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Notes from the road April 30, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Food, Maps, Music, Restaurants, Road trips, Web sites.
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It’s a busy weekend for many roadies. First,  the Arizona Route 66 Association’s 22nd annual Fun Run begins Friday. The Kingman Daily Miner has a schedule and a preview.

Second, the Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor celebration in northern Illinois is Saturday and Sunday. The Pontiac Daily Leader also has a preview. The Bloomington Pantagraph has a preview, too.

Third, Red Fork Main Street in Tulsa is hosting its inaugural Down on Main Street … a Red Fork Tradition from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. It includes live music, art show, farmers market and a pie-baking contest. The festival is in the area of West 41st Street and Southwest Boulevard, near Ollie’s Station restaurant.

  • As an aside to the Fun Run, the Arizona Route 66 Association’s Web site has been issued an ominous “Malware Warning” by Google (hence, the lack of a link to the association). Google says it has at least four pages containing tainted scripts. Someone had better fix that site.
  • I’ve been informed by AAA that its 2009-2010 Oklahoma-Arkansas state map contains an image of the Totem Pole Park, off Route 66 in Foyil, Okla.
  • For you competitive eaters, the Route 66 Diner in Tulsa will give you a 66-ounce chicken fried steak, plus sides and salad,  for free if you eat the whole meal in 66 minutes. If you’re unable to do it, it’ll set you back $66. Several have taken the challenge, but no one’s conquered it. The diner is at 723 W. 23rd St. — not on Route 66, but about a half-mile east off the Mother Road from Southwest Boulevard. Video is here.
  • The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies in Palm Springs, Calif., is winding down its season for its much-praised “Get Your Kicks,” a musical tribute to Route 66. Guest performer Susan Anton will close the season May 17. Tickets can be purchased online here.
  • Santa Monica, the western endpoint of Route 66, is hosting the newest incarnation of the Gumball 300 Rally, which starts Saturday. Here’s the event’s official Web site. The rally ends May 8 in Miami, Fla. It includes stops at the Grand Canyon and Santa Fe, N.M.
  • We’ve written before about the fabulous strawberry jelly doughnuts at The Donut Man on Route 66 in Glendora, Calif. But Jaunted has a mouth-watering photo.
  • The Route 66 town of Ash Fork, Ariz., is hosting its annual Ash Fork Pioneer Day on Saturday, with a parade, chili cook-off and antiques appraisals.

Quite a find April 28, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Highways, History.
Kip Welborn, with his daughter Natalie, holding the old highway marker near Devils Elbow, Mo.

Kip Welborn, with his daughter Natalie, holding the old highway marker near Devil's Elbow, Mo.

Longtime roadie Kip Welborn was near the Route 66 town of Devil’s Elbow, Mo., when he found something interesting. I’ll let him tell the story:

When we got to Devils Elbow, a bizarre find … we stopped at the scenic overlook. … I climbed down the hill in search of old beer cans … did not find many, but, about a hundred yards down the hill (guessing) did find a concrete right of way marker just laying there on the side of the hill.  I have never seen a concrete marker in Missouri (they are fairly common in Illinois; the ones in Missouri I have seen are metal triangular signs).

On one side, the letters “RW” are embossed (it looks like the markers you see all over the place in Illinois — there may be some in Missouri, but I have never seen one) … I will likely contact the 66 Museum at Route 66 State Park at some point in the not too distant future and see if they want to display it — let’s face it, you can only stare at something for so long, and I would rather have others enjoy and appreciate it. It is apparently from the mid/late 1920’s,according to the information I have received thus far.

The “RW” on the marker probably means “right of way.” I saw a very similar concrete highway marker today on Oklahoma Highway 18 north of Shawnee.

I’m fairly sure that Welborn’s source is accurate, that the highway marker dates to the 1920s. These markers were common in the days before highways were officially numbered by the U.S. government.

UPDATE: Jane Lee, a historian with the Missouri Department of Transporation, e-mailed me with helpful information about the marker:

The concrete post pictured is assuredly an old Missouri State Highway Commission right of way marker. The marker would have been buried approximately 2 feet in the ground, with only the top 6 inches or so exposed above the ground surface. The letters RW–standing for Right of Way–would have been stamped on the top of the post while the concrete was still “plastic.” The letters would be visible on the above ground portion of the marker.  Markers such as this were situated on both lines of the RW (on either side of the highway), and were placed on the tangent of an angle in the RW line, when the RW didn’t curve. I’ll attach a drawing of a concrete RW marker that visually illustrates what I’m trying to describe…a picture really is worth a thousand words.

The attached drawing was included in a set of highway plans from Route 66 near Arlington, Missouri. The plans are dated to 1927, but I believe that the markers were used even earlier. I imagine that the marker might have been set along the RW around the time that Route 66 was designated (1926), or maybe even before the official designation, when Route 66 in Missouri was still called Route 14. I don’t think that there is any way to know the exact date that the marker was placed, but the 1920s estimate is accurate. This segment of Route 66 near Devil’s Elbow was bypassed by a “new” alignment of Route 66 in 1942 with the construction of the famous Hooker Cut. I would guess that the marker was dug out of the ground and discarded down the slope sometime after the realignment. It had probably been lying there since the 1940s or 1950s, until Mr. Welborn discovered it!

Here’s a thumbnail of the highway marker plans. Click on it to see it in full size.

Plans of highway marker from 1920s.

On an aside, Lee is in charge of organizing a museum-quality exhibit at the new Route 66-themed Welcome Center near Conway, which is having a ceremonial grand opening on Monday at 11 a.m.

Mystery of the Missing Monument April 28, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Highways, History.

A photo of the monument near Texola, Okla., from the TxDOT archives.

Delbert Trew, who owns a ranch on old Route 66 near Alanreed, Texas, and has been a longtime Route 66 supporter, writes in the Amarillo Globe-News about a long-missing Texas highway monument that once greeted Route 66 westbound travelers at the border town of Texola, Okla., during the mid-1930s.

It was an art-deco, granite monument that simply alerted Mother Road motorists that they were entering the Lone Star State. It’s believed that the monument was built to coincide with Texas’ centennial in 1936.

Some digging by TexasEscapes.com and the Texas Department of Transportation found a few archived photos of the monument, but little other information.

No one is sure what happened to the monument, either. Trew writes:

The final effort to locate the monument or its grave if that be the fate, is to see if someone, some record or some bit of information is still around in the Wheeler County TxDOT archives or former employee’s memories telling the final end to the mystery. The size and weight of the structure shouts the demise was not easy and its beautiful form was probably shattered in its removal.

Trew also writes about this tantalizing possibility:

A small wooden replica of the monument has been built and is exhibited in the Texas Old Route 66 Museum in McLean. There are rumors a full-size replica of the monument might be constructed. Who knows? Maybe the long lost, Texas Mystery Monument will live again, somewhere.

It came from the 1960s April 28, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Music, Television.
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Here’s a segment of former British pop princess Sandie Shaw performing Bobby Troup’s “Route 66.” I’m fairly certain this came from a 1960s BBC show called “The Sandie Shaw Supplement,” in which she performed music based on the subject of transportation and travel.

Hello from Slovenia April 28, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Music.
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Here’s pianist Uros Perich and The Pearlettes doing a version of Bobby Troup’s “Route 66.” Perich clearly is channeling the late, great Ray Charles.

New details about Cars Land April 28, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Movies.
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PirateGuy’s Corner, an entertainment blog, a few weeks ago posted new conceptual drawings and more details about Disneyland Resort’s Cars Land, a new addition to the Southern California amusement complex that’s inspired by the 2006 Disney-Pixar movie “Cars” and the fictional Route 66 town of Radiator Springs.

Cars Land is under construction and scheduled to be finished sometime in 2012.

This is the reported description: “Blending the legendary adventure and excitement of Route 66, California’s love of Cars, and Walt Disney’s legacy if innovative storytelling, Carland recreates the memorable town of Radiator Springs Disney-Pixar’s animated film Cars. Route 66 was once the only auto route connecting Chicago to sunny LA. It represented the freedom of the open road, the migration west, and the dream of a brighter tomorrow in the Golden State for thousands of new arrivals in CA. That dream revs back to life in Cars Land.”

Go here to see all the info. But a few tidbits worth are passing along:

  • Buildings in Radiator Springs will house mostly businesses, such as Fillmore’s being a health-food stand, Lizzie’s a souvenir shop, and Flo’s as more of a sit-down restaurant.
  • Radiator Springs will contain three rides: Junkyard Jamboree, Luigi’s Roamin’ Tires, and and the elaborate Radiator Spring Racers.
  • Part of the ride will be a re-creation of entering the Radiator Springs vicinity, including an admonishment by the Sheriff to slow down and dodging an oncoming train.
  • The ride includes tractor-tipping.
  • You’ll meet virtually all of the Radiator Springs characters before the race begins.
  • During the race, you get instructions from your crew chief, Doc Hudson.

It sounds like a wondrous and amazing addition to Disneyland.

Fran Eickhoff dedication April 27, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Events, People, Route 66 Associations.
Detail of the Fran Eickhoff plaque near the entrance of Fanning 66 Outpost and General Store in Fanning, Mo.

The Fran Eickhoff plaque near the entrance of Fanning 66 Outpost and General Store in Fanning, Mo. (Photos courtesy of Jane Reed)

Members of the Route 66 Association of Missouri and family and friends of the late Fran Eickhoff gathered at the Fanning 66 Outpost and General Store in Fanning, Mo., to pay tribute to her decades of service to the Mother Road.

Eickhoff died after a long battle with cancer on Aug. 7, 2008.

From the news release about the ceremony:

For many years, Fran ran The Route 66 Lounge and greeted Route 66 travelers with her warm smile. She would go on to become an activist for preserving and promoting the Mother Road. She made friends not only in Missouri but also all along the road from Chicago to California as she attended Route 66 meetings and festivals. Even when facing the end of her life, one of Fran’s last trips was to the Litchfield, Ill., Route 66 Festival in June 2008 where she was able to visit with some of her Route 66 friends for the last time.

Local tourism board President Norman DeLeo spoke of Fran’s involvement with the association and how she was a booster for the Cuba, Mo., community and Route 66. Because of that dedication to the community, the tourism board commissioned a plaque to recognize Fran. The Outpost’s owners Dan and Carolyn Sanazaro were happy to allow the plaque to be placed on their Route 66 store.

During the ceremony, Missouri Association president Tommy Pike spoke of how Fran loved Route 66 and of her work with the Association at many events during the years. She was responsible for promoting Cuba’s Route 66 heritage and encouraging all Cuba’s businesses to become members of the Missouri Association.

Membership Services Director Bob Gehl also spoke of his friendship with Fran and how she was responsible for photographing Route 66 bridges in Missouri, designing a t-shirt with the images, and selling the resulting T-shirt. He reminisced about working on many projects with Fran.

To recognize Fran in her own community, Gehl, with her family’s permission, presented Betty DeLeo, president of the Crawford County History Museum in Cuba, with an award that Fran received during her last year that recognized her decades long work for the Missouri Association. He also presented DeLeo with one of the Association’s bridge T-shirts that Fran created. The memorabilia will become part of a museum display recognizing Fran and her work on Route 66.

Jane Dippel, Preservation Committee Chairwoman, presented Dan Sanazaro, Outpost owner, with a check and certificate recognizing his preservation of the Route 66 community building in Fanning by renovating the building for his store and building on site what has become known as the “Guinness World Record Largest Rocking Chair.” [...]

Sanazaro tried to donate the check back to the Association but was instead encouraged to use it to further improve the site. Sanazaro indicated that he was to receive an original Route 66 sign and that he would use the check for that.

Jane and Dan Dippel were part of the dedication ceremony on Saturday.

Jane Dippel presents Dan Sanazaro, owner of the Outpost General Store, with a check and a certificate for his preservation efforts.

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