages; maintaining some order without requiring that rigid exactness of position, to observe which by day and night must be a severe strain on captain and deck-officers.
The men marched at the route-step in two straggling files along either side of the road, thus leaving the central space free for the officers, and Maurice could not help noticing their anxious, care-worn air, in striking contrast with the jollity and good-humor of the soldiers, who were happy as children to be on the move once more.