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Route 66 Photographs goes online May 31, 2006

Posted by Ron Warnick in Photographs, Web sites.
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Route 66 road warriors Jim Ross and Shellee Graham announced today that they have created a Web site, Route 66 Photographs, that offers prints, licensing and images for photo editors and commercial use.

There are a wide range of images, from roadkill to vanished attractions to classic cars to rear ends (it's not what you think, wise guy). There are 15 categories in all.

And best of all, sort of like a karaoke machine, they can do requests. :-)

Officials losing patience with Williams developer May 31, 2006

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions.
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Developer Mike Morgan and his Grand Canyon Northland Amusements and Entertainment investment group last year announced a massive $3 billion theme park near the Route 66 town of Williams, Ariz., on the road that leads to the Grand Canyon.

According to the Arizona Republic, county and city leaders haven't heard a progress report on Morgan and his project, and they're losing patience with him. He has 2 1/2 years to raise $500 million so he can acquire bonds for the project.

The story gets complicated. You can read the whole thing here

I'm skeptical of such a massive project, but we'll see. 

Old 66 becomes busy for a while May 31, 2006

Posted by Ron Warnick in Highways.
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Missouri 266 west of Springfield is an old alignment of Route 66. It sees about 8,000 vehicles a day, which is decent but nothing huge.

That volume quadrupled for a few hours Tuesday when a diesel truck accident forced traffic from Interstate 44 to old 66, according to the Springfield News-Leader. 

Newspaper finds Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire May 31, 2006

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Movies, People.

As many people familiar with the Mother Road know, you can't set an appointment to meet Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire. You simply go to where he's kinda sorta scheduled to be and you hope to run into him.

Dave Bakke of the Springfield Journal-Register lucked out and found Waldmire when he was back in his hometown of Springfield, Ill.

The VW minibus named Fillmore in the "Cars" movie was supposed to be named Waldmire. Bob Waldmire is an unapologetic hippie and drives an old VW minbus all over Route 66. But Bob Waldmire refused to give Pixar permission to use his name. I already asked him about it a couple weeks ago, but the Springfield reporter asked him why.

"I am an ethical vegetarian," Bob explained. "After they sent me a letter asking for my permission, another local artist friend of mine, Bill Crook, mentioned to me that the movie toys are probably going be sold in Happy Meals at McDonald's. That made up my mind real quick. I couldn't have them selling a bus with my name at a McDonald's if I'm an ethical vegetarian."

The movie does have a deal to distribute toys though McDonald's, by the way. Bob made Pixar/Disney a counteroffer that would have funneled a small portion of movie proceeds to a charity of Bob's choice in exchange for the use of his name. The company rejected that out of hand. That is why you will be watching Fillmore instead of Waldmire.

It's a good story, with stories about Michael Wallis, Dawn Welch and other people and places that inspired Pixar for its "Cars" movie.

Missouri town planning Route 66 festival May 30, 2006

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, History, Towns.
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The town of Strafford, Mo., is planning its annual Route 66 festival, according to the Springfield News-Leader. It's trying to round up volunteers and make Route 66 more prominent.

This idea sounds intriguing:

Keiser would like to produce a live show, with "Route 66 players" who will dramatize and detail the history. Keiser has volunteered to help write the script and recruit some actors for the show he would like to feature several times during the fall festival, which is tentatively set for the second Saturday in September.

Interview with the “Cars” director May 30, 2006

Posted by Ron Warnick in Movies.

ComingSoon.net has an excellent interview with "Cars" director John Lasseter. Check it out.

UPDATE: Here's another interview, this time with The Australian. It includes this excerpt about Route 66.

Observation is important, says Lasseter, who refers to the small town on America's Route 66 that is integral to the story. Bypassed by the major highway, it represents old-fashioned values.

"They say a picture is worth a thousand words. When you come to some of these towns, you can tell they were really vibrant but now the customers are all gone. You can tell from the peeling paint, the cracks in the asphalt, the dust, the sun-bleached nature of everything. All that stuff is extremely difficult to do with a computer."

Do road-trip adventures still exist? You bet! May 30, 2006

Posted by Ron Warnick in Movies, Road trips, Television.

Michael Yessis of World Hum: Travel Dispatches from a Shrinking Planet asks this question amid a preview of the Independent Film Channel documentary "Wanderlust: On the Road with American Road Movies":

“Does the road still promise us an open sense of freedom and liberation as it did in so many great films? Or, has the adventure of the American road ultimately been reduced to the stuff of Hollywood lore?”

Yassel's answer:

I spent five days of those days traveling with my dad. We planned a night in Las Vegas and a side trip to Monument Valley, but otherwise loosely followed Route 66, a road he’d driven several times before the government built the interstate system. The United States we saw is as vast and as interesting as ever, filled with roadside diners and fast-food chains, black-socked European tourists and big-haired waitresses, gaudy billboards and breathtaking red rock landscapes. Hollywood can spin out road movie after road movie — another one, Pixar’s Cars, comes out June 9 — but these cinematic journeys, as much as I love watching them, will never trump the experience of rubber hitting road, the feeling of unfolding a map and sensing the possibilities that lie along every thin black line. If you think Hollywood sapped all the adventure out of road trips, you need to get in a car and drive.

Amen, brother. Say it. 

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