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Notes from the road June 27, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Businesses, Events, Music, Preservation, Television, Theaters, Towns.
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There seems to be some activity at the long-abandoned old Route 66 town of Spencer, Mo. We heard from Gary Turner up the road at Gay Parita that someone has bought the town’s handful of buildings and plans to revive it with a gift shop and maybe other things. When we drove by on Sunday evening, old-style gas pumps had been installed. With an old iron bridge nearby and an alignment that’s considerably more serene for travelers than the busy Highway 96, perhaps Spencer can again become a destination. Maybe Turner and Spencer’s owner can feed off each other with tourism visits.

  • Pending clearance from health officials, the historic Bono’s orange stand in Fontana, Calif., is set to reopen, reports the San Bernardino County Sun. It’s sits on the Bono’s Restaurant and Deli parking lot on Foothill Boulevard (aka Route 66). The orange-shaped stand dates to the 1930s.
  • The Route 66 Festival-Hot Dogs and Hot Rods is in Clinton, Okla., this weekend boasts something unusual — the Wiener Nationals dog races on Saturday, in which full-blooded dachshunds participate. Clinton decided to do another Route 66 festival after its hosting of the national festival last year was such a success.
  • The village of Gardner, Ill., reports that out of expenditures of about $17,000, the village lost a little less than $500 during the Kicks on Gardner Route 66 event a few weeks ago. That doesn’t sound encouraging, but for a new event, nearly breaking even is quite good. Most new festivals bleed money for the first few years until the kinks are worked out.
  • It appears, according to varying news reports in varying cities, that the 14th annual punk-rock Vans Warped Tour has a Route 66 stage. It had one actual stop in a Route 66 town, the first date of Pomona, Calif.
  • The Route 66 Rendezvous on Sept. 18-21 in San Bernardino, Calif., needs volunteers. More information here.
  • A new theater troupe called the Route 66 Theatre Company has formed in the Windy City. According to Playbill, “artistic director (Stef) Tovar was looking for a way to collaborate on theater pieces with friends in both L.A. and Chicago.”
  • Michael Giltz of the Huffington Post, ranting against Hollywood’s questionable pricing and constant repackaging of television shows on DVD, singled out “Route 66,” among others. “When the iconic show Route 66′s first season came out in two parts last October and this February, I objected mightily but the people behind the set (a tiny company) insisted they had to put out the first half just to see if they could justify putting out the second half. The company was so small I relented a little. But now that they’re releasing the first season in one set just four months after putting out the individual volumes, I’m sorry I did.”

Comments»

1. DynoDave - June 27, 2008

Sounds like good news about Spencer. I’ve never been there myself, but that’s not a bad looking group of buildings, particularly the one with the stone front.

Guess I’m a sucker for that look. I’m still waiting to win the lottery so I can semi-retire, and buy the old Gascozark Cafe!

2. Scott Piotrowski - June 27, 2008

Very anxious about Spencer. Loved that little spot last time I was through.

As for Bono’s, hopefully Kevin Hansel is around with a more definitive update, but Joe is a great guy, and that stretch from San Bernardino to Upland really lacks enthusiasm despite its wondrous draws and attractions. Hopefully the orange can spark some interest and creativity, and keep Rialto and Fontana from falling into the Rancho Cucamonga trap of 50′s and fins revisited (a rather poor and short-sighted interpretation, in my opinion).


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