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Tribute to Bolin Ford January 31, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses.
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Here’s a video tribute that someone posted about the devastating fire in December that destroyed much of Bolin Ford on Route 66 in Bristow, Okla.

Much of the historic Bristow Motor Co. complex still remains, however. Bolin Ford plans to rebuild.

Tucumcari may make another bet on racetrack January 31, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Sports, Towns.
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Tucumcari, N.M., is betting that another horse-racing license will come open in the next two years and has decided to keep its option on purchasing land between Interstate 40 and Route 66, reports the Quay County Sun.

Tucumcari lobbied hard last year to get the racetrack, but the state awarded the license to Raton, N.M.

The town is betting that one or two proposed new racetracks won’t be built because of the downtown of the economy. That would free up a racing license, and presumably give Tucumcari another shot at it.

Marketing agency now owns Route66.com January 30, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Web sites.
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The long-dormant Internet domain of “route66.com” was acquired a few months ago by the Oklahoma City-based marketing firm of Ackerman McQueen.

Route66.com’s home page has undergone an update. It’s still fairly rudimentary, but does contain links to POPS in Arcadia, Okla.; the OklaTravelNet site and the National Historic Route 66 Federation. A screen shot of the new site is shown above, along with the tantalizing words “Coming Soon.”

I e-mailed Debby Johnson, executive vice president and director of marketing at Ackerman McQueen, and asked about the domain’s ownership change. She replied:

Yes, we bought the domain for one of our clients. I can’t be more specific at this time but it’s in good hands.

I noticed on Ackerman McQueen’s Internet site that Oklahoma Tourism is one of its clients. That would be a more logical fit than the other clients listed. Also, the redesigned home page bears a considerable resemblance to Oklahoma Tourism’s well-executed Route 66 brochure that came out last spring (shown here).

According to online archives, David Williams started the graphic-rich and useful route66.com site in late 1996. But he seemed to lose interest after he ran from Chicago to Santa Monica in his own personal Bunion Derby in 2001. Sometime in early 2004, the site disappeared altogether.

At the Route 66 Festival in Clinton, Okla., in 2007, Williams told us that the site’s hosting company had been “hijacked,” and he seemed pessimistic that he would get the domain back.

We’ll see what happens to route66.com now. At the least, it will be semi-useful again.

Rock Cafe resurrection January 29, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Preservation, Restaurants.
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Roof trusses on the Rock Cafe going up.

Roof trusses on the Rock Cafe going up.

It appears the Rock Cafe in Stroud, Okla., is shooting for a reopening in May — the one-year anniversary of a devastating fire that gutted the historic building.

David Burke Historic Preservation, based in Perry, Okla., is the main contractor on the reconstruction project. It has a Web page that details the ongoing work, including lots of photos and an article from the Lincoln County News. A lot has been happening at the restaurant site in recent weeks.

Rock Cafe owner Dawn Welch has posted a lot of photos on her blog, also.

Needless to say, this is really good news.

(Hat tip: Jae Davis and Linda Burke)

Spreading the gospel January 28, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Route 66 Associations.
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Members of the Czech Route 66 Association put together an exhibit at a local shopping mall so that fellow citizens of the Czech Republic can learn about the Mother Road.

The exhibit will be up until March 2.

Robert Earl Keen to go on Route 66 tour January 28, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Music, Road trips.
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Texas singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen will go on a music tour of Route 66 sometime this year, reports the San Antonio Express-News.

According to Keen’s Web site, the tour will mark the 20th anniversary of his most famous song, “The Road Goes on Forever (and the Party Never Ends).” A documentary also is planned, and a book about the song is coming out, too.

The itinerary of the Route 66 tour isn’t available yet. I’ll post it when it’s available.

In the meantime, here’s Keen performing the song, early in his career.

VW RV January 27, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Vehicles.
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One of the Volkswagen MiniHomes.

Near the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Ariz., there’s a vintage Volkswagen Beetle that’s been converted into a motorhome. It’s been sitting off Route 66 for years.

I’d assumed the VW RV was some sort of one-off project by a local mechanic and that the vehicle was dubious in its road-worthiness.

However, in this post at CarDomain Blog, it turns out that the conversion kits were made by a company called Bugaroo and that Mechanix Illustrated showed you how to build one yourself.

You can still buy the plans here for $55. According to Robert Q. Riley Enterprises, which is selling the plans:

Despite its contradictory appearance, MiniHome is an amazing little vehicle. Due to its wide offset wheels, beefed up stabilizer bar, and rear overload shocks, it handles very much like the stock VW. And its overall design is one of the most clever packaging solutions around. Inside, it has all the appointments and facilities of a standard camper. Appliances and storage space are situated across the rear. The butane stove and stainless steel sink in the left rear corner mount to a single module that slides out the side so you can cook and wash either outdoors or inside. A 50-lb size icebox is located in the center rear, and a closet is located on the right. Turning the large swivel-base chairs 180 degrees (backs against the windshield) opens up the center so the modular lower bed can slide out of its hideaway compartment. The cabover section makes into a full-size bed by folding down a hinged extension.

Driving MiniHome is an addictive experience. Acceleration and cornering are much like the original VW. But one does have to negotiate a few trial turns in order to gain confidence in its roll stability. MiniHome is much more stable than it looks. After a few minutes behind the wheel, the pleasure of driving such a small vehicle, in comparison to other RVs, begins to take effect. MiniHome has the same nimble feel that Beetle owners have always enjoyed in their stock VWs. The only detriment is limited rear visibility, similar to that of many other RVs. Also, maximum speed is reduced about 10 mph, and fuel economy suffers slightly because of increased air resistance at highway speeds.

More vintage pictures of the completed VW RV can be seen here.

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